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School of Natural Sciences

NSF Grants Will Help Unravel Mysteries of Sea Stars, Jellyfish

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Professor Michael Dawson $900,000 to study some rather mysterious marine phenomena.

Dawson received $700,000 — part of a three-year, $1.2 million grant awarded to Dawson and collaborators at UC Santa Cruz, the University of Georgia and Cornell University — to investigate the repercussions of the 2013 outbreak of sea star wasting disease (SSWD), a marine pandemic that killed 90 percent of ochre sea stars along North America’s Pacific coast.

Mathematicians Making Strides Toward Lifelike Animations

Imagine going to see the latest Pixar movie. You’re sitting in the theater enjoying the film, when you begin to notice the astounding level of detail in the animation. On screen, water is rippling and leaves are flittering with an almost uncanny realism. It’s art imitating life with incredible verisimilitude, and it makes you wonder how the animators are able to pull off such lifelike effects.

Math Professor Receives Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Professor Noemi Petra is UC Merced’s newest recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award, which the NSF describes as its “most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their organizations.”

Campus Welcomes New Dean of Natural Sciences

Elizabeth (Betsy) Dumont joins UC Merced today as the newest dean of the School of Natural Sciences. She’s the third dean in the school’s history and the second woman to serve in this capacity, after Founding Dean Maria Pallavicini.

Dumont arrives from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where for the past three years she served as vice provost for academic affairs and director of the Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Life Sciences. She joined the UMass faculty in 2001.

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