Professor Mónica Medina of the UC Merced School of Natural Sciences has won a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for her work on Coral Health Genomics. The continuing grant will fund Medina's work at $361,238 annually over five years.
"NSF's selection of Mónica Medina for a CAREER award indicates that peer scientists nationwide share UC Merced's optimism about her very strong potential as a researcher," said Dean Maria Pallavicini of the School of Natural Sciences. "It also demonstrates the quality of our young researchers to advance scientific knowledge, build programs and teach our students at UC Merced.
"We're extremely happy with Mónica's achievement and certainly congratulate her on this great milestone in her scientific career," Pallavicini said.
Medina studies coral-algal symbiosis — which is threatened by rising temperatures in the oceans and is vital for a healthy coral reef ecosystem — by examining gene expression in Caribbean corals and algae. The outcome of her research could contribute to conservation and management in these marine habitats.
Medina plans to cooperate with colleagues at the United States Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and the California Academy of Sciences for course development and teacher training, and with the UC Merced Office of Communications on student-produced environmental podcasts in English, Spanish and Hmong as part of her work funded by this award.
Her research will employ graduate and undergraduate students who are preparing for their own bright futures.
The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program offers the NSF's most prestigious awards supporting the early career-development activities of teachers and scholars who effectively integrate research and education within the context of their organization's mission. Their activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.