Archive for February, 2012

The Pepper-Spray Incident: Reynoso Task Force Update

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

This email was sent to the UC Davis community earlier tonight.

Former California Supreme Court Associate Justice Cruz Reynoso, chair of the task force investigating the pepper-spray incident on November 18, 2011, said today the task force is working toward public release of findings and recommendations on Tuesday, March 6, at a time and location on the UC Davis campus to be determined.

Additional information will be provided as soon as it is available.

The Power of Simple Explanations: the Nanosecond

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Grace Hopper explains Nanoseconds.

Thinking about your research and finding ways to explain this to people who have not studied what you have studied for several years can be very rewarding. And the other person might actually grasp what you are doing in the lab.

BMDCB Hobbies: Danny Dranow

February 27, 2012 1 comment

In our new series we will be profiling the hobbies (what you do outside of lab) of BMCDB students.

Danny Dranow – Draper Lab

In my spare time at home or when I have some downtime in lab on the weekends, I like to sculpt using either clay or wire. It helps me relax and also gives me a sense of accomplishment in that I could feel like I at least got something done at lab if my experiments fail on the weekends.  I usually make a variety of miniature wire animals (centimeters in size), but I’ve made a wide range of things in past, from clay flowers and a miniature AT&T Park to a large cuttlefish and a giraffe Christmas ornament. These days though, most of the larger clay sculptures I make are for friends’ birthday or holiday gifts and are usually requests, sometimes strange, like a “crab playing maracas with a sombrero” (and yes, the maracas actually work).  I’m always looking for new ideas and challenges, so if you have any ideas on what I could make, I’d love to hear about them!

If you’re ever by the lab, Life Sciences 3117, feel free to drop by and check out the wire sculptures I have by my desk and if you really want one, just ask; I enjoy sculpting, but I also equally enjoy giving my work away to people who appreciate it.


Wim Delvoye’s Cloaca turns food into feces

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Artist Wim Delvoye is a Belgian “neo-conceptual” artist famous for inventive and controversial work which often revolves around the body; linking aesthetics to repulsive themes. His series of Cloaca machines are a strange confluence of design, plumbing and interconnected bioreactors all serving the purpose of ingesting, “digesting”, and excreting organic waste.  Pretty incredible what we can accomplish with technology, although I am not sure how this invention could serve humanity as a whole. As a species we’ve got the whole eating and excreting thing down pat.

“Cloaca makes the ultimate criticism of modern art – that most of it is crap; that the art world has finally disappeared up its own backside.”

-Ben Lewis

Here are some more links/pictures/video of how the Cloaca machines work:


We Make Money Not Art

Wim Delvoye’s website

Editorial-The DEB is a unique graduate program to enhance your PhD experience

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

By Dr. Judy Kjelstrom, director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program and Program Coordinator of the DEB graduate program (

I recently co-authored a journal article showcasing this innovative graduate program which was established in 1997. We currently have 225 PhD students from 29 graduate programs. The title of this manuscript was “A Collaborative Model for Biotechnology Education and Training”.

Recent reports and a careful analysis of the job market for doctoral graduates suggest that innovative approaches and training models are needed to realign educational practices with 21st century marketplace demands. The Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (DEB) is a successful model for meeting current training challenges in life science and engineering doctoral programs, which includes formalized coursework, informal training in team-based science, entrepreneurship and effective science communication, and exposure to “real world” research environments via internship experiences. The DEB program is effective not only because of carefully designed curriculum and training activities, but because it is nested within a robust innovation ecosystem, including administrative centers and institutes focused on creating public-private partnerships and brokering new technologies. Within the environment of a technology hub, universities and private partners can bring together diverse groups of individuals to translate ideas into real world applications. This environment gives rise to a social networking mechanism that links the intellectual and human capital of the university with the financial and social capital of the regional marketplace.

Our success is being recognized at the State and National level. I was invited to speak at the Annual California Biomedical Innovation Night on Feb 9, 2012. The focus of my talk was how the DEB graduate program is a successful graduate program that links academia to industry and government.
As a result of this speaking opportunity, I was interviewed for an article for Science Careers. The focus of the article was how PhD programs can link students to the real world. This is a similar article to the one that was published by Nature Reviews in March 2008.

The DEB program was also featured in the 2010 California Biomedical Industry Report by CHI (California Healthcare Institute) as well as an article by Nicole Guimond Gravagna, PhD candidate in Neuroscience, University of Colorado, Denver. The title of the article was “Creating alternatives in science” in the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology (2009) 15, 161 – 170. doi: 10.1057/jcb.2008.51; published online 18 November 2008..

UC Davis and its partners are addressing the need for innovation and entrepreneurship in graduate education and training. By bringing diverse experts from the life sciences, engineering, humanities and business community together, we have built an innovation ecosystem capable of accelerating the translation of research discoveries into real world applications.

Seminars this week…

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Monday, February 27th

Biofuels: Recent Advances and Applications-12:10-1pm, 1003 Kemper Hall-Susan Jenkins, Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), UC Berkeley-Title: TBA

MIC 292 12:10-1pm, LSA 1022-Enzymology & Application Chemistry of Bioengineered Enzymes, Feng Xu, PhD, Staff Scientist, Novozymes, Inc.

Tuesday, February 28th

4pm 3001 PES- Dr. Biswapati Mandal “Is rice-based cropping system a better niche for carbon sequestration in soil?”

Department of Chemistry 4:00-5:00pm Chem 179-Sarbajit Banerjee, Buffalo (Kovnir host)

Center for Population Biology (CPB) Seminar Series 4:10 – 5:30PM 1022 Life Sciences Building-CPB Postdoctoral Fellow Search

Plant Biology Student Seminar Series 12:10 p.m. 2005 PES-Benjamin Rosen Exit Seminar Professor Cook Genome-wide characterization and evolution of legume disease resistance genes

Wednesday, February 29th

Entomology Departmental Seminar ENT 297N- 12:10-1:00 pm, 122 Briggs-Jay Rosenheim, professor of entomology at UC Davis “Insect Ecology in Natural and Agricultural Systems.” Host:Kelly Hamby of the Frank Zalom lab

Food Science & Technology Seminar 4:10 – 5:00 pm, Room 1207, RMI South Sensory Theater (occasionally has snacks)-Chris Rufer, President, The Morning Star Company

Plant Sciences Departmental Seminar 12pm-1pm PES 3001-Siew-Wai Chin (Ph.D. Candidate, Potter Lab): Diversification and Biogeography of Prunus

Thursday, March 1st

Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series 4:10-5:30 p.m 1001 Giedt-Alan Hastings TBA

MCB Joint Seminar Series 4:10pm 1022 LSA (snacks)BMCDB Recruitment

Department of Statistics Seminars 4:10 – 5:30pm, Colloquium Room 1147 Mathematical Sciences (Refreshments at 3.30pm in Statistics Lounge, 4110 Mathematical Sciences)Bruce Rannala Genome Center, UC Davis  

Friday, March 2nd

Biotechnology Program Seminar (MCB/ECH 294) 11:00 AM 1022 LSA- Development of an Encapsulated Stem Cell-Derived Therapy for Diabetes Chad Green, PhD, Associate Director, Device Engineering and Manufacturing, ViaCyte, San Diego, CA

Emerging Challenges in Microbiology and Immunology 12:10 1005 GBSF (often has snacks)-Manuella Raffatellu, M.D. “TBA” UC Irvine School of Medicine

Plant Biology Seminar Series 12:10pm 1022 Life Sciences-Alexandra Worden (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute) “Biology and evolution of the world’s tiniest plants: marine picoeukaryotes” Host: Clark Lagarias

Can science be a 9-5, Mon-Fri job for PhD students? – poll on Knoepfler

February 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Follow this link to go to the poll and let your voice be heard.

Paul Knoepfler is a professor at UC Davis. His work focusses on epigenetics and chromatin in both stem and cancer cells.

Categories: Interesting link, UC Davis