Posts tagged with ‘ucresearch’
If you’re one of the nation’s experts on spiders and the properties of their silk, you best not have a hint of arachnophobia. Fortunately for us UC Riverside’s evolutionary biologist Cheryl Hayashi does not have this problem.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Hayashi in the past and she told us then that one of the spider silk proteins they genetically sequenced dated back about 250 million years.
That’s a really long period of time. I mean, we’re going back to the Mesozoic, when dinosaurs are walking around. And so this is a long time for these sequences to be conserved. And to us, that argues that these regions of the sequence are probably very important for the functioning of spider silks.
Hayashi explained that there’s lots of interest in creating synthetic spider silks.
Spider silk is very strong and very tough. It actually surpasses a lot of the common man-made materials. It’s stronger than high tensile steel and has a toughness that is greater than Kevlar. So there’s a lot of interest in being able to mass produce spider silk.
Packing up gear for an interview today at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus. Chatting with Dr. Ari Green about their study using an innovative research tool to identify eight drugs that may stimulate nervous system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS).
If you were to translate ‘Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall’ in another language, a lot depends on what language you’re speaking. Cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky of UC San Diego explains.
Let’s just focus on the verb ‘sat’. If this is something you want to say in English and it’s something that happened in the past, then you have to change the verb to mark tense. But in other languages, not only do you have to mark tense, there may be five different past tenses.
In other languages, gender and how you even came to know this information about Mr. Dumpty are factored in, too. The cognition behind language got Boroditsky interested in whether bilinguals have two separate systems for thinking in two languages or, do they have one integrated system for both? She found it’s actually a combination of the two.
They may change based on the language they’re speaking in the moment, but they’re almost always still different from the monolinguals of either language. So, it seems that there’s both combination and differentiation in the bilingual mind.
What about you? Do you speak more than one language?
It turns out that clogged interstates may contribute to clogged arteries. ucirvine graduate researcher Sharine Wittkopp looks at how the increased air pollution caused by vehicle congestion causes blood pressure to rise and arteries to inflame, increasing incidents of heart attack and stroke.
Wittkoop’s data can provide policymakers and the public with a fuller picture of the impact of emissions.
I hope that an awareness of this problem will help strengthen policies designed to decrease emissions and reduce exposure-associated heart disease risk.
Keep up the great work, Sharine! As UC President Janet Napolitano recently said, “graduate students and post-docs are the essential links between teaching for California and researching for the world.”
* Great illustration created by ucresearch producer, Jess Wheelock
A UC Santa Cruz study found that dancers can improve the ability to do complex moves by walking through them slowly and encoding the movement with a cue through ‘marking’.
Researcher Edward Warburton, a former professional ballet dancer, and colleagues (including a UC Irvine collaborator) were interested in exploring the “thinking behind the doing of dance.”
Their findings suggest that marking may alleviate the conflict between the cognitive and physical aspects of dance practice and allow dancers to memorize and repeat steps more fluidly. As Warburton describes:
Marking could be strategically used by teachers and choreographers to enhance memory and integration of multiple aspects of a piece precisely at those times when dancers are working to master the most demanding material.
It’s possible that this area of research can extend to other kinds of activities, like language acquisition. Stay tuned!
We chatted with UCLA’s Carrie Bearden about an exciting and fruitful collaborative effort to get closer to the roots of bipolar disorder. Have a listen!
Whoa, this looks like fun…
A hovercraft that rides like a motorcycle
With what looks like a Speeder Bike from Star Wars, UCLA alum and aerospace engineer Mark DeRoche has developed a new type of hovercraft known as The Aero-X. When onboard the rider feels like they’re driving a motorcycle.
The idea was to build a vehicle that could quickly glide over rough terrain. Your cruising speed could top out at 45mph at 10 feet off the ground on this thing. DeRoche says it could be used by farmers, security personnel or search and rescue missions, but admits that it could also be for those who want to joyride out in the desert.
An unmanned version is also in the works for agricultural uses such as crop dusting large areas of land.
At UC Santa Cruz, the OpenLab Network brings artists and scientists together in an effort to better illustrate complex research and engage the public.
A narwhal is an arctic whale with a long tusk that’s reminiscent of the mythic unicorn, but it’s actually a long, spiral tooth that juts out of its mouth. This interesting, spiral structure inspired University of California, San Diego researchers to develop a novel method in materials science.