June 2019
A Message from the Dean: Model Organisms and Model Aggies
What can a worm or fish tell us about our bodies? How do fruit flies or yeast help our researchers make sense of the world?

Because all modern life arose from a common ancestor, certain species can strengthen our understanding of human biology. These model organism hold secrets that will help us build the foundations for revolutions in health.

The College of Biological Sciences is home to hundreds of different research species. From development to aging and disease, it’s truly a menagerie of model organisms. This diversity allows us to explore so many questions about life. I encourage you to explore more about how we use model organisms.

We’re also home to some amazing graduating seniors. These talented students shine academically and through their scientific research. You could even call them “model” students. You can hear it directly from these Aggies by viewing research interviews in our new video series.

Baskin Research Award winner Lynne Hagelthorn studies terpines to understand how plants survive, thrive and communicate. Colllege of Biological Sciences Medalist Joleen Cheah stretches cells to understand the physical forces that lead to diseases like cancer. We’re so proud of these students and all of the Class of 2019.

Go Ags!

Mark Winey, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Biological Sciences
Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology 
P.S. Make a gift to support outstanding students and programs in the College of Biological Sciences.
Our tiny relatives in the animal kingdom are making mammoth contributions to scientific research and helping us answer the biggest questions about life.
UC Davis researchers use animal models to build the foundation for revolutions in human health

For thousands of years, animals have helped humans advance biomedical research. From yeast and worms to fruit flies and mice, these creatures hold clues to the secrets of our own biology.

“Model organisms, in general, are useful because evolution doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it goes to a different species.... It keeps to using loosely the same genetic modules to build on things.”
-Associate Professor Bruce Draper
News Highlights
How Psychedelics Could Help Treat Depression with Neuroscience Ph.D. Student Lindsay Cameron
Lindsay Cameron and other researchers at UC Davis are actively exploring drugs capable of restoring health in the brains of those with mood disorders. Some dark horse candidates are psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin and DMT.
VIDEO College of Biological Sciences Medalist Joleen Cheah Stretches Cells and Her Capabilities
For her outstanding research activities and scholarship, Joleen Cheah was awarded the College of Biological Sciences Medal. “Joleen has been instrumental in the lab,” said Associate Professor Soichiro Yamada. “She is motivated, works very hard, and she enjoys new discoveries—she’s made quite a few in fact!”
VIDEO A Tradition of Terrestriality: Population Biology Ph.D. Student Victoria Morgan Journeys Among Land Crabs
Victoria Morgan uses genetics to understand how land crabs adapted to living on land. Her research has taken her all the way to Christmas Island, home to the annual Christmas lsland Red Crab migration. But how to keep track of these crafty crustaceans?
VIDEO Survive, Thrive and Communicate: Baskin Award Winner Lynne Hagelthorn Explores the Chemical World of Plants
Senior biochemistry and molecular biology student Lynne Hagelthorn is one of the recipients of this year’s Baskin Research Award. “I think her time in my lab is a great example of how volunteering in a lab can be beneficial for undergraduate students to...explore what it is like to be a scientist and mentor and find out where their career path in the broader science community might lead to," said Associate Professor Philipp Zerbe.
Plant Biology Ph.D. Student Katie Murphy Wins Systemwide UC Grad Slam
Plant Biology Ph.D. student Katie Murphy became the first UC Davis winner of the UC Grad Slam, judged the best at summarizing her research in three minutes, for a general audience. Known as the Corn Queen, her talk demonstrated how plant biochemistry can help feed the world.
Engineering a Balanced Diet? Hormone FGF21 Promotes Protein Preference
In a study appearing in Endocrinology, Associate Professor Karen Ryan and her colleagues identified the hormone fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF21) as a control for regulating dietary protein intake in male mice. They found that male mice injected with the hormone increased their intake of dietary protein over carbohydrates and fats.
The Leal Lab is fighting citrus greening disease (huánglóngbìng) carried by the Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri), which is responsible for devastating crop losses in Florida and now poses a serious threat to California. USGS, USDA APHIS
Discovering Curiosity
Explore how a passion for science propelled our faculty on the path to research
The Buggy Scent of Desire with Distinguished Professor Walter Leal
To inform pest management techniques and fight threats like Citrus Greening disease, Distinguished Professor Walter Leal and his colleagues use reverse chemical ecology to identify sex pheromones in insects. From Brazil to Japan to Davis, Calif., Leal's research path has been unique. 

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