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Faculty couple helps foster sense of community in their department

Distinguished professor of paleobiology J. William “Bill” Schopf and his wife, plant biologist Jane Shen-Miller, believe everyone should do their “little bit” to improve the world.

Is seeing believing? People are surprisingly bad at identifying where sights and sounds originate

“We tend to view our senses as flawless and think that to see is to believe,” she said. “So it’s eye-opening to learn that our perceptions are flawed.”

Cryo-electron microscope research reveals structure and mechanism of Bluetongue virus

Bluetongue disease is a viral infection that has killed approximately 2 million cattle in Europe over the past two decades. A new study has revealed the atomic structure of the Bluetongue virus, including the means by which it infects healthy host cells.

UCLA students seek to counter extremism in a ‘radically different’ public diplomacy course

As the public grapples with images of violent extremism advocated by the Islamic State group, UCLA students have developed a website and social movement aimed at slowing its spread by countering recruitment strategies.

Why are some wild animals more tolerant to human interaction than others?

Over time, some species become more tolerant of humans’ presence, but the extent to which they do is largely driven by the type of environment in which the animals live and by the animal’s body size, according to a comprehensive new analysis.

Anthropology alumna’s gift makes research travel a reality for the department’s graduate students

A UCLA alumna who has spent much of her life galloping around the globe has given $100,000 to establish an endowment in support of graduate student travel in the UCLA College’s Department of Anthropology.

Dorothy Jewell, who graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, said that she hopes the Dorothy H. Jewell Graduate Student Travel Award Endowment will help students experience cultures outside their own.

“The experience of immersing oneself in various cultures is what anthropology is all about,” Jewell said. “We can’t be ethnocentric.”

Specifically, graduate students in biological, linguistic and sociocultural anthropology will be given access to the travel stipends, allowing them to deepen their research beyond campus.

“UCLA is a highly rated institution that through its concentration on research makes our world better equipped to meet the future,” Jewell said. “I’m proud to help students prepare for that future.”

Jewell, who as a non-traditional student enrolled at UCLA when she was 55, had already travelled to around 80 countries before deciding to pursue her undergraduate degree.

After living in parts of Europe and Africa for months on end, including the time she slept under a eucalyptus tree on a Moroccan beach for seven months, two UCLA professors advised her to move beyond her community college courses and pursue a degree in anthropology at the university.

“I had already been living this anthropological experience,” she recalls them telling her. “They recommended I make the anthropology direction more official.”

Jewell always had an adventurous spirit. Following high school, she left her native Canada for what she thought would be a brief tour of Europe then never looked back. She met her late husband – also a UCLA graduate – in Norway when he was working on location for Disney, and they eventually settled in Los Angeles for his work in the film industry and hers in the travel business. Having discovered the riches that come with experiencing other cultures, Jewell continues to explore the world. Her next destination is Tanzania.

“Travel is an important part of my life, partly due to this nomad aspect of my personality that seemed to manifest itself when I left Canada,” Jewell said. “I originally went to Europe and Africa for six months and it turned into five years.  And ever since, I’ve had to have my travel fix.”

Jewell’s gift will now make those experiences possible to emerging anthropology scholars at UCLA.

“Seeing firsthand how other cultures and societies function is a vital part of being a successful anthropologist,” said Nancy Levine, professor and chair in the Department of Anthropology. “Ms. Jewell’s gift ensures that a new generation of anthropologists will emerge with the experiences needed to develop impactful and meaningful research.”

UCLA faculty voice: California universities launch experiment to go carbon-neutral ‘at scale’

What does it look like when a university decides to walk the walk as well as talk the talk on climate change? The University of California system — which encompasses 10 university campuses and two national scientific research laboratories — is about to find out.

Kelly Lytle Hernandez wins American Historical Association award

Associate professor of history Kelly Lytle Hernandez has won the 2015 Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award from the Pacific coast branch of the American Historical Association. The award recognizes the most deserving contribution to the Pacific Historical Review, a publication of the University of California Press.

UCLA’s Bird Genoscape Project to aid conservation efforts for North American birds threatened by climate change

UCLA researchers announced today the Bird Genoscape Project, which will create the first maps identifying the population-specific migration paths of several bird species and their sub-groups to determine where conservation is needed most to combat the effects of climate change.

UCLA undergrads help faculty find research funding

For Martin Monti, a cognitive neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychology at UCLA, time is always in short supply, depleted by his teaching load, office hours and his research, for which he regularly sees comatose patients who’ve suffered severe brain trauma.