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Literature and film help teach students to understand the brain

What can Shakespeare, Cervantes, Proust, and even contemporary playwrights and filmmakers contribute to the study of neuroscience? A lot, says UCLA professor of integrative biology and physiology Scott Chandler.

Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion named

Muriel McClendon has been named Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for the UCLA College’s Division of Social Sciences. She succeeds Eric Avila, who is now the chair of the Chicana/o Studies Department.

McClendon teaches and writes about the social history of the English Reformation.  She serves as Vice Chair for Graduate Affairs in the History Department, was formerly the Chair of the European Studies IDP, and has served on a number of campus committees.

She will serve as the Division’s liaison to Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Jerry Kang.  She will interact with others in similar roles in each division and school across UCLA.  As Associate Dean, McClendon will assist Interim Dean Laura Gómez in developing strategic plans and evaluating policies and practices aimed at promoting a diverse, inclusive and respectful environment for faculty, staff and students in Social Sciences.

Patricia Turner is appointed senior dean of UCLA College

Patricia Turner, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, has been appointed senior dean of the UCLA College, UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh announced today.

Charlene Villaseñor Black is as good as gold as recipient of top faculty prize

Within the warm, terra-cotta-colored walls of her office in Dodd Hall, Charlene Villaseñor Black has assembled a whimsical mini-museum of Mexican folk art that includes two baby Jesus dolls, a sacred heart painting, a tiny Frida Kahlo chair and a wooden skeleton with moveable arms and legs.

Los Angeles is a metropolitan den for mountain lions

Los Angeles is one of only two megacities — Mumbai, India, is the other — where large predatory cats live among us, and they’re closer to human development than you might think.

UCLA political science students witness historic Brexit vote

While Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day this weekend, 68 UCLA political science students are traveling through Europe and witnessing first-hand the dramatic results of Britain’s referendum to leave the European Union.

Technique from biology helps explain the evolution of the American car

Borrowing a technique that biologists might use to study the evolution of plants or animals, the scientists plotted the “births” and “deaths” of every American-made car and truck model from 1896 to 2014.

$11 million gift establishes Mani L. Bhaumik Institute for Theoretical Physics at UCLA

An $11 million gift to UCLA from physicist and philanthropist Mani Bhaumik will establish a center devoted to advancing knowledge of the basic laws of nature.

UCLA receives $1.65 million from Mellon Foundation to continue urban humanities program

By Margaret MacDonald

 

A $1.65 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will strengthen UCLA’s Urban Humanities Initiative. The program, initially launched by a $2 million award from the Mellon Foundation in 2013, is dedicated to studying contemporary issues in Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai and Mexico City.

The new funding will help UCLA provide graduate and undergraduate students with vital scholarly skills, support curricula and new faculty research on historical as well as contemporary urban issues, and pay for scholars to travel to cities around the Pacific Rim.

Together, the two Mellon grants are the largest received by UCLA for curricula that span the School of Arts and Architecture, the Division of Humanities, and the Luskin School of Public Affairs. The grant continues UCLA’s participation in the Mellon Foundation’s Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities initiative, which since 2012 has provided funding to a total of 16 institutions in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and South Africa.

At UCLA, urban humanities scholars use innovative means to study cities, merging approaches from architecture and urbanism with historical-critical approaches from the humanities and, in particular, cutting-edge film and mapping techniques from digital humanities.

“The study of urban life in the Pacific Rim embraces global issues that are particularly situated and made visible through the overlapping lenses of design, history, ethnography, visual and literary studies, and spatial analysis,” said Dana Cuff, a UCLA professor of architecture and urban design.

Cuff is the project’s lead principal investigator, along with Todd Presner, a professor of digital humanities; Maite Zubiaurre, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese; and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, a professor of urban planning.

In its first three years, the Urban Humanities Initiative engaged 75 graduate students from across campus in a certificate program, supported more than 30 faculty members, held symposia and produced numerous publications. The program will be extended to undergraduate students in the next three years. After the Mellon funding concludes, it will be administered jointly by the deans of the schools of arts and architecture and public affairs, and the humanities division in the UCLA College.

“We are immensely gratified that the Mellon Foundation is continuing to support our efforts, ensuring that this excellent program will continue to serve our students for many years to come,” said David Schaberg, dean of the humanities division.

Founded in 1969, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies by supporting exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.

 

Using big data, scientists discover biomarkers that could help give cancer patients better survival estimates

People with cancer are often told by their doctors approximately how long they have to live, and how well they will respond to treatments, but what if there were a way to improve the accuracy of doctors’ predictions?