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Research Publications

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Jennifer Lu is part of a team of researchers whose work on porous carbon aerogels could power future missions to Mars. Building upon her previous work, Lu took the lead with her colleagues at Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES), UC Merced, UC Santa Cruz and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to show how porous carbon aerogels can compose electrodes of a supercapacitor — a device that can operate at extremely cold temperatures, similar to the conditions on Mars. Find out more about Lu’s work in Physics World.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Sarah Kurtz was invited to write an article for the 50th anniversary edition of the National Academy of Engineer’s (NAE) quarterly magazine The Bridge. In 2020, Kurtz was the first faculty member on campus elected to the NAE for her contributions to the development of gallium indium phosphide/gallium arsenide photovoltaic cells and for her leadership in solar-cell reliability and quality. Read her article for The Bridge titled “Accelerating Growth of Solar Energy” here.

Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Josué Medellín-Azuara is part of an international team of researchers who conducted a systems analysis on water security in Jordan the findings of which were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The paper, titled “A Coupled Human-Natural System Analysis of Freshwater Security Under Climate and Population Change” examines Jordan’s water crisis due to increased water use, population growth, climate change and other factors. The study finds that in the absence of demand management and supply interventions, and major reforms in the water sector, nearly 90 percent of the lower income population water security is under threat. 

Cognitive Science Professor Michael Spivey has published a new book titled, “Who You Are: The Science of Connectedness,” which is forthcoming from MIT Press.

Who are you? Are you just a brain? A brain and a body? All the things you have done and the friends you have made? Many of us assume that who we really are is something deep inside us, an inner sanctuary that contains our true selves. In “Who You Are,” Spivey argues that the opposite is true: that you are more than a brain, more than a brain-and-body, and more than all your assumptions about who you are. Rather than peeling layers away to reveal the inner you, Spivey traces who you are outward. You may already feel in your heart that something outside your body is actually part of you — a child, a place, a favorite book. Spivey confirms this intuition with scientific findings.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Beth Nowadnick has published a new paper in Physical Review B in which she examines how to control the structure and properties of the quantum material SmBaMn2O6. Nowadnick’s work explores how the crystal structure, or how atoms are arranged, is closely connected to the electronic and magnetic properties of this material, and shows how to stabilize competing ferromagnetic and ferroelectric states, which may have application in next generation low-power computer memory.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Beth Nowadnick has published a new paper in Nature Communications that explores the nanoscale structure of domain walls in ferroelectric materials. Nowadnick’s research, conducted in collaboration with researchers at the University of Tennessee, the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Cornell University, and Rutgers, uses an infrared nano-spectroscopy technique together with theoretical modelling to reveal the nanoscale vibrational properties of a domain wall in a recently discovered ferroelectric Ca3Ti2O7. This work advances fundamental scientific understanding of the nanoscale structure of domain walls, which have the potential to be used in ultra-low power memory and logic devices.

UC Merced professor Ignacio Lopez-Calvo, Presidential Chair in the Humanities and Professor of Latin American Literature, has published a new book titled "Japanese-Brazilian Saudades Diasporic Identities and Cultural Production." The book explores the complex creation of Japanese-Brazilian identities and the history of immigration, showing how the community has used writing as a form of reconciliation and affirmation of their competing identities.

Professor Ignacio Lopez-Calvo and Christina Lux, the associate director for UC Merced Center for the Humanities, co-edited a book titled "The Humanities in the Age of Information and Post-Truth," available in paperback now. The essays collected in the book represent a defense of the social function of the humanities in today's society.

Professor Nancy Burke co-edited a new book entitled "Negotiating Structural Vulnerability in Cancer Control," which explores the importance of case studies about lived experiences of cancer in the concept of structural vulnerability and whether a consideration of structural vulnerability can enhance applied anthropological work in cancer prevention and control. The book is published by the University of New Mexico Press. 

School of Natural Sciences Professor Jennifer Manilay and three graduate students wrote an invited review published in the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed addressing current ideas about how changes in bone health could also affect immune system cells’ health. For example, therapies to osteoporosis might also have unintended consequences for antibody-producing B cells and natural killer cells.

School of Natural Sciences Professor Hrant Hratchian and colleagues published a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry exploring the structures of the CeB6 molecule.

School of Natural Sciences Professor Jennifer Manilay and the students in her lab published a paper in the Journal of Immuonology revealing that the gene Sostdc1 is responsible for the growth and effectiveness of natural killer (NK) cells, which target cancerous tumors and virally infected cells.

School of Engineering Professor Changqing Li and graduate student Michael C. Lun published a paper in the journal of Multimodal Biomedical Imaging detailing their development of a new X-ray luminescence computed tomography system that can obtain better images of what’s happening inside deep tissues.

Professor Nancy Burke has a recent paper discussing the whys behind the efficacy of using lay health workers to help manage patients' chronic health conditions, published in PubMed, a journal by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.