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UC Merced researchers, students spend summer at work

POSTED July 20, 2012 1:29 p.m.

Summer isn’t a time to relax for UC Merced’s faculty members and students – it’s a time to focus on research.

Literature professor Katherine Steele Brokaw travelled to England to research how music reflected the nation’s changing state religion in the middle ages. She is studying source materials in the British Library and Cambridge University Library, and will present a paper at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds.

Cognitive science professor Christopher T. Kello, along with undergraduate Priscilla Montez and graduate student Graham Thompson, are researching how people’s memories are networked. The research asks people to arrange animal names on a whiteboard to express their relationships, placing bees near bats or blue jays, for example. The findings will be compared to how Wikipedia pages are organized.

Biology professor Rudy M. Ortiz and three students are conducting 10 weeks of research in Japan, at the Kagawa Medical University. The group is examining how certain hormones affect cardiovascular and renal disease, as related to diabetes and diet-induced obesity.

Anthropology professor Holley Moyes, and students, are working to map a cave at Las Cuevas in Belize.

Literature professor Manuel M. Martín-Rodríguez and two of his graduate students, Beth Hernandez-Jason and Alicia Ramos-Jordán, each presented papers at the 8th International Conference on Chicano Literature in Toledo, Spain.

Literature professor Jan Goggans and a team of researchers will look at the Valley's working-class residents and the roles of music, literature, fashion and food in their lives.

World heritage professor Maurizio Forte will continue his research at Catalhöyük in Turkey, scanning artifacts and the site for preservation. The digital scans can then be shared with scholars around the world.

Lastly, engineering professor Gerardo Diaz, along with fellow professors Wolfgang Rogge and Yihsu Chen, and four mechanical-engineering students will research the effects of biomass energy production on air quality. Diaz’s work will also examine the possibilities of using biomass to produce heat and power.

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