Macaluso received $1000, and her research paper, “The Biological Basis for Alzheimer's Disease," will be published in eScholarship, an open-access scholarly publishing service affiliated with the University of California.
This is the first time a student enrolled in a UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology class has won the universitywide competition, now in its fourth year. The award memorializes Norma J. Lang (1931-2015), professor emerita of botany.
Macaluso, who is majoring in psychology with a biological emphasis, and minoring in aging and adult development, anticipates receiving her bachelor of science degree in the fall of 2020.
Carey, an internationally recognized teacher, instructs undergraduates in his classes--which usually exceed 200 students--how to research topics, use style sheets, and structure their papers. He has produced 13 videos on how to research and write a research paper, along with a new video on the use of style sheets.
The Lang Prize recognizes undergraduate students whose research projects make extensive use of library resources, services and expertise. First, second and third-place prizes are awarded each year in two categories: science, engineering and mathematics; and arts, humanities and social sciences. Second place in the science, engineering and mathematics category went to Vincent Pan, a student doing research in the lab of ecologist Rick Karban, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, for several years. His paper: "Recent Advances in Elucidating the Function of Zebra Stripes: Parasite Avoidance and Thermoregulation Do Not Resolve the Mystery." (See recipients at https://bit.ly/3cPPsNt.)
“Macaluso's term paper gives an in-depth synopsis of the biology of Alzheimer's disease, a prevalent form of dementia that impairs memory and cognition,” wrote the Norma J. Lang Prize judges. “Utilizing the library's databases and subject guides, Macaluso identified 20 sources from top scientific journals across multiple disciplines, including Nature and the Annual Reviews of Medicine, Neuroscience, Psychology and Public Health, to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of the science on Alzheimer's.”
“This currently incurable disease is caused by significant neuronal death in the brain due to of the accumulation of two neurodegenerative proteins: intercellular amyloid-beta plaques and intracellular tau tangles,” she wrote. “The interaction of these two proteins creates a feedback loop that facilitates the continual destruction of nerve cells in the brain. Because the destruction of nerve cells disrupts the neuronal connections in the brain, Alzheimer's disease results in significant memory deficits as well as impaired cognition. Moreover, with the use of human models and transgenic mouse models, researchers have been able to analyze the role of biology, genetics, and physiology in Alzheimer's disease. For example, mutations in the presenilin 1 (PSEN1) gene or the amyloid precursor protein (APP) gene predispose an individual to acquire early-onset Alzheimer's disease.”
“Likewise, an individual can have an increased likelihood of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease if they carry the ApoE4 variant of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene. In summary, researchers are amply investigating Alzheimer's disease from a variety of biological faucets in an effort to treat or even cure this form of dementia.”
Macaluso went on to discuss three major risk factors affiliated with Alzheimer's disease: age, gender, and genetics.
Macaluso penned “The Biological Basis for Alzheimer's Disease” as her term paper for Human Development-Aging 117 (Longevity) in the fall of 2019. “The purpose of this assignment was to utilize the library databases for research, improve both my writing and editing skills, and broaden my understanding of longevity with a topic of my choice," she wrote in her Norma J. Lang Prize application. "Moreover, this research paper served to expand my communication skills and bolster my intellectual confidence. A key requirement for this paper was to use at least ten sources, seven of which needed to be primary sources such as a research article or a review paper. Initially, I was quite daunted by the prospect of this assignment because I had only modest experience reading research papers or using the online library databases. I distinctly recall reading about this assignment on the syllabus and questioning if I was capable of such an onerous task. To my surprise, by the end of this quarter and after countless hours exploring the online library reserves, I completed my assignment and felt confident in my ability to utilize the UC Davis library resources.”
A 2019-2020 McNair Scholar, Macaluso has worked as an undergraduate research assistant for the Dynamic Memory Lab (Charan Ranganath Lab) since 2017. She serves on the Animal Care Staff at Young Hall; as a genetics tutor for the Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers; and as president of the America Red Cross Club at UC Davis.
The UC Davis student, a native of Santa Barbara but raised in nearby Buellton, plans to enroll in graduate school in the fall of 2021 to study cognitive neuroscience or cognitive psychology. Her career plans? "I'm thinking academia right now," she said. "I hope to finish my PhD, work as a postdoctoral fellow for a few years, and then pursue a professorship position."
Carey, a member of the UC Davis entomology faculty since 1980, is considered the preeminent global authority on arthropod demography. He directed the multidisciplinary, 11-institution, 20-scientist program, “Biodemographic Determinants of Lifespan,” which garnered more than $10 million in funding from the National Institute on Aging from 2003 to 2013.
Highly honored by his peers for his teaching expertise, Carey received the Entomological Society of America's 2015 Distinguished Teaching Award; a 2018 Robert Foster Cherry Award from Baylor University, which presents international teaching awards; and the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award, an honor given to internationally recognized professors who excel at teaching.
(Undergraduate students can apply for the annual Norma J. Lang Prize here.)
“Herd immunity refers to the proportion of a population required for the rate of disease spread to equal zero,” says UC Davis distinguished professor James R. Carey of the Department of Entomology and Nematology. “This occurs at the point when each infected person is infecting only one rather than multiple susceptible persons.”
"For example, the potential rate of spread of new cases per infected person is 10 for mumps and 3 for COVID-19. Therefore, early in a pandemic when few are infected, these diseases can grow by 10-fold and 3-fold, respectively. However when 9-of-10 and 2-of-3 persons in each of these populations have either had these diseases or been vaccinated, then the infected person has only one new person in each case to infect so the rate per case is simply replacement. This is the point when the herd immunity threshold is met.”
Carey, who shared his expertise on scientific modeling and demographics at the UC Davis-based COVID-19 virtual symposium on April 23, updated his presentation April 27 to include herd immunity.
His updated presentation, “Actuarial Perspectives on the COVID-19 Pandemic,” is at https://youtu.be/aid69khJftU.
“The true COVID-19 fatality rate is of great importance because it is needed to estimate the number of persons who will die under different mitigation scenarios and along with death statistics how close we are to achieving herd immunity,” says Carey, co-author of the newly published book, Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods. (See news story.)
"With the so-called reproductive rate, R=3 for COVID-19, and therefore the herd immunity threshold equals 2/3, this means 220 million out of the 330 million in the U.S. population are required to reach the threshold herd immunity. This is why the fatality rate estimation is so critical. If the fatality rate is only 1 out of 100 or 1 percent, then the 50,000 deaths in the U.S. implies that there are only 100 times more or 5 million who are immune. However, if the fatality rate is 1 out of 1000 or 0.1 percent, a rate suggested by the recent studies in both northern and southern California regarding seroprevalence of antibodies (albeit highly controversial yet), then the 50,000 deaths suggest that 1000 times more are immune or 50 million persons. This is nearly a quarter of the 220 million needed in the U.S. to reach heard immunity."
The virtual symposium, organized and moderated by UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal, distinguished professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, is online at https://bit.ly/2VurK3Z. It drew viewers from 10 countries: United States, Germany, Brazil, France, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Canada, Colombia, and Slovakia.
The symposium opened with an introduction by UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, and included presentation by UC Davis physician-scientists Emanuel Maverakis, Stuart Cohen and Nathan Kuppermann; UC Davis veterinarian-scientist Nicole Baumgarth; and pediatrician State Sen. Richard Pan, District 6 chair, Senate Committee on Health.
Davis resident and COVID-19 survivor Marilyn Stebbins, a pharmacist who works at the UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, told her story in a pre-recorded interview with Leal.
Online interviews also included Michael B. A. Oldstone, M.D., of Scripps Research Institute; professor emeritus Niels Pedersen, DMV, of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, Anne Wyllie, PhD., Yale School of Medicine; and You-Lo Hsieh, UC Davis distinguished professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and an expert on textiles and clothing.
As of 4:30 p.m., April 27, nearly 3000 had viewed the COVID-19 presentation on YouTube.
An unsolicited comment to Leal about the symposium:
“I just wanted to thank you! You are my heroes."
“This give me a sense of hope and calmed my anxiety like nothing else,” letter writer Kim Allen continued. “Part of what has been so hard is all the disinformation and complete lies and contradictions that are happening daily. To hear people, real doctors and scientists who are so knowledgeable talk about what is going on and why, is so appreciated. We need to know what we are contending with to fight it and be safe. You are all so much appreciated!”
James R. Carey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, will share his scientific modeling expertise at the UC Davis-based COVID-19 webinar on Thursday afternoon, April 23.
The webinar, to be broadcast on Zoom and YouTube Live from 1:30 to 4 p.m., will feature physicians, scientists and a survivor of the COVID-19 virus, announced organizer-moderator Walter Leal, UC Davis distinguished professor of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
“COVID-19 is set apart from all other strains of flu for the simple reason that people die from it at higher rates than from other varieties,” Carey says. “It follows that understanding the actuarial details and consequences of this virus is central to understanding, has potential impact on the U.S. population in particular and on the world population in general.”
In his presentation, Carey will ask and answer three questions: “The first is related to case fatality rate of COVID-19. The second concern will be the age-specific mortality of this virus, and the third, to its demographic consequences if no health-related interventions, policies implemented, or a vaccine were available.” Carey is the co-author of the newly published book, Biodemography: An Introduction to Concepts and Methods. (See news story.)
The webinar, free and open to the public, will include experts in immunology, infectious diseases, pathology and emergency medicine. Registration is at http://zoompresentation.com. The number of Zoom participants is limited to 500, and is now at that mark, Leal said late Wednesday afternoon, but the overflow can watch it on YouTube Live at at covidactionplan.com or https://bit.ly/2VurK3Z.
Chancellor Gary May will give the introduction. The main speakers are UC Davis physician-scientists Emanuel Maverakis, Stuart Cohen and Nathan Kuppermann; UC Davis veterinarian-scientist Nicole Baumgarth; physician Ron Chapman, Yolo County Health Officer; and pediatrician State Sen. Richard Pan, District 6 chair, Senate Committee on Health.
Davis resident Marilyn Stebbins, a pharmacist who works at the UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy--and a survivor of the deadly illness that to date has killed more than 182,000 people worldwide (15,000-plus in the United States)--will tell her story. (See Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus map for up-to-date statistics.)
You-Lo Hsieh, UC Davis distinguished professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and an expert on textiles and clothing, will explain the differences between regular masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks.
Newly added to the list: Michael B. A. Oldstone, M.D., of Scripps Research Institute; professor emeritus Niels Pedersen, DMV, of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, and Anne Wyllie, PhD., Yale School of Medicine.
The participants will answer advance and online questions. Questions can be submitted at this site: http://zoompresentation.com.
Marilyn Stebbins, 58, of Davis, a UC San Francisco pharmacist, will tell her story, announced webinar organizer-moderator Walter Leal, UC Davis distinguished professor of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, College of Biological Sciences and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
The webinar, to include experts in immunology, infectious diseases, pathology and emergency medicine, is free and open to the public. Registration is underway at http://zoompresentation.com, where advance questions can be submitted. The webinar also will include live questions.
Looking back, Stebbins related she began getting coldlike symptoms prior to a family skiing trip to Sandpoint, Idaho. An airline flight took her and her husband from Sacramento to Spokane, Wash. Upon returning home, she sought medical care for what she thought was the flu. She was tested for COVID-19 on March 3, and was informed March 4 she was positive. She was hospitalized for three days with what she calls the “worst illness I've ever had.”
In her story, “My COVID-19 Journey,” which appears on the UCSF School of Pharmacy website, https://bit.ly/2x1pqIe, Stebbins describes herself as “a healthy, fit, 58-year-old woman who enjoys distance trail running, weekly circuit training, and Pilates. I'd completed a 30K trail race just before the departure date for my vacation and looked forward to a 50K race two weeks after my return home.”
Controversy erupted when a Yolo County Health Department press release inaccurately described her as “an older woman with underlying health conditions.”
Stebbins said her symptoms included headache, diarrhea, nausea, coughing, and chills but “I never had a fever.” Family members, including her husband, who were with her on the skiing trip, have not contracted the disease.
The webinar is expected to draw a widespread audience. Chancellor Gary May will give the introduction. The main speakers are UC Davis physician-scientists Emanuel Maverakis, Stuart Cohen and Nathan Kuppermann; UC Davis veterinarian-scientist Nicole Baumgarth; physician Ron Chapman, Yolo County Health Officer; and pediatrician State Sen. Richard Pan, District 6 chair, Senate Committee on Health.
UC Davis distinguished professor James R. Carey of the Department of Entomology and Nematolgoy will share his scientific modeling expertise. UC Davis You-Lo Hsieh, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and an expert on textiles and clothing, will explain the differences between regular masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks.
And what's the canceled 105th annual UC Davis Picnic without virtual insects?
The Department of Entomology and Nematology annually hosts dozens of insect-themed Picnic Day events at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. But this year, the insects went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic precautions.
The campuswide Picnic Day Committee hosted a virtual tour of some of the planned events, and posted this link: https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/virtual/
The spotlight paused on the Bohart Museum, which houses nearly eight million insect specimens; the seventh largest insect collection in North America; the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity; and a live “petting zoo” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and the like. It also is the home of a gift shop, stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Directed by UC Davis entomology professor Lynn Kimsey for 30 years, the museum is named for noted entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007). The Bohart team includes senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths section).
If you browse the Bohart Museum site, you'll find fact sheets about insects, written by Professor Kimsey.
But if you want to see the Bohart Museum's virtual tours, be sure to watch these videos:
- Director Lynn Kimsey giving a Bohart Museum introduction
- Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, presenting an arthropod virtual tour
- Diane Ullman, professor of entomology and former chair of the department, presenting a view of the Lepidodpera section.
Also on the UC Davis Virtual Picnic Day site, you'll learn “How to Make an Insect Collection," thanks to project coordinator James R. Carey, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and "Can Plants Talk to Each Other?" a TED-Ed Talk featuring the work of ecologist Rick Karban, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Female tsetse flies carry their young in an adapted uterus for the entirety of their immature development and provide their complete nutritional requirements via the synthesis and secretion of a milk like substance," he says. PBS featured his work in its Deep Look video, “A Tsetse Fly Births One Enormous Milk-Fed Baby,” released Jan. 28, 2020. (See its accompanying news story.)
PBS also collaborated with the Attardo lab and the Chris Barker lab, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, for a PBS Deep Look video on Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue fever and Zika. The eggs are hardy; "they can dry out, but remain alive for months, waiting for a little water so they can hatch into squiggly larvae," according to the introduction. Watch the video, "This Dangerous Mosquito Lays Her Armored Eggs--in Your House."
In the meantime, the UC Davis Picnic Day leaders are gearing up for the 106th annual, set for April 17, 2021. What's a picnic without insects?