Department News


Announcing the Recipients of NSF Predocs!

Please join us in congratulating Annabel Beichman (Wayne) and Kelcie Chiquillo (Barber), who have just been notified that they received NSF Predocs. Incoming student Zac Gold (Barber) and one pending student have also received them. In addition, at least one alum from a previous undergraduate class (Niko Hensley) also received one (he’s currently a PhD student at UCSB).

Let us also extend our congratulations to Robert Cooper (Grether/Shaffer) and Sarah Helman (Lloyd-Smith) for making the Honorable Mention group.



Professor Blaire Van Valkenburgh named one of Phi Beta Kappa Society's Visiting Scholars 2015 - 2016

The Phi Beta Kappa Society Selects 13 Visiting Scholars for 2015-2016

(Washington, D.C.) – The Phi Beta Kappa Society is pleased to announce the appointment of 13 Visiting Scholars for 2015-2016.

Since 1956, the Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.

Each year, members of the Committee on the Visiting Scholar Program select top scholars in the liberal arts and sciences to travel to universities and colleges where Phi Beta Kappa chapters are located. Visiting Scholars spend two days on each campus meeting informally with undergraduates, participating in classroom lectures and seminars, and giving one major address open to the entire academic community and the general public.

The 2015-2016 Visiting Scholars will make 100 visits during the academic year.

Michael Bérubé, Sparks Professor of Literature, Pennsylvania State University
David K. Campbell, Professor of Physics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University
Hazel V. Carby, Dilley Professor of African American Studies and American Studies, Yale University
2015-2016 ɸBK-Frank M. Updike Memorial Scholar
Carol Greenhouse, Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Anthropology, Princeton University
David B. Grusky, Browning Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University
Rigoberto Hernandez, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology
Mae Ngai, Professor of History & Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, Columbia University
Judith Resnik, Arthur Liman Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Larry A. Silver, Farquhar Professor of Art History, University of Pennsylvania
Harold W. Stanley, Distinguished Chair in American Politics & Political Economy, Southern Methodist University
Richard Sylla, Kaufman Professor of the History of Financial Institutions and Markets, New York University
Blaire Van Valkenburgh, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Vincent L. Wimbush, Director, Institute for Signifying Scriptures

Founded in 1776, the Phi Beta Kappa Society is the nation’s oldest and most recognized academic honor society. It has chapters at 283 colleges and universities and more than half a million members. Its mission is to champion education in the liberal arts and sciences, to recognize academic excellence, and to foster freedom of thought and expression.

Additional information about the Visiting Scholar Program can be found on Phi Beta Kappa’s website (

Addition: Article now featured in the UCLA Newsroom


UCLA Professor Jamie Lloyd-Smith and Postdoc Katie Gostic Featured in UCLA Newsroom - AIrport Screening for Viruses Misses Half of Infected Travelers but Can be Improved

[Jennifer Mitchell | February 24, 2015] In the past decade, the H1N1 virus and Ebola are just two of the diseases whose spread was spurred by international airline travel. Screening passengers at airports, therefore, could be one key method for slowing the global spread of infectious diseases.

And although a team lead by UCLA researchers has found that airport screening misses at least half of infected travelers, the scientists say that rate could be improved. Their research was published in eLife, a highly regarded open-access online science journal. Read More


Paper by UCLA Professor Kirk Lohmueller and Graduate Student Bernard Kim featured in the NYT :: A New Theory on How Neanderthal DNA Spread in Asia

In 2010, scientists made a startling discovery about our past: About 50,000 years ago, Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of living Europeans and Asians.

Now two teams of researchers have come to another intriguing conclusion: Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of Asians at a second point in history, giving them an extra infusion of Neanderthal DNA. Read More


UCLA Senior Researcher Ren Larison and Professor Tom Smith, et al; Research on Zebras and their stripes featured in the UCLA Newsroom

Why do zebras have stripes?

UCLA study finds that regulating body temperature may be a key factor Read More


EEB Professor Dan Blumstein, Grad Student Adriana Maldonado-Chaparro, and Undergraduate Holly Fuong's Research on marmot alarm callling featured in ScienceShot

Misfit Marmots Save the Day

A peaceful community of yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris) should be grateful for its outcasts. Read More


EEB Professor Tom Smith, Senior Researcher Ren Larison, Researcher Ryan Harrigan et al., (Why do zebras have stripes?) featured in Science Magazine and NatGeo

Zebra stripes are a mystery. Scientists have speculated that they do everything from enabling the equids to evade predators by creating an optical illusion when a herd gallops away to regulating body heat to helping the animals avoid biting flies. But a new team of researchers argues that none of these hypotheses has addressed the marked regional variation in the pattern of striping seen on plains zebras (Equus quagga), which range from southern Ethiopia to eastern South Africa. Read More

A leopard may not be able to change its spots, but some zebras change their stripes. Zebras in warmer places have more stripes, a new study shows, which might help answer an age-old question: Why stripes? Read More


UCLA Professor Alfaro Featured Article - Endangered monkeys in the Amazon are more diverse than previously thought, UCLA study finds

Research by UCLA life scientists and 50 colleagues sheds new light on the biological differences among more than 150 species of monkeys in South America, many of which are endangered. Their findings could be particularly important in shaping efforts to conserve the biodiversity of primates in South America. Read More


A Rescue Mission to Save Turtles in the California Drought

Here's another story about the turtles! Read More


UCLA Ecologists Save Endangered Turtles Weakened By The Drought

Biologists with the UCLA La Kretz Center for California Conservation Science recently went on a rescue mission to save endangered turtles that have become dehydrated, emaciated and stressed-out by the extended drought. Read More