Research

The Surprising Benefits of Stress

Daniela Kaufer, PhD, is an associate professor at UC Berkeley who studies the biology of stress, examining at the molecular level how the brain responds to anxiety and traumatic events. Her most recent findings show that certain kinds of stress can have surprising benefits. Dr. Kaufer explains the difference between good stress and bad stress, and gives pointers for how to respond to stressful events in a healthy way.

What the Inuit can tell us about omega-3 fats and ‘paleo’ diets

“The original focus on fish oil and omega-3s came from studies of Inuit. On their traditional diet, rich in fat from marine mammals, Inuit seemed quite healthy with a low incidence of cardiovascular disease, so fish oil must be protective,” said project leader Rasmus Nielsen, a UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology. “We’ve now found that they have unique genetic adaptations to this diet, so you cannot extrapolate from them to other populations.

Genome Analysis Pinpoints Arrival and Spread of First Americans

The analysis, using the most comprehensive genetic data set from Native Americans to date, was conducted using three different statistical models, two of them created by UC Berkeley researchers. The first, developed by the lab of Yun Song, a UC Berkeley associate professor of statistics and of electrical engineering and computer sciences, takes into account the full DNA information available from the genomes in the study.

A Walk on the Wild (Edibles) Side

"When I went foraging with Philip Stark and Tom Carlson for what became the first of the California Matters series of videos, I had an idea of what to expect. ...I learned about eating dandelion leaves, roots, and the base where they met, as well as crowns and even the little balls of unbloomed flowers (actually the best part, sautéed). I learned, too, about milkweed, a plant that can be eaten at several stages."

Environment takes big hit from water-intensive marijuana cultivation

Published today in the journal Bioscience, the report outlines how illegal marijuana production is hitting California where it hurts, such as in sensitive watersheds already stressed by the state’s ongoing drought. Networks of pipes and hoses siphon water directly from small streams to irrigate the crops, draining what little water there is for wildlife and plants.

Cockroach Robot Squeezes Though Cracks (Ugh!)

Dubbed “veloci-roach,” the crawling device uses sensors and locomotion like many other bio-inspired devices.

But this one flips on its side to shimmy through spaces that would normally prove too small, according to Chen Li, postdoctoral researcher in the UC Berkeley department of integrative biology, and electrical engineering and computer science.

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