$3 million to Support Biofuels Research

Charles Wyman

Charles Wyman

The Bourns College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) is scheduled to receive more than $3 million in funding for biofuels research, the U.S. Department of Energy announced recently.

The funding is the result of Congressional approval for continued funding of the BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. BESC is one of three bioenergy research centers established by the DOE’s Office of Science in 2007 to accelerate progress toward a viable biofuels market based on cellulosic feedstocks. CE-CERT has been one of the BESC’s 17 institutional partners since 2007 and will receive $629,000 per year over the next five years to continue its biofuels research as a result of this renewal.

While ethanol can be produced from corn, its use as a fuel source is limited because it is also a food crop and requires considerable energy to produce and harvest. Cellulosic biomass sources such as poplar wood and switchgrass are abundant and renewable because they come from non-food sources and can include plant-based waste product.

The research at CE-CERT is led by Charles Wyman, Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering and Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, who leads the Aqueous Processing of Cellulosic Biomass Team at CE-CERT. In 2010, he was named by BiofuelsDigest as one of the Top 100 People in Bioenergy.

Susan Ossman’s Book Brings Together Creatives at a Workshop

The workshop — scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Hammond Dance Studio at the Culver Center of the Arts in downtown Riverside — will alternate performances and discussion among artists who are themselves serial migrants, several of whom figure in “Moving Matters.” It will be videotaped and serve as a basis for developing a template for similar events in the future, Ossman said.

“We hope to instigate traveling workshops on the same topic that the performers – or different sets of performers – can take to London, Istanbul, or Bogota,” she explained. “These will lead to the collection of stories and performances of serial migration that may prompt further writing, performances or artworks by those who participate in these events. By working through art to respond to what the book says, but also what any book inevitably leaves out, we open up the project to further forms of research and new audiences. The project also suggests an original way of generating cross-disciplinary, transnational conversations that bridge the social sciences, the humanities, and the arts.”

UCR scholars participating in the workshop are: Erith Jaffe-Berg, associate professor of theater; Tabassum “Ruhi” Khan, assistant professor of media and cultural studies; Paulo C. Chagas, professor and chair of the Department of Music; and Natalie Zervou, a Ph.D. student in critical dance studies. Also participating are: Alexandru Balesescu, anthropologist; Barbara James, artist; Stephen James, Riverside consultant in intercultural communication; George Marcus, anthropologist and founder of the Center for Ethnography at UC Irvine; Beatriz Mejia-Krumbein, chair of the art department and director of the Brandstater Gallery at La Sierra University in Riverside; Noha Mellor, senior lecturer in media and cultural studies at Kingston University in London; and Gareth Stanton, an anthropologist and senior lecturer in communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Walkable Communities Aim of UCR, Community Collaboration

Researchers at UCR and the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) have partnered in a study aimed at making two established Riverside neighborhoods more walkable and less reliant on cars for shopping and other activities.

UCR’s Center for Sustainable Suburban Development (CSSD) will receive $227,000 of a $250,000 grant the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) awarded to RCTC for the project. University researchers will work with the transportation commission and the Riverside County Department of Public Health to produce walkability plans for the Ramona and Arlington neighborhoods.

Grant to Fund Research on Ant Parasitoids

John Heraty

John Heraty

John Heraty, professor of entomology, has received a three-year $566,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Heraty will study the eucharitid wasp genus Orasema, a specialized group of ant parasitoids (parasites that kill their host) known to attack some of the most pestiferous and invasive ants, including fire ants and the big-headed ant.

More than 200 species, most new to science, are expected to be described as part of the study, which uses both morphological and molecular approaches to understand relationships and species boundaries.

“Researchers hope that by thoroughly understanding the pattern of host ant and host plant associations, the biology and radiation of morphologically cryptic species, and within-nest biology, that they can better understand how these wasps can be used as effective biological control agents of pest ants,” Heraty said.

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