UCR and Korea Institute of Materials Science Announce New Research Center

UCR and KIMS leadership pose for a photo at an MoU signing in April.

Left to right: Kelechi Kalu, vice provost of International Affairs; Cynthia Larive, interim provost and executive vice chancellor; Kyu Hwan Lee, director of the Climate Change Materials Research Center at KIMS; Nosang Myung, professor and chair of chemical and environmental engineering.

UCR and the Korea Institute of Materials Science (KIMS) have announced a new international partnership to advance the research and development of high performance, environmentally friendly materials.

The agreement between UCR and KIMS, signed by Interim Provost Cynthia Larive and KIMS President Hai-Doo Kim, establishes the UC-KIMS Center for Innovative Materials for Energy and Environment, which will support collaboration between researchers and students across campus with scientists in South Korea.

KIMS, a government-funded research institute is supporting the initiative through a $350,000 commitment to UCR over three years.

“The new partnership with KIMS expands UCR’s efforts to promote innovation and cooperation in scholarly research while increasing opportunities for educational exchanges and entrepreneurship activities. As a chemist, I see the Center as an opportunity to translate basic scientific advances to commercial reality. On behalf of the campus, I express my thanks to the Korea Institute of Materials Science for their support and look forward to a productive partnership,” Larive said.

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Researchers Find Crucial Clue to Manipulating Reproduction in Plants

Xuemei Chen, distinguished professor of plant cell and molecular biology

Xuemei Chen, distinguished professor of plant cell and molecular biology.

A team of researchers, led by Xuemei Chen, a distinguished professor of plant cell and molecular biology, has for the first time identified a small RNA species and its target gene that together regulate female germline formation in plants.

“Understanding the mechanisms governing germline formation is crucial to our ability to manipulate plant reproduction for the improvement of agriculture,” said Chen.

In both plants and animals, the germline is the lineage of cells that eventually makes the gametes (eggs and sperms). In animals, the germline is set aside (or “specified”) early on, during embryogenesis, and does not go on to give rise to “somatic cells” – cells in the body that are not reproductive cells. In plants, on the other hand, the germline is not specified early on. It is produced from somatic cells late in plant development – specifically, in flowers – and is the first step towards sexual reproduction.

The new work not only identifies a regulatory module for an important developmental process, it also implies that there is likely cell-to-cell communications via RNA or protein in this process.

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