Past Events

March 2012:

Members of the club went and taught sixth graders at Ceasar Chavez elementary school. It was loads of fun, as we were able to help the perform the experiments they came up with (with modifications when necessary). Join us next time, either prepping the materials or showing up for the fun.

Events from 2007:

A selective bunch of four intriguing professors came to our Meet the MIC Professors last Thursday. They were (in no particular order) Dr. John Roth, Dr. Becky Parales, Dr. Wolf Heyer, and Dr. Jack Meeks. A total of 11 students were able to sit with one of the four professors in a round-robin setting, rotating every 15-20 minutes. Students had a good chance to pick the brains of the professors and vice versa. Discussion topics varied from about research intrests, experience as an elder/mentor, perspective on classes/curriculum, and it was overall a positive, constructive, and friendly environment.

At our 3rd Meeting of the year, Dr. Dean Cliver, a Food Virology professor from the UC Davis Medical Center, came to speak about his journey from undergraduate research at Purdue, to government jobs working with the EPA and the WHO, and finally back to academia as a professor.

Events from 2006:

Feb. 06 Dr. Meeks is one of the faculty members in UCD microbiology section. His research is focusing on identifying and characterizing the responses of Cyanobacteria to the change of the environment. His team is currently monitoring the responses of two differentiated Cyanobacteria cells: heterocysts, specified and terminally differentiated cells that are responsible nitrogen fixation; hormongonia, transiently differentiated small filaments that lack of heterocysts but are capable of gliding. An interesting phenomenon that Dr. Meeks discovered was the symbiotic relationship between Cyanobacteria and hornwort. This symbiotic relationship somehow alters homogonium and heterocyst differentiation of Cyanobacteria 10-fold higher in contrast to the free-living Cyanobacteria. Under Dr. Meeks’ intensive research, his team had published evidence that the hornwort secretes chemical signal to stimulate and repress hormongonium differentiation and to express heterocyst differentiation.

The benefits and outcomes of Dr. Meeks’ research on Cyanobacteria are extremely valuable to the environment. In agriculture, the ability to fix nitrogen of heterocysts is possible to reduce the cost of nitrogen supply. In atomsphere, Cyanobacteria can reduce global warming by consuming carbon dioxide. In the medical perspective, Cyanobacteria may have genes that associate anti-HIV. Cyanobacteria have so much more waiting for us to discover. For furthor information about Dr. Meeks’ research, please visit:

Jan. 06 SUMMARY: Dr. Sawai, a professor from UC Davis medical school, shared his researches on HIV. His labfocuses on characterizing the biological and biochemical function of Nef protein. Intensive research on Nef will reveal whether its functions are important for viral replication as well as for pathogenesis.

His team has discovered that a cellular serine-threonine kinase, p21-activated kinase (PAK), associates with and activates both HIV and SIV Nef. Using SIV Nef mutants indicate a strong correlation between theability of SIV Nef to associate with PAK and the indction of high viral loads. Dr. Sawai’s team are mappingthe domains of both HIV-1 and SIV Nef that are important for PAK association and activation.

(part of the summary is cited from