The spirit of inquiry@UC Santa Cruz

The Office of Research and University Relations are very pleased to present the second annual issue of inquiry@UC Santa Cruz! This UCSC research magazine highlights the broad scope of outstanding research being conducted on our campus, and has descriptions of recent results from some of our award-winning faculty, whose honors include Packard, Guggenheim, and Carnegie fellowships. From the arts to engineering, the research described here captures the imagination and vision that characterizes our researchers on the Santa Cruz campus, with investigations that span and combine the basic search for knowledge with addressing societal and health issues. From using the structure of an endangered language to illuminate how the brain processes communications, to devising portable and inexpensive tests for the Ebola virus, to using modern digital techniques to reconstruct ancient archaeological sites, to monitoring toxic algae blooms in our near-coastal oceans, our UC Santa Cruz research is united around a common theme: pushing the boundaries of knowledge in the service of humanity.

Welcome to the 2016–17 edition of inquiry@UC Santa Cruz. We hope that it gives you a flavor of the creativity and excitement that characterizes our campus research enterprise!

Scott A. Brandt
Vice Chancellor for Research
and Professor of Computer Science

University of California Santa Cruz

  • Chancellor: George Blumenthal
  • Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor: Alison Galloway
  • Vice Chancellor, Research: Scott Brandt
  • Vice Chancellor, University Relations: Keith Brant

inquiry@UC Santa Cruz, 2016–17

  • Editor: Elizabeth Devitt
  • Creative Director: Lisa Nielsen
  • Art Director/Designer: Linda Knudson (Cowell ‘76)

Associate Editors

  • Quentin Williams, principal
  • Jeanne Lance
  • Tedd Siegel
  • Lynne Stoops


  • Carolyn Lagattuta


  • Eileen Campbell (SciCom ‘83)
  • Elizabeth Devitt (SciCom ‘13)
  • Blake Edgar (SciCom ‘89)
  • Kerry Klein (SciCom ‘15)
  • Greta Lorge (SciCom ‘03)
  • Jyoti Madhusoodanan (SciCom ‘14)
  • Lisa Marie Potter (SciCom ‘15)
  • Heather Rock Woods (SciCom ‘94)
  • Rina Shaikh-Lesko (SciCom ‘13)
  • Kim Smuga-Otto (SciCom ‘15)

Produced by UC Santa Cruz Communications & Marketing
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077