Whether coping with physical ailments, contentious home lives or arduous semesters, we all have techniques to offset the hardships in our lives. But can we expand those methods and become better people in the process?

Through a generous gift from the Arizona Friends of Tibet, the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences is positioned to explore this question through the newly launched Center for Compassion Studies — the nation's first formalized collegiate center for compassion studies.

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Beginning this month, the University of Arizona is hosting a series of events — a reception with celebrity chefs, an international conference, a workshop series and a study-abroad opportunity for students — to explore and share current research associated with the Mediterranean diet.

"We're showcasing the foods and helping people translate dietary recommendations to actual strategies — taking science to the plate — showing people what you can do, how to do it and where to find it," said Melanie Hingle, UA assistant professor of nutritional sciences and public health.

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Microirrigation systems enable growers to produce the maximum amount of crop for every drop of 
water applied. (Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS)

The University of Arizona is among 20 land-grant universities recognized with the 2014 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Multistate Research Award from the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy.

Researchers participating in project W-2128, “Microirrigation for Sustainable Water Use,” were honored for their efforts at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ annual meeting in fall 2014. Muluneh Yitayew, professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences accepted on behalf of the Arizona portion of the project.

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The lobby of the 100-year-old Forbes building at the University of Arizona is set to become a hub of interactivity for students, advisors, career counselors, faculty and business partners of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

On Dec. 11 the college staged a demolition event that was webcast from the Forbes lobby for the 31 individuals and businesses around the state who donated $1.9 million for this project to “bring the building into the 21st century,” said Shane Burgess, CALS dean and vice president for Veterinary Sciences and Cooperative Extension.

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The Mediterranean diet has seen growing global popularity as researchers find that the dietary pattern can help prevent or reduce obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Responsive to that popularity, the University of Arizona Department of Nutritional Sciences is hosting a series of events meant to explore and share current research related to the dietary pattern, which focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts, along with lesser amounts of lean fish, meats, dairy, olive oil and red wine.

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UA President Ann Weaver Hart and KPHO CBS 5 News Anchor Sean McLaughlin hold reproductions of the commemorative watercolor painted by Diana Madaras for the UA Cooperative Extension Centennial. Hart gave the keynote address and McLaughlin emceed the gala celebration at the Phoenix Zoo on October 4, 2014. (Photo by Judy Davis)

The year 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which created the national Cooperative Extension System, a unique partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the nation’s land-grant universities that extends research-based knowledge to youth and adults through a state-by-state network of extension educators.

The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, celebrated its centennial locally through a year-long series of commemorative events and activities during 2014. Each celebration highlighted Extension’s past while focusing on the application of UA Cooperative Extension’s educational programming into the future. The last two major events took place at the V Bar V Ranch in northern Arizona and at the Phoenix Zoo.  In addition, an exhibit at the UA Science Library on the UA campus will continue until March 11, 2015.

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(Photo Courtesy: Remsberg)

This winter, 288 students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be walking in the 2014 UA CALS Winter Commencement, to  be held in Centennial Hall on Saturday, December 20, 2014. Out of these 288 students, 233 are undergraduates and 55 are graduate students.

Even though the winter commencement has siginficantly fewer graduating students than its spring counterpart, this class is still widely diverse. The fall 2014 graduating class includes students in at least one of every major offered in the college, ranging from retailing and consumer sciences to agricultural education to microbiology.

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From left: Undergraduate volunteer Michael George Bernal, undergraduate intern Tori Scaven, LEAF co-PI Melanie Lenart, and undergraduate LEAF interns Ashley Hodes and Haley Anderson show off the olives picked at the harvest on Nov. 11. (Photo: Ann Posegate)

The University of Arizona enjoys a reputation for having a beautiful campus paired with a great setting and ideal weather. At a time in the spring when much of the country is still covered in snow, students can stroll to class in flip-flops, under a grove of citrus trees in fragrant bloom. The fruit these trees produce goes largely unnoticed and unused.

While the primary function of these trees — almost 8,000 of them — is to provide beauty and shade, they serve an additional purpose: Many produce food in the form of fruit such as citrus, figs and pomegranates.

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Rod Wing explains the rice genome for the specific genus Oryza and how it will lead to better crops and more food production for growing populations. (Photo: Christina Close/BIO5 Institute)

Among the most pressing issues facing the world today is how to grow enough food to feed a human population that will expand by more than two billion in the next 35 years without exhausting resources and destroying the environment.

Rice will play an essential role in the quest to solve this "9 Billion People Question." Rice is, and will continue to be, the primary source of food/calories for half the world and many rapidly growing regions.

The University of Arizona is home to innovative research and scientists committed to forging new paths to make sure that a crisis is averted and the situation is improved for future generations.

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(Photo Courtesy: Monique Garcia)

Jessica Fish, a postdoctoral research associate in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant at the beginning of fall semester 2014 for her research on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ and minority teens.

The NSF Grant is funding Fish’s two-year project on alcohol use in LBGTQ teens titled, “Sexual Minority Youth Alcohol Use: Risk and Protective Factors.” Fish will analyze how interpersonal relationships and developmental contexts of LGBTQ teens influence their use of alcohol. The overall goal is “to disseminate and apply these findings in ways that will help inform prevention and intervention strategies aimed at reducing LGBTQ youth and young adult alcohol use,” Fish explained.

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(Photo courtesy: Sangita Pawar)

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Office hosted its inaugural “CALS Poster Forum” on Monday November 10, 2014 in the University of Arizona’s Student Union Ball Room.

The goal of this event was to showcase all research in the college, including research conducted in academic departments, centers, institutes and Cooperative Extension, and to foster collaboration. All CALS faculty, specialists, agents, directors and students were encouraged to submit and accompany a poster that would be displayed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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What if your social media network — the actual interface, not your followers — could tip you off to a personal risk for developing a preventable medical condition, then help you figure out ways to improve your lifestyle?

University of Arizona computer science and nutritional science researchers are working on that exact issue, determining ways to enhance artificial intelligence capabilities to predict certain chronic, yet preventable, health conditions based on a person's social media activity.

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(Photo Courtesy: By Julie Huynh / The Daily Wildcat)

Dogs are more than just man’s best friend. Researchers are looking at how the contribution of their gut bacteria might be making their owners healthier.

Dr. Charles Raison, a professor of psychiatry and CNN mental health expert [and also a professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences], is investigating whether owning a dog provides health benefits to the owners through positive changes in their microbiota.

Throughout an individual’s life, the microbiota — or bacterial community — play an important role in maintaining health and well-being. Beneficial bacteria cover human skin and line the gastrointestinal tract, helping to digest certain foods, prevent inflammation and keep disease-causing bacteria from taking root.

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(Photo courtesy: P. Andrew "Andy" Groseta)

P. Andrew "Andy" Groseta, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumnus of the Year, is a third-generation Arizona rancher who has reached pinnacles of success in his ranching career, industry leadership roles, and service to the community and his alma mater.

A partner in Headquarters West Ltd., a statewide agribusiness firm, Groseta has served as president of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Groseta was selected in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush to attend the inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a member of the U.S. presidential delegation. He represented U.S. cattlemen in resolving the U.S.-Korean beef trade issue, allowing U.S. beef back into South Korea.

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(Photo courtesy: Cody Sheehy)

The CALS Communications and Cyber Technologies (CCT) team recently completed a three-month email upgrade that involved migrating over 1,000 @ag and @cals email accounts from their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences server in the Forbes building to the UA campus-hosted email system. All CALS employees can now benefit from the increased server space, server administration and 24/7 desktop support.

Managing the CALS email server was an around-the-clock operation and migrating this service to UAConnect allows CCT staff to offer an expanded suite of services to clientele throughout the college. The CCT team intends to use this opportunity to spend less time on commodity IT and to refocus their efforts on developing high-quality applications, multimedia and supporting infrastructure.

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A pallid bat skims the surface of a pond (Photo Courtesy: Alex Badyaev, professor in the UA's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

Bats are the quintessential creatures of the night. From ancient mythology to modern pop culture, the winged mammals have long captured our imaginations and inhabited our deepest nightmares. 

But bats have a vital role to play in the success of local economies as free pest-control providers, according to research by University of Arizona scientist Laura López-Hoffman, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, part of UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Contrary to what Halloween movies might lead you to believe, only three out of about 1,240 known bat species feed on blood. Most dine on insects, and among them is the Mexican free-tailed bat, which migrates between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This species alone, it turns out, has saved cotton farmers across the region millions of dollars in crop damage and insecticide costs by voraciously consuming the six-legged pests.

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The Stordalen Mire in Northern Sweden. Soils that used to be frozen year-round are giving way to swampy wetlands under the influence of a warming climate. (Photo: Carmody McCalley)

Tiny soil microbes are among the world's biggest potential amplifiers of human-caused climate change, but whether microbial communities are mere slaves to their environment or influential actors in their own right is an open question. Now research by an international team of scientists from the U.S., Sweden and Australia, led by University of Arizona scientists, shows that a single species of microbe, discovered only recently, is an unexpected key player in climate change. 

The findings, published in the journal Nature, should help scientists improve their simulations of future climate by replacing assumptions about the different greenhouse gases emitted from thawing permafrost with new understanding of how different communities of microbes control the release of these gases.

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