Research Happening at UC Davis

As a social science major, I rarely pay attention to what is going on in the hardcore sciences research departments at Davis. This kind of research is not really brought up or discussed in any of my classes. I started following the UC Davis research Twitter account to see what my school was up to and to add something besides politics, dog pictures, and videos of vines to my feed. Here are a few cool things I found out!

1. Zebra stripes

Zebra stripes are more than just a fancy design; they actually help protect against flies and diseases. There seems to be something about the stripes that confuse the brains of the flies, disrupting their flight patterns. They don’t seem to decelerate at all, so they bounce off of the zebra’s body. More research is being done to see if this pattern can protect humans if they wear striped clothing and what it is about the stripes that confuse the flies.

2. Bobcat and tilapia fish skin

After the devastating wildfires last year, a bobcat was brought to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine with horrible burns on its paws. Vets put tilapia fish skins on its pads, which is an innovative burn healing method. The bobcat’s skin grew back faster than expected and it is now back in the wild.

3. Jam-covered ropes and guenons

Allowing guenons (a member of the monkey family) to eat the jam off of rope has allowed scientists to noninvasively sample and monitor disease outbreaks. This could help scientists narrow down regions where outbreaks happen.

4. 3D mammograms

In a first of its kind study, a UC Davis researcher found that it was much easier and accurate for doctors to read a 3D mammogram result rather than a 2D one. This could help cut down on the number of women who need to be called back into the office to get a second reading to help interpret any signs of irregularity in the first scan.