Gene Giacomelli harvests food fit for Mars at the UA's Controlled Environment Agriculture Center. (Photo: Norma Jean Gargasz/UANews)

"So, I've got to figure out a way to grow three years' worth of food here — on a planet where nothing grows," says Mark Watney, the botanist who ends up stranded on the red planet in Ridley Scott’s new film, "The Martian."

Watney, whose character is played by actor Matt Damon, later engineers a way to grow potatoes on Mars and remarks, "I am the greatest botanist on this planet."

Despite never saying it explicitly in the novel on which the film is based, author Andy Weir has revealed that "The Martian" is set in the near future; the NASA crew lands on Mars in November 2035.

But UA scientists already have figured out how to grow food on the freeze-dried planet, including sweet potatoes and strawberries — roughly 20 years ahead of Mars' "greatest botanist." Watch video here.

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Developmental screeners, Robyn Powers and Guadalupe Quintero administer and record an ASQ-3 screening at a local library. Photo credit: Jennie Treadway

Ninety percent of a child’s brain is developed by age 5, which is why it is so important to monitor the progress of infants, babies and toddlers as they grow.

Are they hearing well? Do they see clearly? Are they developing fine motor skills and speech on pace with their peers? 

Parents in Pinal County are learning the answers to these formative questions about their children — and finding out what to do if help is needed — through an early childhood health program led by University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, which is part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Pinal County parents can sign up to have personnel from the UA Cooperative Extension screen their child for free by calling 520-836-5221.

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Photo Credit: John de Dios

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart announced Monday that the new home for the UA’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program will be its newest campus: University of Arizona Oro Valley. See video here.

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Paul in the Plant Pathology Lab (photo courtesy: Ramon Jaime).

University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences PhD candidate and Norman E. Borlaug LEAP fellow, Paul Kachapulula, remembers the two-hour walk from his tiny village in Zambia to the school in the nearest town with fondness: “We were just a big ball of children, running down the path on the way to school!” 

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Katy Prudic at the Arizona Health Sciences Library (photo courtesy: Jeff Oliver)

Katy Prudic, assistant research professor in the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Entomology, is invited to the White House to participate in the citizen science forum on September 30th, 2015.

Prudic is Co-Founder and Co-Director of the eButterfly citizen science project that is maximizing the utility and accessibility of the vast numbers of butterfly observations, photographs, and collections made each year by recreational and professional butterfly enthusiasts.

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(Photo Courtesy: Jessica Luse)

Thanks to support from University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the hard work and dedication of community volunteers, interns and AmeriCorps members, Tucson Village Farm expanded its reach this summer to include additional infrastructure, acreage, outdoor classrooms, and programming on the west side of Campbell Avenue in Tucson, Arizona.

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A giant swallowtail caterpillar (Papilio cresphontes) awaits the upcoming Arizona Insect Festival. (Photo courtesy of Kathleen Prudic)

Spring White. Marine Blue. Mexican Yellow. Sleepy Orange.

These are just a few of the butterfly species found in and around Tucson, and North America is home to hundreds more. But with so many species in so many places, it can be overwhelming for humans to keep track of the lives of Lepidoptera.

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Jeong-Yeol Yoon and Dustin Harshman work on a device that can analyze pathogens in real time. (Photo: Pete Brown/College of Engineering)

When a patient arrives at a hospital with a serious infection, doctors have precious little time to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe treatment accordingly.

Their ability to act quickly and correctly not only makes a difference to the patient’s outcome, it determines whether the infection spreads to other patients in the clinic — and can even contribute to the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

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Water conservation is an issue of utmost importance in Arizona, and the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, or WRRC, wants to make sure the public is involved in the conversation.

To contribute to that effort, the WRRC recently released its annual Arroyo newsletter, "Closing the Water Demand-Supply Gap in Arizona."

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Yuma Ag Lettuce (photo by Lynn Ketchum)

Working to keep U.S. food crops safe, a team of researchers from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has received funding to study irrigation water quality.

The team will focus on developing monitoring strategies and guidelines to provide food safety improvements that can be used by the U.S. produce industry to prevent crops from becoming contaminated.

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Kevin Fitzsimmons and James Goggin of USAID open the UA office that will administer the sustainable seafood industry development project. The office is located in the Myanmar Fisheries Federation building in Yangon, Myanmar. (Photo: May Myat Noe Lwin)

A University of Arizona-led partnership was awarded a grant of more than $1.7 million from the United States Agency for International Development to help develop an aquaculture industry that will be central to Myanmar's strategy to rejoin the global economy.

The USAID funding has resulted in the implementation of the three-year project, "Developing a Sustainable Seafood Industry Infrastructure in Myanmar (Burma)," a partnership between the UA and Yangon and Pathein Universities in Myanmar, and the Myanmar Fisheries Federation.

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In July, while workers were wrapping up construction of the new University of Arizona Environment and Natural Resources Building, or ENR2, they discovered someone else wrapping up a little construction of her own. That someone was a hummingbird, and she had built her nest on a data cable dangling directly in front of a security camera.

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There is a theory that RNA, instead of DNA, is the original building block of all life, yet many RNA molecules remain mysterious.

Now, with an award of more than $2.5 million from the National Science Foundation's Plant Genome Research Program, three scientists are setting out to study the true nature of a class of largely understudied RNA molecules known as lncRNA.

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Across the country, middle and high schools have begun incorporating personal financial education into their curricula to prepare young people to make good financial decisions as adults.

The University of Arizona is helping to give teachers the tools they need to deliver these important life lessons.

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Eric Lyons, the iPlant Collaborative co-principal investigator, is addressing the challenge presented by the projected rise in scientific data. (Photo: Judy Davis)

In an era of unprecedented scientific discovery, researchers are generating more data than ever before. But do scientists have access to enough technological firepower to turn this mountain of data into tangible results?

Many biologists worry that the future rise in genomic data will strain the computational resources of the discipline beyond its capacity to store, analyze and distribute large datasets. However, University of Arizona assistant professor and iPlant Collaborative co-principal investigator Eric Lyons is much more optimistic.

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(PC: Mark Thaler)

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) welcomed Parker Antin as its new president on July 1. Antin is Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona.

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45-acre Cornville ranch (PC: The Steele Foundation)

The Steele Foundation officially announced today that it will award the organization’s 45-acre DK Ranch in Cornville to the University of Arizona, providing the university with a permanent footprint in Northern Arizona. The university will gain the ability to expand its programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, with a focus on the newly established Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program.

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