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a National Science Foundation Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology
Biomolecular Machines
Proteins are true cellular nanomachines that perform sophisticated biological functions by self-assembling into dynamic 3D structures that use thermal energy to change shape in response to specific...
Macromolecular Assemblies and Hybrid Devices
The high rate of discovery in nanotechnology is permitting us to realize nanomaterials with interesting new properties that can be used for building hybrid devices in conjunction with biomolecules.
Cellular and Multicellular Systems
Differentiating Tissue: This sub-project is a targeted effort to understand, quantify, and direct cell-to-cell and mechanical signaling in differentiating stem cell populations.
Lab Experience for High School and Undergraduate Level Students
biophysics, bioengineering & biochemistry
Science & Technology Enrichment Program
creating an infrastructure that enables research opportunities for high school students

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The NSF CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines was established with a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and brings together more than a dozen faculty members from multiple units across campus, including bioengineering, physics, chemistry and chemical biology, materials science and engineering. Researchers are studying how biological matter like proteins or cells come together to perform specific tasks, in hopes of eventually being able to engineer and develop innovations ranging from designer cells and tissue to novel diagnostic and therapeutic devices. The CCBM also hosts an integrated, interdisciplinary training program for graduate students that emphasizes physical and biological components and research and training experiences for undergraduate and high school students to enhance the recruitment of underrepresented groups into STEM research.

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physics, bioengineering, materials science, quantitative biology, applied mathematics, chemistry and chemical biology forming a diverse, interdisciplinary research community with a common vision


nurturing teamwork, creativity, versatility and entrepreneurship for undergraduate and graduate students with a special emphasis on technical training 


K-12 programs focused on increasing the number and diversity of talented students in STEM fields & other special community-focused efforts

Featured News

Professors Sarah Loebman, left, and Anna Nierenberg, right
October 12, 2021

Dark matter and the life cycles of star clusters will come into focus as UC Merced’s astrophysicists get resources from the two space telescopes soon to be exploring the universe. NASA has granted...

From left, professors Linda Hirst, Chris Amemiya and Valerie Leppert.
September 28, 2021

Cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and skates have a sixth sense, but it’s not ESP — it’s electrosense. Such fishes use hundreds or thousands of specialized organs to sense prey and mates and to...

Incoming freshman Kyle Chun (mechanical engineering), third-year Daniel Baerwaldt (chemistry) and first-year Alejandro Lopez-Vaca (engineering) in front of their presentation.
September 20, 2021

Shortly before the fall semester kicked off in person, 11 students were wrapping up their first summer on campus as part of the FACTS summer bridge program. FACTS stands for San Joaquin Valley Food...

Professor Joel Spencer (far right) and members of his lab at UC Merced.
August 31, 2021

Some scientific discoveries are a happy accident (think: penicillin). Others have been there all along, they just take a keen eye to notice, which was recently the case in Professor Joel Spencer’s...

Events and Happenings

“Understanding Coronavirus Assembly: The First Step Towards Destroying the Enemy” Prof. Roya Zandi (Physics), University of California...
Thank you for your interest in the CCBM Virtual Sessions, which are hosted by the NSF-CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines at the...
LeRoy Westerling - “Pyregence Consortium: Open Source Wildfire Simulations for the 5th California State Climate Assessment” Professor,...
March 11, 2021 seminar and faculty / student sessions with Dr. Strack. More information.