Casandra Rauser has been named director of UCLA's Sustainable Los Angeles Grand Challenge Project, announced Dr. James S. Economou, UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research.

The project, “Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles,” launched last year. It is designed to turn Los Angeles into a global model for urban sustainability by reaching the goal of using exclusively renewable energy and local water by 2050, while protecting biodiversity and enhancing quality of life.

Rauser comes to UCLA from UC Irvine’s research development office, where she worked for five years, the last two as director of the office. The 2005 recipient of a Ph.D. in biological sciences from UC Irvine’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, she spent two years in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, where she managed the 600-acre Tamarindo Preserve Conservancy, which incorporated a preservation program, scientific research and community education.

Rauser has published research articles in the areas of behavioral ecology, evolution, genetics and cancer. She also co-authored the book, “Does Aging Stop?” (Oxford University Press, 2011), with UC Irvine evolutionary biologists Laurence Mueller and Michael Rose.

“Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles” is the first project planned for the UCLA Grand Challenge Initiative, which will unite the university’s resources to tackle some of society’s most pressing issues.