News in Brief

UCI Hydrology Center Given UN Nations Water Prize

This year, the UC Irvine Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing (CHRS) was a joint winner of the 2007 Great Man-Made River International Water Prize, awarded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The center, recognized for enhancement of monitoring water resources and arid and semi-arid regions around the world, is one of the first institutions to receive this prize.
Soroosh Sorooshian, the center’s founding director and professor of civil and environmental engineering and Earth system science, will accept the award later this week in Budapest, Hungary.

Depression Treated with Marijuana-like Brain Chemicals

Increasing amounts of the marijuana-like brain transmitter, anandamide, produces anti-depressant effects, according to American and Italian researchers.
UC Irvine researcher Daniele Piomelli, director of the Center for Drug Discovery and the Louise Turner Arnold Chair in Neurosciences, and the Universities of Urbino and Parma in Italy created and used the drug URB597 to block anandamide degradation in the brain, producing higher levels of this chemical.
According to Piomelli, marijuana by itself does not show a clinical use for depression. However, the study showed that natural marijuana-like transmitters in the brain play analgesic, anti-anxiety and antidepressant roles.
The study on chronically stressed rats showed that, after administering URB597 to the animals for five weeks, there was an elevation in mood and the stressed rats began to behave like unstressed rats.
Piomelli stated that, Organon, a European pharmaceutical company, holds a license issued in 2007 to begin clinical studies on the drug in 2008.

UC Irvine’s Dining Services Lauded for Vegetarian-Friendly Fare

UC Irvine was recently nominated as one of the most vegetarian-friendly campuses in the nation by the world’s largest youth animal rights organization, a branch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
‘UC Irvine is meeting its students’ demand for smart food choices in the most delicious way imaginable