News In Brief
State Awards UC Irvine $27.2 Million to Build New Stem Cell Facility
The state of California will finance the construction of a $27.2 million building that will act as the center for all future stem-cell research at UC Irvine, the university announced in a press release on May 7.
Although the project still needs final approval by the UC Board of Regents, construction will begin pending approval in September 2008 and end in July 2010.
The building is expected to house as many as 26 laboratory-based and clinical researchers. As a result of the university’s growing stem-cell research, the university is expected to recruit six new faculty members.
Fertility Scandal Lawsuits Against UCI Reincarnate
The California Second District Court of Appeal has reexamined lawsuits against UC Irvine over a fertility scandal that took place in 1995. The suits, filed by eight couples, were brought forth on Wednesday, April 23, two years after they were dismissed on the grounds of being filed too late.
The scandal began when revelations surfaced a decade ago that fertility doctors at UCI Medical Center had stolen eggs and embryos from patients. The eggs were then allegedly used without the women’s permission for research or to help other women get pregnant.
More than $23 million have already been paid by the university to settle resulting lawsuits.
School of Medicine Welcomes New Assistant Dean
The UC Irvine School of Medicine has appointed Dr. Shahram Lotfipour as its assistant dean of clinical education and program director of the proposed M.D.-master’s in public health program.
Lotfipour has a master’s in public health from UCLA and attended the University of Iowa College of Medicine for medical school. He currently serves as the associate clinical professor of emergency medicine and, as assistant dean, plans to oversee a large portion of the clinical curriculum as well as direct patient care training for medical students.
Lotfipour’s appointment is effective May 1.
Dean Appointed in School of Engineering
UC Irvine has named Rafael L. Bras, an internationally renowned hydrologist and hydroclimatologist, as the new dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Beginning September 1, Bras will succeed Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, who has served as dean since 1997.
Bras, 57, holds three degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, a science doctorate in water resources and hydrology and a masters in civil engineering. He currently serves as the Edward A. Abdun-Nur Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also assists in the university’s department of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences.
“I’m truly honored and excited about this position,” Bras said. “The Samueli School of Engineering is an enormous asset, recognized as a keystone to building a top-tier modern university in a world where engineering and science are increasingly the drivers of the economic engine and hold the promise of a better society.”
Reports of Identity Theft Continue to Rise
Currently, approximately 150 cases of identity theft have been reported to UC Irvine. This number of stolen Social Security numbers, which are being used to file fraudulent tax returns to gain refunds, has increased by over 35 since the first week of April. Victims include graduate and medical students enrolled in the 2006-07 academic year.
To date, the university has not detected a security breach in its network, though the campus is continuing investigation. Students who know that their Social Security number has been used to file a fraudulent return are encouraged to contact the UCI Police Department at 949-824-5223, the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, or the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338.