News In Brief

Governor Brown Shuts Down “Gay Camps”

California Governor Jerry Brown has formally ended the practice of forcefully changing an individual’s sexual orientation in his recent signing of bill SB 1172.

The bill, which was introduced to the California Legislature on February 22, 2012 by Senator Ted Lieu of 28th District, proposes illegalizing efforts by mental health professional in attempting to “heal” a person of their homosexuality, or any such efforts to shift a person’s sexual orientation.

“Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is not a disease, disorder, illness, deficiency or shortcoming,” declares the bill in the first clause of its first section.

The bill has been lauded by both the Courage Campaign and the Human Rights Campaign as a step forward in protecting LGBTQ youths from invasive procedures originating from faulty science. The procedures described are often identified as inhumane and psychologically harmful to their targets, often resulting in emotional trauma and cases of child abuse for youths undergoing these procedures.

Practitioners of this “conversion therapy” are allegedly responsible for psychological torture of youths and children, earning their clinics the nickname of “gay camps.”

The HRC is currently one of the largest organizations created to uphold and protect the civil rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders in America.

 

UCI Professors Receive Two Million Dollars

UC Irvine Professor of Bio-Chemistry Xing Dai and Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics Qing Nie have been awarded a $2 million grant for their research studies.

The award, granted by the National Science Foundation, is expected to be used to further Professor Nie and Dai’s research, with hopes of achieving groundbreaking developments as well as facilitating the educational development of their students.

As mentioned, Professor Nie teaches here at UC Irvine and also serves as the Director for the Center for Mathematical and Computational Biology and the Acting Director for UCI’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Mathematical and Computational Biology Gateway Program.

Professor Dai, who received her doctorate from the University of Chicago, has been working in UC Irvine’s Department of Biological Chemistry. Her research here at UCI has been focused on skin and mammary stem cells.

The sizeable award is expected to further collaborative studies with the hopes of achieving academic progress and discovery in those respective fields.

 

Piomelli and Team “Weed” out Autism

UC Irvine endocannabinoid researcher Danielle Piomelli’s research has yielded new findings on the potential benefits of the marijuana-like chemicals found in the brain. These chemicals, which share resemblance to the THC found in cannabis, has shown to have some effects in treating fragile X syndrome when increased.

Fragile X syndrome, identified as being a common cause of genetic autism, is associated with mental disabilities as well as other impairments in those who have it.

Dr. Piomelli has contributed to considerable research on endocannabinoids and their effects, having produced significant findings to date.