News in Brief
UC Endowment Fund Among Worldwide Best in Addressing Climate Change
The University of California is 17th in the world amongst all investment funds for incorporating climate change risks into its investment strategies, according to a ranking released May 2. In the “Global Climate 500 Index,” UC moved up eight spots from its rank of 25th last year. The UC is also the highest-ranking university on the list.
The Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) creates the index by studying how investment funds implement climate change practices into their strategies.
“We are pleased to receive this recognition for our work in integrating climate risk in our investment process,” said UC Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher in a statement.
Last year, the UC announced its plan for sustainable investments and has committed $1 billion for climate change solutions in the next 5 years.
UC Launches Pilot Program to Combat Effects of Tobacco Products
The University of California announced the creation of four “UC Smoke and Tobacco-Free Student Fellowships” last Monday. The fellowships award $12,000 each to students “pursuing research or projects that aim at reducing the health hazards of smoke and tobacco on campuses.”
The program is a continuation of the UC’s longtime involvement in health care and tobacco control. The transdermal nicotine patch was created and eventually patented at the UC in 1990. Moreover, in 2014, the UC implemented its smoke-free policy systemwide.
The UC Smoke and Tobacco-Free Systemwide Task Force is conducting the fellowship program as a trial and will continue — or even expand — the program if successful.
UC and NASA’s JPL find Greenland’s Glaciers Melting Faster than Previously Thought
New maps created by an international research team, including UCI professors, show that glaciers in Greenland are melting faster than previously thought.
Researchers from UCI, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories, and other institutions combined their research data and mapped out the ocean floor around 14 of Greenland’s glaciers. The lead author of the paper on the research was Professor of Earth System Science and JPL researcher Eric Rignot. Other UCI researchers include Associate Professor of Earth System Sciences Isabella Velicogna and doctoral candidates Cilan Cai and Xu Yun.
The new research is critical to understanding the the seascape in Greenland and helping to predict global sea level rise.
UCI Astronomers Among Group that Discovered Precise Mass of Black Hole
Astronomers from UCI and other research institutions have recently determined that the mass of a black hole in the center of another nearby elliptical galaxy (NGC 1332) was 660 million times greater than that of our sun.
At the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, researchers observed the gas and dust particles around the black hole, testing their orbital speeds to determine the black hole’s size.
The discovery highlights the technique of using ALMA to observe cold molecular gases to get a more accurate measurement, rather than hot molecular gasses which are on visible wavelengths but are also more turbulent and provide less reliable measurements.
UCI Scientists Discover how Lung Tumors Rewire Circadian Rhythms to take Control of Metabolic Pathways in the Liver
Scientists Paolo Sassone-Corsi and Selma Masri of UCI’s Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism conducted a rodent study alongside other colleagues that revealed that lung tumors rewire circadian rhythms to control metabolism in the liver. The tumors use inflammatory responses to send signals to the liver, leading to hyperglycemia.
Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles in the body which govern the physiological processes of all living organisms. They are internal time mechanisms in our bodies which anticipate environmental changes and allow us to adapt. The rhythms affect about 50 percent of the genes that are involved with metabolic pathways in the liver.
The researchers are currently studying the lung tumors’ secretions to understand the metabolic effects of cancer and how they affect circadian rhythms.
UCI Biocontainment Lab Designated a National Training Facility
The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Biosafety & Biocontainment Training Program selected UCI’s high-containment biosafety level three training laboratory (BSL-3) to provide continued training to professionals. Its official designation occurred on May 9.
BSL-3 is the third facility in the country to be designated as providing continued training, it will be the first to be built for educational purposes only.
Highly infectious diseases such as the Zika virus, the Ebola Virus, West Nile virus, tuberculosis and influenza are on the rise in the past several years, increasing the threat to public health. Research for these dangerous diseases requires special laboratories deemed high-containment or BSL-3.
UCI’s BSL-3 laboratory allows for practical training in dealing with hazardous materials and mechanical failures can be provided without the need to worry about risks.
The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences Launches New Master’s Program
The new Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design (MHCID) program was announced May 2 by The Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. The MHCID is a one-year program which offers both online and on-campus classes and, according to its website, intends to prepare students “to be leaders in user experience research and design, interaction design, information architecture, product design and human-computer interaction.”
Students will work on solving real problems closely with faculty and industry sponsors in an attempt to innovate new technologies or improve existing ones.