News in Brief, Week Seven

Anteatery Strawberries Recalled

Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Parham sent out a campuswide email last Saturday stating that frozen strawberries served at Mesa Court’s Anteatery on Oct. 16 were recently recalled for possible contamination with Hepatitis A.

Vice Chancellor Parham noted that the Hepatitis A vaccine is “routinely given to California children, so many [students] may be immune to the virus.”

Since Saturday, there have been no reports of Hepatitis A due to the strawberries. Students who believe they have symptoms due to exposure are urged to consult a healthcare specialist.

Ralph J. Cicerone Passes Away at 73

Former UCI Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone passed away at his home in New Jersey last Saturday morning.

In addition to his position as chancellor emeritus, Cicerone was also the founder of UCI’s Department of Earth Systems Sciences and former dean of the School of Physical Sciences. Chancellor Howard Gillman, in an email, recognized and thanked Cicerone for his “powerful and profound work as a chemist and Earth systems scientist,” “courageous work uncovering the causes and effects of climate change” and “his extraordinary contributions to the global preeminence of this institution.”

Cicerone was also an avid fan of baseball. UCI’s Anteater Ballpark was named for him in 2009.

Vice Chancellor Parham Visits Compton High School

UCI Vice Chancellor Thomas A. Parham spoke to students at Compton High School on Nov. 3 as part of the Achieve UC outreach effort to increase diversity among undergraduates.

Now in its fifth year, the initiative is continuing its effort to ensure that high school students know a college education at a UC campus is available and attainable. UC officials also want to urge teens not to be deterred by the cost. 75 percent of UCI students receive financial aid and 57 percent receive enough to cover their entire cost of tuition.

After the visit, Parham told UCI News, “Along with an inspirational message, we want to give students and their families practical tools, such as workshops on aspects of the college-going process, from SAT test taking to budgeting and applying for financial aid.”

UCI Chemistry Professor Named Moore Inventor Fellow

Professor Shane Ardo was one of five Moore Inventor Fellows to receive funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation this year.

According to the foundation’s website, they look “to invest in people who create new tools and technologies with a high potential to accelerate progress in the foundation’s areas of interest: scientific research, environmental conservation and patient care.”

The foundation’s goal is to invest $33.75 million in a total of 50 inventors across the next ten years.

Ardo’s work focuses on water desalination as a solution for the United States’ continuing water crisis. His solar electrodialysis device uses solar power to filter water and would increase efficiency of the process tenfold. Ardo will receive $825,000 for his project over the next three years.

UCI Study Finds Electroacupuncture Lowers Hypertension

In a study published in Nature’s Scientific Journal on Oct. 24, researchers at the UCI Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine announced new findings that electroacupunture therapy can lower hypertension.

Authors of the study include UCI professor John C. Longhurst and UCI scientists Min Li, Stephanie C. Tjen-A-Looi, and Zhi-ling Guo.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is preventable, but if untreated can lead to serious consequences. It affects approximately one-third of adults and increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death in the U.S.

In tests done on rats, researchers discovered that electroacupuncture therapy increases the release of an opioid in the brainstem, which minimized blood pressure for at least three days. According to the study, this is a major breakthrough as it “may be suitable for treating clinical hypertension” and “may be a viable non-pharmacological option to treat chronic hypertension.”

UCI Researchers Learn New Information on Mitochondrial Cell Death

A UCI study on changes in mitochondria, published in Nature’s Scientific Journal on Oct. 27, provides new information on ways to force cancer cells to self-destruct.

The study’s authors include UCI professor Peter J. Burke, Harvard professor Anthony G. Letai, geneticist Douglas C. Wallace, and Ph.D. students Ted D. Pham, Phi Q. Pham and Jinfeng Li.

Mitochondrions are known as the powerhouses of the cell, but they also regulate a cell’s life-death pathway. The researchers have developed an electronic method that involves attaching 10,000 purified mitochondria to a graphene (honeycombed atom-thin carbon layer) sensor that allows them to note changes in acidity levels and see voltage across membranes. In doing so, they’ve identified two electrochemical gradients in cells.

The findings have led researchers to discover a correlation between the two gradients and programmed cell death, called apoptosis, that may help in further research on the ability to influence cancer cells.

Joan Irvine Smith Plans to Donate California Impressionist Collection to UCI

Joan Irvine Smith, great-granddaughter of James Irvine, founder of the Irvine Company, and granddaughter of James Irvine II, the city’s namesake, announced on Oct. 27 that she will donate her $17 million California Impressionists paintings collection to UC Irvine.

In an email sent to the UCI community, Chancellor Howard Gillman stated, “The donation reaffirms a long and supportive relationship between UCI and the Irvine family, and lays a foundation for advancing our campus as a destination for people who want to understand the world and human experience through California art. This goal builds on one of the central pillars of our strategic plan: to make pervasive the impact of art, culture, creative expression, and humanistic inquiry on our broader research and education missions, and to pursue opportunities to develop art collections and exhibition spaces.”

Smith was also actively involved in the creation of the university. Her donation is the largest-ever gift of art to the campus. The collection will be on display at its current home at the Irvine Museum until a place at UCI has been designated.

UCI Program Helps First-generation Students Adjust to College Life

First-generation UC Irvine freshmen are receiving the help and guidance they need to navigate campus life from upperclassmen who were once in their shoes.

The 10-week First Generation First Quarter Challenge program, founded by Chicano and Latino Studies Associate Professor Casavantes Bradford, is currently hosting workshops for 65 students to inform them of the various campus resources at their disposal and helps them build peer and faculty relationships.

The program was established by social science students and faculty, but hopes to spread to other schools.