About Us

Who We Are

The AirUCI Institute is dedicated to understanding and solving issues relating to air pollution, climate change, agriculture, adaptation, sustainability, and green technology—locally and globally—and their effects on human health and well-being.  To meet these important objectives, AirUCI Co-Directors Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and Sergey Nizkorodov have brought together renowned scientists from many disciplines to form an integrated group of researchers, engineers, and health scientists. 

This ORU represents partnerships between faculty at UCI, noted Amereican scientists, and international researchers from, among others, the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel; the BESSY Institute in Berlin, Germany; Vrije University in Amsterdam, Holland, together with researchers from U.S. National Laboratories.  We have our own annual Fulbright Fellowship which invites Canadian scientists to spend up to six months with us in collaborative research endeavors.

Our team has an established history of effective scientific collaboration.  Faculty partners from five UCI schools comprise the AirUCI ORU.  For additional information about our principal investigators, our collaborators, and our research team, visit our People page.

The collaborative and individual research of our Primary Investigators is funded by a variety of agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others.    

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What We Do

It has become increasingly clear that environmental impacts of human pollutants are among the most pressing problems for this and future generations.  Understanding the sources and effects of these pollutants is crucial if we are to avoid the most extreme impacts and find cost-effective solutions.

Our research areas include the medical and epidemiological effects of air pollution, earth systems affected by gases released into the atmosphere, effects of pollution on the oceans and agriculture, sustainable fuel and energy issues, the role of clouds in photochemistry, ice core sampling for atmospheric composition and content, wildfires and land use policies, and many other areas of scientific interest.

We collaborate with leading scientists around the world to conduct the fundamental research that will help solve critical issues we face.  Some examples of our research include:

  • measurement of trace gases involved in air pollution and climate change at the parts-per-trillion level
  • cross-cutting experiments and theory that provide molecular-level insight into atmospheric processes such as the formation and fates of particles in air
  • translation and application of laboratory studies of impacts of air pollutants to human health and epidemiology
  • advances in water quality and resource strategies
  • development of new technologies to minimize air pollutant emissions
  • combining theory, experiments, and computer modeling in new ways to provide cutting-edge and transformative insights into previously unrecognized causes of pollution
  • state-of-the-art models from local to global scales that provide an integrated view and facilitate the development of cost-effective and health-protective energy strategies  

The research breakthroughs achieved by AirUCI scientists can be used to model test scenarios for air pollutant controls that would ease effects on health and the environment, advances in clean energy sources, water quality and availability, and climate change mitigations and solutions, among others.  AirUCI’s work promises to help create innovative technologies that will minimize the effects of pollution and uncover new approaches to solving these critical issues.

AirUCI researchers have served as expert advisors to a variety of public agencies in California, including:

  • California Air Resources Board
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • California Energy Commission
  • California State Environmental Protection Agency

We make our findings available to legislators and these agencies so that policy-makers can base their decisions about health and environmental issues on the latest research in the fields of atmospheric chemistry, alternative energy development, air quality and its effects on human health, water resources, and other areas of vital interest.

Undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting community college faculty work with AirUCI to carry out our research.  Along with providing these unique graduate and postdoctoral training opportunities, AirUCI provides classroom visits, tours of our labs, and curricular support in both fundamental chemistry and atmospheric sciences to regional high school science teachers (see past Teacher Workshop events).

In addition, we've developed active outreach efforts to community college faculty, to primarily undergraduate institutions of higher learning, and to the community at large.  Many of these are described in detail on our Events and News pages.

If you'd like to consider a donation to help support AirUCI, please contact Melissa Sweet at 949-824-2628 or visit our Get Involved page.