Here's the latest news from AirUCI — our events, our people, our science.



Monday, June 10, 2024

UCI's Chemistry Department has recognized 15 researchers for their work in promoting a strong safety culture in their labs. Of the 15, five are AirUCI team members!  While they are not the safety representatives for their labs, these individuals show that anyone can be a positive role model for exemplary safety practices.  The AirUCI team members are Madeline Cooke, Kristen Johnson, Lucia Liu, Marcus Marracci, and Steven Nguyen.  Congratulations, all!

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

At the Chemistry Department's undergraduate ceremony held June 4th, Katelyn Pacaud and Patricia Morris (both in the Finlayson-Pitts group) received awards.  Katelyn was a recipient of the Michael Gebel undergraduate student award and Patricia received the American Chemical Society's ENV award.  Well done, ladies!

Monday, June 3, 2024

A new study published by AirUCI's Tires and Brakes (TAB) team is the subject of an article published June 3rd.  The team showed that most of the particles emitted during light braking carry an electric charge, largely dependent on the material makeup of brake pads—something that could potentially be exploited to help reduce air pollution from vehicles. “If the particles are charged, they can be removed easily from the air before they have a chance to have an impact at all on health,” said AirUCI Prof. Jim Smith, one of the faculty involved in the study. 
Read the article

Friday, May 10, 2024

At the UCI Chemistry Department's annual Lee Dinner on May 9th, two of our amazing AirUCI grad students were honored, both from the Nizkorodov group.  Kasey Edwards received the 2024 Gebel Award along with chemistry students Patrick McShea and Madison Landi.  Katie Hopstock received the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Chemistry Department as well as the Joan Rowland Award.  Congratulations to all!

Monday, April 22, 2024

AirUCI faculty Mike Kleinman is quoted in a House Beautiful article on the health and environmental effects of backyard or campground fire pits.  Wood smoke is made up of fine particles, including soot and particulate matter 2.5, and also generate gases.  "Wood fire smoke contributes to air pollution and the fine particles contribute to lung and heart disease," Mike says.  "People who have respiratory problems are more likely to be at risk from health effects related to fire pit emissions, and those with pre-existing heart disease might also be at elevated risk when it comes to exposure to wood smoke."  The most dangerous instances of outdoor fire pit use include any that burn treated or painted wood or wood products— or if accelerants are used to get the fire stared — because those are very often toxic, Mike says. Read the article

Monday, April 22, 2024

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is the inaugural director of UC Irvine’s Clean Energy Institute, founded in 2022 as an umbrella organization to help coordinate and administer sustainability research for several campus interdisciplinary centers.  In addition to Jack as the director, several AirUCI team members are on staff at CEI, including  Profs. Scott Samuelsen and Vojislav Stamenkovic and research scientists Michael Mac Kinnon and Shupeng Zhu.  Jack was interviewed on April 22nd about the institute and its work.  Read the article  View the special report

Friday, April 19, 2024

Research conducted in AirUCI's Randerson, Czimczik, and Guenther groups points to increased instability in forest ecosystems.  In the Randerson group, AirUCI grad student Jinhyuk Kim led a study that found ecosystems at high latitudes are becoming increasingly unstable as a result of increased wildfires.  “We’re seeing higher levels of photosynthesis that persist for decades after fire,” said Jinhyuk. “Instead of the evergreen conifer forest coming back right away, in some regions, we see a long-term replacement of these forests with faster-growing species.”  In a study led by Allison Welch, AirUCI grad student in the Czimczik group, her team explored plant expansion across the Arctic ecosystem.  “With increasing temperatures and wildfire activity, we’re seeing increased growth of bigger, deciduous shrubs,” said Allison.

Hui Wang, AirUCI grad student in the Guenther group, conducted a third study which was focused on an unexpected rise in emissions of isoprene – an important molecule that influences local climate through its effects on ozone, aerosols, and methane levels.  “This change will indirectly change the climate,” said Hui,. noting that rising temperatures have prompted plants to release more isoprene.  Read the article

Thursday, April 18, 2024

AirUCI faculty Filipp Furche has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Filipp is recognized for distinguished contributions to the fields of computational and theoretical chemistry with applications to the structure and bonding of rare-earth and actinide metal complexes.  His work has significantly contributed to his fields of study.  With the addition of Filipp to this distinguished group, UCI has 207 AAAS fellows.  Congratulations, Filipp!

Monday, April 15, 2024

AirUCI facutly Sarah Finkeldei is featured in an article about UCI's nuclear reactor facility.  Founded in 1969 by honorary AirUCI faculty Sherry Rowland, the facility has a storied history and Sarah's work is opening new possibilities and new collaborations.  Read the article

Thursday, March 14, 2024

AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted in study that links pre-term and low-weight births in Louisiana’s Ascension Parish to toxic air pollution.  The area is also known locally as Cancer Alley for the chemicals emitted from the many petrochemical plants and refineries there. Jun is surprised that, until recently, no one had studied the link between air pollution in the region and poor birth outcomes. “Air toxins also have been shown to be related to increased risk of birth defects, but the data for the birth defects are harder to get,” she said.  Read the article