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



Tuesday, March 12, 2024

A new paper from AirUCI's Smith research group is the first published from the work of our "Beyond the Tailpipe" team on emissions from brakes and tires.  Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and covered in an article on The Brake Report, the team’s findings underscore the complexity of vehicle-related air pollution, extending beyond tailpipe emissions to include brake wear particles. AirUCI grad student Adam Thomas and postdoc Paulus Bauer are the leading researchers on the study, which is generating a lot of media attention.  Read the article       Read the UCI News

Monday, March 4, 2024

Honorary AirUCI team member Tracy Caldwell Dyson is profiled as one of 13 female astronauts with connections to UC campuses.  Tracy, former postdoc in the Finlayson-Pitts and Hemminger groups, will launch on March 21st for her third trip into space.  Bon voyage, Tracy, and happy landings!  Read the article

Friday, March 1, 2024

AirUCI faculty Jane Baldwin is quoted in a Reuters article on February's record-breaking global heat.  The added heat from global warming coupled with El Nino wreaks havoc on global systems, helping melt glaciers in the poles and mountains, raising sea levels, and driving extreme weather.  Record high temperatures in the summer — now underway in Southern Hemisphere — generally leads to a spike in heat-related deaths, said Jane.  "Heat is a substantial silent killer."   Read the article

Thursday, February 22, 2024

AirUCI Research Scientist Shahir Masri (School of Public Health) is quoted in a February 22nd article in SFGate on the use of human hair in the cleanup of oil spills.  The United States government has been testing the use of hair to clean up oil spills since the late 1990s and it's also being used to restore grasslands in San Francisco.  Shahir said that research supports the “physical ability of hair to serve as an effective sorbent of oil.”  He added that “thinking of creative ways to clean spills is useful,” but that the “big picture solution is to eliminate oil at its source of entry into the marketplace.”  Read the article

Thursday, February 22, 2024

On the February 22nd broadcast of NPR's Marketplace, AirUCI grad student Candelaria Bergero (Davis group) was interviewed about a recent study on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Unlike the automotive industry, aviation is considered a “hard to decarbonize sector”.  “I think we all benefit from flying,” she said. “So if we could find a way to do this without harming the planet, I think it’d be very beneficial.”  But not all SAF is created equal.  “When we say ‘sustainable aviation fuels,’ we kind of imply that they’re all the same, but they’re not.  For example, if the energy powering a biofuels production plant comes from fossil fuels, that can cancel out carbon savings,” Candelaria said.   Read and hear the interview

Thursday, February 1, 2024

In a February 1st article in Environmental Health News, AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted on her recent study on the association between reproductive health and the environment.  Jun's research found correlations between high levels of air pollution and increased rates of postpartum depression.  A main focus of her work is to help researchers, healthcare providers, and policymakers understand the importance of considering environmental hazards when discussing health during and after pregnancy. “Research is one thing,” Jun said. “How to use the research to really help a vulnerable population is another.”  Read the article

Friday, January 26, 2024

After a viral TikTok video raised questions about lead exposure in Stanley cups, health experts including AirUCI faculty Jun Wu were consulted about the danger.  Most vacuum-insulated reusable water bottles use lead soldering because it's the easiest and cheapest method, says Jun. "It's not just Stanley."  That said, the lead solder is completely enclosed by stainless steel and should not come in contact with your drink, she says. "The risk of lead exposure is really low unless the protective cover is missing or impaired." Read the article

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

AirUCI faculty Jack Brouwer is quoted in a January 17th New York Times article on the effects of very cold weather on electric car batteries. Electric vehicles have two batteries: a low-voltage and a high-voltage. In particularly cold weather, the lower-voltage, 12-volt battery can also lose charge, like it does in traditional vehicles. When that happens, the EV cannot charge at a fast charger until the low voltage battery has been jump-started. “It ends up being very difficult to make battery electric vehicles work in very cold conditions,” Jack said. “You cannot charge a battery as fast or discharge a battery as fast if it’s cold. There’s no physical way of getting around it.” Other colder countries, however, have taken steps to address this issue.  Read the article

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

In January 16th article in the journal Eos, AirUCI faculty Steve Davis is quoted on the concept of submerging seaweed as part of a strategy for mitigating climate change. When these algae photosynthesize, they turn carbon dioxide from the upper ocean into biomass, potentially locking its carbon away for hundreds or even thousands of years, drawing down levels of carbon in the atmosphere. But there are questions about ocean nutrients, ecosystems, and the ability to monitor the effects of submerged seaweed.  "Assessing the effect of sinking seaweed is hard enough, even if you know how much seaweed you’ve harvested and sunk. Having the seaweed drifting around will make it harder," said Steve.  Read the article

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

AirUCI grad student Katie Hopstock (Nizkorodov group) is the 2024 Graduate Student Awardee in Environmental Chemistry.  This award is given annually by the American Chemical Society's ENVR Division and recognizes graduate students who are working in areas related to environmental chemistry.  The award is based on student transcripts and record of research productivity.  Congratulations, Katie!