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



Tuesday, July 25, 2023

A first-of-its-kind study led by AirUCI faculty Jun Wu suggests pregnant women exposed to a higher level of air pollution may have a higher risk of spontaneous premature rupture of membranes (SPROM), a critical obstetrical problem that can significantly increase maternal and fetal mortality. “Ozone appears to be more harmful among the air pollutants that we studied so it warrants further targeted research in different locations to explore this association,” says Jun.  Read the article

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

In an NBC News article on extreme heat and wildfire smoke, AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted on how this combination raises the risk of early death in vulnerable populations.  "The body has a limited capacity to handle stress, and while extreme heat and air pollution impact the human body in different ways, the existence of one appears to worsen the impact of the other," said Jun. "Though older adults and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk for dire health outcomes related to extreme heat and air pollution, no one is immune," she says.  Read the article

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Najit Saliba, former grad student under Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and member of the Lebanese Parliament, was interviewed on the July 4, 2023 edition of the PBS News Hour in a segment on the state of Lebanon.  Najat, a longtime Professor of Chemistry at American University of Beirut, was elected to office in May 2022 as an opposition candidate and has been working toward government reform.  She was asked about the problems the country is facing, the inability of the government to move forward and provide basic services, and her efforts to change the situation.  View the segment and read the transcript

Monday, July 3, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jun Wu is quoted in a July 3rd Washington Post article about fireworks and air quality.  Much of the pollution from fireworks comes from those ignited in people’s backyards or on streets, not necessarily from grand public displays, says Jun. In a 2021 study, Jun and her colleagues found that California communities with policies restricting street-level fireworks saw noticeably less pollution compared to those that didn’t.  Her research also suggests that the variable policies mean fireworks pollution doesn’t affect communities equally.  In a study published this year, Jun found that communities with higher proportions of Hispanic residents were exposed to greater particulate pollution than other communities. “I think people need to be aware that there’s a cost associated with firework burning, not just money, but also the health-related costs and the cost to the environment,” said Jun.  Read the article

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

AirUCI faculty Jane Baldwin and her team have developed an economic risk model to help determine the impact of tropical cyclones.  "They pose huge risks to both human life and the built environment, so they have large economic costs associated with them and cause a lot of deaths,” said Jane. “We need to be able to quantitatively explain their risk, meaning the probability of seeing different levels of losses.”  By making this new model freely available, countries that may not be able to afford access to other such risk models—which typically belong to for-profit insurance companies that do not freely share their products or data—can get a clearer picture of the risks they face. Read the article

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $3.75 million to UCI engineers for research to advance critical technologies to produce, store, deploy, and utilize hydrogen. AirUCI faculty Vojislav Stamenkovic is leading the UCI team and  in early June attended the funding award announcement in Washington, D.C.  The team's goal is to enable the widespread commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technology targeting medium- and heavy-duty trucks “Hydrogen technologies are the prevailing choice to effectively address decarbonization of the energy sector, electrify transportation and modernize the electric grid,” said Voya, “nevertheless, to widely use hydrogen as a fuel, further improvements in the technology are essential.”  Read the article

Monday, June 26, 2023

From June 26 through July 31, 2023, AirUCI will host student researchers from the ALMA Academy operated by our non-profit partner, the Madison Park Neighborhood Association.  The students will be able to observe our research and contribute to the work as well through data collection and analysis.

Friday, June 23, 2023

In a June 23rd article in Healthline, AirUCI research specialist Shahir Masri is quoted on the health effects of air pollution including an estimated 7 million premature deaths annually.  Ailments such as COPD, cancers, heart and respiratory disease, neurological and cognitive disorders, and pregnancy outcomes are linked to air pollution.  “Many people may not think about the fact that air that looks clean (has good visibility) still contains pollutants that are harmful to health,” said Shahir.   The article also describes how air pollution is measured and how to protect against its effects.  Read the article       Read the July 12 article in Fortune

Thursday, June 22, 2023

AirUCI faculty Ulrike Luderer has been informed that her January 2022 paper entitled "Exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) depletes the ovarian follicle reserve and causes sex-dependent cardiovascular changes in apolipoprotein E null mice" was selected as Paper of the Year by the Editorial staff at Particle and Fibre Toxicology.  Among her co-authors are additional AirUCI researchers Veronique Perraud, Lisa Wingen, Rebecca Arechavala, Bishop Bliss, David Herman, and Michael Kleinman.  Congratulations to all on this great honor!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

At the EKC Lee event held annually by UCI's Chemistry Department, several AirUCI team members were recognized for their exceptional efforts and contributions.  From the NIzkorodov group, a number of grad students received awards: Lucia Liu for Contributions to Education by a First Year Teaching Assistant, Avery Dalton for Contributions to Education by a Teaching Assistant, Lena Gerritz received a graduate student fellowship from the National Science Foundation, and Cynthia Wong was awarded the prestigious Smitrovich Prize. From the Carlton group, Alyssa Burns also received a grad student award for Contributions to Education by a Teaching Assistant and Madison Flesch for Outstanding Contributions to the Department.  The Gebel Award for graduate students was given to Jeremy Wakeen (Smith group), Jessica Granger-Jones, Nehal Idris, and Elisa Olivas.  Recipients of the Undergraduate Gebel Award were Patricia Morris (Finlayson-Pitts group), Maggie Chou (Nizkorodov group), Max Lee (Smith group), and Natalie Ramirez (Jenny Yang group in UCI Chemistry) .  Congratulations, one and all!