UCI News

ABC10, Jan. 26, 2022 (Video)
In-Depth: How a scientist laid the groundwork for the mRNA COVID vaccines in San Diego
When the history of the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 gets written, there will be an important chapter in San Diego. A series of experiments conducted decades ago at a fledgling biotech company … has earned one scientist a prestigious international award. The journal Nature listed him as a possible contender for the Nobel Prize. It all has to do with a small bottle of clear liquid on Phil Felgner’s desk. Today, Philip Felgner, [Ph.D., professor in residence of physiology & biophysics], leads UCI’s Vaccine Research and Development Center.

Verywell Health, Jan. 24, 2022
Is COVID-19 Endemic Yet?
“I’ve read a lot of other experts, epidemiologists, public health folks talking about this,” Bernadette M. Boden-Albala, DrPh, MPH, director and founding dean of the program in public health at the University of California, [Irvine] told Verywell. … “We hope there will be a trend downward,” Boden-Albala explained. “Between more and more people getting boosted, between increased vaccination, and between the number of people that have had Omicron and Delta—that maybe we’re pushing the virus into becoming endemic.”

Insider, Jan. 25, 2022
Babies have better brain development if their family gets $300 a month, a new study finds — but Biden’s $300 monthly check program just ended
[The researchers] found that those whose mothers received the $333 stipends exhibited more “fast” brain activity than those whose mothers were given the $20 ones. Other studies, the researchers write, have shown that fast brain activity is associated with cognitive development. That’s because “early childhood is indeed a more sensitive period for environmental enrichment than later in childhood,” Greg Duncan, a [Distinguished] Professor of education at the University of California, Irvine, and researcher on the paper, told Insider. “Our study is adding more support to the idea that conditions early in life matter a great deal.”

Parents Magazine, Jan. 26, 2022
Navigating COVID-19 Testing for Kids Under 5 is a Parent’s Nightmare
Karen Edwards, Ph.D., professor in the program of public health at the University of California, Irvine, recommends surrounding your child with a wall of protection to decrease the risk of contracting COVID. … “The best protective measure is to have caregivers, parents, and family members who are eligible to be fully vaccinated, including boosters,” Edwards says. “Couple this with other protective measures, to avoid crowds, defer travel, implement the routine protective measures, like mask- wearing (especially inside), hand hygiene, and physical distancing.”

Nature, Jan. 26, 2022
Did a mega drought topple empires 4,200 years ago?
Evidence suggests there was a long-lasting drought in the Mediterranean region some 4,200 years ago …. “There’s really not great evidence that it had great impacts in North America,” says Kathleen Johnson, [associate professor of Earth system science], a palaeoclimatologist at the University of California, Irvine. She adds that, in general, the Southern Hemisphere is under-sampled, so researchers don’t have a clear picture of how the climate there changed. …  “It wasn’t a global event,” says Johnson.

Previously “In the News”