UCI News

Daily Pilot, Feb. 16, 2022
UCI poised to advance depression research following $55-million gift to establish center
There’s much reason for optimism following a game-changing gift UC Irvine received earlier this month. Before her passing in 2020, Audrey Steele Burnand, a late Newport Beach resident and noted philanthropist, earmarked a $55-million gift from her estate to fund the creation of a depression research center at UC Irvine. “Nothing could be more exciting,” [Michael] Yassa [professor of neurobiology and behavior] said. “A gift of this magnitude is transformative, to say the least. It can really catapult our research in a positive direction.” The Burnand donation is believed to be the largest of its kind to a university in the United States dedicated specifically to the study of depression. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

The Atlantic,  Feb. 17, 2022
COVID Won’t End Up Like the Flu. It Will Be Like Smoking.
Choosing not to get vaccinated against COVID is, right now, a modifiable health risk on par with smoking, which kills more than 400,000 people each year in the United States. Andrew Noymer, a public health [associate] professor at UC Irvine, told me that if COVID continues to account for a few hundred thousand American deaths every year—“a realistic worst-case scenario,” he calls it—that would wipe out all of the life-expectancy gains we’ve accrued from the past two decades’ worth of smoking-prevention efforts.

The Guardian, Feb. 17, 2022
‘Loading the dice’: climate crisis could increase southern California wildfires
A separate study released last year, led by researchers at University of California, Irvine, looked at the temperatures in the Sierra Nevada range during 450 fires that ignited there between 2001 and 2020. Their analysis shows that, as warming gets worse and temperatures continue to spike, fires in Sierra Nevada could increase by 20% or more over the next 20 years. The amount of land burned will increase even more sharply, rising by 25% by the 2040s. “Wildfires are really sensitive to small changes in temperatures,” says Aurora Gutierrez, a project specialist in UCI’s department of Earth system science and lead author of the Sierra Nevada study.

Healthcare Innovation, Feb. 17, 2022
UC Irvine Institute for Precision Health Called an ‘Ecosystem for Collaboration’
The University of California, Irvine has launched the Institute for Precision Health (IPH), which brings together UCI’s health sciences, engineering, machine learning, artificial intelligence, clinical genomics and data science capabilities. UCI said the institute would bring a multifaceted, integrated approach to precision medicine, which collects patient data – history, exams, demographics, molecular and diagnostic tests – and uses the power of computer algorithms, predictive modeling and AI to develop personalized treatment and lifelong health maintenance plans.

Chief Healthcare Executive, Feb. 16, 2022
Improving reporting on wearable devices in medical research
A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine says it has developed a framework to ensure better reporting of data from wearable devices. … Alexandre Chan, the author of the study and UCI’s chair and professor of clinical pharmacy practice, said in a news release there’s a “lack of standardization” in reporting. “These devices may revolutionize healthcare by allowing researchers to monitor symptom severity and assist clinicians in providing their patients more holistic care and, ultimately, improve people’s quality of life, but the biometric statistics obtained can be highly variable,” Chan said. “Our aim is to improve the consistency of reporting.”

Previously “In the News”