UCI News

AP, June 23, 2021
COVID-19 vaccine creators win prestigious Spanish prize
Seven researchers whose work contributed to designing COVID-19 vaccines have won Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias award for scientific research. The award panel announced Wednesday it had chosen Hungary’s Katalin Karikó, Americans Drew Weissman and Philip Felgner, [UCI physiology & biophysics professor in residence], Germany’s Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türeci, Canadian Derrick Rossi and Sarah Gilbert of the United Kingdom as this year’s prizewinners. The panel said the seven were “leading figures in one of the most outstanding feats in the history of science.”

The Guardian, June 24, 2021
I have ‘pandemic brain’. Will I ever be able to concentrate again?
“It’s going to take us some time to recover from it,” says Mike Yassa, the director of the UC Irvine Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and the UCI Brain Initiative. “It” being the subtle, but frustrating, mental deterioration many of us have incurred over the course of the pandemic. Or, as the phenomenon has come to be known: pandemic brain. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

Engadget, June 24, 2021
What Neuralink and other BCIs can and can’t do
For example, in a 2016 study, Dr. [Charles] Liu coordinated with a team of neurologists from the University of California, Irvine (Zot! Zot! Zot!), led by Dr. An Do, Assistant Professor Department of Neurology and member of UCI’s Brain Computer Interface Lab, to help partially restore a paraplegic man’s ability to walk using an external, noninvasive BCI that relied on Electroencephalography (EEG). The patient, 27-year-old Adam Fritz, a Southern California insurance adjuster who had been paralyzed in a 2008 traffic accident, first had to relearn how to walk — but only inside his head.

STAT News, June 24, 2021
A crucial, overlooked question on the new Alzheimer’s drug: When should patients stop taking it?
“When we enroll families in studies of treatments like aducanumab, we try to educate them that they should not expect large improvements in cognition or function,” Joshua Grill, director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders at the University of California, Irvine, said in an email to STAT. The drug can’t stop disease progression, only potentially slow it, a change that he warns would likely be imperceptible. “If we can’t expect families to know if the drug is working, how would we expect them to know when it is no longer working?”

Los Angeles Review of Books, June 23, 2021
Streaming Enthusiasm and the Industrious Family Drama
Michael Szalay, UCI professor of English and film and media writes, “Though newcomers like Netflix have produced an abundance of offerings … the TV industry remains organized around quality TV, and to a still largely invisible meta-genre that has governed its production for some 20 years. … In a forthcoming book, Television’s Second Lives, I call that meta-genre “the industrious family drama …. the genre finds white middle-class families living secret second lives, while working furiously, typically in black markets, to outpace a threatening downward mobility.”

Previously “In the News”