UCI News

Orange County Register, May 3, 2021
OC’s vaccination efforts shift from the vulnerable to the hesitant
Researcher Suellen Hopfer, [assistant professor], who teaches public health at UC Irvine, just wrapped up a small study with parents and their middle- and high-school-aged kids. Some parents weren’t interest in vaccinating their child because “they feel the risk is manageable,” she said. … Online townhalls also appear to be effective. The Anaheim Union High School District and Latino Health Access held one where parents could ask UCI Health Family Health Centers Executive Director Dr. Jose Mayorga questions. … “My concern is that even in communities where we’re focusing now, there’s still going to be people that we’ve missed,” said Daniel Parker, a public health [assistant] professor and researcher at UCI. “We won’t know that that’s happened until people are getting sick.” [Subscription required, campus-wide access provided by UCI Libraries. Sign-up here: https://guides.lib.uci.edu/news/ocregister]

Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2021
Little known outside India, Jainism spreads at colleges amid calls to ‘decolonize’ studies
“Students are quite starved for non-Western content. There’s a void in the canon,” said Brianne Donaldson, [assistant professor of religious studies and philosophy], who has leveraged her position as the Shri Parshvanath presidential chair in Jain studies at UC Irvine to bring Jainism into courses on Asian philosophies, medical ethics and animal ethics. “I’m really interested in what can these ideas do in the world,” Donaldson said. “At UCI, especially for people who are not going to be focused solely on Jain studies as scholars … it allows me to bring these less expected connections” — for example, to medicine, health, engineering, law and gender studies. [Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

National Geographic, May 3, 2021
The fascinating history behind the popular ‘waving lucky cat’
The “Chinese waving cat” is well-known—visually, at least. … With a raised paw, pointy red ears, and coins and other accessories, maneki-neko have been bringing in luck and prosperity for centuries—and while the iconic statutes have varied origin stories, they all begin in Japan. … According to an undergraduate research project led by Bill Maurer, professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, the figurines date back to the Meiji Period (1868–1912). Subscription required, you can request an electronic copy of the article by sending an email to communications@uci.edu.]

Nature, May 3, 2021
First genetically modified mosquitoes released in the United States
“When something new and revolutionary comes along, the immediate reaction of a lot of people is to say: ‘Wait.’,” says Anthony James, [Donald Bren Professor], a molecular biologist focused on bioengineered mosquitoes at the University of California, Irvine. “So the fact that [Oxitec] was able to get the trial on the ground in the United States is a big deal.”

Grist, May 1, 2021|
“Long overdue”: The Senate just passed $35 billion for clean drinking water.
Investments in water infrastructure can often be a hard sell politically. “A lot of these are invisible investments. Distribution networks are underground, people can’t really see them,” said Maura Allaire, [assistant] professor of urban planning at the University of California, Irvine. “It can be really hard to invest — until a catastrophe happens.”

Previously “In the News”