December 2022

The campus is very quiet now. Most of us have dispersed for a well-deserved holiday break, and those few of us left in our offices and labs are soon to follow them. This has been a difficult quarter for all, and I’m especially proud of the resilience of our students in coping with its challenges. Here are some highlights of recent weeks.

Student advocates for mental health

Kayla Atkinson.
Kayla Atkinson. School of Social Sciences.

I’m always amazed by our extraordinary students. Take Kayla Atkinson, for example. You would think that pursuing two majors and working as a course assistant in a professor’s research lab would be challenge enough. Yet Kayla also gives back to the campus, working as a peer educator at the Student Outreach and Retention Center, helping first-year students have a better, more successful college experience, and is training to be a peer life coach at the UCI Counseling Center, where she will work with students one-on-one. She is currently applying to master’s programs in clinical counseling and plans to work with young people in marginalized communities after she obtains her graduate degree. Keep up the great work, Kayla! We’re proud of all you are doing to help your fellow Anteaters.

UCI pathfinder 

ICS student a star in the making

Andrew Chio. Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

Andrew Chio. Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences

Andrew Chio, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, recently received two significant honors that mark him as a person to watch in his field. He was selected as an ARCS Scholar last month for the strength of his research in developing middleware systems for real-world problems, such as his work investigating how to improve the monitoring/reporting capabilities of stormwater systems. This follows on his receiving a highly competitive UC National Lab In-Residence Graduate Fellowship. He is currently at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, conducting research on infrastructure resilience. Congratulations, Andrew! You have brought great credit to yourself and to this university.

Ph.D. Student Andrew Chio Named ARCS Scholar, UC National Lab In-Residence Fellow 

Chemistry professor leads carbon capture research

Professor Shane Ardo and his graduate student, Anastasiya Bender, stand outside Caltech’s Kerkhoff

Professor Shane Ardo and his graduate student, Anastasiya Bender, stand outside Caltech’s Kerkhoff Marine Laboratory in Corona Del Mar. Photo credit: Lucas Van Wyk Joel

The production and storage of carbon dioxide is one of the major causes of our planet’s warming, so developing new and better ways of removing it from our environment is at the cutting edge of scientific research today. Chemistry professor Shane Ardo is deeply engaged in this vital work as scientific advisor to a company called Captura – a Caltech startup that aims to sequester carbon dioxide from ocean water at a scale of around 10 gigatons of CO2 each year. Professor Ardo’s specific goal is to make the chemical reactions involved in ocean water carbon sequestration systems like Captura’s more efficient, thus lowering costs and energy demands. His research is supported by a Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) grant he received in 2021. UCI has been at the forefront of climate change and sustainability research for decades, and with the work of Professor Ardo and other faculty across our campus, we continue to pioneer ways to achieve a better future.

The UCI story behind a top carbon capture company 

UCI School of Law withdraws from U.S. News rankings

Austen Parrish, dean of the UCI School of Law. Photo credit: Steve Zylius/UCI
Austen Parrish, dean of the UCI School of Law. Photo credit: Steve Zylius/UCI

Last month Austen Parrish, dean of the UCI School of Law announced that the school would no longer participate in the annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of law schools. With this move, UCI Law joins with other prominent law schools, including its sister schools at UCLA, Berkeley, and Davis, as well as Yale, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania, in recognizing that the methodology used by the magazine in developing its rankings is antithetical to the goals of social mobility, public service, and global engagement – goals that define UCI Law.

First Zoroastrian studies chair in nation

Carlo Cereti.
Carlo Cereti. School of Humanities

UCI is proud to be the home of the nation’s first endowed chair in Zoroastrian studies. The Ferdowsi Presidential Chair in Zoroastrian Studies is supported by the Massiah Foundation. In 2005, the Massiah Foundation, which is led by Fariborz Maseeh, a successful businessman and longtime friend of UCI, funded the creation of UCI’s Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, the first independent, interdisciplinary center within the UC system focused on the Iranian world. Zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest organized religions, first recorded in history about 2,700 years ago, and is based on the teaching of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster. The inaugural chairholder is Professor Carlo Cereti, formerly of La Sapienze in Rome. Welcome, Professor Cereti!

Two UCI faculty acclaimed for inventions

Payam Heydari (left) and Philip Felgner

Payam Heydari, Chancellor’s Professor of electrical engineering and computer science (left), and Philip Felgner, professor in residence of physiology and biophysics.

The National Academy of Inventors has named two University of California, Irvine researchers as fellows for 2022. Philip Felgner, a pioneer in the development of lifesaving mRNA vaccines, and Payam Heydar, a prolific creator of cutting-edge microelectronics technologies, were each recognized for inventions that have made tangible impacts on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society. Dr. Felgner, a professor in residence of physiology & biophysics, directs UCI’s Vaccine Research and Development Center. Dr. Heydari, a Chancellor’s Professor of electrical engineering & computer science, is director of UCI’s Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits laboratory. With their election, UCI now has 16 National Academy of Inventors fellows. Congratulations, Drs. Felgner and Heydari!

Two UCI researchers named fellows by the National Academy of Inventors 

Happy holidays!

2022 Year in Review graphic

As I look back on all we accomplished in 2022, I am grateful to each of you for your participation in the life of this university. It is you, the people of UCI, who make this campus so special and who embody its noble mission. I wish you an enjoyable and relaxing holiday, and a healthy and rewarding new year. See you in 2023!

Fiat Lux!

Chancellor Howard Gillman