July 13, 2023
UCI Digest
Anteater Time Machine: In the early 1990s, a Jackson’s chameleon takes aim at a cricket in this split-second image captured by the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.
Anteater Time Machine: In the early 1990s, a Jackson’s chameleon takes aim at a cricket in this split-second image captured by the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.


CBD water: beneficial or balderdash?

Daniele Piomelli, director of the UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis and a Distinguished Professor of anatomy and neurobiology
The possible benefits of cannabidiol ― a non-intoxicating compound derived from hemp and cannabis plants ― have consumers flocking to such products as CBD-infused water. To find out whether the beverage has any benefits, Forbes turned to Daniele Piomelli, director of the UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis and a Distinguished Professor of anatomy and neurobiology. His response: “Since CBD water typically contains so little CBD, about 10 milligrams, [it] is unlikely to have any benefit. What's more, the nature of the specific CBD formulation may affect its ability to be absorbed well and used effectively by the body.”

Alzheimer’s research news

Two recent grants will bolster UCI’s long-running research into the causes and treatments of dementia:

  • The National Institute on Aging renewed a five-year, $13 million grant that focuses on Alzheimer’s disease in Black and Hispanic older adults in Southern California. “Currently, the representation of these groups in research studies is modest, limiting our knowledge of the biology of how the challenges of economic disparity, social inequality and racism-related stressors impact the brain over a person’s lifetime,” said Michael Yassa, director of the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.
  • The Alzheimer’s Association awarded UCI biologists a two-year grant to assess how COVID-19 affects the onset and severity of Alzheimer’s disease. Previous studies suggest viral or bacterial infections contribute to the onset of Alzheimer’s and worsen its pathological changes in the brain. Likewise, COVID-19 has been associated with a worsening of clinical symptoms in elderly patients with dementia. UCI’s team hopes to unravel how immune responses triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection affect the central nervous system and identify potential treatments.

Summer Shakespeare season kicks off Saturday

Summer Shakespeare season kicks off Saturday
UCI’s popular and inventive New Swan Shakespeare festival returns for its 11th season this weekend, starting with “As You Like It” on Saturday and “Julius Caesar” on Sunday. The summer lineup also includes “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” billed as a “whirlwind, irreverent, madcap farce” in which three actors zip through all 37 Bard plays in 97 minutes. The 2023 season runs through early September in UCI’s cozy outdoor theater-in-the-round.


A look at upcoming court cases on campus free speech

Courting Controversy: Upcoming cases on Campus speech
In this month’s SpeechMatters episode, UC Davis Law Professor Brian Soucek dives into what’s happening in the lower courts when it comes to campus speech. Hosted by Michelle Deutchman, executive director of UC’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, the podcast tackles diversity statements and the recent lawsuit against UC Santa Cruz, bias response teams and Speech First’s targeted lawsuits against them, and the potential impact of the decision in 303 Creative. A transcript is also available.


Anti-Cancer Challenge Rally
Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. (sponsored by UCI Health)

Buy One, Get One free buffet lunch for employees at Brandywine, Anteatery
Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (sponsored by HR Wellness)

Social Skills Refresh: How to Have Good Conversations in Social Situations
Tuesday, noon (sponsored by HR Wellness)

Mindfulness & the Power of Presence
Tuesday, noon (sponsored by Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute)

Sleep, Weight Management and Exercise
Tuesday, 3 p.m. (sponsored by UCI Health)

Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two to five days before they occur.


Summer reading options from alumni authors

Summer reading options from alumni authors

Three Anteater authors have released new novels: The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel, M.F.A. ’08 in English; Kismat Connection, young adult fiction by Ananya Devarajan, a 2023 neurobiology grad; and Bark On by Mason Boyles, M.F.A. ’20 in English.

#UCIconnected spotlights student, alumni, faculty and staff photos, essays, shoutouts, hobbies, artwork, unusual office decorations, activities and more. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected hashtag.


Note: Some news sites require subscriptions to read articles. The UCI Libraries offer free subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Orange County Register and The Washington Post for students, faculty and staff.
KQED logo

Aomawa Shields on Searching For Life in Space, and at Home

KQED, July 12
Guest: Aomawa Shields, associate professor of physics and astronomy

Fortune logo

Wildfire smoke could increase your pneumonia risk, experts say. Here’s what you need to know to stay healthy

Fortune, July 12
Cited: Shahir Masri, associate specialist in air pollution exposure assessment and epidemiology

WalletHub logo

Cities Where Inflation is Rising the Most

WalletHub, July 12
Cited: Richard McKenzie, emeritus professor of enterprise and society


UCI’s COVID-19 information hub, UCI Forward, has sunsetted. All employee-related information has migrated to the Human Resources Working Well webpage, and student-related information has moved to the Student Health Center webpage. UCI Digest issues are archived on the Strategic Communications website.
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