June 16, 2023
UCI Digest
At Student Wellness & Health’s finals week De-stress Fest, therapy dogs provide students with furry friendship. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)
At Student Wellness & Health’s finals week De-stress Fest, therapy dogs provide students with furry friendship. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)


Celebrating Juneteenth

Rodrigo Lazo, interim vice chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, issued a statement announcing UCI’s Monday, June 19 observation of the newest national holiday, Juneteenth, an annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War. “Juneteenth provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the history of the United States and the role that slavery played in shaping ongoing attitudes about racial difference,” Lazo said. The following commemorations are taking place this weekend, and the campus community is invited:

Juneteenth Events: University Hills Community Center. Saturday, June 17. It will be a day of events including a film showing, potluck dinner and dance.

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration: Great Park, Irvine. Sunday, June 18, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Hosted by the City of Irvine and produced by BIPOC Orange County. UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence and the Paul Merage School of Business are proud to be recognized as founding partners. The event will be filled with interactive activities, live music, performances, and booths.

No Digest on Monday

In observance of the Juneteenth holiday, there will be no UCI Digest on Monday. See you all Tuesday.

UCI to lead study of vulnerabilities to Alzheimer’s

Xiangmin Xu, professor and Chancellor’s Fellow of anatomy & neurobiology and director of the campus’ Center for Neural Circuit Mapping
UCI received a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to lead a multi-institutional study of brain cell vulnerabilities to abnormal tau protein deposits in regions affected in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The cash will fund research led by Xiangmin Xu (above), a professor and Chancellor’s Fellow of anatomy & neurobiology and director of the campus’ Center for Neural Circuit Mapping. It involves analysis of single cells and specific brain regions in mouse models to better understand the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

Alumni siblings to present at UN’s AI for Good summit

UCI alums Pratyush and Karishma Muthukumar (above, left and right; both class of ’22)
UCI alums Pratyush and Karishma Muthukumar (above, left and right; both class of ’22) have worked on many projects together, combining their respective expertise in cognitive science and computer science. The siblings’ current project: developing an empathetic chatbot for use in the medical field. The Southern California natives will be making their way to Europe in July for a presentation on emotion-driven AI at the 2023 United Nations AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva, Switzerland.


UC President Drake’s statement on 2023-24 state budget

On June 15, University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., thanked both Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature for passing California’s 2023-24 budget, thus guaranteeing funding for the UC system. “With passage of California’s fiscal year budget, the state Legislature has demonstrated its strong support for the University of California and our shared priorities,” Drake said. “We believe this budget reflects their belief in the University of California’s role as a driver of economic innovation and social mobility.”


Reminder: Staff Service Awards on Wednesday

All employees are invited to attend the Staff Service Awards at the Bren Events Center on Wednesday. Co-workers celebrating three, five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 years of service will be honored. Chancellor Howard Gillman will deliver the keynote address. Parking is free in the Mesa Parking Structure, but you must register your vehicle using Park-by-Plate and code USSA@UCI.


#IamUCI: Dhanika Pineda ’23, B.A., literary journalism and English

#IamUCI: Dhanika Pineda ’23, B.A., literary journalism and English

As a student staff writer in UCI Strategic Communications, Dhanika Pineda wrote feature stories on her fellow Anteaters and various campus topics. Her final profile–this one–tells her own story. From all of us at UCI Digest, good luck, Dhanika, and thank you for all the hard work. .

#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.
USA Today logo

See the data behind climate change's devastating impact on California wildfires

USA Today, June 16
Cited: Amir AghaKouchak, professor of civil and environmental engineering

The Orange County Register logo

3,000 truckloads of sand to be dumped on two south Orange County beaches

The Orange County Register, June 15
Cited: Brett Sanders, professor of civil and environmental engineering

HealthDay logo

Loving, Supportive Daycare Tied to Better Grades Years Later

HealthDay, June 15
Cited: Andres Bustamante, assistant professor of human development in context


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