Aug. 21, 2023
UCI Digest
In the wake of Sunday’s storm, workers remove a fallen tree near the Jao Family Sculpture Garden.
In the wake of Sunday’s storm, workers remove a fallen tree near the Jao Family Sculpture Garden. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)


Understanding wildfire turbulence

Photo taken by Tirtha Banerjee’s lab of prescribed burns at the Blodgett Forest Research Station in California
Using data from a wind tunnel in Melbourne, Australia, and a test field in the salt flats of Utah, a UCI research lab is working to decipher wildfire turbulence. Led by Tirtha Banerjee, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, the lab is one of a few around the world studying the turbulent interplay of fire, vegetation and the atmosphere. The goal is to better understand and address wildfire behavior. Banerjee was also quoted in a recent USA Today story stemming from the devastating fire in Hawaii. “The next Maui could be anywhere,” he told the paper.

Does acupuncture ease chronic pain? What science says

mannequin featuring acupressure points
“People talk about psychedelics reshaping the nervous system. Acupuncture kind of does the same thing,” says UCI’s Richard Harris in a Washington Post article examining evidence for acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating pain. Harris, a professor of anesthesiology and perioperative care, led a study that found acupuncture (but not a placebo version) changed brain activity in terms of activating the receptors that bind opioids, which help control pain in the body.


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Researcher goes underground – literally

underground cave

To explore the connection between caves and climate, Kathleen R. Johnson has climbed down (and up) 200-foot ladders, kayaked all day in the dark and encountered pythons, jumbo spiders and other wild creatures. The associate professor of Earth system science recently discussed her underground adventures in a podcast hosted by Jonathan Van Ness. Johnson is a geochemist and a paleoclimatologist who specializes in reconstructing past climate changes by studying stalagmites from tropical and monsoon regions, with current projects in Laos, Vietnam and Mexico.

#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.
Los Angeles Times logo

What put Hurricane Hilary on a collision course with California?

Los Angeles Times, Aug. 20
Cited: Jane Baldwin, assistant professor of Earth system science

KABC logo

Southern Californians support policies that fight climate change, even in more conservative regions

KABC, Aug. 18
Cited: Michael Méndez, assistant professor of urban planning and public policy

The New York Times logo

What to Know About the New R.S.V. Immunizations

The New York Times, Aug. 21
Cited: Dr. Coleen Cunningham, professor and chair of pediatrics

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