Jan. 8, 2024
UCI Digest
View of Aldrich Park after rain
Colors pop as sunlight hits Aldrich Park after a rain. (Photo: Steve Zylius/UCI)


Octopus inspires camouflage technology 

The greater blue-ringed octopus, native to waters in the Western Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, can ward off predators with an iridescent flash of the circular shapes on its skin. Thierry Eidenweil / Getty Images
With a split-second muscle contraction, the greater blue-ringed octopus can change the size and color of the namesake patterns on its skin for purposes of deception and camouflage. UCI researchers have drawn inspiration from the octopus to develop a technological platform with potential uses in a variety of fields, including military, medicine, robotics and sustainable energy. The animal’s ability to change its colors helped researchers devise a synthetic method to create adjustable fluorescent and spectroscopic patterns on areas large enough to cover vehicles, billboards and even buildings.

UCI’s O.C. poll predicts November vote

Pie chart titled political identity shows Orange County residents as divided between Democrats (36%), Republicans (28%), and Independents (36%)
Orange County is one of America’s few “purple” counties, where 51% of voters supported Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Joe Biden won in 2020, but Republican Brian Dahle beat incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2022. According to the School of Social Ecology’s latest poll, Orange County is poised to again swing left in the November presidential election, thanks to voting trends among independents and moderate Republicans.

Better dementia care requires more than increased staffing

According to a new UCI study, additional staffing alone won’t be sufficient to bridge the quality-of-care and health disparities among nursing home facilities with varying percentages of residents with dementia. Specialized training, an easy-to-navigate environment and staff stability are also critical to meeting the challenges presented by this population. The findings, recently published in the journal Health Services Research, indicate that increased staffing generally improves outcomes for all patients, but discrepancies between high- and low-dementia facilities remain.


Late alumnus honored with scholarship 

David Busse (center) stands with his parents in 2017
David Busse (center) stands with his parents in 2017, when he graduated from UCI with a Ph.D. in psychology and social behavior.

After attending UC Davis as an undergraduate, David Busse earned his master’s degree in psychology from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in psychology and social behavior from UCI. Throughout his academic career, he suffered from lupus, an autoimmune disease that caused his kidneys to shut down. Busse had a kidney transplant in 2001, but the donor had a virus that caused Busse’s organs to slowly fail over the years. Despite his medical setbacks, the former firefighter, ski patroller and lifeguard (who was certified as an emergency medical technician) completed his doctorate in 2017. Unfortunately, he caught COVID-19 in 2022 and died from complications, just months after his mother, Hyeja Oh Busse, died of pancreatic cancer. In remembrance of both, Busse’s father, Eberhard, a retired engineer, has established a $50,000 endowment that will make possible $1,000 scholarships for graduate students in psychological science. “Hyeja and David both loved helping others,” says Eberhard, “so I hope this little endowment helps students at his favorite university.”

#UCIconnected spotlights interesting updates from the UCI community. #IamUCI spotlights profiles of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Send submissions via email or post on social media with the #UCIconnected or #IamUCI hashtags.


Healthline logo

Flu and RSV Cases are Rising, Here's When They May Peak

Healthline, Jan. 5
Cited: Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean, Program in Public Health

Marketplace logo

Why do we still use paper checks?

Marketplace, Jan. 5
Cited: Bill Maurer, professor of anthropology

The Washington Post logo

Sound waves get Alzheimer’s drug past brain barrier, small study shows

The Washington Post, Jan. 8
Cited: Joshua Grill, professor of psychiatry and human behavior

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.
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