UCR Students Turn Diaper Into Medical Tool

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Janet Zimmerman, published in the Press-Enterprise on September 11, 2014. )

Five UC Riverside students and recent grads cleaned up in a national engineering contest by building a better diaper.  The group came up with an inexpensive liner that detects dehydration and bacterial infections in infants, an invention that could facilitate testing in poor countries and ease infants’ suffering. They call it the Diaper Detective.

Bioengineering students from UC Riverside developed a diaper insert for detecting bacterial infections and dehydration in infants. The team includes, from left, Stephanie Tehseldar, Veronica Boulos, Sara Said, Claire Tran and Melissa Cruz.  Photo credit: Harish Dixit

Bioengineering students from UC Riverside developed a diaper insert for detecting bacterial infections and dehydration in infants. The team includes, from left, Stephanie Tehseldar, Veronica Boulos, Sara Said, Claire Tran and Melissa Cruz. Photo credit: Harish Dixit

“We created this to fulfill a need for a versatile, inexpensive, non-invasive method of urine collection in developing countries and elsewhere,” co-inventor Veronica Boulos said. “The beauty of this is that it solves a huge problem with simplicity.”  The Diaper Detective was the result of a class that requires bioengineering students to design and develop a product. It took third place – and $10,000 – last month in the Design by Biomedical Undergraduate Teams Challenge sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

The Diaper Detective, created by UC Riverside students, uses chemicals that react with a baby's urine to detect illness and dehydration.  Photo credit: UC Riverside

The Diaper Detective, created by UC Riverside students, uses chemicals that react with a baby’s urine to detect illness and dehydration. Photo credit: UC Riverside

The idea was enough to attract interest from Procter & Gamble’s research department, which called the invention “novel, broadly relevant and affordable.” The group is in talks with the company for further development, possibly for adult incontinence products.

They hope their product eventually will be distributed to needy areas via relief organizations. If it qualifies for insurance coverage, it could be an inexpensive option for low-income parents, the scientists said.

The Diaper Detective is an outstanding model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  The students and staff at UC Riverside cultivate and support ideas, research, and products that accelerate the common good for all.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do in Riveside, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.  

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Washington Monthly Magazine Ranks UCR #2 In The Nation

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Ross French, published in UCRToday on August 24, 2014)

For the second year in a row, Washington Monthly magazine has ranked the University of California, Riverside second among national universities in its 10th annual College Ranking Survey.

It is the fourth consecutive year that UC Riverside has been ranked among the top 10 schools in the survey, which considers civic engagement, research, and social mobility. Prior to the No. 2 ranking in 2013, UCR was fifth in 2011 and ninth in 2012.

UC Riverside is ranked No. 2 in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for the second year in a row.  Photo credit: UCR Today

UC Riverside is ranked No. 2 in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for the second year in a row. Photo credit: UCR Today

UCR also placed 21st in the category of “Best-Bang-For-The-Buck Colleges,” an exclusive list that  ranks schools on measures of access, affordability and student outcomes. UCR finished first among UC schools and improved five spots from its 2013 ranking.

Steven Brint, vice provost for Undergraduate Education at UCR, said the Washington Monthly rankings are significant because they “reflect the campus’s mission to unite academic excellence, broad access for motivated students, and community engagement.”

“Washington Monthly measures both the academic quality and the social contribution of colleges,” Brint said. “It is gratifying to see that the statistics have confirmed the outstanding record of our campus. People around the country are starting to ask, ‘How does UCR do it?’”

Paul Glastris, editor in chief of Washington Monthlysaid that UCR stands out as a model for other public universities to follow, adding “Riverside’s focus on public service exceeds that of almost every other national university.”

UCR was third overall in community service participation and hours served and was first in federal work-study funds spent on service.

Through dedication and commitment to improvement, UCR is always growing and developing in an impressive fashion.  Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar, UCR attracts all sorts of students with untapped potential and academic excellence by constantly proving itself to be a great place to live and learn.

To read the full article, click here.

Five UC Riverside Scientists Among World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Iqbal Pittalwala, published in UCR Today on August 22, 2014.)

List of highly cited researchers, compiled by Thomson Reuters, analyzed data over 11 years

Clockwise from top left: UC Riverside’s Roya Bahreini, Julia Bailey-Serres, Yadong Yin, Wei Ren, and Robert Haddon are among individuals, identified by Thomson Reuters, to have published the greatest number of highly cited papers in 2002-2012.  Photo credit: Strategic Communications, UC Riverside.

Clockwise from top left: UC Riverside’s Roya Bahreini, Julia Bailey-Serres, Yadong Yin, Wei Ren, and Robert Haddon are among individuals, identified by Thomson Reuters, to have published the greatest number of highly cited papers in 2002-2012. Photo credit: Strategic Communications, UC Riverside.

Thomson Reuters, a leading source of information for businesses and professionals, has included five researchers at the University of California, Riverside in its 2014 list of “some of the best and brightest minds of our times.”  To generate the list, the company analyzed citation data over 11 years (2002-2012) to identify researchers whose published work has had enormous impact.

These influential professors are an outstanding representation of Seizing Our Destiny’s location of choice pillar.  Having five professors make the list and being considered “some of the best and brightest minds of our time” by Thomson Reuters is beyond impressive.  Riverside is increasingly becoming an attractive location of choice for intelligent, entrepreneurial, and inspired individuals with untapped potential.

Roya Bahreini, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences, was included in the “Geosciences” field. Julia Bailey-Serres, a professor of genetics, was included in the “Plant & Animal Science” field.Robert Haddon, a distinguished professor of chemistry as well as chemical and environmental engineering, was included in the “Chemistry” field. Wei Ren, a professor of electrical and computer engineering, was included in the “Engineering” field. And Yadong Yin, a professor of chemistry, was included in two fields: “Chemistry” and “Materials Science.”

According to Thomson Reuters, the researchers who made the list are persons of “influence in the sciences and social sciences. They are the people who are on the cutting edge of their fields. They are performing and publishing work that their peers recognize as vital to the advancement of their science. These researchers are, undoubtedly, among the most influential scientific minds of our time.”

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UCR Earns Spot On Sierra Magazine “Cool Schools” List For Third Year

(This article contains excerpts from an article published in UCR Today on August 12, 2014.)

For the third consecutive year, Sierra Magazine has included the University of California, Riverside on its list of “America’s Coolest Schools”, which is a list of the nation’s greenest colleges and universities.  UCR finished with a score of 577.98 out of a possible 1,000 points, placing it 90th among the schools surveyed. UCR’s score improved about 12% compared to 2013.

Members of the sustainability community at UCR stand in front of a balloon representing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere during Earth Week 2014. Photo credit:  Uma Ramasubramanian

Members of the sustainability community at UCR stand in front of a          balloon representing the amount of carbon dioxide entering the                                          atmosphere during Earth Week 2014.                               Photo credit: Uma Ramasubramanian

The methodology as to how Sierra Magazine ranked all of the participating schools was extensive and thorough.  According to Sierraclub.org, “Participation in Sierra magazine’s Cool Schools ranking is open to all four-year, degree-granting undergraduate colleges and universities in the United States. Sierra received 173 complete responses from qualified colleges. Once schools submitted their data, our researchers scored each response and ranked all of the participating institutions.

There was no cost for participation, and no affiliation or relationship between a school and the Sierra Club or its employees, past or present, influenced the ranking. Evaluation was based primarily on schools’ responses to the survey but when appropriate, we made follow-up inquires by phone and email and used publicly available outside sources to verify and complement survey responses.”

The colleges at the top of our annual “Cool Schools” ranking are so dedicated to greening every level of their operation—from energy usage to recycling to food sourcing to curriculum.  Photo credit: sierraclub.org

The colleges at the top of our annual “Cool Schools” ranking are so dedicated to greening every level of their operation—from energy usage to recycling to food sourcing to curriculum. Photo credit: sierraclub.org

UC Riverside has made this list two other times, moving up the ranks with each appearance.  Officials at UCR expect to gain an even better position on next year’s list with 16 LEED buildings and a new Solar Farm in operation.

Through commitment and dedication, UCR is always improving and making strides in becoming a green machine.  Exemplifying Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar, UCR values the cultivation and support of innovation within our community acting as a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

To read more from UCR Today, click here.

 

 

Researchers At UCR Find Key Component Of Autistic Behavior

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Mark Muckenfuss, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 26, 2014)

Through constant commitment and dedication, UC Riverside is consistently raising the bar with their research and technological advancements.  One recent advancement, in regards to autism research, is a model of Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar.  Creativity and innovation permeate all that we do, which makes our community a trendsetter for the region, California, and the world to follow.

Iryna Ethell in her lab at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism.  Photo credit: Kurt Miller

Iryna Ethell in her lab at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

A UC Riverside-led team of researchers says it has found conclusive evidence that a naturally produced enzyme in the body is responsible for autism and other neurological disorders in people with Fragile X syndrome.

Fragile X is a mutation of the X chromosome associated with obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors as well as learning deficits. People affected by Fragile X have been shown to have structural differences in brain cells, such as underdeveloped neural receptors.

In 2007, Iryna Ethell, a UCR biochemist, found that overactivity of an enzyme called MMP-9 was connected with Fragile X. Her team recently identified MMP-9 as a major culprit in symptoms associated with Fragile X in mice.

Iryna Ethell holds a chart of her work in her office at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

Iryna Ethell holds a chart of her work in her office at UCR on Thursday, July 24, 2014. UCR researcher Iryna Ethell of Biomedical Sciences heads team that finds what may be a key to effective therapy for autism. Photo credit: Kurt Miller

By eliminating a gene that activates MMP-9, the researchers found that even with the presence of Fragile X syndrome, the mice showed no symptoms of autistic behavior. They measured sociability, anxiety and other behaviors, as well as examining individual brain cells.

Often, such discoveries are the first step in a long process. Just understanding a mechanism for a particular disease or disorder doesn’t  necessarily mean a treatment is imminent. Effective therapies or drugs can be many years away.

To read more, click here.

UC Riverside Hosts ‘Boot Camp’ To Ease Native Americans’ Entry

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Krysta Fauria, published in the Press-Enterprise on July 23, 2014.)

Young college bound Native Americans are being encouraed to attend the “Boot Camp” opportunities at UC Riverside.  These exercises are an outstanding model of Riverside growing as a unified city.  Riversiders care for one another and ensure that everyone has access to a great education and the resources necessary to succeed.  We are a caring community that engages with one another for a better life for all. 

Native Americans take part in a drum circle before workshop sessions at UCR. Only 12 percent of Native Americans between 25 and 34 have four-year degrees, compared to 37 percent of whites, according to a 2012 report.  Photo credit: Chris Carlson

Native Americans take part in a drum circle before workshop sessions at UCR. Only 12 percent of Native Americans between 25 and 34 have four-year degrees, compared to 37 percent of whites, according to a 2012 report. Photo credit: Chris Carlson

Throughout their week at UCR, students got a taste of the college experience by attending classroom lectures, eating in the cafeteria and sleeping in the dorms. The 30 students also participated in cultural activities like prayer circles and beading workshops.  Upon completion of UCR’s program, students are given access to the university’s resources and staff to assist with the application process.

Elijah Watson knows he wants to go to college. He also knows it will be difficult to leave home on the Navajo reservation if he does.  The 17-year-old was reminded of the tough decision he’ll face next year when he participated in a week long celebration in March of his cousin’s Kinaalda, a hallowed Navajo ceremony marking a girl’s transition into womanhood.

Native Americans gather for a drum circle before workshop sessions at UC Riverside on Thursday, June 26.  Photo Credit: Chris Carlson

Native Americans gather for a drum circle before workshop sessions at UC Riverside on Thursday, June 26. Photo Credit: Chris Carlson

To reach students like Watson with higher education aspirations, a growing number of universities are offering programs to recruit and prepare Native American students for a transition to college life that can bring on a wrenching emotional conflict as they straddle two worlds.

Many young Native Americans find themselves divided by their desire for a higher education and the drive to stay close to home to hold onto a critical part of their identity. Sometimes, families discourage children from pursuing college, fearing once they leave the reservation, they won’t come back.

To read the full article, click here.

Arts Outreach Program Funded for 2014-2015

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Bettye Miller and published in UCR Today on July 14, 2014.)

The Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts, UC Riverside’s premier arts outreach program, has been awarded $555,000 by the Max H. Gluck Foundation to fund a 19th year of arts programs in Inland Empire schools, senior centers and other community venues.

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

Kate Alexander, center, leads a taiko drumming performance at the final show of the Gluck Summer Camp in June. Photos by Christine Leapman

“We are grateful to the Gluck Foundation for their continued support of this program,” said Christine Leapman, program coordinator at UCR. The Gluck Foundation is very interested in creating opportunities for women and disadvantaged minorities in the areas of health, education, creativity and culture. We’re very proud that we reflect those values in our workshops, and with our fellows and the constituencies they serve.”

The renewal of this grant will fund program costs for the 2014–15 year, including fellowships for more than 115 graduate and undergraduate students who conduct workshops in art, creative writing, dance, history of art, music, and theater.  This is exactly the kind of program that makes Riverside a Location of Choice.

In 2013–14, Gluck fellows conducted 711 workshops that were attended by more than 36,500 people in venues ranging from public schools and senior centers to the Riverside Art Museum and UCR, which hosts school visits and a popular summer arts camp. The Gluck Fellows Program began in 1996.

arts program 2

Fellows who travel to schools are writing workshop curricula that fulfill Common Core requirements, Leapman said, which educators find helpful as they look to the arts to engage students while also satisfying state curriculum mandates.

New in 2014–15 will be the launch of GluckTV, a series of 12 short films from Gluck events at UCR that will be available on YouTube. Proposed by Gluck director and media and cultural studies professor Erika Suderburg, the student-produced films will provide information about workshops that are available to schools and other groups.

The Los Angeles-based Max H. Gluck Foundation was developed to support education and the arts. It funds programs that address the educational, health, cultural, and creative needs of the underserved.

For the full article, click here.

Device Eliminates 93 Percent of Lawnmower Pollutant

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Sean Nealon, published in UCRToday on July 7, 2014.)

Students create device that cuts harmful emissions from lawnmowers, which emit 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation

A team of University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering students have won an EPA student design contest for a device they created that curbs harmful pollutant emitted from lawnmowers by 93 percent.

From left, Wartini Ng, Timothy Chow, Kawai Tam, Jonathan Matson and Brian Cruz. Photo Credit: UCR Today

From left, Wartini Ng, Timothy Chow, Kawai Tam, Jonathan Matson and Brian Cruz. Photo Credit: UCR Today

The students developed the device – an “L” shaped piece of stainless steel that attaches to the lawnmower where its muffler was – because small engine devices produce significant harmful emissions. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a gasoline powered lawn mower emits 11 times the air pollution of a new car for each hour of operation.

The students’ device also fits in with UC President Janet Napolitano’s recent announcement to make the University of California system carbon neutral by 2025. With that in mind, employees responsible for maintaining the lawns at UC Riverside have agreed to pilot the students’ device. That will likely start in the coming months.

The device can be thought of as a three stage system. First, a filter captures the harmful pollutants. Then an ultra-fine spray of urea solution is dispersed into the exhaust stream. The urea spray primes the dirty air for the final stage, when a catalyst converts the harmful nitrogen oxide and ammonia into harmless nitrogen gas and water and releases them into the air.

The device created by the student team being attached to a lawnmower. Photo credit: UCR Today

The device created by the student team being attached to a lawnmower. Photo credit: UCR Today

The University of California, Riverside is clearly dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment, and exemplifies Seizing Our Destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. The students and professors collaborate to address issues, which lead to more inventive and multi-disciplinary approaches. The people and educational institutions of Riverside cultivate and support useful and beneficial ideas and research. Riverside is setting the bar as a Catalyst for Innovation in many ways.

The incoming team will work to further improve the device. Possible areas for refinement including scaling it up so that it could be used with rider lawnmowers and develop a way to insulate it.

To read the full article, click here.

UCR Is Nurturing Undergraduates By Leading Them To Research

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Lilledeshan Bose, published in UCR Today on June 17, 2014.)

In the summer of 2010, My Hua, then a 19-year-old sophomore at UC Riverside, plunged into the sweltering heat and unrelenting humidity of Chennai, India.  She was there with Unite for Sight, a nonprofit that delivers eye care to impoverished villages around the world. Her experience led to a thirst to do more to address issues of human health.  

The Spring 2014 issue of UCR Magazine, photo credit: ucrtoday.ucr.edu

The Spring 2014 issue of UCR Magazine, photo credit: ucrtoday.ucr.edu

The answer? “It was research, unexpectedly,” she said.  Four years later she has published her work on the potential harm from e-cigarettes in peer-reviewed journals. Hua is one of the Chancellor’s Research Fellows profiled in the cover story of this Spring 2014 UCR magazine about undergraduate research.  Aided by campus-sponsored programs and valuable faculty mentorship, about 20 percent of all Highlanders are able to participate in research before they even receive a bachelor’s degree.

The research and writings generated by the Highlander students along the journey to their bachelor’s degrees exemplify seizing our destiny’s intelligent growth pillar.  UCR is nurturing undergraduates by leading them to research, via campus-sponsored programs and valuable faculty mentorship.  Riverside is always developing new paths and opportunities to promote an outstanding quality of life for all through intelligent growth.  

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These Roofs Can Clean The Air

(This article contains excerpts from an article by Michael Franco, published on cnet.com on June 4, 2014.)

Students at UC Riverside have created a cheap coating that can go on ordinary clay roofing tiles to bust smog.

Roofing tiles protect homes from the environment, reflecting heat from the sun and keeping rainwater rolling away into gutters. Thanks to work done by students at the University of California at Riverside, however, roof shingles may soon be protecting the environment itself.

Photo credit: UC Riverside

Photo credit: UC Riverside

A team there coated off-the-shelf clay roofing tiles with titanium dioxide, a compound found in “everything from paint to food to cosmetics,” according to the researchers. They then placed the coated tiles into a mini atmosphere chamber they built out of wood, Teflon, and PVC pipes. The chamber was filled with nitrogen oxide and beamed with ultraviolet light to mimic the sun. Nitrogen oxides are compounds in the air that are responsible for causing smog.

What they found was that the coating on the tiles removed between 88 percent and 97 percent of the nitrogen oxides. This led them to calculate that an average-size residential roof coated with their titanium dioxide mixture could break down the same amount of smog-producing nitrogen oxides per year put out by a car driven 11,000 miles. They further calculated that 21 tons of nitric oxide could be eliminated every day if tiles on 1 million roofs got the coating.

And the price for the simple yet powerful smog-busting coating? Just about $5 to cover an average-sized roof.  The students on the team that executed the research and developed the titanium dioxide coating are graduating in the fall, but are hopeful that new students will take over their work and test other factors.

The team at UCR that developed this smog buster is a model of seizing our destiny’s catalyst for innovation pillar. Being that this project is so inexpensive and attainable, it has great potential for everyone to do their part and start to clean the skies.  Riverside is setting the bar as a Catalyst for Innovation in many ways.

To read more, click here.