Volume II, Issue 5: February 2010


Shaking up earthquake theory

Lisa Grant Ludwig
Lisa Grant Ludwig says results of the earthquake study show "we don't understand the San Andreas fault as well as we thought we did."

New information about the inner workings of faults could change how experts estimate the potential for the next "big one," according to UCI and Arizona State University researchers. Working in dry stream channels created by the San Andreas fault near Los Angeles, a team led by Lisa Grant Ludwig, associate professor of public health at UCI, discovered that the distance the ground moved varied from major quake to major quake instead of recurring in a uniform manner, as previously believed. The unexpected finding could complicate efforts to forecast earthquakes.

Quake theory shake-up »

Oceans losing ability to swallow greenhouse gas

Francois Primeau
Francois Primeau and colleagues report that oceans largely kept up when carbon dioxide emissions began soaring in the 1950s but that the absorption rate has since slowed.

Like a dirty filter, the Earth’s oceans are growing less efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas produced by fossil-fuel burning. The absorption rate has slowed since the 1980s and dropped off even more noticeably since 2000, according to a study — published in the journal Nature — co-authored by Francois Primeau, UCI associate professor of Earth system science.

Q&A with Francois Primeau »

Malaria detected in gorillas

Francisco Ayala
Francisco Ayala cautions that increased contact between primates and humans creates a greater risk of new parasites being transmitted to humans.

Gorillas have been found to carry the parasite that causes malignant malaria in humans, along with two new species of malaria parasite, according to UCI and French researchers. In a study co-authored by UCI biologist Francisco Ayala, the scientists also confirmed a recent discovery by Ayala and colleagues that a parasite found in African chimpanzees is responsible for 85 percent of malignant malaria infections in humans and nearly all deaths from the disease.

Malaria finding »

Scientists identify new class of leukemia-killing compounds

David Fruman
The laboratory of David Fruman, associate director of UCI's Institute for Immunology, identified chemical compounds that cause leukemia cell death.

David Fruman, UCI associate professor of molecular biology & biochemistry, and colleagues have demonstrated that a new class of chemical compounds is highly effective at killing leukemia cells and is well tolerated by normal blood cells. These compounds inhibit the activity of an enzyme called mTOR but in a different way than do current drugs. The finding raises hope that enzyme inhibitors in clinical trials will work well in patients.

Leukemia compounds »

New therapy restores movement after stroke

James Fallon
"It's a completely unexpected and remarkable finding, and it's worth trying in humans," says James Fallon, senior co-author of the studies.

Stroke victims soon may be able to regain lost limb function long after the injury, if a supplemental protein works as well in humans as it does in paralyzed rats. Two studies by UCI biologists found that a protein naturally occurring in humans restored 99 percent of lost movement in rats when administered directly to the brain and 70 percent when given through the nose. Untreated rats improved by only 30 percent.

Stroke therapy »