Zumba Off Holiday Pounds and Have More Fun!

Tanya Nieri

Tanya Nieri

Women who trade the tedium of treadmills for the fun and zing of a Zumba dance-fitness class report having fewer reservations, insecurities, and concerns about social judgment than in traditional group fitness classes. That’s according to research conducted by Tanya Nieri, assistant professor of sociology at UCR.

“Women appreciate Zumba’s incorporation of dancing which frames the class as a party,” Nieri explained. “However, because Zumba is an exercise class, not an actual party or dance class, the participants perceive themselves to be freed from the rules that normally apply in such settings. Instead, they view the class as an opportunity to build skill, explore their bodies, and express themselves creatively.”

Published in Sociology of Sport Journal, Nieri’s study, “All About Having Fun: Women’s Experience of Zumba Fitness,” describes women’s experience of Zumba in an effort to understand the popularity and impact of the workout. Her curiosity about the Latin-themed dance workout stems from her own experience as a group fitness instructor and a Zumba participant.

Nieri, along with a team of research assistants, interviewed more than 40 women from Southern California who ranged in age from 18 to 68 years. The women came from different ethnic backgrounds, and the majority had taken other group fitness classes prior to Zumba.

“Although participants viewed the class as exercise, rather than recreation, they distinguished Zumba from other forms of fitness,” Nieri explained.
The women associated other fitness forms with negative characteristics, describing them as boring, stressful, painful, lonely, and involving awkward movement. They described Zumba, however, as fun, stress free, holistic, socially supportive, and involving natural movement.

Read more about the study here. And if you’re interested in Zumba, or other exercise classes, check out UCR’s Group Fitness website to see what’s available for students, staff and faculty.
Coachella Valley Physicians Face HIV Testing Barriers, Study Finds

HIV Testing Barriers in Coachella Valley

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown

The prevalence of HIV in the Coachella Valley is substantially higher than the national rate, yet physicians there face significant barriers to conducting HIV tests on patients they see, a research team has found.

The researchers, including two from UCR, examined survey findings from 50 physicians in the Coachella Valley about HIV testing. The survey resulted from a regional HIV testing campaign covering the period November 2014 to February 2015.

About 1.6 percent of the population in Coachella Valley has HIV, compared to 0.6 percent of the population nationally,said Brandon Brown, an assistant professor in UCR’s School of Medicine and one of the researchers involved in the study. More than a million people in the U.S. live with an HIV diagnosis; and as many as 25 percent of persons infected with HIV may be unaware of their status,

Greer Sullivan

Greer Sullivan

Barriers to providing HIV testing listed by the Coachella Valley physicians include:

• Insufficient time and other priorities at the patient visit

• Patient reactions when offered the HIV test (stigma)

• Discomfort about broaching the HIV topic

• Burdensome consent process (even though California is an opt-out state and separate written consent for HIV testing is not required)

• Lack of knowledge and training on HIV testing

The study appears in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Greer Sullivan, director of the Center for Healthy Communities at UCR, is another coauthor on the study, which was funded by the Desert AIDS Project.

Now that the barriers have been identified, the next step is discussing solutions, Brown said. “Future efforts should focus on sustainable interventions to overcome HIV testing barriers for physicians, including the suggestions by physicians in our study.”

Professor Organizes Conference in Istanbul

Participants in the ‘Graphene and Related Technologies: from Laboratory to Industry’ conference, held on Oct. 15-16.

Participants in the ‘Graphene and Related Technologies: from Laboratory to Industry’ conference, held on Oct. 15-16.

More than 100 scientists and engineers from academia and industry recently attended the 2015 ‘Graphene and Related Technologies: from Laboratory to Industry’ conference, which took place Oct. 15-16 in Istanbul, Turkey. The conference was co-organized by Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering.

The second annual conference highlighted recent progress and challenges in the synthesis, properties and applications of 2D and 3D graphene materials for energy, electronics and composite applications.

Invited Speakers included Rodney Ruoff, director of the Center for Multidimensional Carbon Materials and professor at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea; Barbaros Ozyilmaz, professor at the National University of Singapore; Vincenzo Palermo, from the National Research Council of Italy and the Graphene Flagship European Initiative; Jong-Hyun Ahn, professor at Yonsei University, South Korea; and Jiaxing Huang, professor at Northwestern University.

The presentations were followed by panel discussions to foster collaborations between academia and industry in a number of emerging areas.

Oxygen Was Once A Sometime Thing on Earth

Timothy Lyons

Timothy Lyons

An understanding of the history of Earth is incomplete without an understanding of how and why the planet developed an oxygenated atmosphere. A team of scientists, including Timothy Lyons, a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry, reports new isotopic data in Science Advances that illustrate how photosynthetic cyanobacteria temporarily spiked concentrations of oxygen around 2.5 billion years ago.

The cyanobacteria produced transient episodes or ‘whiffs’ of oxygen, the researchers explain, which were elevated levels of oxygen around 2.5 billion years ago—100-200 million years before the permanent accumulation of oxygen in the atmosphere. These dramatic changes offered both challenges and opportunities for early life on Earth.

The research team analyzed black shales deposited on the seafloor in Western Australia and found elevated levels of molybdenum and rhenium, elements present in continental sulfide minerals. When those minerals weather beneath an oxygen-containing atmosphere, they are transported to the ocean by rivers. Further supporting this model, ratios of osmium isotopes occurring with the rhenium and molybdenum confirmed the continental source and thus the role of oxygen in the atmosphere and the episodic nature of the initial oxygen increases.

“Our new research on the ancient rocks of Western Australia is confirming the likelihood of very early production of oxygen by bacteria and that its first buildup in the atmosphere, contrary to conventional wisdom, occurred gradually and dynamically,” Lyons said.

He was joined in the research by scientists at the University of Waterloo, the United Kingdom; the University of Alberta, Canada; Arizona State University, and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Professor’s Book Now Available in Paperback

Raymond Williams

Raymond Williams

A book by Hispanic studies professor Ray Williams about Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa was released in paperback in November.

First published in December 2014 in hardback, “Mario Vargas Llosa: A Life in Writing” (University of Texas Press) is the first complete history of Vargas Llosa’s works placed in biographical and historical context. University of Texas Press calls “Mario Vargas Llosa: A Life in Writing” a “landmark publication that will spark new lines of inquiry into an intricate body of work.”

The Peruvian author was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010 at the age of 74. Williams, a scholar of the Colombian novel and one of the world’s leading authorities on Vargas Llosa, attended the presentation of the Nobel Prize in Stockholm.


The Los Angeles Review of Books

The Los Angeles Review of Books has been selected for a $100,000 grant by LA2050, a grant program of the Goldhirsh Foundation, says Editor in Chief Tom Lutz, professor of creative writing at UCR.

LARB was founded at UCR by Lutz, with the help of Dean Steve Cullenberg and Provost Ellen Wartella, and has featured the work of UCR faculty including Reza Aslan, Juan Felipe Herrera, Laila Lalami, Mike Davis, Rob Latham, Andrew Winer, Nalo Hopkinson, Josh Emmons, Steven Brint, Jane Smiley, Robin Russin, Erica Edwards, Toby Miller, Perry Link, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Susan Straight, Mark Haskell Smith, Susan Ossman, Tod Goldberg, Deanne Stillman, Fariba Zarinebaf, Georgia Warnke, Stephanie Hammer, Mariam Lam, Vorris Nunley, Sherryl Vint, Jayna Brown, David Lloyd, Marlene Zuk, Ben Ehrenreich, Pawel Frelik, Gayle Brandeis, Steven Hackel, Chris Buckley, and Mary Otis, and some two dozen grads and graduate students, including Alex Espinoza, Jerome Winter, Minda Honey, Rory Moore, Keenan Norris, Michael Datcher, Alan Lovegreen, Tatyana Kagamas, Sean Matharoo, Gabriela Juaregui, Joshua Hardina, Matthew Snyder, Simon Lee, John Dixon Mirasola, Michael Jarvis, Amy Hough, Deborah Dunham, and Eric Shonkwiler.

For more information about LARB, or to contribute to its matching funds pledge drive, visit here.


Top of Page