BREATHE Takes The Stand For Air Quality Reform In The Coachella Valley

Lo provided testimony for the California State Assembly Committee on Water Parks and Wildlife on air quality and related health issues.

Dr. David Lo, director of Bridging Regional Ecology, Aerosolized Toxins, & Health Effects (BREATHE) at UC Riverside, provided testimony on May 8 for the California State Assembly Committee on Water Parks and Wildlife on air quality and related health issues, as well as the implementation of the Salton Sea management plan.

BREATHE brings together several UCR researchers in ecology, environmental history, climate modelling, engineering and air pollution, and health effects. Researchers are working on Salton Sea projects using a politically neutral approach, such as regional climate modeling, the study of environmental exposure to biological components in air, the effect of drought on air quality, health impacts of aerosolized particles, and socioeconomic factors that inform health disparities in the Coachella Valley.

In his testimony, Lo, a distinguished professor of biomedical sciences and senior associate dean of research in the School of Medicine, discussed the health impacts of poor air quality among the diverse populations living in the Coachella Valley, especially the greatly increased risk for developing chronic diseases such as asthma and its medical and economic impacts. He underscored the connection between air quality and health, noting that the problem is not simply solved by reducing vehicle emission pollutants. Extremely small particles in air, such as dust arising from the drying lakebed of the Salton Sea, he said, can penetrate deep into lung tissue and trigger inflammatory responses. With respect to the drying Salton Sea contributing aerosolized particulates in the Coachella Valley, he noted that up to 70 percent of the dust in the region originates from exposed soils surrounding the Salton Sea.

“The crisis in health effects throughout the Coachella Valley is already in progress,” he said. “Trends point to increasingly severe effects in pulmonary and cardiovascular health, with increasing impacts on other chronic diseases as well.”

Iqbal Pittawala

Conference to Honor Math Professor Vyjayanthi Chari

Vyjayanthi Chari

A June conference will celebrate the work of Vyjayanthi Chari, a professor of mathematics and chair of the math department from 2006 to 2012. “Interactions of quantum affine algebras with cluster algebras, current algebras and categorification” will be held June 5-8 at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Chari, who joined UCR in 1991, is well known for her work on representation theory, a fundamental area of mathematics used to understand abstract algebraic ideas by representing them as matrices. This field has a profound impact on many areas of modern mathematics and plays an important role in physics, where it is used to understand nature’s symmetries.

The conference, in honor of professor Chari’s 60th birthday, will include lectures by the world’s leading experts in representation theory. It is preceded by a summer school geared toward young researchers on June 2-4. Support is from the National Science Foundation, UCR’s Department of Mathematics, The Catholic University of America, and a European Research Committee grant.

Chari is the editor of the Pacific Journal of Mathematics and Algebras and Representation Theory. She is the author of 85 research papers, a book, and several edited volumes of conference proceedings. At UCR, she has supervised 18 graduate students and won a dissertation mentoring award. She was elected a fellow of the American Mathematical Society in 2016 for her “contributions to the theory of quantum groups and affine Lie algebras, and for service to the mathematical community.”

More information and registration details are on the conference website.

-Sarah Nightingale

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