October 18, 2023

In a minute: Videos explore the world's vexing problems

UCR experts consider the insect that covets your brain, how to combat the worry associated with waiting, and dark matter

Author: UCR News
October 18, 2023

The video team for UC Riverside's University Relations group recently started a new series of videos - all about one minute in duration - in which the university's researchers offer an explanation of their research in topics of worldwide impact that cross academic disciplines. Follow the links below to learn more about their research. 

Particle physicist Flip Tanedo, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at UC Riverside, is an expert on dark matter, a hypothetical substance thought to account for about 85% of matter in the universe. This material emits no light, eluding easy detection. No one has been able to determine what dark matter is made of. Dark matter, however, is required to explain the motions of galaxies and stars. Physicists are certain it exists, having inferred this existence from the gravitational effect dark matter has on visible matter. Tanedo’s research explores ways to understand and search for the particle(s) responsible for most of the mass in our galaxy.

Greenhouse gases come from many places and act like a blanket, trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere, raising temperatures everywhere. Francesca Hopkins, a professor of climate change and sustainability at UC Riverside, studies where the gases are coming from, where they’re landing, and the effectiveness of technologies meant to test for and reduce them.

Paul D’Anieri wrote the 2019 book (since updated) “Ukraine and Russia.” Vladimir Putin's ambition in Ukraine began with exerting economic pressure, and then in 2014 and 2022, it became about war as a means to achieve his objective. D'Anieri writes about the historical and contemporary roots of the war in Ukraine, including how to restore a peaceful order in the region. 

Jimmy Calanchini’s research addresses explicit and implicit bias – both the assumptions we are aware and proud of, and those we don’t realize we have. Extensive research led him to create a map showing where different kinds of bias – about weight, gender, and sexual preference - are the most exaggerated.

Kate Sweeny studies the worry associated with waiting for uncertain news – such as the outcome of a job interview, or a grade for a big exam. She can offer tried and true strategies for offsetting that worry, which include meditation and “flow” activities such as playing video games.

Emma Wilson, professor of biomedical sciences at the UC Riverside School of Medicine, is an expert on toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Found in cats, this single-celled parasite is a human pathogen that can cause life-threatening illnesses. About five microns long, the parasite is ingested via undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables; more than 40 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry it. Pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should be cautious. Wilson’s research focuses on the immune response in the brain following Toxoplasma gondii infection.

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