December 18, 2023

A look back at UCR's top stories in 2023

It was a big news year for UCR, with the introduction of the Luna avocado and an invitation to join the AAU

Author: J.D. Warren
December 18, 2023

UC Riverside joined the Big Leagues of United States research universities – the Association of American Universities — in 2023 and, out of the gate, the headlines on UCR’s news pages affirmed why it was invited to join.

As we draw the curtain on the calendar year, here’s a “Top 10” list of research and news stories for 2023. 

1.    2023 was the year of the Luna UCR, the UCR-bred avocado that is the product of more than 80 years of research. The avocado, which has a nutty flavor, smooth texture, and a tree that requires less water and space, threatens to supplant the Haas as your supermarket go-to. Time Magazine tipped its hat to the Luna by naming it one of the best inventions of 2023.

2.    For the past 13 years, one of UCR’s top priorities was producing the caliber of results that would summon an invitation to join the Association of American Universities. That invitation came this past summer.

3.    There is a price for being poor, and research from David Brady, a UCR professor of public policy, put a number on it: 183,000 deaths. That makes it the United States’ fourth-leading cause of death.  

4.    As the world scrambles to assess the impacts of Artificial Intelligence, there’s one consideration many missed. The lab of UCR engineering professor Shoalei Ren found alarming water use related to AI queries: Just 20 to 50 queries use up to 17 ounces of water, which is used to cool servers.

5.    In the past few years, the U.S. News & World Report College Rankings have named UC Riverside among the top universities in the nation when it comes to social mobility, a leading measure of a university’s success. This year, UCR was named No. 2 in social mobility, while also climbing 13 spots in the overall U.S. News rankings.

6.    Misogyny commonly drives straight men’s attraction to transgender women, according to new research from Brandon Robinson, an associate professor in UCR’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Department. In the research, Robinson asserts that hyper-feminine traits that straight men associate with transgender women also influence the attraction.

7.    The Huanglongbing bacteria transmitted by the Asian Citrus psyllid has been a troubling pest to stay ahead of for California citrus growers and researchers for more than 10 years. Now, a second pest poses an insidious threat to citrus, avocados, grapes, figs, peppers, and tomatoes in California: Fruit flies.

8.    UCR won $126 million from the State of California for an innovative residential housing project, which will house some community college students on the UCR campus. On Nov. 4, ground was broken for the project, North District Phase 2, which will bring 1,568 new beds to campus.

9.    Women carry a secret genetic weapon in the war against obesity, a study from UCR biomedical scientists Meera G. Nair and Djurdjica Coss found. It’s an immune protein called RELMalpha.

10.    Since its inception, UCR’s School of Medicine has considered part of its charge offsetting a shortage of doctors in the Inland Empire. Since 2013, it has graduated 380 physicians, with 40% completing their residencies in the IE. The School of Medicine celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2023 by opening a new education building, greatly increasing its physical capacity to educate future doctors.

Photo illustration by Melissa Cordoba-Carranza/UCR | Photos by Stan Lim/UCR

Media Contacts

RSS Feeds