Featured Research. 
Innovative Thinking. Breakthrough Research. Real-World Solutions.

UC Riverside embodies the historic and contemporary promise of the Golden State by serving as an incubator of new knowledge and a catalyst for breakthroughs in many of today’s most relevant fields. As a leader, partner, source of innovation, and developer of solutions, we share that promise with our community, our region, our nation and the world.

HEALTH

By 2030, one fifth of the global population will be over the age of sixty-five. With a better understanding of how the immune system changes as we age, UCR researchers are paving the way for improving people’s ability to respond to vaccines and infections, enhancing overall health and quality of life for an aging population.
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Ilhem Messaoudi Ilhem Messaoudi
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Strengthening Immunity in Aging Populations
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Michael Pirrung’s work preparing complex organic molecules has a whole host of potential applications, from creating flavors and fragrances, to providing new life-saving cancer and HIV treatments. By inhibiting the proteasome, a huge molecular machine found in each cell, his research has developed a promising new compound for treating kidney cancer.
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Michael Pirrung Michael Pirrung
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
Formulating New Treatments for Kidney Cancer
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Imagine if you could improve your memory and sharpen your vision simply by using an app on your smartphone. Aaron Seitz, a professor of psychology at UCR, is pioneering an exciting new method for doing just that. Employing some of the latest innovations in psychology and neuroscience, Seitz is working to develop a series of “Brain Games” with the intent of improving overall brain fitness.
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Aaron Seitz Aaron Seitz
Professor of Psychology
Improving Vision Through Brain Training
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More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease today. As the nation’s population of aging Baby Boomers increases, the rates for this and other neurodegenerative diseases are skyrocketing.

Monica Carson’s research looks at the way the brain and immune system interact in both health and disease. Until recently, the brain and immune systems were believed to be completely separate and non-interacting in healthy individuals. In fact, interactions of any kind between these two systems were believed to be a major cause of neurodegenerative and neurologic diseases. However, her research finds that not only do the brain and immune system interact from infancy to old age, it’s imperative that these two systems constantly “play well” together to maintain brain health. With this knowledge, we can gain a better understanding of how to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and neurodevelopmental disorders like autism.
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Monica Carson Monica Carson
Associate Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Exploring Early Alzheimer’s Detection
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Bioengineers turn science into technologies that improve our quality of life in innumerable ways. Because a living organism is a complex interactive matrix of chemistry, physics, biology and mechanics, bioengineers (sometimes called biomedical engineers) specialize in using scientific principles from these and other diverse fields to solve problems in health care and medicine.
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Jerome Schultz Jerome Schultz
Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering
Bioengineering
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David Lo David Lo
Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Sciences
Needle-free Drug Delivery
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Jiayu Liao Jiayu Liao
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Drug Discovery/ Diabetes
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Devin Binder Devin Binder
Assistant Research Scientist
Biomedical Sciences
Traumatic Brain Injury
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SUSTAINABILITY

For many parts of Africa, the livelihood of an entire community is closely linked to the quality of that season’s harvest. UCR Professors Timothy Close and Philip Roberts have devoted a great deal of their research efforts to improving the cowpea (also known as the black-eyed pea). As a legume, the cowpea plays a critical role in nutrition, complimenting cereals like maize to provide a full amino acid balance in the diet. However, on average, the crop is only performing at twenty percent of its genetic potential. Close and Roberts are working diligently to improve this number by genetically selecting and accentuating favorable traits such as resistance to drought, pests and disease.
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Timothy Close Timothy Close
Professor of Genetics
Creating Sustainable, Drought-Resistant Crops
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Philip Roberts Philip Roberts
Professor of Nematology
Creating Sustainable, Drought-Resistant Crops
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When we think of evolution, we often think in past tense, of how the world evolved to become what it is today. Biologist David Reznick’s studies on guppies have fundamentally changed our understanding of evolution, proving that evolution is a contemporary reality and that the world and all the organisms in it are changing quickly all around us.
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David Reznick David Reznick
Distinguished Professor of Biology
Exploring Climate Change and Evolution
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Seeking to find alternative, renewable energy sources, UCR chemical engineer Charles Wyman is pioneering new approaches involving the pretreatment of non-food biomass sources such as poplar wood and switchgrass. With funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, Wyman’s work may enable companies to commercialize bioenergy crops and potentially profit from fuels produced at a much lower cost.
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Charles Wyman Charles Wyman
Ford Motor Company Chair in Environmental Engineering
Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering
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Working in the world’s largest indoor air quality chamber, Akua Asa-Awuku looks at particle formation in the atmosphere and how it interacts with water, affecting cloud formation and global climate change.
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Akua Asa-Awuku Akua Asa-Awuku
Assistant Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Improving Air Quality
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The unique climate and geography of California provides diverse ecosytems which are perfect for the establishment of a diverse variety of destructive pests that threaten agricultural and other interests. Leading researchers with UCR’s Center for Invasive Species Research determine how pests enter California, where invading populations came from and how to combat and contain them.
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Mark Hoddle Mark Hoddle
Director, Center for Invasive Species Research
Red Palm Weevil
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Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell
Director, Lindcove Research & Extension Center
Citrus Pest Management
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Tim Paine Tim Paine
Professor of Entomology
Ash Whitefly
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Tom PerringTom Perring
Professor of Entomology
Date Palm Industry
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POLICY

We live in a chemical world. Everything we breathe, eat and drink is made up of chemicals. And while some of these chemicals are beneficial, or have little to no impact on humans, others are actually quite toxic. Despite these risks, only a fraction of the many chemicals we come into contact with have been thoroughly tested. Toxicologist David Eastmond studies the adverse effects of chemicals on human health, with a special focus on environmental chemicals that cause cancer. He serves on California’s Carcinogen Identification Committee, a group charged with assisting in the implementation of the “Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act” (Proposition 65).
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David Eastmond David Eastmond
Professor of Cell Biology and Toxicologist
Protecting Californians from Environmental Toxins
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Fire has been with us forever, and it will always be with us. And while it can be a very useful tool, it can also scare us. Marko Princevac is working to understand how fire behaves—how it moves, where it moves and why it moves—so that we can control and fight fire more effectively and safely take advantage of its many benefits.
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Marko Princevac Marko Princevac
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Enhancing Fire Safety and Land Use Policies
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Each year, contaminated irrigation sources contribute to countless food-related bacterial outbreaks, often leading to serious sickness or death. Walker’s lab analyzes every stage of the food production and distribution process, paying particular attention to the growth, harvesting, rinsing, packaging, and retail practices associated with the produce that ultimately ends up on our tables. Her lab’s findings enable the USDA to better regulate land management policies, as well as specific harvesting and handling procedures that contribute to contamination.
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Sharon Walker Sharon Walker
Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Improving Wastewater Management Policies
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Karthick Ramakrishnan’s research pertains to civic engagement and immigration – the ways in which immigrants of different racial groups and generations are involved in American democracy, their opinions, and their policy priorities. As Director of the Immigration Research Group at UC Riverside, Ramakrishnan also looks at developments in immigration policy, nationally as well in various states and localities. He is also the Director of the National Asian American Survey, which provides an ongoing window into the policy attitudes and civic participation of Asian Americans.
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Karthick Ramakrishnan Karthick Ramakrishnan
Associate Professor of Political Science
Empowering Asian Immigration Reforms
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Today the average American is exposed to more than 80,000 toxic industrial compounds from the use of everyday products. In his most recent book, “Legally Poisoned,” Prof. Cranor advocates for significant, immediate changes in U.S. regulatory and public health laws so that testing of chemicals and nanoengineered materials is required before they can be used in the manufacturing and sale of products.
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Carl Cranor Carl Cranor
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy
Legal Reforms
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TECHNOLOGY

It sounds like a page straight out of science fiction novel, but Guillermo Aguilar is busy working to make it a present-day reality. Aguilar and his team have developed a “Window to the Brain”—a cranial implant with optical transparency—that will enable physicians to treat neurological disorders, such as brain cancer and traumatic brain injury (TBI), without multiple invasive operations.
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Guillermo Aguilar Guillermo Aguilar
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Inventing a Window to the Brain
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By studying the elasticity, tensile strength, genetic structure and mechanical properties of spider silks, Cheryl Hayashi is helping biotechnologists develop a variety of new materials for industrial, medical and military applications such as super-strong body armor, specialty rope and surgical microsutures.
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Cheryl Hayashi Cheryl Hayashi
Professor of Biology
Discovering the Strengths of Spider Silk
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Medical implants play a critical role in helping patients recover from serious injuries, but they often require secondary surgeries to adjust or remove them later on. Huinan Liu’s lab is working to create implants and devices that are made of materials that can break down naturally in the body over time. In addition, these materials can aid in the healing process, providing essential nutrients to the body as they are absorbed. Her research has profound implications for reducing medical costs, accelerating recovery and improving the quality of patients’ lives.
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Huinan Liu Huinan Liu
Assistant Professor of Bioengineering
Engineering Absorbable Medical Implants
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Research that complements each other’s work has led James Dieterich and David Oglesby to answer big questions in the area of earthquake science as they individually study the physical processes that control earthquakes and the processes themselves. Why and when does an earthquake occur and how does it interact with other earthquakes in fault systems? Why do some earthquakes stop while others keep going? What causes some earthquakes to become large while others stay small? And how do these factors lead to the ground motion we experience on the surface of the earth?
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James Dieterich James Dieterich
Distinguished Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus
Exploring Earthquake Prediction and Impacts
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David Oglesby David Oglesby
Associate Professor of Geophysics
Exploring Earthquake Prediction and Impacts
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Looking at any given image or video sequence, Amit Roy-Chowdhury is looking to understand the content. Similar to the brain’s processing and interpreting of images, his research seeks to develop automated algorithms that not only capture and store images, but understand the content of those images. Prof. Roy-Chowdhury's research has been supported by various agencies including the National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, Army Research Office, DARPA, National Endowment for the Humanities, and private industries like CISCO and Lockheed-Martin. His recent book on Camera Networks provides an overview of current research in the field.
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Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury Amit K. Roy-Chowdhury
Professor of Electrical Engineering
Creating Better Video Analysis Technology
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