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05.21.18 - MDP Mentor Presents Research

Celia Faiola, UC Irvine assistant professor of ecology
and evolutionary biology

When it comes to urban greening, some trees are better than others. A Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP) project is working towards helping to figure out which vegetation helps the environment most. MDP mentor Celia Faiola, UC Irvine assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, spoke to students Thursday, May 14, as part of the 2018 MDP Seminar Series.
Faiola’s research focuses on aerosols, the atmospheric particles that degrade air quality and have harmful effects on human health.  

Researchers already know that planting trees in cities has multiple benefits for the environment, including storing carbon, absorbing storm water and cooling areas by providing shade. But trees and plants also release volatile organic compounds (VOC), which interact with other substances and pollute the air, especially when it’s warm. This could actually make the air pollution worse. Faiola’s MDP team is measuring the toxicity of the particles coming from urban vegetation, hoping to shed light on which trees and plants are best for air quality.

Now in its eighth year, MDP is sponsored by CALIT2 and UCI’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). It is open to high-achieving UCI undergraduate or graduate students in any discipline with a strong drive to pursue multidisciplinary research as part of a team with different backgrounds and skills. MDP Fellows receive hands-on collaborative research opportunities that explore the fields of energy, environment, healthcare and culture.??

For more information about MDP, visit http://www.urop.uci.edu/mdp.html.
-- Lori Brandt