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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Work

The Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) oversees a broad grantmaking portfolio of nearly $65 million a year to support research that is critical to California, the nation and the world. RGPO programs enhance UC’s research capacity and excellence, which helps attract top faculty, graduate students, government funding and companies to our state. These grants also enable researchers and community agencies to collaborate and solve the most pressing problems in the state. RGPO also provides grants for training undergraduates, graduate and postdoctoral researchers, whose work will benefit California communities. 

Cover page of Psychoactive plant- and mushroom-associated alkaloids from two behavior modifying cicada pathogens

Psychoactive plant- and mushroom-associated alkaloids from two behavior modifying cicada pathogens

(2019)

© 2019 The Authors Entomopathogenic fungi routinely kill their hosts before releasing infectious spores, but a few species keep insects alive while sporulating, which enhances dispersal. Transcriptomics- and metabolomics-based studies of entomopathogens with post-mortem dissemination from their parasitized hosts have unraveled infection processes and host responses. However, the mechanisms underlying active spore transmission by Entomophthoralean fungi in living insects remain elusive. Here we report the discovery, through metabolomics, of the plant-associated amphetamine, cathinone, in four Massospora cicadina-infected periodical cicada populations, and the mushroom-associated tryptamine, psilocybin, in annual cicadas infected with Massospora platypediae or Massospora levispora, which likely represent a single fungal species. The absence of some fungal enzymes necessary for cathinone and psilocybin biosynthesis along with the inability to detect intermediate metabolites or gene orthologs are consistent with possibly novel biosynthesis pathways in Massospora. The neurogenic activities of these compounds suggest the extended phenotype of Massospora that modifies cicada behavior to maximize dissemination is chemically-induced.

Cover page of Recent cessation attempts and receipt of cessation services among a diverse primary care population – A mixed methods study

Recent cessation attempts and receipt of cessation services among a diverse primary care population – A mixed methods study

(2019)

© 2019 The Authors Smoking rates are high among low-income populations who seek care in safety-net clinics. While most safety-net clinics screen for cigarette smoking, there are substantial disparities in the delivery of smoking cessation counseling in these systems. We conducted a mixed method study between July 2016 and April 2017 to examine receipt of smoking cessation counseling and estimate recent cessation attempts among primary care patients in four safety-net clinics in San Francisco. We used the electronic health record (EHR) to examine receipt of cessation services and estimate cessation attempts, defined as transition from current to former smoking status during the 9-month study period. We conducted interviews with 10 staff and 16 patients to assess barriers to and facilitators of providing cessation services. Of the 3301 smokers identified via EHR, the majority (95.6%) received some type of cessation counseling during at least one clinical encounter, and 17.6% made a recent cessation attempt. Recent smoking cessation attempts and receipt of smoking cessation services differed significantly by clinic after adjusting for demographic factors. We identified patient and staff-level pre-disposing, reinforcing and enabling factors to increase delivery of cessation care, including increasing access to cessation medications and higher intensity counseling using a team-based approach. The EHR presents a useful tool to monitor patients' recent cessation attempts and access to cessation care. Combining EHR data with qualitative methods can help guide and streamline interventions to improve quality of cessation care and promote quit attempts among patients in safety-net settings.

Cover page of A Review of Tobacco Policies on University of California Campuses

A Review of Tobacco Policies on University of California Campuses

(2019)

Background and Purpose: College and university tobacco control programs have historically neglected cessation. In 2012, the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) released a Smoke and Tobacco Free policy that became effective in January 2014. The policy provided for a comprehensive education and outreach campaign that included resources and referrals for cessation. We sought to determine whether all University of California (UC) campuses met UCOP standards. Methods: We reviewed the Smoke & Tobacco Free policies created by UCOP and posted at ten UC campuses, searched the tobacco free websites of each campus for cessation resources, and contacted tobacco-free task forces. Results: We found that all UC campuses met the UCOP standard by addressing tobacco cessation in their campus policies. The provision of cessation services and resources was limited and varied substantially by campus, and no campuses reported collecting data on the use of cessation programs. Conclusion: Consistent with concerns that college and university tobacco policies neglect cessation, UC campuses mentioned tobacco cessation resources and programs but did not provide consistent services. These campuses also did not report on the use of tobacco cessation resources, making it difficult to assess the effects of offering different types of cessation programs.

Cover page of Commitment, interpersonal stigma, and mental health in romantic relationships between transgender women and cisgender male partners.

Commitment, interpersonal stigma, and mental health in romantic relationships between transgender women and cisgender male partners.

(2019)

The goals of this study were to: (a) examine associations between interpersonal stigma and psychological distress among a sample of transgender women and their cisgender male partners; and (b) identify whether commitment moderates the association between interpersonal stigma and psychological distress. To address these aims, 191 couples consisting of transgender women and their cisgender male partners completed a one-time survey. Actor-partner interdependence models (APIM) were fit to examine stigma, commitment, and their interaction on psychological distress. More frequent experiences of interpersonal stigma were associated with elevated psychological distress for both partners. For transgender women, higher commitment was associated with lower psychological distress. There was a significant interaction effect such that the association between interpersonal stigma and psychological distress was attenuated by greater commitment for transgender women, but not for their cisgender male partners. Findings provide preliminary support for associations between interpersonal stigma and mental health of both partners, and identify commitment as a potential stress buffer for transgender women.

Cover page of Nickel sulfide nanostructures prepared by laser irradiation for efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction and supercapacitors

Nickel sulfide nanostructures prepared by laser irradiation for efficient electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution reaction and supercapacitors

(2019)

© 2019 Elsevier B.V. Rational design and synthesis of transition metal sulfide complex nanostructures are significant for achieving desired materials properties for a variety of applications. Herein, we synthesized nickel sulfide (NiS) nanostructures using laser irradiation in an aqueous solution and under the ambient condition. Crystalline nanostructures with high phase-purity were achieved without further calcination. Other transition metal sulfides, such as CuS and ZnS, were also successfully synthesized using the laser irradiation approach, suggesting the practical application of this method. The hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) measurements show the NiS nanostructures synthesized for 4h (NiS-4h) not only exhibited competitive overpotential (−159 mV vs. RHE at 10 A/g), lower Tafel slope (218 mV/dec) but also delivered long-term stability (14 A/g at −250 mV vs. RHE for 12h). Moreover, the NiS-4h functioned as the electrode for supercapacitor with excellent specific capacitance (3761 F/g at 10 mV/s), reversibility and rate capability (1152 F/g at 100 mV/s). These superb electrochemical performances are attributed to the remarkable value of electrochemically active surface area (ECSA) and synergistic effect of Ni 3+ OOH for HER electrocatalytic activities, while the co-existence of Ni 2+ and Ni 3+ facilitates the rich redox reactions of NiS for supercapacitor.

Cover page of Effects of Fructose or Glucose on Circulating ApoCIII and Triglyceride and Cholesterol Content of Lipoprotein Subfractions in Humans.

Effects of Fructose or Glucose on Circulating ApoCIII and Triglyceride and Cholesterol Content of Lipoprotein Subfractions in Humans.

(2019)

ApoCIII and triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins (TRL), particularly, large TG-rich lipoproteins particles, have been described as important mediators of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The effects of sustained consumption of dietary fructose compared with those of sustained glucose consumption on circulating apoCIII and large TRL particles have not been reported. We measured apoCIII concentrations and the TG and cholesterol content of lipoprotein subfractions separated by size in fasting and postprandial plasma collected from men and women (age: 54 ± 8 years) before and after they consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks. The subjects consuming fructose exhibited higher fasting and postprandial plasma apoCIII concentrations than the subjects consuming glucose (p < 0.05 for both). They also had higher concentrations of postprandial TG in all TRL subfractions (p < 0.05, effect of sugar), with the highest increases occurring in the largest TRL particles (p < 0.0001 for fructose linear trend). Compared to glucose consumption, fructose consumption increased postprandial TG in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles (p < 0.05, effect of sugar), especially in the smaller particles (p < 0.0001 for fructose linear trend). The increases of both postprandial apoCIII and TG in large TRL subfractions were associated with fructose-induced increases of fasting cholesterol in the smaller LDL particles. In conclusion, 10 weeks of fructose consumption increased the circulating apoCIII and postprandial concentrations of large TRL particles compared with glucose consumption.

Cover page of Placement and sales of tobacco products and nicotine replacement therapy in tobacco-free and tobacco-selling pharmacies in Northern California: an observational study.

Placement and sales of tobacco products and nicotine replacement therapy in tobacco-free and tobacco-selling pharmacies in Northern California: an observational study.

(2019)

OBJECTIVES:Although tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death in the USA, it is routinely sold in pharmacies. In 2008, San Francisco became the first city in the USA to pass a tobacco-free pharmacy ordinance. Over the next decade, 171 municipalities enacted similar policies, and in 2018, Massachusetts banned tobacco sales in pharmacies. Our objective was to assess the perceived effects of tobacco-free pharmacy policies on displays, sales, customer visits and counselling. DESIGN:Observational study and survey. SETTING:In 2017, we visited Walgreens and CVS stores in San Francisco and nearby San Jose, which allows tobacco sales, to assess placement of tobacco and over-the-counter tobacco cessation products (nicotine replacement therapy or NRT). We surveyed an employee at each site regarding the impact that tobacco-free pharmacy policies had had on customer traffic and sales of NRT. PARTICIPANTS:We obtained display data from 72 pharmacies and collected surveys from 55 employees (76% response rate). RESULTS:A majority of respondents at tobacco-free pharmacies (55%) reported that the policy had not affected customer visits. In comparison, 70% of respondents at tobacco-selling pharmacies believed that eliminating tobacco sales would reduce the number of customers visiting their stores. Pharmacies that were tobacco free and those that sold tobacco reported comparable displays, sales and counselling for NRT. CONCLUSIONS:Pharmacies operating under tobacco-free policies did not report reduced customer visits. Greater awareness of this outcome could help pharmacies implement public health recommendations to eliminate tobacco sales.

Cover page of Conditional Effects of Lifetime Alcohol Consumption on Methamphetamine-Associated Neurocognitive Performance.

Conditional Effects of Lifetime Alcohol Consumption on Methamphetamine-Associated Neurocognitive Performance.

(2019)

OBJECTIVES:Methamphetamine (MA) dependence contributes to neurotoxicity and neurocognitive deficits. Although combined alcohol and MA misuse is common, how alcohol consumption relates to neurocognitive performance among MA users remains unclear. We hypothesized that alcohol and MA use would synergistically diminish neurocognitive functioning, such that greater reported alcohol consumption would exert larger negative effects on neurocognition among MA-dependent individuals compared to MA-nonusing persons. METHODS:Eighty-seven MA-dependent (MA+) and 114 MA-nonusing (MA-) adults underwent neuropsychological and substance use assessments. Linear and logistic regressions examined the interaction between MA status and lifetime average drinks per drinking day on demographically corrected global neurocognitive T scores and impairment rates, controlling for recent alcohol use, lifetime cannabis use, WRAT reading performance, and lifetime depression. RESULTS:MA+ displayed moderately higher rates of impairment and lower T scores compared to MA-. Lifetime alcohol use significantly interacted with MA status to predict global impairment (ORR = 0.70, p = .003) such that greater lifetime alcohol use increased likelihood of impairment in MA-, but decreased likelihood of impairment in MA+. Greater lifetime alcohol use predicted poorer global T scores among MA- (b = -0.44, p = .030) but not MA+ (b = 0.08, p = .586). CONCLUSIONS:Contrary to expectations, greater lifetime alcohol use related to reduced risk of neurocognitive impairment among MA users. Findings are supported by prior research identifying neurobiological mechanisms by which alcohol may attenuate stimulant-driven vasoconstriction and brain thermotoxicity. Replication and examination of neurophysiologic mechanisms underlying alcohol use in the context of MA dependence are warranted to elucidate whether alcohol confers a degree of neuroprotection.

Cover page of Dynamic deformability of individual PbSe nanocrystals during superlattice phase transitions.

Dynamic deformability of individual PbSe nanocrystals during superlattice phase transitions.

(2019)

The behavior of individual nanocrystals during superlattice phase transitions can profoundly affect the structural perfection and electronic properties of the resulting superlattices. However, details of nanocrystal morphological changes during superlattice phase transitions are largely unknown due to the lack of direct observation. Here, we report the dynamic deformability of PbSe semiconductor nanocrystals during superlattice phase transitions that are driven by ligand displacement. Real-time high-resolution imaging with liquid-phase transmission electron microscopy reveals that following ligand removal, the individual PbSe nanocrystals experience drastic directional shape deformation when the spacing between nanocrystals reaches 2 to 4 nm. The deformation can be completely recovered when two nanocrystals move apart or it can be retained when they attach. The large deformation, which is responsible for the structural defects in the epitaxially fused nanocrystal superlattice, may arise from internanocrystal dipole-dipole interactions.