The University of California, Irvine, has several members from a variety of fields of study that are available to comment on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Their names and areas of expertise are found below.

Matthew Beckmann, associate professor, political science. Beckman studies the organizational structures and operational strategies presidents can use to pick their team, invest their time, focus their attention, channel their effort, discipline their thinking, coordinate their subordinates, and, most importantly, make decisions.


Daniel Brunstetter, associate professor, political science. Brunstetter studies the ethics of war, including presidential use of just war theory, armed drones, humanitarian intervention, and civilian and cultural heritage protection in war.


Roxane Cohen Silver, Distinguished Professor, psychological science, medicine and public health. Professor Silver specializes in coping with traumatic life events, including collective traumas such as war, mass violence, infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters across the world. She is a leading expert on how media and social media coverage of traumatic events impacts peoples’ mental health.


Bryan Cunningham, executive director of UCI’s multidisciplinary Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute. Cunningham is a former White House lawyer and adviser and a media commentator on cybersecurity, technology and surveillance issues. He has extensive experience in senior U.S. government intelligence and law enforcement positions, formerly serving as Deputy Legal Adviser to then-National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, and for six years in the Clinton Administration as a senior CIA officer and federal prosecutor. He began his CIA career as a Soviet foreign policy analyst focused on Eastern Europe.


Dana Rose Garfin, assistant adjunct professor, nursing and public health. Garfin’s research interests include trauma, stress, disasters, heath psychology, media exposure to disasters and interventions to address the psychological effects of trauma exposure. She can speak to the psychological impact of the war on those exposed directly and via the media. She can also provide recommendations on how Americans can cope with the distress associated with the Ukraine conflict and the threat of an escalating conflict with Russia.


Gillian Hayes, Robert A. and Barbara L. Kleist Professor of informatics, education and pediatrics. Hayes’s research focuses on the design and use of innovative technologies to support health and education for vulnerable populations. Topics surrounding Ukraine and Russia include impacts on the most vulnerable people’s access to healthcare and education, including those with disabilities and chronic health conditions, and the role technology can plan in remediating some of the effects of the conflict.


E. Alison Holman, professor, nursing. Holman specializes in the mental and physical health impacts of individual, collective, and intergenerational trauma, and how media exposure to vivid images of collective trauma may affect health. She can speak to how the Russia/Ukraine conflict will affect the mental health and well-being of those directly and indirectly impacted by it.


Jeffrey Kopstein, professor, political science. In his research, Kopstein focuses on interethnic violence, voting patterns of minority groups, and anti-liberal tendencies in civil society, paying special attention to cases within European and Russian Jewish history. As pertains to the Russia/Ukraine conflict, he can speak to politics in Russia and Ukraine, Authoritarianism, NATO and the transatlantic alliance, and European Union policy.


Julia Lerch, assistant professor, sociology. Lerch studies education in a global context, including topics related to education in humanitarian emergencies, education and citizenship, and the impact of antiliberal trends on education. In relation to the Russia/Ukraine conflict, she could speak to its likely impacts on Ukraine’s education system and the disruption of affected children’s educational opportunities.


Erin Lockwood, assistant professor, political science. Lockwood’s research areas include international political economy and global financial politics. She can speak to questions related to economic sanctions, financial sanctions/financial infrastructure and payments systems more generally (for example, the prospect of cutting off Russian access to the SWIFT financial communications system.)


David Meyer, professor, sociology, political science and planning, policy & design. Meyer’s research examines the relationships between social movements and the political contexts in which they emerge. Topics surrounding the Russia/Ukraine conflict that align with his expertise include sanction strategy; the resistance strategy that might emerge in Ukraine in the face of occupation; the history of the Cold War and its influence today; and the possibility of a powerful peace/isolationist movement emerging in the U.S.


Gustavo Oliveira, assistant professor, global & international studies. Oliveira is a specialist in global political economy and critical geopolitics, focusing on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) and international commodity markets, especially agricultural trade and natural resource governance. He can speak to the basis of the Russia/Ukraine conflict on natural resources, and the repercussions of the conflict for international commodity markets, inflation, and disruptions to global food supply chains. He can also speak about the anti-war movements in Russia, Europe, the United States, and broader political repercussions of the conflict in Brazil, Latin America, and the U.S.

Contact: [email protected]


Stergios Skaperdas, professor, economics and director of the Center for Global Peace and Conflict Studies. His general area of research is political economy, the interaction of economics and politics. Among other issues, he has studied conflict and wars, the role of the modern state in economic development, and the interaction of globalization and geopolitics.

Contact: [email protected]


Etel Solingen, Distinguished Professor, political science and Thomas T. and Elizabeth C. Tierney Chair in Peace and Conflict Studies. Solingen studies the reciprocal influence between international political economy and international security, globalization and its discontents. She can discuss the crisis in terms of historical precedents (of international crises), the utility of sanctions, bargaining in crisis, Russia’s economic decline and how it bears on the current crisis.

Contact: [email protected]


Iryna Zenyuk, associate professor, chemical and biomolecular engineering. Zenyuk was born in the western Ukraine city of Ivano-Frankivsk and has started the UCI Ukraine Emergency Response Fund to raise money to bring displaced academic researchers from Ukraine to U.S. research labs. Her research focuses on renewable energy, specifically on hydrogen-based technologies and batteries.

Contact: [email protected]


On Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, UCI’s School of Social Sciences hosted a webinar titled, “Understanding the Russia-Ukraine Crisis.” Several of the experts below offered perspective on key issues surrounding the escalating conflict between Russia and Ukraine. You can watch or listen to the webinar here.