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engaging style and determination to get things done have earned
her many admirers. Says McCabe: "She has an innate diplomatic
ability. She's been able to work through very sensitive issues,
bringing people together, very effectively. She gets the job done,
but she doesn't tread all over people getting there."
there is a strong foundation of humanity, too, in her thinking,
says her husband, Aarno Palotie. "She understands astonishingly
well how the human being functions as a person. She has the emotional
depth that makes her not just a driving woman, a caricature of the
movies, but well-rounded."
work ethic is clearly evident. Most of her days begin soon after
dawn. She usually arrives in her office by 6 a.m., and immediately
attacks her e-mail, which she uses to chat with colleagues across
the globe. She still is coming to grips with the culture shock of
being on a large campus like UCLA.
a very impatient person," she says. "Everything here can
take so much time. It's such a huge culture. I came from a very
small university, so everything moved very fast."
brings to UCLA a wealth of intellectual resources earned from working
in a country that, because of its isolated population and centralized
health-care system with detailed records on every citizen, is one
of the world's richest environments for studying human genetics.
"She has enormous breadth, a tremendous range of talents and
a vision of what needs to be done in genetics," says Neufeld.
a geneticist, Peltonen could hardly have chosen a more conducive
country in which to be born. Finland is located near the top of
the world, a nation of 5 million people spread across a region roughly
the size of France. No one knows exactly from where Finns came,
but historians believe their ancestors arrived in small groups from
Western Europe some 2,000 years ago and there's been little immigration
since. There have been periods in the country's history during which
more than half the population died of hunger, and poverty and isolation
conspired to keep the population low. The effect of this extreme
isolation was profound: Finns bred with each other over several
centuries without knowing it, giving rise to an assortment of strange
and terrible diseases not found anywhere else in the world.