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25 Ways
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Summer 2000
25 Ways
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Bad air: UCLA engineers were among the first to identify smog particles in the air and to theorize about the role they play in the photochemical processes that create smog in Los Angeles; they were the first to compile data on how ozone is formed from the constituents of car exhaust. In 1966, they began building a database on worldwide smog, collecting air samples from 25 cities in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti. One researcher designed a fuel-atomizing carburetor that led to production of fuel injection for cleaner-running automobiles and demonstrated recycling of exhaust gases through the engine.

Feed the world: Plant genomics pioneer Robert B. Goldberg, professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology, made discoveries that led to the development of a method to genetically engineer plants, increasing crop yields, with major implications to the world's food supply.

New limbs, new hope: After World War II, UCLA engineers directed a program revolutionizing artificial-limb technology. Research at UCLA's Biotechnology Laboratory pioneered the use of strong plastics, mechanical sockets and artificial-hand mechanisms, enabling the highest quality of functional gain for wounded veterans. Today, prosthodontists at the School of Dentistry's Maxillofacial Prosthetics Clinic sculpt lifelike eyes, ears, noses, lips and jaws that snap or hook onto titanium screws implanted in the facial bones of cancer patients or accident victims. Clinicians from all over the world come to study at UCLA, the only such site in the western U.S.

War on breast cancer: Dr. Dennis Slamon, a research physician at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, discovered the relationship between the HER-2/neu gene and a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer. Subsequent research at UCLA led to an antibody that makes it possible to control metastatic breast cancer in some women. The antibody, commercially sold as Herceptin, was approved in September 1998 by the FDA.

Eyes on the prize: Five UCLA professors have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Most recently, pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his work in showing that nitric oxide is an important signaling compound that helps the body regulate key functions such as blood pressure and preventing blood clots that can cause strokes. Other recipients include Paul Boyer and Donald J. Cram (1997 and 1987, chemistry). Nobelists Julian S. Schwinger (1965, physics) and Willard F. Libby (1960, chemistry) both became UCLA faculty after doing the research that led to their winning the prize. Alumni awardees include Ralph Bunche '27, LL.B. '50 (1950, peace), Glenn Seaborg '34 (1951, chemistry), William Sharpe '55, M.A. '56, Ph.D. '61 (1990, economics) and R. Bruce Merrifield '43, Ph.D. '49 (1984, chemistry).

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