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UCLA Magazine Winter 2002
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Winter 2002
The New Scientists
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It also is a completely different approach to graduate science education, Wudl says, one that involves placing students in commercial and academic labs such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory for up to six months to expose them directly to the practical applications of research.

Graduate student Hieu Duong C.Phil. ’01, a synthetic organic chemist, spent last summer in an industrial laboratory working on a project to develop an organic, polymer-based biosensor that could detect harmful bacteria in the air to guard against chemical attack.

“That internship was a great experience,” says the UC Santa Barbara graduate who is working with Wudl and Yang Yang, a faculty member from materials science and engineering. “When you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best. That’s why I’m here.”

Duong’s own research project involves making a conducting polymer that could ultimately become a lighter-weight replacement for copper wire.

“What I do,” explains Duong, “overlaps with materials engineering and physical chemistry. That kind of interaction among scientists can happen naturally, but if I just walked into someone else’s lab and said, ‘Step aside and let me use your instruments for my own purposes,’ it’s unlikely they would allow it. Instead, IGERT brings everybody together to the same table to make that interaction happen.”

FIFTEEN FACULTY from 13 different departments and interdepartmental programs have made their labs and expertise available to students in the Center for Bioinformatics. This blend includes mathematics, biomathematics, statistics, biostatistics, computer science and molecular biology.

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