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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 6, 2002
Contact: Chuck McFadden
UC, National Laboratories in Forefront of Post-9/11 Research
The University of California, the national laboratories it manages
for the federal government and UC’s sister academic research
institutions across the nation have become even more important national
resources in the year since Sept. 11.
UC has a long history of working on research now connected with
the anti-terrorism effort, including a decades-long partnership
with the federal government to carry out basic and applied research
across many scientific disciplines.
As longtime repositories of expertise on national security issues,
the university and the laboratories have provided information and
advice to local, state and national governments on such disparate
subjects as the advisability of creating a Department of Homeland
Security, “dirty bombs” and bioterrorism. Experts from
the university and the national laboratories have testified more
than a dozen times before Congressional committees in addition to
participation in briefings for members of the Executive Branch.
- On July 10, Michael Anastasio, Director of Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory and Don Cobb, Associate Director at Los Alamos
National Laboratory, testified before the Senate Energy Committee
regarding the development of a new Homeland Security Department
and the role of the national laboratories.
- Systemwide Vice President Michael Drake, M.D., testified on
“Germs, Toxins and Terror: the New Threat to America”
before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Dr. Abolhassan Astaneh-Asi from UC Berkeley testified before
the House Science Committee on structural issues in associated
with the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings.
- In April, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood discussed
the role of the research university in the post 9/11 environment
as she gave the Carey Lecture at the annual policy symposium of
the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- The university has made available hundreds of faculty experts
on subjects ranging from psychological reactions to terror to
the political/social factors associated with terrorism.
Here is a sampling of some of the work underway at the campuses
- Scientists at UC-managed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
are analyzing instruments for detecting the telltale signs of
nuclear materials smuggled in sealed cargo containers.
- At UC San Diego, engineers are investigating ways to retrofit
U.S. embassies and critical structures worldwide against bomb
blasts. They are using composite overlays originally developed
at UC San Diego to protect buildings from earthquakes.
- Scientists at the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
are involved in efforts to detect, diagnose, and respond to foreign
animal disease and have become part of the state’s strategic
planning against terrorism.
- UC Davis was recently awarded $2.9 million by the U.S. Department
of Agriculture for development of regional networks to monitor
plant and animal diseases, including potential bioterrorist agents.
- At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, scientists have devised
a hand-held, non-radioactive baggage scanner that can detect knives,
nuclear materials or plastic explosives hidden in a suitcase or
- At UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, researchers are developing
on different varieties of what has come to be nicknamed “smart
dust,” tiny electronic sensors that can detect biological
or chemical agents. The San Diego version can be dispersed into
a cloud of gas to detect toxics, or even inconspicuously attached
to a wall or side of a truck
- UC Irvine psychologist Roxane Cohen Silver is conducting a national
study of the immediate and long-term emotional, cognitive and
social responses to the Sept. 11 attacks.
- UC San Francisco scientists and colleagues have developed the
first drug that can be mass-produced to prevent or treat botulism,
the paralyzing disease caused by a nerve toxin that is considered
one of the greatest bioterrorism threats.
- The Los Alamos and Livermore laboratories jointly developed
a biological sentry system called BASIS that helped provide security
at the Winter Olympics.
- The UC Davis biosensors group lead by Ian Kennedy and Bruce
Hammock is developing small "lab on a chip" systems
for detecting biological weapons agents; the technology was originally
conceived for detecting environmental pollutants, such as pesticides.
- Los Alamos is creating a center for analyzing how natural or
terrorist-generated disasters might affect traffic, the electrical
grid and other features of the national infrastructure.
- Livermore is researching the DNA signatures of harmful biological
agents. The signatures can be used in various future technologies
to identify harmful biological agents in the field.
- UCI Professor Richard A. Matthew is working with prominent Southern
California businesspeople and a range of academic and government
experts to develop a center for the study of terrorism and other
- The National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, jointly operated
by the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and the Duke University
Medical Center, and UCLA's Center for Community Health underwrote
a film – “Surviving September 11th: The Story of One
New York Family” – now showing on PBS that shows 9/11
from the perspective of three generations of one Brooklyn family
— grandmother, mother and three-year-old daughter.
- American studies scholars from around the world were at UC
Santa Barbara during the summer studying the religious diversity
of the United States and finding out how people with such differing
beliefs can coexist; the program was funded by the State Department,
which prior to 9/11 had not typically funded programs that explicitly
- Professor Ashok Mulchandani of UC Riverside has assembled a
team of experts from four different institutions to work on developing
an analytical device for the detection of agents of terrorism,
chemical warfare agents and explosives.