UCI professors Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and Anthony James elected to National Academy of Sciences

Irvine, Calif., April 25, 2006 -- UC Irvine professors Barbara Finlayson-Pitts and Anthony James have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Finlayson-Pitts and James are two of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates elected into the academy in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.

Barbara Finlayson-Pitts, professor of chemistry in the School of Physical Sciences, studies chemical reactions in the lower atmosphere to better understand air pollution in urban and remote areas. She directs AirUCI -- Atmospheric Integrated Research Using Chemistry at Interfaces -- a multi-investigator effort to better understand how air and water interact in the atmosphere and how those processes affect air quality and global climate change. With Finlayson-Pitts serving as principle investigator and director, in 2004 UCI was awarded a total of $7.5 million over five years from the National Science Foundation to establish AirUCI, an Environmental Molecular Science Institute -- one of only seven currently funded EMSIs dedicated to understanding at the molecular level how human activity and nature contribute to global environmental problems. Finlayson-Pitts has studied the effects of sea salt on urban smog formation and on remote atmospheres, as well as how chemical reactions on the surfaces of buildings and roads affect urban air quality and models of air pollution. Among her achievements, in 2004 she received the American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology. Earlier this week, Finlayson-Pitts also was honored when she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Anthony James is an internationally known vector biologist and is responsible for a number of significant advances on genetic approaches to interrupt malaria parasite and dengue virus transmission by mosquitoes. Recently, it was announced that James was part of a team of researchers from Colorado State University and UCI that successfully created a genetically engineered mosquito that shows a high level of resistance against the most prevalent type of dengue fever virus, providing a powerful weapon against a disease that infects 50 million people each year. A professor in the departments of microbiology and molecular genetics, School of Medicine, and molecular biology and biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, James has received a number of honors for his research and in 1994 was named a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2005, he received a $19.7 million grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health to lead an international effort to develop new methods to control the transmission of dengue fever. In 2004 James also was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of UCI's School of Biological Sciences.

UCI faculty previously elected to the academy include John Avise, Francisco J. Ayala, Michael Clegg, William Daughaday, Zachary Fisk, Walter Fitch, Elizabeth Loftus, R. Duncan Luce, James McGaugh, Ricardo Miledi, Masayasu Nomura, Larry Overman, Peter Rentzepis, A. Kimball Romney, Irwin A. Rose, F. Sherwood Rowland, Donald G. Saari, Brian Skyrms, George Sperling, Douglas Wallace and Robin Williams.

In addition, UCI Chancellor Emeritus Ralph J. Cicerone is current president (and a member) of the NAS.

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About the National Academy of Sciences: The NAS is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare. It was established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln that calls on the academy to act as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. Additional information about the academy and its members is available online at www.nasonline.org.

About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

Television: UCI has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit http://today.uci.edu/broadcast.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN is line limited by availability and approval by the university.

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit www.today.uci.edu/experts.


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