- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's how long it takes to toss 2,000 water balloons.
Or, rather, that's how long it takes the Bruce Hammock laboratory at the University of California, Davis, to toss 2,000 water balloons.
The 15th annual Bruce Hammock Lab Water Balloon Battle will take place at 3 p.m., Tuesday, July 3 on the north side of the Briggs Hall lawn, outside Hammock's office.
That's when Hammock, a UC Davis distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, turns water warrior.
Hammock lab researcher Christophe Morisseau, who coordinates the annual event, says balloon filling will begin at 1 p.m. on the grass by the loading dock. "Our policy: no filling, no throwing," he said, adding that you can also BYOB (Bring Your Own Balloons) or water guns. The event is open to all who want to get wet--including children and spouses.
The Hammock lab works hard and plays hard.
Trained as a entomologist, chemist and toxicologist--and who now focuses his research on human health--Bruce Hammock is known for his work on using natural chemical mediators to control inflammation and intractable pain. He co-discovered the soluble epoxide hydrolase, and many of his more than 1100 publications and patents are on the P450 branch of the arachidonate cascade where the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) degrades natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds. The founder of several companies, he has helped raise more than $50 million in private capital, and currently is chief executive officer of the Davis-based EicOsis, where an orally active non- addictive drug for inflammatory and neuropathic pain is being developed for human beings companion animals. EicOsis is supported by several seed-fund grants and a NIH/NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Blueprint Development Grant.
Highly honored by his peers, Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and the recipient of the Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism, sponsored by the America Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He is the first McGiff Memorial Awardee in Lipid Biochemistry. The Eicosanoid Research Foundation recently honored him for work on oxidized lipids.
The Hammock laboratory has published almost 900 peer-reviewed papers on the sEH enzyme, which Hammock, then a graduate student and colleague Sarjeet Gill (now a UC Riverside professor) discovered in the laboratory of the late UC Berkeley Professor John Casida. (Sadly, Casida died June 30 at age 88 in his Berkeley home.)
At the time of the discovery of the enzyme that regulates epoxy fatty acids, Hammock was researching insect developmental biology and green insecticides. For many years Gill and Hammock were alone in studying this enzyme, but today its importance is well recognized in mammalian biology, with more than 17,000 peer-reviewed papers in the area. Hammock credits the NIEHS for supporting research in this area since the 1970s.
The Hammock lab is international. Those working in his lab include post docs, researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars, visiting graduate students, visiting summer students, short-term visiting scholars and student interns.
Of the 28 researchers currently in the lab, here's the breakdown by country:
- China: 15
- United States: 6
- France: 2
- Ukraine: 2
- Lebanon: 1
- Japan: 1
- Korea: 1
Although the Balloon Battle at Briggs is spearheaded by the Hammock lab, other labs will join in. They include the labs of Aldrin Gomes of the UC Davis Department Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and Walter Leal of the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.
So, if you're around Briggs Hall tomorrow at 3 p.m., stop by and watch the soakfest. The lawn will benefit, and the water warriors--and nearby spectators--will benefit as they cool off in in the summer heat.
But arrive early. These water warriors are pros. Sometimes it's not "15 Minutes of Aim" but "!0 Minutes of Aim."