- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
What do you get?
An epic battle during the 15th annual Bruce Hammock Lab Water Balloon Battle on the Briggs Hall lawn at the University of California, Davis.
Who won? It was not distinguished professor Bruce Hammock, who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
It was undergraduate student Andrew Kisin of the lab of Aldrin Gomes, UC Davis Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.
Hammock, clutching three water balloons, didn't stand a chance as Kisin raced toward him with a container full of water. The rest is history. Drenched history.
The annual battle amounts to 15 minutes, or "15 Minutes of Aim." That's how long it takes for the some 40 participants to toss 2,000 water balloons. Currently 28 researchers--from the United Staes, China, France, Ukraine, Lebanon, Japan and Korea--work in the Hammock lab. They include postdoctoral scholars, researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars, visiting graduate students, visiting summer students, short-term visiting scholars and student interns.
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.
Kisin, a second-year UC Davis student from San Jose, just enrolled at UC Davis a week ago. Majoring in biological sciences, he joined the Gomes lab to study "the effects of drugs such as ibuprofin on organs and may also study how proteasomes contribute to aging."
The annual event is open to all UC Davis personnel and their families. They fill the balloons, toss them and clean up the remnants--and then look forward to next year's battle.
Odds are that you won't find many water warriors like Bruce Hammock, whose credentials rival noted academicians worldwide. A native of Little Rock, Ark., who holds a doctorate from UC Berkeley, Bruce joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980. He is the founding director (1987-present) of the UC Davis NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) Superfund Research Program and is a founding member (1990-present) of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has directed the UC Davis NIH/NIEHS Combined Analytical Laboratory for 25 years.
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.
But on one day in July--for 15 minutes--Bruce Hammock turns from academician to water warrior. And yes, he's excels at that, too! See what happened to his doctoral student Cindy McReynolds in one of the photos below.