TAG: "Awards & honors"

26 UC researchers named AAAS fellows

The association is the world’s largest scientific society.

Twenty-six University of California campus and affiliated lab researchers are among this year’s new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. They are among 401 AAAS fellows for 2014, honored for their contributions to innovation, education, and scientific leadership.

With this year’s new fellows, UC now has 842 living members of the AAAS. The association is the world’s largest scientific society. The new fellows, by campus and area of concentration, are:

UC Berkeley

  • William D. Collins (see Lawrence Berkeley Lab)
  • Cathryn Carson, History and Philosophy of Science
  • John Harte, Physics
  • Paul G. Kalas, SETI Institute, Astronomy

UC Davis

  • Andreas J. Albrecht, Astronomy
  • Xinbin Chen, Medical Sciences
  • Gino A. Cortopassi, Biological Sciences
  • Michael J. Leibowitz, Biological Sciences
  • Debbie A. Niemeier, Engineering
  • Diane E. Ullman, Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources

UC Irvine

  • Philip G. Collins, Physics
  • Christopher Charles William Hughes, Medical Sciences
  • Eric Mjolsness, Information, Computing, and Communication
  • Paolo Sassone-Corsi, Biological Sciences


  • Linda Gwen Baum, Geffen School of Medicine, Medical Sciences
  • Ann M. Hirsch, Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources
  • Michael Stephen Levine, Neuroscience
  • Pamela Munro, Linguistics and Language Sciences
  • Dwight W. Read, Anthropology

UC San Diego

  • Steven C. Cande, Geology and Geography
  • Trey Ideker, Biological Sciences
  • Mark D. Ohman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Biological Sciences

UC San Francisco

  • Ophir David Klein, Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences

UC Santa Barbara

  • David López-Carr, Geology and Geography

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

  • William D. Collins, UC Berkeley, Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences
  • Heinz M. Frei, Chemistry

Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Mary Y.P. Hockaday, Physics

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Joint Commission names UC Irvine, UCLA med centers ‘Top Performers’

Program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on key quality measures.

Medical centers at UC Irvine and UCLA have been recognized as “Top Performer” hospitals by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States.

UC Irvine and UCLA were recognized as part of The Joint Commission’s 2014 annual report “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety” for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measures performance in treatment for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and in surgical care.

They are among 1,224 hospitals in the United States, including 97 in California, to achieve the 2013 Top Performer distinction.

The Top Performer program recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma, stroke, venous thromboembolism and perinatal care, as well as for inpatient psychiatric services and immunizations.

“UC Irvine Health is proud to be named a Top Performer by The Joint Commission. Our community expects UC Irvine Health to provide healthcare at the highest levels of quality and patient safety,” said Terry A. Belmont, CEO of UC Irvine Medical Center. “The goal of every member of our team, from hospital leadership, to faculty physicians, nurses, therapists and support staff is to improve patients’ experience and outcomes.”

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Two UC physicians win cancer research award

Lung cancer research award encourages ‘out-of-the-box thinking.’

Jonathan Riess, UC Davis

Medical oncologists Jonathan Riess of UC Davis, Trever Bivona of UC San Francisco and Ryan Corcoran of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School are recipients of a 2014 Young Innovators Team Award for Lung Cancer Research. They will share $500,000 in funding for translational lung cancer research.

They were honored Nov. 8 by the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Van Auken Private Foundation at the Simply the Best Gala in San Francisco.

The awardees were selected based on a rigorous, multilevel peer review, as well as in-person presentation, to the foundation’s scientific review committee.

“The idea is to encourage out-of-the-box thinking and foster leadership skills among young innovators, instilling confidence in them to drive breakthrough research under a collaborative paradigm,” said Guneet Walia, director of research and medical affairs at the Addario Foundation. “We are proud to announce recipients who truly embody the multidisciplinary, translational and cross-institutional spirit of the award, and will collaboratively work on a unique biomarker and drug target in lung cancer patients.”

Trever Bivona, UC San Francisco

The three will work to evaluate a unique drug target in non-small cell lung cancer, identified in preliminary studies to be active in 20 to 30 percent of all patients with the disease, and a potential cause for resistance to therapy.

The Addario Foundation, devoted exclusively to eradicating lung cancer, has raised more than $20 million for lung cancer research and related programs. The Van Auken Private Foundation provides contributions and assistance to other charitable organizations in arts, science, medicine, education and other worthy social causes.

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UCSF professor awarded Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience

Roger Nicoll receives Society for Neuroscience’s highest award.

Roger Nicoll, UC San Francisco

UC San Francisco neuroscientist Roger Nicoll, M.D., has received the Society for Neuroscience’s (SfN) highest award, the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience. He and Richard W. Tsien, D.Phil., of New York University, will share the $25,000 prize.

The prize honors outstanding scientists who have made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout their careers. The Gerard Prize was established in the name of Ralph W. Gerard, who was instrumental in establishing SfN and served as honorary president from 1970 until his death in 1974.

“It is a pleasure to award the 2014 Gerard Prize jointly to Drs. Nicoll and Tsien. They have performed seminal work that has transformed our understanding of the mechanisms that the mammalian brain uses to transmit and store information,” SfN President Carol Mason said. “In addition to their many scientific accomplishments, Nicoll and Tsien have played a crucial role as mentors in the field of synaptic physiology and biophysics.”

Nicoll’s research has guided new understandings of the basic mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission, the process by which neurons communicate using chemicals called neurotransmitters. Specifically, he pioneered understanding of slow synaptic transmission, in which neurotransmitters communicate by initiating a series of chemical changes in target neurons.

Nicoll’s research also revealed new information about synaptic plasticity, particularly long-term potentiation (LTP), the strengthening of the synapses (connections) between nerve cells related to learning and memory. By using a combination of electrophysiological and molecular techniques, Nicoll’s lab has uncovered the role of several families of synaptic proteins involved in LTP and is currently exploring how LTP is stabilized and maintained. Nicoll will deliver the Grass Lecture on his work at Neuroscience 2014.

Nicoll also shared the 2014 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize with Oleh Hornykiewicz of the Medical University of Vienna and the University of Toronto; and Solomon Snyder of the Johns Hopkins University. They were honored for their pioneering research into neurotransmission and neurodegeneration. The three recipients shared an unrestricted prize of $250,000 and were honored at a special symposium at Harvard Medical School on Oct. 2.

Nicoll earned his M.D. from University of Rochester School of Medicine and is currently a professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF.

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UC scientists named Breakthrough Prize winners

UC Berkeley’s Jennifer Doudna, Saul Perlmutter join Terence Tao of UCLA.

UC Berkeley scientists Jennifer Doudna and Saul Perlmutter were named 2015 Breakthrough Prize winners.

By Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley

Two UC Berkeley scientists — structural biologist Jennifer Doudna and physicist Saul Perlmutter — were named 2015 Breakthrough Prize winners in life sciences and physics, respectively, at a star-studded gala in Silicon Valley on Sunday (Nov. 9).

Doudna accepted the award Sunday along with her research colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier and the other new winners. The 2015 Breakthrough Prize winners in all three categories — life sciences, physics and mathematics — will be celebrated today (Monday, Nov. 10) in a series of three symposia taking place at Stanford University and streamed live to UC Berkeley from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with social media conversations through the Twitter hashtag #BreakthroughPrize.

The other recipients of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences are Alim Louis Benabid of Joseph Fourier University, C. David Allis of The Rockefeller University, Victor Ambros of the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Gary Ruvkun of  Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Perlmutter received the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Physics with the two colleagues who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics with him: Brian P. Schmidt of Australian National University and Adam Riess of Johns Hopkins University and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Recipients of the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics, announced in June, are Simon Donaldson of Stony Brook University and Imperial College, London, Maxim Kontsevich of the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, Terence Tao of UCLA and Richard Taylor of the Institute for Advanced Study.

Doudna and Charpentier received the award for their discovery of a revolutionary DNA-editing technique that has upended the world of genetics, finally making possible dreams of gene therapy. Perlmutter and his colleagues received the award for their discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe and dark energy.

Doudna is a professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist, while Charpentier is at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research and Umeå University. Perlmutter is a UC Berkeley professor of physics and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Anthropologist-physician with Margaret Mead Award

American Anthropological Association, Society for Applied Anthropology honor Seth Holmes.

Seth Holmes

UC San Francisco’s Seth Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., has won the Margaret Mead Award, which is presented to a younger scholar for a particular accomplishment, such as a book, film, monograph or service, which interprets anthropological data and principles in ways that make them meaningful to a broadly concerned public.

The award, offered jointly by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), is designed to recognize a person clearly and integrally associated with research and/or practice in anthropology. The awardee’s activity will exemplify skills in broadening the impact of anthropology — skills for which Margaret Mead was admired widely.

“I am honored to be listed among many important anthropologists whose work has had a broad impact in anthropology and beyond on public opinion and policy,” said Holmes, a UCSF alumnus who is currently an assistant professor of the UCSF-UC Berkeley Joint Medical Anthropology program and the Department of Public Health and Medical Anthropology at UC Berkeley. “I feel humbled and grateful to be recognized as doing work that has an impact in anthropology and beyond on broad publics.”

The Margaret Mead Award, initiated by the Society for Applied Anthropology in 1979, and awarded jointly with the American Anthropological Society since 1983, continues to celebrate the tradition of bringing anthropology to bear on wider social and cultural issues.

Holmes is a cultural anthropologist and physician whose work focuses broadly on social hierarchies, health inequalities, and the ways in which such inequalities are naturalized and normalized in society and in health care. He completed his Ph.D. in anthropology at UC Berkeley, his M.D. at UCSF, his internal medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania and his Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholars Program at Columbia University.

An article from his research won the Rudolf Virchow Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology and his book won the Society for the Anthropology of Work Book Award, the New Millennium Book Award from the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Association for Humanist Sociology Book Award.

Holmes is Martin Sisters Endowed Chair Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the Graduate Program in Medical Anthropology.  He is co-director of the M.D./Ph.D. Track in Medical Anthropology coordinated between UCSF and UC Berkeley and director of the Berkeley Center for Social Medicine.

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Three global health grants awarded to UC researchers

Gates Foundation projects tackle persistent global health and development challenges.

Eamonn Keogh, UC Riverside

Three University of California researchers have received Grand Challenges Explorations grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They are among 61 grant recipients in the initiative’s 13th round of funding, announced today (Nov. 4). Grand Challenges Explorations funds individuals worldwide to explore ideas that can break the mold in how we solve persistent global health and development challenges.

Grantees include:

Eamonn Keogh, UC Riverside, Inciting Healthy Behaviors Using a Human Computation Game. Keogh, a professor of computer science in the Bourns College of Engineering and three-time winner of a Gates Foundation grant, will work with Sang-Hee Lee, an associate professor of anthropology at UC Riverside, and Mindy Marks, an associate professor of economics at UC Riverside, on a multidisciplinary approach to explore “inciting healthy behaviors” using a cell phone based game. There are many behaviors that, especially in the developing world, people know are good for them, yet because of forgetfulness, those behaviors are not always performed, Keogh said. These include using a bed net every night to prevent mosquitoes spreading malaria, or remembering to take medicine every day.

Sandra McCoy, UC Berkeley, Priming HIV-Infected Patients to Adhere to Treatment. Together with the California Department of Public Health, McCoy, an assistant adjunct professor of epidemiology, will analyze whether behavioral priming methods such as associational cues and social influence can promote adherence to HIV treatment in Tanzania. HIV prevalence in Tanzania is high, at 5.1 percent, and poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy is a major problem due in part to long patient waiting times and stigmatizing attitudes. Behavioral priming involves using a stimulus to indirectly or subconsciously influence behavior. Her project will involve holding group discussions with HIV patients and health care workers to identify several behavioral priming strategies such as positive feedback cues on health cards, and conducting a pilot study to evaluate their effect on adherence.

Laura Jelliffe-Pawlowski, UC San Francisco, Gestational Dating at Birth by Metabolic Profile. Jelliffe-Pawlowski, an associate adjunct professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, will test whether metabolic markers taken during routine newborn screening can be used to determine gestational age by developing a dating algorithm. This algorithm could be used to determine gestational age in regions where dating is difficult, which is important for monitoring brain-related functions and development.

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UC Irvine honored for health failure care

Receives Get With The Guidelines award for treating heart failure patients.

UC Irvine Health has received the Get With The Guidelines– Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The recognition signifies that UC Irvine Health has achieved the goal of treating heart failure patients according to the secondary prevention guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology.

This marks the fourth year the American Heart Association program has recognized UC Irvine Health with this quality achievement award. Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure is a quality improvement program that helps hospitals to provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.

“We are dedicated to delivering the highest quality care and improving patient outcomes,” said Dr. Dawn Lombardo, director of the UC Irvine Health heart failure program. “The American Heart Association’s recognition of our commitment demonstrates that our patients can expect to receive the latest standards of care for treating heart failure.”

UC Irvine’s cardiology team earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as evidenced based beta-blockers, ACE/ARB inhibitors, Aldosterone Antagonist and anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation while patients are in the hospital. Before patients are discharged, they are educated on how to manage their heart failure and overall health, are provided referrals to our heart failure outpatient management program, and receive post discharge follow-up phone calls.

UC Irvine Health exceeded the national benchmarks in six of the nine Heart Failure Quality Measures for 12 consecutive months to achieve the Plus designation, and in all four of the Heart Failure Achievement Measures for two consecutive years to achieve the Gold designation.

UC Irvine Medical Center also received the association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll for the first time this year, exceeding the national benchmark for 50 percent or more of eligible patients in all three care components – medication optimization, early follow-up and care coordination, and enhanced patient education.

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UCLA honored for stroke care

Receives Get With The Guidelines award for implementing quality improvement measures.

The UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has received a Get With The Guidelines – Stroke award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for the treatment of stroke patients.

Get With The Guidelines – Stroke helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing death and disability for stroke patients. UCLA earned the Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award award for measures that include aggressive use of medications and risk-reduction therapies aimed at reducing death and disability and improving the lives of stroke patients.

UCLA also received the association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll for meeting stroke quality measures that reduce the time between hospital arrival and treatment with the clot-buster tPA, the only drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat ischemic stroke. People who suffer a stroke who receive the drug within three hours of the onset of symptoms may recover quicker and are less likely to suffer severe disability.

“At the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center, we are dedicated to improving the quality of stroke care, and The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps us achieve that goal,” said Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the UCLA Stroke Center and professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “With this award, our hospital demonstrates our commitment to ensure that our patients receive care based on internationally-respected clinical guidelines.”

“We are pleased to recognize UCLA for their commitment and dedication to stroke care,” said Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and reduce disparity gaps in care.”

Get With The Guidelines–Stroke also helps UCLA’s staff implement prevention measures, which include educating stroke patients to manage their risk factors and to be aware of warning signs for stroke, and ensuring they take their medications properly. Hospitals can make customized patient education materials available upon discharge, based on the patients’ individual risk profiles. The take-away materials are written in an easy-to-understand format in either English or Spanish.

According to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, stroke is the number four cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability in the United States. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

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U.S. News ranks 9 UC campuses among world’s best

Inaugural global rankings focus on research.

U.S News and World Report named nine University of California campuses among the best universities in the world in their first global rankings, with two campuses — Berkeley and UCLA — scoring in the top 10.

UC Berkeley ranked third and UCLA eighth in the rankings, which drew heavily on data related to research prowess, including such factors as scholarly publications, citations and impact, international collaboration, awards of doctoral degrees, and global and regional reputation.

Altogether, nine UC campuses placed among the top 130 universities in the world in the 2015 Best Global Universities rankings of 500 universities in 49 countries.

Ranked along with Berkeley and UCLA were: UC San Diego, 18th; UC San Francisco, 22nd; UC Santa Barbara, 28th; UC Davis, 37th; UC Santa Cruz, 63rd; UC Irvine, 66th; and UC Riverside, 127th.

“This is about faculty productivity and prestige,” U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly told the Washington Post. “It is meaningful for certain things and not necessarily meaningful for other things. We get that. This is about big muscular research universities doing what research universities claim is their mission.”

UC campuses consistently perform well in college rankings.

In U.S. News’s national rankings, which came out earlier this year, six UC campuses were among the top 20 public universities in the country. UC Berkeley and UCLA were first and second, respectively, with UC San Diego, UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara also ranked in the top 10, followed by UC Irvine at 11th.

In Washington Monthly’s rankings, which emphasize how well colleges and universities serve the public interest, four UC campuses placed in the top 5. UC San Diego ranked first; UC Riverside, second; UC Berkeley, third; and UCLA, fifth.

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UC Davis recognized for reduction of pressure ulcers

Incidence drops to historic low.

A decrease in the rate of hospital-acquired pressure ulcers at UC Davis Medical Center has earned a Performance Excellence Award from the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes (CALNOC).

The award is being presented at CALNOC’s annual conference today (Oct. 28) in San Diego.

Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (HAPUs) are a national concern due to patient morbidity, treatment cost and reimbursement issues. They are considered among the eight preventable conditions identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The cost of treating a hospital-acquired pressure ulcer places a significant burden on health care facilities. Associated expenses potentially include increased supplies, equipment, specialty beds, staffing, nutritional support, laboratory testing and hospital length of stay.

During the third quarter of 2014, only one patient at UC Davis Medical Center had a hospital-acquired pressure ulcer, a rate that is well below the historical level for UC Davis and for hospitals nationwide.

From July through September, the hospital had only one patient with a hospital-acquired pressure ulcer. This gave UC Davis Medical Center a rate of lower than 0.5 percent for the period. Historically, the rate of pressure ulcers at the medical center has been at about 2 percent or higher since 2011, but has been falling, said Holly Kirkland-Walsh, a wound care nurse practitioner.

“Our low rate of pressure ulcers is an outstanding achievement, and reflects the dedication and hard work of many, especially our Wound Care Team,” said Carol Robinson, chief patient care services officer.

The University HealthSystem Consortium has designated a level of lower than 1.1 percent as a rate that’s within the top quartile of all hospitals.

Kirkland-Walsh attributes the improvement of the ulcer rate at UC Davis to the use of a multidisciplinary team to promote prevention, and changes in hospital policy. The team consists of plastic surgeons, nurse practitioners, wound-certified nurses, physical therapists and dietitians.

The hospital policy promotes early intervention and recognition of pressure ulcers by nurses who, together with physicians, stage and document pressure ulcers present at admission. Nurses also intervene early by ordering specialty-bed surfaces and supplies without waiting for a physician order.

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Six UC members elected to IOM

Members elected from four UC campuses: Berkeley, UCLA, San Diego, San Francisco.

UCLA's James Economou is one of six UC members newly elected to the Institute of Medicine.

Six University of California members have been elected to the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine.

They join a class of 70 new members and 10 foreign associates announced today (Oct. 19). Since 1970, the IOM has elected more than 200 members affiliated with UC.

Membership in the Institute of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. Chosen by current active members, candidates undergo a highly selective process and are nominated based on their professional achievements and commitment to service.

The Institute of Medicine includes a diversity of talent, as its charter requires that at least one quarter of the membership selected be from outside the health professions, in fields such as law, engineering, social sciences and the humanities.

The newly elected UC members are:

UC Berkeley

  • Randy Schekman, Ph.D., UC Berkeley professor of cell and developmental biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator


  • James Economou, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and Beaumont Professor of Surgery

UC San Diego

  • Richard Kronick, Ph.D., UC San Diego professor of family and preventive medicine, on leave serving as director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

UC San Francisco

  • Eric Goosby, M.D., professor of medicine and director, Institute of Global Health Delivery and Diplomacy, UCSF School of Medicine, Global Health Sciences
  • Deepak Srivastava, M.D., director, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, and UCSF professor of pediatrics and biochemistry & biophysics
  • Ronald Vale, Ph.D., UCSF professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator

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