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11 Ways UCLA Takes The Lead In Tackling The Challenges Of Tomorrow

If we're going to solve the problems of tomorrow, we have to start working today.

1. Pioneering lifesaving gene-therapy procedures

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Los Angeles is a proven hub of innovation in medical research. Through the use of stem-cell research, one UCLA doctor was able to invent a form of gene therapy that reverses the effects of a rare and lethal genetic mutation in babies, known as "bubble baby disease." The therapy is still in clinical trials, but it has cured all 30 of the babies who have been treated with it since 1993.

2. Designing a smarter city

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Southern California's modern cities will soon be the cities of the future thanks to projects like cityLAB at UCLA's Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Participants in cityLAB think deeply about how to make urban development more sustainable and responsibly usher in civic-infrastructure projects like a high-speed railway.

3. Turning pollutants into building materials

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Using a process called "carbon upcycling," a multi-disciplinary team of scientists at UCLA has been able to convert harmful industrial carbon emissions into a concrete-like substance through the use of 3D printing. This project has the potential to turn one of the leading causes of climate change into a useful resource for construction — not just in Southern California, but across the whole country.

4. Ensuring young students have the skills to succeed in tomorrow's economy

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The Exploring Computer Science (ECS) curriculum was developed by UCLA's educational policy think tank Center X. ECS focuses on spreading computer literacy as a basic building block for educational equality among all of California's public school students, especially those in communities where training in computer science has been historically overlooked.

5. Exploring the cutting edge of interactive entertainment

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The undisputed nexus of the film industry is now leading the way in the research and development of new types of video games. The UCLA Game Lab emphasizes new approaches to game development and programming. Game Lab students are urged to consider not only technical aspects of development, but also how games can be used as a form of expression.

6. Transforming LA into a model of sustainability

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Every city will need to be sustainable eventually, and Los Angeles is getting started now. As a part of its Grand Challenges initiative, UCLA has enlisted the help of more than 150 experts from 40 different departments across the university to develop a Five-Year Work Plan aimed at the ambitious goal of converting Los Angeles County to 100% renewable energy and 100% local water use by the year 2050.

7. Inspiring a new generation of musicians

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The Music Partnership Program, through the Herb Alpert School Of Music, promotes musical culture in Los Angeles by pairing UCLA music students with hundreds of children from communities underserved in arts education. The program provides music lessons and mentorship to Los Angeles youth who might otherwise be unable to pursue their musical passion.

8. Rethinking affordable housing

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The Backyard BIHOME is cityLAB's response to the challenge of providing affordable housing in urban centers, like greater Los Angeles. The BIHOME is lightweight and much easier to construct than traditional housing units, making it a low-cost solution to housing demand.

9. Connecting the LA community to the rest of the world

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Featuring presentations from thought-leading scholars and experts, the lecture series put on by UCLA's International Institute is an incomparable resource that keeps the Los Angeles community informed on and engaged with current global events and major international issues. The institute hosts hundreds of free public events each year.

10. Advancing research to cure deadly diseases

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As if you needed any more proof that UCLA problem-solvers are ahead of the curve. Scientists at the David Geffen School of Medicine have developed a molecule that activates cells in the body where HIV "hides," allowing the immune system to destroy those cells. This "kick and kill" process represents a major advancement in the field of HIV and AIDS research.

11. Empowering new voices in key fields of study

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Reflective of Southern California's famously diverse population, UCLA has a strong commitment to increasing diversity in enrollment with a special emphasis on attracting first-generation undergraduate students. At the post-graduate level, programs like Law Fellows, Black Men In White Coats, and the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science focus on enrolling students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in their respective fields.

The community at UCLA looks ahead to a bright future because they know Los Angeles is ready for the challenges tomorrow will bring! That's optimism. Find out more here!