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Innovation Summit Highlights Drug Development, Cleantech, and Potential Impact of Drought

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Australia calculates its urban water use separately from agricultural use, but California includes both agricultural and urban water use in calculating 300 gallons per capita. So it would be useful to distinguish how much water goes to California’s cities and how much goes to the “Cadillac Desert.”

—William Gerwick, a professor for marine biology and biomedicine at Scripps Oceanography, says about 28 percent of the 1,184 FDA-approved drugs in the market today were developed from natural compounds that exist in nature. Gerwick described how his group identifies promising pharmaceutical compounds from marine algae collected throughout the world. In work with the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center, Moores said researchers found a promising anti-cancer compound—somocystinamide A—in a particular marine organism.

—UC San Diego’s Joseph Ford, an electrical engineering and computer science professor who now heads UCSD’s photonics systems integration lab, says crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells remain the preferred technology for rooftop solar installations. Solar systems that focus light rays, which are known as concentrating photovoltaics, can be up to twice as efficient at converting sunlight into electricity—but such systems must be large and require mechanisms that track the sun through the day. Ford says his group has developed technology to make concentrating lens arrays within a flat solar panel that is less than 3/8th of an inch thick. Ford says the technology has been patented, but has not yet been commercialized.

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