The World’s Youngest Billionaires 2021 Include A Teenager From Germany, A Crypto Magnate And A Stanford Dropout

By: Ariel Shapiro, Forbes

Photo by: Forbes

From an 18-year-old drugstore heir to founders of food delivery service DoorDash and electric vehicle parts maker Luminar, here are the ten billionaires still under the age of 30.

Austin Russell spent his teens doing research at the University of California at Irvine’s Beckman Laser Institute. The lanky 6-foot-4 entrepreneur dropped out of Stanford in 2012 to found laser lidar (an acronym for light, detection and ranging) startup Luminar Technologies after getting a $100,000 fellowship from billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel. Its sensors now help self-driving cars of such customers as Volvo, Toyota and Intel’s Mobileye see in 3D. The company listed via a SPAC merger in December 2020, catapulting him into the billionaire ranks overnight.  At age 26, he is the world’s youngest self-made billionaire now that Kylie Jenner, 23, has fallen from the ranks.

He is also one of just four self-made billionaires in their 20s—all new—who made this year’s Forbes World’s Billionaires list. The others include Andy Fang and Stanley Tang, both 28, who joined the three comma club after the food delivery service that they founded in 2013, DoorDash, went public in December. They are worth $2 billion apiece.

Read the full article on Forbes.

New Toothpaste Said to Improve Periodontal Symptoms

By: Dental Review News

As COVID-19 complications are linked to gum disease, LivFresh novel toothpaste eases symptoms

Dental Review reports from the USA: Scientists at UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic conduct the first ever study to show that brushing with a novel toothpaste improves symptoms in patients with periodontitis

While several recent studies show that people with chronic gum disease are more likely to experience potentially life-threatening complications if they contract COVID-19, a new study shows promise in addressing the root issue.

Researchers at the University of California Irvine’s Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic recently reported results of a six-month study, published in The Journal of Periodontology, showing for the first time that a novel toothpaste demonstrated medically significant improvements in the health of the gums of patients with periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease.

Gum disease affects 65 million Americans today (almost half of Americans adults over 30 years of age). New research has shown that COVID-19 patients with gum disease are almost nine times more likely to die compared to those without gum disease.

They were also 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care, and 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator. The study found that severe gum disease (periodontitis) is highest among ethnic minorities (63.5% of Hispanic, 59.1% of African American, and 50% of Asian Americans). In other words, severe gum disease could be a contributing factor to a high risk of COVID-related complications and deaths, especially in ethnic communities.

Read the full article on Dental Review News.

As Scientists Link COVID-19 To Gum Disease, A Double-Blind Study Finds That A New Toothpaste Significantly Improves Gum Health

Scientists at UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic conduct the first ever study to show that brushing with a novel toothpaste improves symptoms in patients with periodontitis

Irvine, Calif, March 24, 2021 — While several recent studies show that individuals with chronic gum disease are more likely to experience potentially life-threatening complications if they contract COVID-19, a new study shows promise in addressing the root issue. Researchers at the University of California Irvine’s Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic recently reported results of a six-month long study, published in The Journal of Periodontology, showing for the first time that a novel toothpaste demonstrated medically significant improvements in the health of the gums of patients with periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease.

(Link to study: https://aap.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/JPER.20-0721)

Gum disease affects 65 million Americans today (almost half of Americans adults over 30 years of age). New research has shown that COVID-19 patients with gum disease are almost nine times more likely to die compared to those without gum disease. They were also 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care, and 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator. Furthermore, a study in the Journal of Periodontology found that severe gum disease (periodontitis) is highest among ethnic minorities (63.5% of Hispanic, 59.1% of African American, and 50% of Asian Americans). In other words, severe gum disease could be a contributing factor to high risk of COVID-related complications and deaths, especially in ethnic communities.

As a part of her focus on translational research, Dr. Petra Wilder Smith initiated a double-blinded study testing a novel dental gel against an FDA approved anti-gingivitis toothpaste to investigate their effects on gum health in patients with early to moderate periodontitis. The six-month long study compared how the two toothpastes affected periodontal pocket depths, gingival inflammation, and gum bleeding in patients with periodontitis who were in maintenance care.

The findings revealed that subjects who brushed with the novel LivFresh Dental Gel experienced clinically and statistically significant improvements in their symptoms versus the control group that brushed with an over-the-counter, FDA-approved anti-plaque, anti-gingivitis toothpaste.

Dental plaque is the root cause of gum disease and a primary barrier to healing and resolution of periodontitis. Several previous laboratory and clinical studies by Wilder-Smith’s group have demonstrated that the novel formulation retards on a molecular level dental plaque formation, attachment and re-accumulation at the tooth surface by increasing its negative charge. The charged surface prevents early individual plaque islands from coalescing into larger deposits, discourages plaque from attaching to the tooth surface and supports the breakup of existing plaque deposits. Thus, by inhibiting dental plaque, the novel formulation reduces the presence of the harmful plaque bacteria and bacterial products that are implicated in chronic gum disease.

In individuals who brushed with the test gel, pocket depths in the gums improved in more than 80% of diseased sites. Additionally, subjects who brushed with the new formulation had 2.5 times less gum inflammation and 1.9 times less gum bleeding, when compared to the group using the conventional toothpaste.

“This novel dental gel represents a potentially groundbreaking tool for improving and maintaining gum health in patients suffering from periodontal disease. The results of our studies show that periodontal patients may be able to obtain significant oral health benefits through this new formulation,” said Wilder-Smith, the study’s primary investigator and professor and director of dentistry at Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic. “We anticipate that this novel formulation, when used in combination with professional periodontal care, may revolutionize healing in the gums and maintenance of periodontal health.” Larger and longer studies are now in progress to solidify these finding.

This study was supported by National Institutes of Health grants, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation and Livionex Inc. The authors report no conflicts of interest related to this study.

The UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic is one of five national Beckman Institutes supported by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation with others at: California Institute of TechnologyUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignStanford University, and City of Hope Hospital and Medical Center.  Each Beckman Institute is dedicated to cutting-edge research at the interface between disciplines. The UCI location is a unique translational technology center, moving new technologies rapidly from the laboratory benchtop to the patient bedside. 

InfraDerm Takes a Deeper Look at Skin

By: Ethan Perez, UCI Beall Applied Innovation
Photo by: UCI Beall Applied Innovation

The UCI startup is developing a better imaging platform to aid in the diagnosis, management and understanding of skin conditions.

Skin cancer and other skin conditions afflict a large portion of the population. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, skin cancer alone is the most common cancer in the United States, with an estimated one-in-five Americans developing skin cancer in their lifetime.

To diagnose and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions, dermatologists use a number of tools and techniques at their disposal to give their patients the best outcomes possible.

UCI startup InfraDerm is developing a noninvasive imaging platform to monitor the effects of skin therapies, understand the biology that underlies skin diseases and skin conditions, and aid in the diagnosis of skin diseases.

Read full article on UCI Beall Applied Innovation.

Gratton Wins Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award

By: UCI Samueli School of Engineering

The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) recognized Enrico Gratton with the 2021 Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award at the SPIE Photonics West virtual conference in March. The award cited Gratton’s significant contributions to biophotonics – the science of producing and utilizing photons or light to image, identify and engineer biological materials. SPIE specifically noted his development of innovative ultrafast optical imaging and spectroscopy methods and their integration into microfluidic platforms.

This award was “a great honor” for Gratton who considers Chance, for whom the award was named, a “great friend.” In his presentation at the conference, Gratton shared his own experiences in meeting Chance, a National Academy of Sciences member and an Olympic gold medalist in sailing who died in 2010, and doing research together.

Read the full article on the UCI Samueli School of Engineering website.

The 25-Year-Old Billionaire Building The Future of Self-Driving Cars

By: , The Verge
Photo by:  CNBC

Austin Russell is the 25-year-old founder and CEO of Luminar, a startup in Silicon Valley that makes LIDAR sensors for self-driving cars. LIDAR technology had been used for short-distance mapping, but Luminar claims to have a functioning LIDAR that works at 250 meters, which is a breakthrough. Luminar recently went public, making Austin today’s youngest self-made billionaire.

And when it comes to self-driving cars, youth is definitely an advantage — Austin told me we’re still years if not decades away from fully self-driving cars, and there’s a lot of work to be done to make them safe, effective, and ubiquitous. That work is racing ahead — Luminar has deals with Volvo, Audi, Toyota, and others — but building a complete self-driving car is still a long-term project.

Here we go.

Read the full interview on The Verge.

Toothpaste Improves Periodontitis Symptoms

By: Dentistry Today
Photo by:  LivFresh

Livionex’s LivFresh toothpaste significantly improves periodontitis symptoms, according to the company, which recently conducted a six-month, double-blind study at the Beckman Laser Institute at the University of California at Irvine.

The study compared how LivFresh and Crest’s Pro Health toothpaste affected periodontal pocket depths, gingival inflammation, and gum bleeding in 65 patients with periodontitis in maintenance care.

According to Livionex, the subjects who brushed with LivFresh saw statistically significant improvements in their symptoms compared to the group that brushed with Pro Health.

Livionex notes research indicating a possible link between inflammatory gum disease and COVID-19 respiratory conditions as well as data showing that dental care is the most neglected of all healthcare spending since the pandemic started.

According to Livionex, its research is the first controlled study to show a toothpaste demonstrating measurable improvements in patients with periodontitis, which affects more than 65 million Americans and almost half of American adults age 30 and older.

Periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease, has been connected to tooth loss, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and some cancers, the company said, and several studies have reported that those with chronic gum disease are more likely to experience severe, potentially life-threatening complications with COVID-19.

Read full Dentistry Today article.

Faculty Spotlight – Howard (Ho Wai) Lee

By: UCI Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility

This month we spotlight a new member of the INRF research community, Howard (Ho Wai) Lee. Lee, a UC Irvine associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, also is affiliated with UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic. Before joining UCI in July 2020, Lee, who earned his doctorate in 2012 in physics from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, was an associate professor in the Department of Physics at Baylor University, and a fellow and visiting professor in the Institute for Quantum Science and Engineering at Texas A&M. From 2012 to 2015, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, working with Prof. Harry Atwater in active plasmonics/metasurfaces. His current research focuses on active linear, nonlinear and quantum plasmonic/metasurface/zero-index optics, quantum biophotonics and imaging, “meta”-fiber optics and hybrid photonic-plasmonic on-chip optical devices.

From Dr. Lee,

My group studies extreme light-matter interaction, advanced nanophysics/optical materials and ultrafast/quantum/bio-photonics at the nanometer scale.

As affiliated faculty at Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic and also part of the Convergence Optical Sciences Initiative (COSI), we are interested in using emerging nanophotonic platforms and “meta”-optical fibers for advancing optical imaging, sensing and medical applications. These include advanced in-fiber imaging endoscopy or laser surgery elements, tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for molecule detection and biosensing, novel optical fiber laser sources/nano-lasers and optical cooling/trapping platforms.

Our research involves developing advanced ultrathin nanophotonic structures and emerging active optical materials using the world-class nanofabrication facilities available at INRF. One project investigates ultrathin optical films, called optical metasurfaces, which are really thin: 1,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair. This metasurface can shape light for different functions; it can absorb almost 100 percent of the light that falls on it, focus light as a conventional lens and filter out specific colors − wavelengths of light − in the visible and invisible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. These ultrathin metasurfaces could dramatically reduce the size and weight of a vast range of optical and electro-optical devices, while also improving their performance for energy, imaging/display, sensing and space technologies.

Another project involves the extreme optics of “zero refractive index” materials. Normally, materials have certain refractive indexes of light (for example, glass’s refractive index is ~ 1.5). But we can fabricate optical thin film that exhibits “zero” refractive index. These extreme materials show unique and abnormal optical features that are completely different from normal materials, including ultrafast nonlinearity, quantum properties and light emission properties that could lead to significant breakthroughs for developing ultrafast and ultracompact nanophotonic imaging, sensing and communication applications.

Our group also combines these advanced nano-optical structures into optical fiber to develop “meta”-optical fibers capable of advanced sensing, imaging and medical applications such as optical fiber endoscopes, in-fiber lasers for surgery and quantum bio-sensors.

Learn more about the UCI Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility.

Transforming Human Health

By: Sandra Flores, UCI Beall Applied Innovation
Photo by:  Julie Kennedy, UCI Beall Applied Innovation

Diseases are constantly evolving in our modern world, and with their evolution comes the need for new technology to combat them and sustain quality human health.

The Convergence Optical Sciences Initiative labs, located in the Cove@UCI, specializes in the creation, clinical translation and commercialization of trailblazing optics and photonic technologies to transform human health. COSI are prioritizing the creation of laser technology that could benefit the health of those fighting chronic illnesses.

“Here at the labs, the main focus is the intersection of multiple areas such as physical science, biology, engineering, industry and medicine, all around photonics,” says Chris Barty, Distinguished Professor of physics & astronomy at the UCI School of Physical Sciences and senior faculty member of the COSI labs.

One of the main activities Barty is currently spearheading a project with the Laser Compton X-ray, an X-ray machine that works similarly to a laser pointer and is highly tunable. The application of this extremely precise X-ray has the potential to revolutionize disease detection and treatment.

“If we do what we say we’re going to do correctly, you’ll never remove a breast, you’ll never remove a prostate again,” says Barty. “It’ll transform human health.”

Students pursuing UCI’s dual Ph.D./M.D. program use the labs to study how to enable better medical applications, while physics graduate students come up with new ways to improve X-ray sources. Since the pandemic, Barty and the COSI lab’s small team of graduate students are also working on a compact UVC laser that would be able to alter the natural qualities of the virus on surfaces.

As the COSI labs move forward, Barty hopes to change the way medical professionals use X-rays and lasers, making UCI Beall Applied Innovation a hub for X-ray and laser technology for the Orange County ecosystem.

“I would be thrilled if we had an X-ray source sitting at Beall Applied Innovation that acts as a national center for advanced radiography and radiology,” says Barty. “Being a part of Beall Applied Innovation makes it really easy to pursue this vision at UCI.”

Read full article on the UCI News website.

UCI Beall Applied Innovation Virtually Recognizes New Faculty Innovation Fellows

By: Ethan Perez, UCI Beall Applied Innovation
Photo by: Kate Wokowsky and Julie Kennedy, UCI Beall Applied Innovation

UC Irvine (UCI) Beall Applied Innovation recently held a virtual reception recognizing the second cohort of Faculty Innovation Fellows.

The Faculty Innovation Fellowship program – created by Applied Innovation with support from the Beall Family Foundation – recognizes faculty who are having an impact on society and are committed to enhancing UCI’s culture of innovation. The program brings together UCI faculty from all schools and fields to nurture campus-wide innovation. As part of their two-year appointment, fellows receive a stipend and actively engage in and learned about Applied Innovation’s resources to become ambassadors for innovation at UCI.

With the addition of 18 faculty in the second cohort, the program now boasts 35 fellows who will not only work toward innovation within their own departments, but also between schools and across disciplines.

Hosted by Richard Sudek, executive director of Applied Innovation and UCI chief innovation officer, the event also featured Vice Chancellor for Research Pramod Khargonekar, who welcomed the new cohort and spoke on the program’s benefits.

“With this program, we have created a cohort of 35 people who, together as a network, can really catapult UCI to the next level in terms of not just discoveries and knowledge creation and creative activities, but also translate them for the benefit of people,” said Khargonekar.

Afterward, UCI Interim Provost Hal Stern announced the new fellows with David Tiemeier, managing director of the Research Translation Group at Applied Innovation, and Ronnie Hanecak, senior director of licensing at Applied Innovation.

Here are the 2021-2022 Faculty Innovation Fellows:

Maksim Plikus, Professor | School of Biological Sciences
Nia Dowell, Assistant Professor | School of Education
Mo Li, Associate Professor | Henry Samueli School of Engineering
Alex Borucki, Associate Professor | School of Humanities
Theresa Tanenbaum, Assistant Professor | Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences
Yama Akbari, Assistant Professor | School of Medicine
Kevin Beier, Assistant Professor | School of Medicine
Hamid Djalilian, Professor |School of Medicine
Michael Oh, Professor | School of Medicine
Raj Vyas, Associate Professor | School of Medicine
Shawn Xiang, Associate Professor | School of Medicine
Young Jik Kwon, Professor | School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Shane Ardo, Associate Professor | School of Physical Sciences
Matthew Harding, Professor | School of Social Sciences
John Crawford, Professor | Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Holly Poe Durbin, Professor | Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Vincent Olivieri, Professor | Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Kelli Sharp, Assistant Professor | Claire Trevor School of the Arts

Read full article on the UCI Beall Applied Innovation blog.