2008 - 2009 Annual Report
Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar Marta Pozuelo (left) and Assistant Professor Suneel Kodambaka are researching bold new applications for advanced carbon materials with funds from James Easton.

Driving Next-Generation Discoveries

The Jim Easton Engineering Research Fund
Arrow shafts, ski poles, baseball and softball bats, hockey sticks – they’ve all been converted in recent years from wood to high-strength, lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber composites thanks to the innovation of Jas. D. Easton Inc. Now Jim Easton ’59 is funding research at UCLA Engineering on advanced carbon materials that can transform sports equipment, aircraft and aerospace vehicles and even the auto industry.

It’s part of his long-standing commitment to UCLA. In the past two years alone, in addition to engineering, Easton has generously supported cardiology and Alzheimer’s disease research and the campus’ new Spieker Aquatics Center, as well as the Easton Global Connection Classroom and Easton Technology Leadership Fund at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

"Few institutions have the capabilities and expertise of UCLA," says Easton, a UCLA Foundation board member. "Few can study carbon nanotubes for sports equipment, conduct leading-edge research in cancer and Alzheimer’s, and be home to more than 100 national sports championships."

His recent gift to UCLA Engineering supports the work of materials science Assistant Professor Suneel Kodambaka, whose investigations center on improving carbon nanotube and resin composite materials. "The Easton funds have enabled us to acquire new research equipment, to support and train the next-generation scientists and engineers, and to hire Postdoctoral Scholar Marta Pozuelo," he says.

"With Mr. Easton’s gift," Pozuelo adds, "we can research problems that are out of the mainstream but still relevant for advancing our society."

Such advances can include lighter, stronger and more energy-efficient aircraft, space shuttles and even automobiles. "Given that the U.S. transportation sector consumes more than 70 percent of natural energy sources," explains Kodambaka, "the development of cleaner and greener technologies is bound to have huge societal, economic and environmental implications."