Professor Henry Forman Appointed to San Joaquin Valley Air District

MERCED - UC Merced Professor Henry Formanhas been appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, the board that oversees air quality in the eight-county region.

Forman, a founding faculty member and professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences, fills a vital new position on the board mandated by state legislation last year. Senate Bill 719 added four new positions to the 11-member board, including a scientist and doctor. Forman becomes the first scientist to be appointed to the board, which was previously comprised entirely of elected officials.

Forman is internationally known for an extensive body of research and publication on the ways the lungs react to and protect themselves from disease, including asthma, cystic fibrosis and damage from air pollutants. His expertise is especially relevant in the San Joaquin Valley, a region plagued by chronic lung disease stemming from poor air quality.

In an editorial published shortly after Forman's appointment was announced by the governor's office, the Fresno Bee lauded the selection as "an excellent choice," addressing a widely perceived need to bring "a more rigorous and skeptical approach to the board's work." The Bee also noted that both environmental groups and agricultural leaders, often at odds over policy issues, applauded Forman's selection.

"Professor Forman brings more than 25 years of research experience and a critical scientific perspective to the deliberative work of this important body," said Chancellor Steve Kang. "I would like to congratulate him on his appointment and thank him for the contribution he will undoubtedly make to the people of the San Joaquin Valley and their quality of life."

Before joining the faculty of UC Merced in 2003, Forman was a professor and chair of the department of environmental health sciences at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Previously he had held faculty appointments at the University of Southern California and the University of Pennsylvania in the fields of molecular pharmacology, toxicology, pediatrics, pathology and physiology.

Forman currently serves as associate editor of Free Radical Biology & Medicine, as treasurer of the International Society for Free Radical Research, and as co-director of the Lead Campus Program in Atmospheric Aerosols and Health of the University of California Toxic Substances Research and Teaching Program. He holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Queen's College (NY) and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University.

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