In 1949 Dr. Benedict Cassen of the UCLA Department of Radiology developed the rectilinear scintillation scanner, an instrument that made possible the construction of a chart to accurately pinpoint the location and concentration of radioisotopes in the body.

In a series of experiments performed at UCLA in the 1940s and ’50s, Dr. Horace Winchell Magoun clearly established the role of the reticular formation of the brain stem as a modulator of motor activities and levels of activity of the cerebral cortex.  The latter studies have helped clarify the nature of coma, sleep, wakefulness and attention.

Dr. William N. Valentine, professor of hematology/oncology at UCLA since the early 1950s, is credited with discovering the underlying cause of a group of illnesses known as hemolytic anemias that are characterized by excessive destruction of red blood cells.

Jacob Bjerknes’ research made weather forecasting a modern-day science

Dr. William P. Longmire Jr., the founder and first chairman of the UCLA School of Medicine Department of Surgery, is credited with developing a technique, called the Longmire procedure, for reestablishing the drainage of bile from the liver into the intestine in cases where the normal conduit, the common bile duct, has been damaged by disease or injury.

In 1956 the first open-heart surgery in the western United States was performed at UCLA Medical Center.

In 1958 UCLA researchers developed the first techniques for fetal monitoring.

UCLA School of Medicine professor Dr. William Oldendorf laid the scientific groundwork for the noninvasive imaging technologies known as computer-assisted tomography (CAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  His work with intravenous injection of gamma-emitting radionucleotides led to the development of single photon computerized emission tomography (SPECT), a highly effective and essentially noninvasive method for following physiological change within the body or brain.

The first mother-to-daughter kidney transplant in the western United States was performed at UCLA Medical Center in 1960.

In the early 1960s, Harrison Latta of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine developed the glass knife ultratome, which opened the modern era of electron microscopy.  With the ability to reliably prepare specimens that could be viewed at 100,000 power, medical researchers discovered the cellular basis of major diseases, including hypertension, diabetes and autoimmunity.

In 1962 UCLA researchers developed techniques for nerve transplantation.

Dr. Paul terasaki, professor of surgery at the UCLA School of Medicine, developed the microcytotoxicity test in 1964 that has become the international standard for tissue typing.  All kidney, heart, liver, pancreas, heart/lung and bone-marrow donors and recipients — more than 1 million people worldwide — have been typed using this test during the past 20 years.  No patient could receive an organ transplant without the test.

The UCLA Kidney Transplant Registry was established by Dr. Terasaki in 1970 and is the largest in the world  The import data on more than 100,000 kidney recipients submitted from some 200 transplant centers enable Terasaki’s research team to monitor changes in patient outcomes over time.

Over the course of the 1970s, Dr. Irving Zabin clarified the primary structure of beta-galactosidase, the largest protein to be so characterized before molecular tools such as cloning beame available.  The sequence information and genetic studies of different parts of the beta-galactosidase molecule were of enormous basic importance, and also provided the information that established this molecule as the most widely used reporter gene for current molecular studies.
A durable artifical hip, called the “chamfer cylinder design surface,” was developed at UCLA Medical Center in 1975.

The first total shoulder replacement was performed at UCLA in 1976.

In 1976 the National Cancer Institute designated UCLA’s cancer center a comprehensive cancer center, the highest ranking awarded to cancer centers by the federal government.

UCLA scientists Dr. michael Phelps and Edward Hoffman developed the first functional PET (positron emission tomography) system for the scanning of patients, and the first commercial PET scanning system.  PET joins CT and MRI as the premier imaging techniques of the last century and is the only one of the three to provide scientists and physicians with images of the biology of the human body.  PET allows metabolic changes in the body to be visualized.  This has revolutionized many areas of care and research, from brain activity to  cancer detection.  UCLA Medical Center was the first to provide clinical PET services in the 1980s

UCLA physicians reported the nation’s — and the world’s — first cases of AIDS in 1981.

In 1984, Tomas Ganz, of the Deparment of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Department of Medicine, working with Michael Selsted, of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Robert Lehrer, of the Department of Medicine, isolated the first human antibiotic peptides, defensins from neutrophils.

In 1987, UCLA Paleobiologist J. William Schopf showed that primitive life existed on Earth 3.46 billion years ago.

Donald Cram won the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for host-guest chemistry, a field he helped to create.  Cram, since deceased, created synthetic host molecules that bind to guest molecules.

The first heart-lung transplant in los Angeles was performed at UCLA Medical Center in 1988  by Dr. Hillel Laks.  UCLA’s Heart Transplant Program, founded in 1984, has become one of the largest in the world.

In the 1980s pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Marvin Ament was the first to implement TPN (total parenteral nutrition or intravenous feeding) in a child, enabling youngsters to take appropriate nutrition for an unlimited length of time and remain unhospitalized.  His work established the first pediatric TPN program in the nation, and it remains the nation’s largest such program.