Thursday, February 28, 2013

UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge / Elevator Pitch Winners / Jacobs School Students and Alumni

Several of winning pitches from the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge “Elevator Pitch” competition have connections to the Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Check out videos of Jacobs School affiliated winners below. All the elevator pitch videos, as well as event photos, are available here. (A big high five to the  UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge organizers for recording and posting the elevator pitches!)

Wolf Biosciences founded by Bioengineering PhD candidate Adam Young won the audience award in the “BioTech & MedTech” category. Watch Young’s two minute pitch on YouTube below: 

Uzair Mohammad, a Jacobs School freshman, won the judges award from the Technology/Innovation track. Watch YouTube video below:

Judges: John Yamauchi (Jacobs School bioengineering BS alumnus) and his ChemoTactics won the judges award in the “BioTech & MedTech” category. Watch the video on YouTube below: 


 Be sure to check out the next event of the UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge: The 2013 Startup Job Fair on Weds March 6 from 3 to 7 PM in the Price Center on the UC San Diego campus.

MAE Alum to be Recognized During Alumni Weekend

Jim Rohr, a research scientists at SPAWAR Systems Center, lecturer at UC San Diego and MAE alum, will be recognized for his distinguished service to the campus during the university's annual Alumni Celebration June 8.
Quoting from the UC San Diego press release:

For the past 10 years, he has been deeply committed to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, demonstrating remarkable initiative, leadership and dedication in implementing K-12 outreach programs with UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. In 2008, he worked with Jacobs in launching the Enspire Program, Jacobs largest outreach program, focused on introducing and inspiring middle school students to the field of engineering.

The Alumni Celebration is open to the public, with proceeds benefiting the UC San Diego Invent the Future student support campaign.  For award recipient and event details, please visit or call (858) 534-3900. Information about Alumni Weekend, June 6-9, can be accessed

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It May be Called DECaF, But It's Got Students Buzzing

More than 1500 students dressed in their best business attire took the Price Center by storm Friday, Feb. 22 for a chance to talk to some of the 95 companies taking part in the Disciplines of Engineering Career Fair, better known as DECaF. Some were looking for summer internships, others for that all-important first job out of undergrad.
"We hope that they come and they get what they came for," said Pooja Makhijani, president of the Triton Student Engineering Council, which organizes the event every year.
Below are some of our best pictures from the event. For more, go to our Facebook album here.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Photo of the Week: Enspire, Electrical Engineering Style

Janelle Shane, electrical engineering PhD student teaches kinds about lasers as a  part of Enspire 2013.

Electrical engineeringgraduate student Janelle Shane is pictured in the latest Photo of the Week. Janelle participated in Enspire (part of Engineer’s Week at the Jacobs School) and was busy showing a group of middle school students how the invisible light from an infrared laser would show up as a spot on an infrared-sensitive card.

A question for Janelle:

“What do you think the students responded to most in your demo?”

Her answer:

“Once I explained to them that I didn't know how to make a light saber, they were excited most about the fact that visible light, infrared light, radio waves, and microwaves are all the same thing—it’s just that our eyes can only see the visible light. They were excited to hear that if our eyes could see microwave radiation, a microwave oven would appear to be glowing.”

Janelle’s demo was in the Nanoscale Optics Lab of Shaya Fainman, professor and chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, among many other labs. The demo introduced middle schoolers to tiny, yet powerful, lasers used to create the optical circuits of the future.

Read the full Enspire 2013 story and watch a quick video on the Jacobs School website.

Read about some big news on tiny lasers from this lab: UC San Diego Engineers Demonstrate Smallest Laser to Operate at Room Temperature

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tracking the buzz over Prof Coleman's Wearable Electronics Research

It’s been a great week for news on brain-machine interfaces. Bioengineering Professor Todd Coleman was in Boston last weekend at the annual AAAS conference, where he participated in a panel discussion about the possibilities and ethics presented by new advances in technology that can “communicate with the body.”  The panel discussion generated some buzz in the media thanks in part to Professor Coleman’s research into wearable electronics for pregnancy monitoring, neonatal neuroscience and performance-enhancing, brain-machine interfaces.

Txchnologist foresees a future where these types of electronics could enable telepathy and telekinesis. That story was also picked up by io9.'s Cosmic Log reports this kind of research is opening up new frontiers. Here's another story by Discovery. And one by Smithsonian. Irish Times tackled the ethics angle. And Science Update paid a visit to the Coleman Lab.

You can hear all about it straight from Todd Coleman himself in this video below, produced for the AAAS conference. Or, this one, from a talk he gave at UC San Diego for the Founders' Symposium. Just in case you missed it, Dr. Coleman was featured in San Diego Magazine's 50 People to Watch feature in January.

Jacobs School Alumni: Join the Jacobs School LinkedIn Group

Jacobs School Alumni: Join the Jacobs School of Engineernig LinkedIn Group.

Once you join, you'll find there are a number of more specific subgroups within the main group, if you are looking for more targeted discussions.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Prof. Christman's heart attack treatment in the news

Media outlets around the globe are covering exciting new results from the laboratory of bioengineering professor Karen Christman on a treatment for scarred heart tissue -- a major problem for heart attack survivors that affects their long-term survival. Christman’s lab has developed a hydrogel that forms a scaffold around damaged heart tissue, encouraging regeneration. It can be injected through a catheter, so it’s less invasive for patients. Read our story here
In a study published Feb. 20 in Science Translational Medicine, Christman reported on a study in pigs that found that the gel can repair damaged tissue, help the heart grow new tissue, including blood vessels, and gets the heart moving more closely to how it should. The story has been covered this week by Bloomberg, U.S. News & World Report, UT San Diego, Xconomy, and internationally herehere and here
In this photo, tissue spins in a beaker, as part of the process of making the hydrogel.  

Reuters TV covered Christman's research last summer. Or you can watch our own video above for more info on the making of this hydrogel. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Computer Science Alum Gave Google X Project Glass Talk on Campus

Last week, computer science alumnus Steven Lau gave a talk on Google X's Project Glass to a packed house in the CSE auditorium.

Read the write-up by computer science freshman Sean Nam in The Guardian: Google X Introduces Project Glass to Students. Excerpt below.

Also, check out the Google Glass "How if feels" video for a more immersive experience.

When asked what the hardest part of developing Glass was, Lau pointed to the miniaturization of components into something wearable. He said the Glass team worked to create a new prototype almost every two months, starting from scratch every time. 
Lau also pointed to the scope of the user interface (UI). He said the team constantly added, stripped away and redesigned features and design elements. 
“I think I’ve written seven UI’s and thrown out six,” Lau said.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

UC San Diego Women in Computing on the Yahoo! "on campus" blog

From the Yahoo! on campus blog! 

UC San Diego Women in Computing student group enjoy some Yahoo! fun!

UC San Diego Women in Computing student group working with ThoughtSTEM enjoy some Yahoo! fun after a long day’s work. The ThoughtSTEM organization helps youth get interested and involved with STEM projects.

What Do Porcupine Quills and Toucan Beaks Have in Common?

Porcupine quills and toucan beaks have more in common that you’d imagine. They’re essentially hollow tubes of tough keratin, the same material our hair and nails are made of, stuffed with a foam-like material made of fibers and membranes.

You can learn more about the quills and beaks, as well as other interesting materials found in plants and animals in a review of the field of bio-inspired engineering and biomimicry published in the Feb. 15 issue of the journal Science and co-authored by Marc Meyers and Joanna McKittrick of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. 

Read the full story about the paper here . Then check out some great pictures of tough, strong and light biological materials on Flickr. Check out some examples below:

The African porcupine’s quills are made of keratin, the same material that makes hairs and nails, and consist of a dense outer shell surrounding a foam-like material.  By contrast, the American porcupine's quill is smaller and not as strong or stiff.

The interior of the toucan’s beak is rigid "foam" made of bony fibers and drum-like membranes sandwiched between outer layers of keratin, the protein that makes up fingernails, hair and horn.  The result is solid “foam” made of air-tight cells that gives the beak additional rigidity. 

An abalone shell is made of thousands of layers of “tiles” made of calcium carbonate (more commonly known as chalk). A key to the strength of the abalone shell is a protein adhesive that binds to the top and bottom surfaces of the calcium carbonate tiles. The glue is strong enough to hold layers of tiles firmly together, but weak enough to permit the layers to slip apart, absorbing the energy of a heavy blow in the process. The images on the right show the shell's structure under increased magnification. 

The longhorn cowfish, from the boxfish family, can be found in tropical and subtropical waters in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Its shell is a good example of a material that is both light and tough. It is made of mineralized scales that do not overlap and are held together by zipper-like connections. The scales rest on a bed of fibers that imparts flexibility to the fish’s carapace. These gold-on-black images were taken with micro-computed tomography. 
Sea horses get their exceptional flexibility from the structure of their bony plates, which form its armor. The plates slide past each other. Here the seahorse’s skeleton, as well as the bony
plates, are shown though a micro CT-scan of the animal.

Genomatica: Bioengineering Spin-out in the News

This week, bioengineering startup Genomatica announced the first successful commercial-scale production of 1,4-Butanediol (BDO) using a bio-based manufacturing process. BDO is an intermediate chemical used in a wide variety of applications including athletic apparel, electronics and automotive applications.

Genomatica CEO Christophe Schilling earned his Ph.D. in Bioengineering in 2000 at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, under the guidance of professor Bernhard Palsson, the Galetti Professor of Bioengineering in the Department of Bioengineering. Palsson is chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Genaomatica.

An excerpt from the Biofuels Digest story by Jim Lane.

This marks the first time that BDO–with an existing worldwide market of billions of pounds per year–has been produced biologically on this scale and at this rate. This campaign was completed less than five years from when Genomatica first demonstrated the ability for a microorganism to produce BDO in 2008. In their case, it’s modified E. coli fermentation.

Read the Genomatica Press Release: “Genomatica and DuPont Tate & Lyle Bio Products Successfully Produce 1,4-Butanediol (BDO) on Commercial Scale

Read the story in BiofuelsDigest: Genomatica and The Art of Big Wave Surfing

Also, check out this related Xconomy story by Bruce Bigelow: "The Road Not Taken and Genomatica’s Renewable Chemicals Strategy"

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rainbows over the Jacobs School

Non-photoshopped rainbows over the UC San Diego campus taken on Feb 8, 2013.

In other engineering-related rainbow news, computer science PhD alumnus Iman Sadeghi, who worked with our Oscar-winning computer science professor Henrik Wann Jensen is featured at the very beginning of a article in the Feb 2013 issue of Spirit Magazine, put out by Southwest Airlines.

What was the gist of that rainbow research, that we first covered in December 2011?


Computer scientists at UC San Diego, who set out to simulate all rainbows found in nature, wound up answering  questions about the physics of rainbows as well. The scientists recreated a wide variety of rainbows – primary rainbows, secondary rainbows, redbows that form at sunset and cloudbows that form on foggy days – by using an improved method for simulating how light interacts with water drops of various shapes and sizes. Their new approach even yielded realistic simulations of difficult-to-replicate “twinned” rainbows that split their primary bow in two.
UC San Diego alumnus Iman Sadeghi, who did the work while a Ph.D. student at the Jacobs School of Engineering, his advisor, computer science professor Henrik Wann Jensen, and scientists from Spain, England and Switzerland, are set to publish their findings in ACM Transactions on Graphics in December of this year.
“This goes beyond computer graphics,” Jensen said. “We now have an almost complete picture of how rainbows form.”
Jensen is no stranger to advances in computer graphics. He earned an Academy Award in 2004 for research that brought life-like skin to animated characters. He has worked on a number of Hollywood blockbusters, including James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Read the rest of the story here

Sadeghi is no stranger to computer graphics. Remember this butterfly simulation he did WAY back in 2007?

Monday, February 4, 2013

It's Spirit Week at the Jacobs School

It's Spirit Week at UC San Diego and the Jacobs School is joining in. Monday morning, a giant UCSD sign made of blue and yellow plastic sheets and surrounded by plastic tridents greeted students on Warren Mall. Someone also had drawn the outlines of a basketball courts on another patch of grass on the mall. So far, no one has decorated the Bear in the Engineering Courtyard, but the week isn't over yet.

On more shot from the bioengineering building, taken Thursday:
Still no decorations on the Bear...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Photo of the Week

What is our photo of the week on the front page of the Jacobs School of Engineering website? you ask. And why is it not up on the blog? Good questions. The photo is a snap from the ENVISION engineering / computer science outreach event that was held last Saturday.

Here it is...and the Photo of the Week...posted on Weds Jan 30. It links to more photos of the event taken by a student photographer and posted on the Facebook page for our IDEA Student Center.