CONVERGENCE The Magazine of Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara
The Golden Cells Q&A with Dennis Clegg Share and Share Alike On STAGE with Science Get Your Shorts On
ELEVEN, SUMMER 2008
Letter From the Deans Biomedical Research and Engineering at UC Santa Barbara In this issue we focus on stem cell research here at UCSB. We have an interview with Dennis Clegg, co-chair of our Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering and chair of our Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB), and an article on some of the specific stem cell research programs going on here, with a side-bar on James Thomson, the “father of stem cell research” and an adjunct professor of MCDB and co-director of our Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. The faculty members and their stem cell work covered in these articles are just a part of a much broader UCSB presence in biomedical research and engineering. Our Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB), for example, has active programs in regenerative medicine, diabetes, pathogen detection and identification, highly targeted drug delivery, advanced DNA sequencing, single-cell diagnostics, and systems biology. We’ll be visiting ICB and some of the other biomedical programs in future issues. Prominence in biomedical engineering is typically associated with advanced degree programs in the field and with the presence of a medical school at the institution. UCSB has neither, yet we’re ranked second nationally for our faculty’s “scholarly productivity”* in the field. That prominence and productivity is a clear reflection of the pervasive interdisciplinary culture in our sciences and engineering, and throughout the campus—the vast majority of our research programs involve scientists and engineers from multiple disciplines, and the resulting synergy is a “high-energy-density” fuel for collaborative research. That interdisciplinarity emerges as a second theme for this issue, extended by the articles on our Media Arts and Technology Program, which brings art and science together, and on the unique characteristics of squid beaks, explored by engineers and scientists together. That’s a lot of Convergence…
Matthew Tirrell Dean, College of Engineering
Steven Gaines Acting Dean of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences, College of Letters & Science
Evelyn Hu Scientific Director, California NanoSystems Institute
*The ranking is by Academic Analytics, a recognized national ranking service which considers the number of faculty members in the program area, the number of books and journal articles they have written, the number of times other scholars have cited them (impact), and the awards, honors, and grant dollars they have received.
About the Cover: Embryonic stem cells are extracted from a hollow “ball” of developing cells called the blastocyst (artistic rendition, upper right). Specific factors that trigger these uncommitted cells to differentiate into ocular cells or neurons, shown in the illustration, are currently being investigated here at UC Santa Barbara.
ELEVEN, summer 2008
Cover Story: The Golden Cells
question & answer:
On STAGE with Science When engineering,
The bit that bites is the most interesting part.
Find out from Dennis why UC Santa Barbara is a leader in stem cell research.
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Linking local nanotechnology companies and researchers into a chain that stretches across the country.
(c) 2003 MBARI
Stem cells hold wide-ranging promise for therapies and cures...
Jumbo Flying Squid
science and art converge...
20 21 What is This?
Shorts... Have you heard?
CONVERGENCE T h e M a g a z i n e o f En g in e e r in g an d th e Sc i en c es at UC S an ta Bar b ar a
Cells UCSB researchers from a wide range of disciplines—biology, psychology, bioengineering and more—are getting into the stem cell field. They’re working in three general areas: regenerative medicine, basic biology, and bioengineering and biotechnology. These are a few of the stem cell projects underway on campus: Regenerative Medicine The great promise of stem cells is that they might be used to produce replacement parts for cells or tissue damaged by disease or injury. Dennis Clegg, chair of the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, and other UCSB scientists are part of a group of researchers—the Southern California Consortium for Regenerative Eye Research—that’s working on stem cell treatments for eye disease. Many devastating eye diseases like macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in older adults in the United States, rob people of their vision by killing cells in the eye. Scientists hope to treat those kinds of afflictions by replacing the lost ocular cells with new ones derived from stem cells. Scientists at UCSB are studying how stem cells turn into eye cells. They’ve succeeded in coaxing stem cells to differentiate into retinal pigment epithelial cells, which nourish and support the eye’s vital photoreceptors, which respond to light. It’s these retinal pigment epithelial cells that are casualties of age-related macular degeneration. Clegg says this might be the first work out of UCSB to result in a clinical application. The prospects of being able to use stem cells to treat macular degeneration “look quite good,” he says.
thought to be incapable of producing new cells to repair itself, but it’s now known that neural stem cells generate new brain cells—a phenomenon called neurogenesis— throughout our lives in the areas of the brain involved in memory and learning, and in processing odors. Scientists don’t yet have a good understanding of the functioning and importance of adult neural stem cells, but there’s evidence that problems with neurogenesis may play a part in some brain diseases and disorders such as depression. Kippin is studying neural stem cells in mice and looking at what happens to them when the animals have brain disorders. He’s looked at mice with Huntington’s disease, an inherited condition that destroys nerve cells in the brain, resulting in mental and physical decline. Kippin found that even as the
UC Santa Barbara’s Dennis Clegg, James Thompson, and Tom Soh participated on a panel at a Town Hall at UC Santa Barbara in July. The event, which was open to the community, helped raise awareness and answer questions about stems cells and the research being done at UCSB.
Another UCSB researcher, Tod Kippin in the Department of Psychology, is focusing on stem cells in the brain. Until fairly recently, the adult brain was
disease kills off brain cells, the number of stem cells in the brains of the affected mice actually increases. He’s now working on ways of helping the brain repair itself and overcome the devastation of Huntington’s disease.
“It’s not enough if a patient loses brain cells to put stem cells in their brain. You need to be able to tell them to become nerve cells,” says Rothman.
Stem Cell Biology
Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Stem cells have an amazing and potentially very useful ability to develop into specialized cells, but scientists don’t know exactly how they do it; how they can keep dividing indefinitely and how they can produce muscle, liver, skin, or nearly any other type of tissue in the human body.
If stem cells are to become a routine treatment for disease and injury, there have to be efficient, effective and safe ways of growing and handling them, and making sure they get to the places in the body where they’re needed. The science of producing stem cells “is really in its infancy,” Clegg says, and “we don’t understand all the factors that are significant.”
“We still don’t know what makes a human embryonic stem cell a human embryonic stem cell,” Clegg says. “It’s an amazingly powerful cell, but we still don’t understand how it works.”
Human embryonic stem cells are currently grown on material derived from mice. That might be fine for experimental work, but “if you want to use stem cells for human therapies, you’ll have to have cleaner ways of growing them,” Clegg says, “because if you’re growing them on animal products you might have an animal virus and the Food and Drug Administration just wouldn’t approve it.”
UCSB researchers are working on the problem by studying the basic biology of both embryonic and adult stem cells. There are limitations, however, to the research that can be done on stem cells in humans, so “if you want to look at how stem cells act, it’s often helpful to have an organism where you can grow it up and manipulate it and do genetic and biochemical studies,” Clegg says.
Biotechnologists and bioengineers at UCSB are working on ways of producing stem cells using new, synthetic materials. An improved method of growing stem cells “could be applied very rapidly in the field,” Clegg says.
Joel Rothman in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology is looking at stem cells in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans—one of the most well-understood organisms, thanks to countless studies on everything from aging in the worm to the effects of alcohol. Most of the genes known in worms have the same function in humans, Rothman says.
When embryonic stem cells are used to produce specialized cells, the result is a mixture that includes some of the desired target cells, and “other cells that didn’t take that lineage,” explains Hyongsok (Tom) Soh, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. “lt’s very important to purify at almost every step.”
He wants to know how stem cells become committed to developing into a particular cell type, because “one of the things we want to be able to do with stem cells in humans is tell them to become a particular kind of cell,” Rothman says. “It’s not enough if a patient loses brain cells to put stem cells in their brain. You need to be able to tell them to become nerve cells.” Rothman has found that small pieces of RNA called microRNAs seem to control the “switch” that tells stem cells to develop into something more specialized.
To do that, two different technologies are needed: “affinity reagents” that specifically label the target cells, and instrumentation that can sort out those cells. Soh’s laboratory works in both research areas, labeling target cells so they react differently to electrical or magnetic fields, allowing the cells to be sorted accurately and rapidly. Such technologies are invaluable for stem cell research and cell-based therapeutics.
He’s also trying to figure out if it’s possible to prompt a specialized cell to turn back into a stem cell by turning off certain genes. Thomson has converted human skin cells back into stem cells—called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—by adding four genes, but Rothman hopes to do it without having to insert any genes.
“We’re developing the technology that’s needed to bring stem cell technology to a point where it’s economically viable,” Soh says.
Relevant links: UCSB Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering: stemcell.ucsb.edu
Stem cells produced from a patient’s own tissue could be used to supply replacement tissue that would be immunologically matched. That approach would also avoid the ethical issues associated by some of the use of stem cells taken from donated human embryos.
UCSB Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology: mcdb.ucsb.edu
Stem Cell Pioneer Jamie Thomson
hen University of Wisconsin researcher James “Jamie” Thomson, widely recognized as the “father of stem cell research,” visited UC Santa Barbara a few years ago, his interest was piqued by several of the university’s researchers and their work. Those encounters and UCSB’s strength in engineering prompted Thomson to seek out an affiliation here.
Now Thomson has a new laboratory here and is a co-director of UCSB’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. He was appointed an adjunct professor in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) last year; while he still has a full time faculty appointment in Wisconsin, Thomson visits UCSB every month and otherwise maintains a steady exchange of ideas and advice between Wisconsin and Santa Barbara. “There is a lot of back and forth,” he says, “not just me, but postdocs as well.” Thomson says UCSB’s excellence in engineering means the university has a lot to offer him, and the stem cell field in general, since the ability to efficiently and effectively produce, sort and deliver stem cell products is what will make them useful on a large scale for research and potentially clinical applications. Santa Barbara’s coastal location is also a factor—it not only provides Thomson with a respite from harsh Wisconsin winters, but also gives him easy access to marine organisms that he can use for research. Thomson’s primary collaboration here is with Hyongsok (Tom) Soh of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Soh, also a co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, is developing methods of quickly and accurately sorting cells. That collaboration, Thomson says, is “the one that’s exciting me currently. That’s something that I can’t do elsewhere.” Thomson is also working with Dennis Clegg, chair of MCDB and the third co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, and other researchers on using stem cells to produce eye cells that could perhaps replace those lost in diseases such as macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness among older people in the United States. The stem cell pioneer’s association with UCSB has energized research here and helped push the university further up the ranks of the many institutions where stem cell research is underway. In 1998, Thomson was the first person to isolate human embryonic stem cells—an achievement that opened up an exciting new field of research that scientists believe is leading to a greater understanding of our biology, and toward treatments or even cures for a litany of human diseases, from diabetes to Parkinson’s. Because embryonic stem cells can develop into nearly any kind of cell found in the human body, they can potentially be used to produce replacement parts for cells or tissues damaged or destroyed by disease or injury. Thomson chalked up another milestone contribution to the stem cell field last year, when he succeeded in transforming human skin cells into stem cells by adding four genes, a feat also reported at the same time by Shinya Yamanaka of the University of Kyoto in Japan. Thomson says the resulting stem cells are indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells. The achievement won him a spot in Time magazine’s list of the “World’s Most Influential People” of 2008. If stem cells can be obtained that way, cells or tissues derived from them will be an immunological match to a patient, overcoming the problem of the body rejecting foreign cells. The approach could also avoid some of the issues associated with the use of human embryonic stem cells.
question & answer:
In the search for cures for debilitating diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, macular degeneration, and diabetes, and for better ways of treating devastating injuries, stem cells have been among the most promising avenues of research. What makes stem cells so useful is their ability to turn into almost any kind of cell found in the human body—to potentially provide replacement parts for tissues compromised by disease or injury. If stem cells could be coaxed into becoming brain cells, for example, they could possibly replace those wiped out in Parkinson’s disease. Eye cells could be grown to save patients’ sight, and skin cells cultured to help people with severe burns. Stem cell research in the United States has been limited by federal restrictions on the work, enacted by President Bush in 2001 in response to concerns over the use of human embryos as a source of stem cells. In 2004, voters in California passed Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which provides $3 billion in funding through 2014 for stem cell research at universities and research institutions in the state. That prompted scientists at UC Santa Barbara to set up a stem cell research and teaching program—the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. About two-thirds of the current funding for the center comes from the state, via the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine; roughly a quarter is from private donors, and there’s a small contribution from the federal government. A $6-million state-of-the-art stem cell research facility is now under construction in the Biological Sciences 2 building, and is scheduled to open in June 2010. Convergence talked with Dennis Clegg, chair of UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and co-director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, about the university’s stem cell research program.
What’s so exciting about stem cells? Embryonic stem cells are amazingly powerful cells. They can be sustained indefinitely and can turn into almost any of the different cell types in the body, giving them the potential to treat an extremely wide range of diseases and injuries. That’s what’s generated so much excitement in this area and stimulated people to work in the field of regenerative medicine. Embryonic stem cells are golden cells—we have to harness their power. What does UCSB bring to stem cell research? I think we are uniquely positioned in the stem cell field because of our interdisciplinary culture here and our strengths in fundamental molecular mechanisms and in bioengineering and biotechnology. I hear over and over again from people that come from other institutions that it’s just so much easier to get interdisciplinary research going here—we don’t have the typical boundaries between departments, so its very easy to collaborate. I think it also has to do with the spirit here... We have
the mindset of the new kid on the block in that we’re willing to try approaches that are very novel and are perhaps more risky, but could potentially have large payoffs. We’ve created a new Center and have about 15 different lab groups with active stem cell research projects, and the number is continuing to grow. We are also recruiting new faculty in the stem cell field. Stem cell pioneer James “Jamie” Thomson of the University of Wisconsin accepted an adjunct professor position at UCSB last year. He was the first person to grow human embryonic stem cells in the lab, in 1998. That was quite a coup getting him, wasn’t it? It’s been fantastic for our program to have him aboard. He’s been very generous with his time and his expertise. Even though he’s only here part time, he’s available all the time by e-mail, and his postdoctoral fellows (postdocs) talk to our postdocs all the time.
Dennis Clegg meets with research associate Amy Friedrich and graduate student Teisha Rowland in the CIRM-funded stem cell culture facility in the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering.
Jamie’s been coming out about once a month and working in his lab here, bringing people with him from Wisconsin on occasion, and we’ve had postdocs , grad students, and professors from Santa Barbara go to Wisconsin to learn, so there’s been an exchange of people and ideas between “Thomson west” and “Thomson east.”
It’s just amazing and exciting how quickly people are moving to this field and how fast the field is moving. UCSB doesn’t have a medical school, so researchers here can’t work on potential clinical applications for stem cells. Is that a problem?
We can contribute to the understanding of the fundamental molecular mechanisms that are involved in stem cell proliferation and differentiation. The other area we think Has the United States lost ground to the rest of we can contribute in is bioengineering and biotechnology. the world in stem cell UCSB, of course, is known research, because of the for its bioengineering and People with a child with diabetes or a restrictions on federal there are important unsolved mother with Alzheimer’s can see the funding for research on questions in stem cell culture, human embryonic stem sorting, and differentiation utility of stem cell research beyond their cells? that are engineering problems. We’re already seeing a payoff, in terms of science being done and in publications.
own personal politics.
Yes, we’re lagging the rest of the world, and that’s a big concern. The country has wasted time because of the underfunding of this very promising field. Other countries are funding stem cell research far better than our federal government—in fact, some people have moved from this country to other places because of that.
Our lack of a medical school doesn’t stop us from translating our work to the clinic. We’re partnering with other universities and private companies to apply our basic research discoveries to develop cellular therapies. What are some of the first advances we are likely to see come out of UCSB’s stem cell work?
Now that Proposition 71 is funding human embryonic stem cell research in California, are we reversing that outflow of talent?
We’re very interested in developing cellular therapies for eye diseases, especially macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa (an inherited eye disease that leads to progressive vision loss). We’ve generated ocular cells from human embryonic stem cells that may be useful in treating these and other diseases. But there’s also bioengineering and biotechnology work going on here that could be used in stem cell research as well as clinical applications. An improved method of growing stem cells could be applied very quickly, and could lead to clinical applications.
I think California is stepping in to fill the void that developed in the United States, and the state is poised to become a world leader in stem cell research because of Proposition 71. It was very insightful of the people of California to do something new and unusual, stepping in to do what the federal government should have been doing. We’re reversing the brain drain away from the United States by attracting stem cell researchers to the state.
We’re hearing a lot in the media about the promise of stem cells to treat or cure disease and injury. Is there too much hype? I’m a little worried that the public may have expectations that are too high. Proposition 71 and the stem cell field in general have generated a lot of hype about rapid cures. In fact it’s going to be a long and difficult process to develop cellular therapies for diseases. However, clinical trials using adult stem cells are underway, and embryonic stem cells are soon to follow. What about the ethical debate over the use of human embryonic stem cells? Some people disapprove because these cells, taken from embryos a few days old, have the potential to develop into human beings. What are your thoughts? It’s an important ethical question. I think it’s a personal decision everyone has to make for themselves. My own personal belief is that if we have the opportunity to cure a disease, we should be trying to do that. I think it would almost be immoral not to do this research because of the great potential for treating miserable human diseases.
What kind of oversight is there of the UCSB stem cell research program? We have an oversight committee (chaired by Lois Jovanovic, who heads the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara and is a member of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering at UCSB)), which includes scientists, bioethicists, and people from the community. The committee weighs in on the ethical issues associated with any proposed project. Most of the work at UC Santa Barbara uses established embryonic cell lines and does not deal with ethically controversial procedures. Scientists have been trying to develop sources of stem cells other than human embryos, including adult stem cells. Does that work look promising? The problem is that we don’t know which stem cell type will be better. It’s worthwhile to pursue both adult and embryonic cells, because at this point it’s too early to know which cell will be the best.
Human embryonic stem cell research uses excess embryos that people have donated to science. Many do not understand that there are 400,000 frozen embryos in the United States at in vitro fertilization clinics that will eventually be discarded. It just seems to me, why would you throw out any of this material if you could use it to treat human diseases? Has there been opposition from the local community or from people within the university to research at UCSB on human embryonic stem cells? California, being perhaps more liberal than the rest of the country, is by and large very supportive of stem cell research. I’ve been amazed to see how it cuts across traditional political boundaries. People with a child with diabetes or a mother with Alzheimer’s can see the utility of stem cell research beyond their own personal politics. But yes, there are some people on campus who are opposed to stem cell research based on religious beliefs.
One of the most exciting developments in the field recently has been work by Jamie Thomson and Shinya Yamanaka showing that a skin cell, a fibroblast, can be reprogrammed to behave like an embryonic stem cell by adding four genes. These are called induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells. The reason it’s generated so much attention is that the possibility now exists for patient-specific stem cells that wouldn’t be rejected by the immune system. If you use “foreign” stem cells, from sources other than your own body, you have to use immuno-suppressant drugs. If you could convert one of your own skin cells into a stem cell, that would be wonderful. That may be the ultimate solution. We are working hard on these cells in the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. Relevant links: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine: www.cirm.ca.gov Dennis Clegg’s homepage: www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/mcdb/faculty/clegg
Dennis Clegg gives an introduction to stem cells (video): www.stemcell.ucsb.edu/overview/video/clegg_lecture
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The university’s Nanofabrication Facility effectively links local nanotechnology companies and researchers into a chain that stretches across the country.
rian Lim, Chairman and CEO of Atomate Corp., reels off a long list of reasons why, when he started the nanotechnology company in 2003, he did so in Santa Barbara. The first he listed was that he had already had positive experiences working with the school at his previous company, NanoDevices (acquired by Veeco Instruments in 2003), finding strong synergy in working with the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI).
development of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and led to the establishment of the California NanoSystems Institute, a joint venture between UCSB and UCLA, in 2000. Nanofab now focuses on semiconductorbased technologies, but will soon have complementary fabrication facilities in Elings Hall that will extend nanofabrication to novel device materials from biology and chemistry.
The current cleanroom facilities cover about 13,000 He has nothing but praise for the Sciences and the square feet, with half as much additional space dedicated College of Engineering at to infrastructure support—heating UCSB. “There were a great and ventilation equipment, filters, Brian Lim, Chairman and many resources and programs cooling equipment, vacuum plants, CEO of Atomate Corp. has that benefited us—and I’d compressed air, gases and liquids, definitely include UCSB special water facilities and waste nothing but praise for the graduates among them,” he treatment systems. commented. “We’ve hired many sciences and the College of “What makes it a cleanroom,” of them.” explained Whaley, “is that there are Engineering at UCSB. “There In 2006, the company relocated very few particles in the constantly to Simi Valley in order to be were definitely a great many filtered air, and the temperature closer to the larger pool of talent and humidity are very precisely resources and programs available at places like UCLA controlled. Access is also tightly and Caltech, and to a host of controlled.” that benefited us—and I’d research labs in the proximate Whaley estimates the cleanroom area. Despite now having so definitely include UCSB lab itself represents an investment many other choices, however, of around $20 million, with graduates among them,” he Atomate remains a key user another $25 million to $30 million of the UCSB Nanofabrication commented. “We’ve hired in cutting edge fabrication tools Facility. and equipment for researching, many of them.” “We’re still very much plugged developing, and testing the latest in into UCSB and Nanofab,” said nanotechnology. Lim. “We sincerely appreciate The university’s Nanofabrication Facility effectively links Jack Whaley and his team’s efforts in running an local nanotechnology companies and researchers into incredibly useful lab for both academic and industry a chain that stretches across the country. In addition to R&D. We have a lot of options now, but we still choose supporting on-campus researchers and local companies, to use UCSB—the team’s support makes it an easy Nanofab is also part of the National Nanotechnology decision for us.” Infrastructure Network (NNIN), a National Science Jack Whaley is manager of Nanotech, the UCSB Foundation-funded integrated partnership of user Nanofabrication Facility and testing lab. Commonly facilities at 13 institutions across the U. S., including referred to as “the cleanroom” or “Nanofab,” this truly Cornell, Stanford, the University of Michigan, Georgia state-of the-art facility moved into its new location, Tech, the University of Washington, Penn State, the occupying the entire ground floor of the then-new University of Minnesota, the University of New Mexico, Engineering Science Building, in 2005. Nanofab the University of Texas, Harvard, and Howard University. represents years of collaborative development among Atomate is far from alone in taking advantage of Nanofab. UCSB faculty members in identifying and gathering In the first quarter of this year, the facility had users the finest tools and fabrication processes available to from more than 40 external organizations, about half of create structures and devices at the nanoscale. them small firms like Atomate seeking to commercialize Nanofab originated as “the cleanroom” in 1989. Its nanotechnology. existence made UCSB an early, major player in the
UC Santa Barbara’s Nanofab supports a broad line of lithography, thin-film deposition, reactive ion etching, and characterization tools for device fabrication with a variety of materials, in both Class 100 and Class 1000 cleanroom areas. The light in most of the cleanroom areas is filtered to remove all ultraviolet spectrum, because of the extensive use of UV-sensitive photo-resist materials—the result is the characteristic yellow light. Of the remaining outside users, about 10 were large companies, (defined as those with 500 or more employees) and roughly the same number were academic institutions. More than 200 UCSB graduate and post-graduate researchers also use the Nanofab, making a total of well over 300 individuals each quarter. The level of Whaley’s professional services and the availability of knowledgeable, helpful staff and postgraduate fellows at the lab, are clearly part of the draw for outside users. Capital costs, however, are often the biggest factor in drawing users to Nanofab: the costs of duplicating the facility, or even part of it, can be prohibitive for both start-ups and established companies. “That’s certainly the case for Freedom Photonics,” says Jonathon Barton, founder and president of the three-yearold optoelectronics company based in Goleta. Barton, who earned his PhD at UCSB, said his early-stage company (with just three staff right now...) is using the cleanroom to make prototypes of integrated circuits for fiberoptic communications. The Nanofabrication Facility offers his company a very desirable option—paying by the hour instead of having to spend millions of dollars to buy nanotechnology equipment. “That’s a huge benefit for a start-up company like ours,” he said. Not having to make a major capital investment is also helping another Goleta start-up, Transphorm. “It’s definitely very useful at this early stage,” said chief operating officer Primit Parikh. Transphorm is in the business of clean energy, and uses the Nanofabrication Facility to develop the semiconductors that are part of its technology for generating hydrogen for fuel and for industrial purposes.
Parikh said Transphorm typically has four researchers in the cleanroom for 20 to 30 hours each week. While this involves some trade-offs—no individual company has priority in their use of the facility or access to equipment—the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. “Nanofab is great for all the start-up companies in town. It’s good synergy and good for UCSB. It’s a real win/win,” he said. Lim’s company, Atomate, is working at the cutting edge of electrical device creation, a field in which carbon nanotubes and other nanowire materials are being utilized to produce what he expects to be the “next generation of electronics.” The company is developing micro-electro-mechanical systems, or MEMS, working at a scale of less than two nanometers. (A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, a measurement so small it is difficult to visualize. One highly non-scientific comparison to a nanometer is how much a man’s beard grows between his picking up the razor and starting to shave.) “Despite their incredibly small size, Lim said “Atomate’s devices can provide much higher performance than similar micrometer-scaled (1,000 times larger) devices.” As companies like Atomate carry out research and development in building their minute components, they take full advantage of highly sophisticated instruments in the cleanroom, and of complementary resources in the UCSB’s Materials Research Lab and in CNSI. Available instrumentation includes atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, secondary ion mass spectrometry, and X-ray spectrometry, all used to test and characterize materials and devices and for process control.
“We make our facilities available to any qualified academic or corporate user,” Whaley commented. That’s in accord with NSF requirements which, in return for government funding, require members of the national nanotechnology network to make their facilities as accessible as possible to academic and industrial researchers. “We try very hard to make it a simple, easy and fast process,” he continued. “We want to get as many people as possible working in the lab as quickly as possible.”
Ongoing research in the Nanofabrication Facility ranges from evaluating different types and thicknesses of film coatings to the relative performances of materials including ceramics, glass, polymers, metals, and semiconductors. Researchers are building and testing devices and circuits made from new types of semiconductors, including compound semiconductors used for very fast transistors and a wide variety of optoelectronic devices. The one thing Nanofab users are not allowed to do is manufacture product for sale.
John Bowers, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, is also director of UCSB’s Institute for Energy Efficiency. Both roles have given him a keen interest in the properties and potential of thermoelectric materials.
As lab manager, Whaley supervises about a dozen staff and is responsible for operational policies and procedures and equipment purchases. He also meets each new user and ensures that he or she is properly trained.
Bowers and other researchers have been developing thermoelectrics in Nanofab, and then looking at ways in which they can generate electrical power when there is a significant temperature differential from one side to the other. Bowers said this technology has applications in powering everything from satellites to car batteries to refrigerators.
He describes the facility as dynamic and constantly changing. “We’re always adding new tools and looking at new processes, he said. “It’s very important to continue to add new processing capability.” The lab has a capital equipment advisory committee and talks with users to determine their needs. “We want to look at what people are doing and try to support the broadest number of users,” Whaley said. This emphasis on customer service is not entirely altruistic: the Nanofab also benefits UCSB, and it’s a business that has to be run like any other business, with attention to the bottom line.
“It may someday be possible to replace our bulky, relatively expensive refrigerators in our home with compact, solid state thermoelectrics and substantially reduce the power consumed in cooling our food,” he noted recently. Bowers characterized Nanofab as a “huge deal” for his graduate students, who can prove their ideas by making things in the cleanroom and measuring and testing them in the laboratory. He also sees the facilities at UCSB as an important asset for local high-tech companies.
Nobody knows this better than Mark Rodwell, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Nanofab, who is responsible for, among other things, the facility’s $5 million budget. About $1 million of that total comes in an annual grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The rest is collected from users: academics pay a little over $32 per hour, and industrial clients are charged $120 per hour.
“UCSB has a responsibility to the community to help it become successful,” he said, noting the influence of institutions like Stanford and MIT on their respective communities. Bowers believes that if the university can help create a favorable environment for high-tech industry, more companies will establish here, stay here and do their research here. “That’s the advantage of being a research university.”
The most recent full year data show 461 users of which 285 were from within UCSB. Of the 176 “outside” users, 42 were from other academic institutions, 55 were large companies, and 77 were small companies. Among the larger users, Rodwell listed technology and defense giants Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and Cree, which has converted its expertise in semiconductors and materials to pioneer new forms of LED (light-emitting diode) solidstate lighting.
Relevant links: Nanotech—The UCSB Nanofabrication Facility nanotech.ucsb.edu NNIN--The National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network nnin.org
JUMBO FLYING SQUID
The sharp beak of the Humboldt squid is one of the hardest and stiffest wholly organic materials known, used by the squid to disable, tear apart, and devour its prey. Engineers, biologists, and marine scientists at UC Santa Barbara have joined forces to discover how the soft, gelatinous squid can operate its knife-like beak without tearing itself to pieces. Their findings, published in a recent issue of Science, may lead to improved artificial limbs for people and improved adhesives for dissimilar materials. Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas), also known as jumbo flying squid, can grow to seven feet long and 100 pounds. Their Eastern Pacific range extends from Tierra del Fuego, at the southern tip of South America, to California. Their common name comes from the Humboldt Current off South America, part of their habitat. They are a social species, often found traveling in schools of 1,200 or more individuals.
The key to the squid beak’s functionality lies in the gradation of its hardness and stiffness. The tip is extremely hard and stiff, yet the base, 100 times more compliant than the tip, allows it to blend with surrounding soft tissue. (This is true only when the base of the beak is wet—after it dries out, the base becomes close to as stiff as the already desiccated beak tip.)
Still need credit and high res.
“I’d always been skeptical as to whether there is any real advantage to ‘functionally gradient’ materials, but the squid beak turned me into a believer,” said Frank Zok, Professor and Associate Chair of the Department of Materials and a coauthor of the paper. “Here you have a ‘cutting tool’ that’s extremely hard and stiff at its tip and it’s attached to a material –– the squid’s muscular buccal mass –– that has the consistency of Jell-o.” “You can imagine the problems you’d have if you attached a knife blade to a block of Jell-o and tried to use that blade for cutting,” Zok continued. “The blade would cut through the Jell-o at least as much as the targeted object” In the case of the squid beak, nature takes care of the problem by changing the beak composition progressively, rather than abruptly, so that its tip can pierce prey without harming the squid in the process. It’s a truly fascinating design!”
“Squid can be aggressive, whimsical, suddenly mean, and they are always hungry,” said Herb Waite, coauthor and Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) at UC Santa Barbara. “You wouldn’t want to be diving next to one. They’re very aggressive feeders… a dozen of them could eat you, or really hurt you a lot.” The creatures are very fast, swimming by jet propulsion. Besides humans, squid’s primary predator is the sperm whale, and those animals frequently show the scars of battle with skin marked by the squid’s sharp suckers. (Waite notes that squid muscle is sold as “calamari steak,” often served locally
Waite found the questions posed by the squid beak compelling, and he interested postdoctoral researcher and lead author Ali Miserez in joining the study.
(c) 2003 MBARI
“You can imagine the problems you’d have if you attached a knife blade to a block of Jell-o and tried to use that blade for cutting. The blade would cut through the Jell-o at least as much as the targeted object,” says Zok
Miserez, who is affiliated with UCSB’s Department of Materials, MCDB, and the Marine Science Institute, suggested the research could point the way to new types of medical materials. ‘We could imagine creating a full prosthesis that mimics the chemistry of the beak, so that it matches the elasticity of cartilage on one side and, on the other side, you could create a material which is very stiff and abrasion resistant,’ he recalled.
Additional authors of the Science magazine paper which published the squid beak findings include Todd Schneberk, affiliated with UCSB’s Materials Research Laboratory and MCDB, and Chengjun Sun, affiliated with MCDB and the Marine Science Institute. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Considering another potential application of functionally gradient materials, Zok explained that most engineered structures are made of combinations of very different materials such as ceramics, metals and plastics. Joining them together requires either some sort of mechanical attachment like a rivet, a nut and bolt, or an adhesive such as epoxy; each of these approaches, however, has its limitations.
Relevant links: The Science paper “The Transition from Stiff to Compliant Materials in Squid Beaks: sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/ sci;319/5871/1816 KQED Quest show on the fierce Humboldt Squid: kqed.org/quest/television/view/774
Sheraz Sadiq, KQED Quest
“If we could reproduce the property gradients that we find in squid beak, it would open new possibilities for joining materials,” explained Zok. “For example, if you graded an adhesive to make its properties match one material on one side and the other material on the other side, you could potentially form a much more robust bond,” he said. “This could really revolutionize the way engineers think about joining disparate materials.” According to Waite, the researchers have been helped by the fact that the Humboldt squid seem to be moving north from their traditional habitats such as the deep waters off the coast of Acapulco, Mexico—they have recently been found in large numbers in Southern California waters. Dozens of dead Humboldt squid have recently washed up on campus beaches, providing the researchers with more beaks to study.
On STAGE with Science
“Disciplinary boundaries are far more arbitrary than people tend to believe,” said Turk, who lauds what he sees as a pervasive interdisciplinary culture throughout UCSB. “We think there’s a lot to be gained by breaking down or transcending boundaries.”
oundaries It’s a word that crops up often in conversation with Professor Matthew Turk, chair of the Media Arts and Technology (MAT) Program at UCSB. For some people the word may suggest constraints, restrictions, and limits. For Turk, however, boundaries are something to be pushed, extended, blurred, and even erased.
Based on the “extraordinarily positive response” to the script competition, Kawalek has introduced the STAGE Project, an international collaboration to create and develop original multi-media theater pieces prominently featuring science and technology. This fall a group of professional actors and multi-media artists, along with some MAT graduate students, will gather at UCSB to begin working on one such piece called “The Brain Project”.
Within the academic world, the arts and the sciences were long considered distinct, if not mutually exclusive, disciplines. Now, however, the MAT program at UCSB is proving that when artists, engineers, and scientists work together, the results can be truly astonishing. “Disciplinary boundaries are far more arbitrary than people tend to believe,” said Turk, who lauds what he sees as a pervasive interdisciplinary culture throughout UCSB. “We think there’s a lot to be gained by breaking down or transcending boundaries.” Such collaboration, for example, may enable scientists to visualize things that are too small to see, helping them to better understand their science or engineering; at the same time artists are digging below the surface of science, sometimes using little more than raw data to create new visual, audio and performance works. Nancy Kawalek, a studio professor in film and media studies and the MAT program, agrees. “What’s very interesting to me is that our lives and technology intersect every second of the day but that’s not reflected in the theater as much as I would like to see,” she said. A trained actor and director from New York with 25 years stage, film and television experience, Kawalek is the founder and director of the Professional Artists Lab which brings professionals from around the world to share their creative and performance talents at UCSB.
The cast of 2006 STAGE Script Competition winner Splitting Infinity (from left to right): Kathryn Ish, Sage Parker, Michael Cassidy, Sharon Lawrence, Saul Rubinek, Angela Goethals, and Peter Smith.
Kawalek is especially interested in using multi-media in the theater to help tell a great story rather than just adding special effects. “That requires artists, scientists and engineers to talk to each other,” she said. “And that raises some exciting possibilities.”
The seeds of MAT were sown when music professor JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, who has been building media systems and studios for more than two decades, launched the Center for Research in Electronic Art Technology (CREATE) at UCSB in 1984.
The same MAT theme of entwining the arts and science has given rise to STAGE -- Scientists, Technologists, and Artists Generating Exploration—which has just held its third annual playwriting contest.
She worked with MAT colleagues Professor Curtis Roads and Stephen Pope to build and develop the facility in the mid-’90s, and was MAT’s first chair. Today CREATE is still knitting together such diverse talents as computer engineering and composition.
STAGE, which operates under the umbrella of the Professional Artists Lab and the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), offers a $10,000 prize for the best script which must prominently feature issues relating to science and technology. “It’s about creating theater that’s relevant,” Kawalek said.
The Center provides students, researchers, media artists and professional composers with a creative environment in which to work; CREATE also acts as a laboratory for the development of software and hardware tools for mediabased composition.
DreamWorks, Pixar and other movie makers are looking for engineers with “aesthetic senses” and artists with “technical competence,” Turk said; similarly, Internet companies like Google and Microsoft value the broad background provided by the MAT program.
The value of such collaboration is not lost on Turk, a computer scientist who came from Microsoft to join the faculty at UCSB in 2000. He senses a gradual movement towards more programs like MAT as other universities fall into step with the digital rhythm humming beneath the surface of modern life. George Legrady, professor of media arts, said there are eight such graduate programs in the U.S.
This same sentiment was expressed in a recent New York Times story which quoted author Daniel Pink (“A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future”) saying that the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) has become “the new MBA.”
MAT, spread across at least three campus buildings, is mainly based in CNSI where a chunk of the second floor
A remarkable physical manifestation of MAT’s rolling back boundaries is the Allosphere, described by Turk as the “crown jewel” of Media Arts and Technology. As chief scientist of digital media for the University of California in the early 2000s, Kuchera-Morin created, designed, and implemented the Allosphere Research Laboratory.
“Scientists are as a creative as artists,” said Kawalek. While the two groups have plenty of differences, “scientists I know are unbelievably creative.”
This three-story, 10-meter-diameter sphere, built inside an anechoic cube on the second floor of CNSI, is a deep black space destined to be saturated with speakers and projectors to create what Turk calls a “very, very rich immersive environment.”
is devoted to lab space and faculty offices. The graduate program, started in 1999, has about 35 students working towards Master of Science, Master of Arts and PhD degrees.
Though there’s still more hardware, software and computing infrastructure to come, the Allosphere is already wowing visitors who walk out onto a narrow metal bridge in the heart of the sphere for a unique spatial experience.
Turk believes MAT helps boost visibility and name recognition for UCSB and sets the university apart. In time he sees the program pushing forward research “in ways not happening at other universities” which will be another bonus for UCSB.
Right now that walk can turn into a 3-D journey through a brain—the scanned brain of MAT visual artist Professor Markos Novak. Ultimately, the goal is to create a multiuser interactive facility which would, for example, simulate the ability to reach out, grab molecules and move them around.
He also thinks the program helps attract quality students and faculty who might otherwise look elsewhere. As for the benefits beyond the campus, Turk believes they are huge and getting bigger all the time.
That research has already started, said Kuchera-Morin, director of the Allosphere, with the work of Professor Christopher Van DeWalle and the Solid State Lighting and Energy Center making it possible to “fly through atoms”. The Allosphere is unique. “It’s the only place in the world doing this,” said Kuchera-Morin. “It’s not virtual reality… we’re effecting a true human experience of immersion in visual and auditory manifestations of information, with resolution limited only by eyes and ears.” The facility will be used to help visualize the most minute structures or processes, detect patterns in information that scientists may not otherwise find, and turn data into art.
Six months after its initial reading at UCSB, The Phenom, a Professional Artists Lab project, went on to have a final developmental workshop at the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center. Here, seen at the close of the workshop, are the exhausted but very happy participants. From left to right: Producing Artistic Director of the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center, Dr. Polly Carl; playwright Barbara Lebow; dramaturge Liz Engelman; and Lab Director Nancy Kawalek.
“Think of the Allosphere as a large, dynamically varying digital microscope. You’ve got to go real big to go very small. Sometimes you need to distance yourself from your work” said Kuchera-Morin, who sees potential applications in areas as different as nanotechnology, arts and entertainment, and the geo-sciences. Turk also sees the promise of commercial applications for Allosphere technology in a range of computing devices, from large displays to cell phones, and thinks the interaction-rich possibilities could appeal in the world of entertainment and gaming.
Faculty positions for PhDs are opening up not just in this country but also in Europe and Japan, while gaming companies and the entertainment industry in general is hungry for the sorts of skills taught within MAT.
Turk also sees the promise of commercial applications for Allosphere technology in a range of computing devices, from large displays to cell phones, and thinks the interaction-rich possibilities could appeal in the world of entertainment and gaming.”
One of Turk’s areas of interest is the interaction between humans and computers. He does not think the traditional, static model of desktop, mouse and keyboard provides intuitive access for most people. “We can do a lot better,” says the director of the Four Eyes Lab where students from computer science and MAT focus on imaging, interaction, and innovative interfaces (the “four I’s”). When it comes to the visual and spatial arts, Turk said MAT students are very technically competent and much more advanced technically than in typical art departments. He singles out one of Legrady’s projects as an example of the type of artwork or installation art that “couldn’t have happened without MAT.”
In some senses, the blurring of the lines between arts and science does little more than reflect the reality of today’s fast-moving, fast-changing, high-tech world. “Technology is constantly morphing,” Kuchera-Morin said.
Making Visible the Invisible at the Seattle public library, typifies Legrady’s work in the field of interactive installations in which data is given artistic representation— in this case the constant flow of data generated every time someone checks out a book, DVD, CD or other item.
Relevant links: Scientists, Technologists and Artists Generating Exploration (STAGE) cnsi.ucsb.edu/stage
The installation runs in real time on six large screens behind the information desk. Legrady has used statistical and algorithmic software to create a visual representation of the data captured by the Dewey cataloging system and other information such as book titles and check-out times.
Media Arts and Technology Graduate Program mat.ucsb.edu The Allosphere at CNSI mat.ucsb.edu/allosphere
Projects like this require expertise both in the arts and in engineering. “MAT attracts students who are eager to work in this way and provides such collaboration opportunities,” Legrady said. “For instance, Rama Hoetzlein, an MAT Ph.D., contributed innovative engineering to the Seattle project.” Legrady said besides creating an experience for viewers, part of the idea is “to integrate the audience.” That goal has also inspired other of his works which have appeared across the U. S. as well as in Europe, Canada, Taipei and Japan. One of his installations called Blink, an animated wall of eyes continually opening and closing, was shown last year at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. His latest project, “We Are Stardust”, based upon the journey and observations of the Spitzer Space Telescope, opens October 10 at the Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena. Artwork like this seeks to bring form and human scale to a piece of science which, because of its size, scope and the amount of data being generated, is difficult for many to fully comprehend. However, when talk turns to mixing engineers and scientists with artists and musicians, it’s easy to assume who’s contributing the creative juices. But beware those stereotypes, says Nancy Kawalek. “Scientists are as a creative as artists,” said Kawalek. While the two groups have plenty of differences, “scientists I know are unbelievably creative.”
George Legrady’s “Dynamic Modulations” is a visual artwork of continuously changing electronic images. Video cameras inside and above each tank record activities at 30 frames per second. The images are then digitized and mathematically processed, filtered, and stored. Based on the calculated information, animations are then generated and displayed on the large LCD screens.
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News and Events from Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara
Physicists Find “Double Einstein Ring” using Hubble Telescope. UC Santa Barbara physicists Tommaso Treu and Raphael Gavazzi have made an impressive astronomical discovery––a form of gravitational lensing called a “double Einstein ring.” This phenomenon had never been observed before. The discovery was made using the Hubble Space Telescope and the Sloan Lens Advanced Camera for Surveys program. Their findings were announced earlier this year at the meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Tex.
In gravitational lensing, light from distant galaxies is deflected on its way to Earth by the gravitational field of any massive object that lies in the way. Because of this light bending, the galaxy is distorted into an arc or multiple separate images. When both galaxies are exactly lined up, the light forms a bull’s-eye pattern, called an Einstein ring, around the foreground galaxy. In this case the line-up includes two background galaxies, thus causing the double Einstein ring, a very rare phenomenon. The stunning
observation offers insight into the nature of dark matter, dark energy, distant galaxies, and the curvature of the universe. Gravitational lensing gives astronomers the most direct probe of the distribution of dark matter in elliptical galaxies. Dark matter is an invisible and exotic form of matter that has not yet been directly observed. By searching for dark matter in galaxies, astronomers hope to gain insight into galaxy formation, which must have started around lumpy concentrations of dark matter in the early universe. hubblesite.org/newscenter/ archive/releases/2008/04/full physics.ucsb.edu/~tt Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies Has Key Role in New, Major Diabetes Research Program UC Santa Barbara’s Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies has joined into a research consortium with Pfizer, three other major research universities—Caltech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Massachusetts—and Entelos, a physiological modeling company, to seek out new targets for drugs to treat diabetes. Pfizer, the world’s largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company, is funding the three-year, $14 million Insulin Resistance Pathway (IRP) Project to look at insulin signaling in adipose (fat) cells to increase understanding of diabetes and obesity, inextricably linked conditions which affect 7 percent of the U.S. population. Diabetes has been the subject of intense study in the academic community and pharmaceutical industry for nearly 50 years. The diabetes and obesity medicines that have reached the market, however, do not meet the needs of many patients—nearly 60% of patients do not adequately respond to currently available drug therapies.
The first phase of the project will examine insulin signaling in adipose, or fat, cells. Researchers at Pfizer, MIT and the University of Massachusetts will perform data collection and analyses, which will then be fed to the computational groups at MIT, Caltech and the University of California at Santa Barbara, led by Frank Doyle, PhD, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Director of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies at UCSB. Doyle’s team at UCSB will first be responsible for analyzing the data supplied by the other computational groups and then developing mathematical models of the insulin signaling pathways; they will then apply those models to identify targets for therapeutic action. Entelos’ role will be to assess the potential efficacy of treating those targets, utilizing the company’s whole-body model of Type 2 diabetes. “The IRP Project is a new paradigm in two respects,” notes Doyle. “First, its methodology is a true departure from the way fundamental research in human disease has been done and then applied to the development of new therapies. Second, this consortium also represents a sea change in how industry and academia collaborate in research and product development in the pharmaceutical area.” The collaboration agreement, in a major departure from traditional industry-academia practice, allows the academic partners to publish and/or patent any discoveries made in the course of their research. If the first phase of the project proves successful, a second, twoyear phase will extend these studies to other insulin-sensitive tissues—liver,
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muscle and possibly hypothalamic or beta cells. Preston Hensley, PhD, Senior Director in Pfizer’s Worldwide Exploratory Science & Technology organization (and a UC Santa Barbara alumnus), will oversee the IRP Project for Pfizer. “This project will be an interactive effort across Pfizer,” said Hensley. “Scientists from our laboratories in Groton, Connecticut, where our diabetes and obesity research is centered, and from our Research Technology Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will work directly with the university and Entelos research teams. Pfizer is very fortunate to be working with such an outstanding group of research organizations.”
Where Great Minds Meet
An Affiliate Connection Working with the best engineers and scientists is a catalyst to create new opportunities. Whether you are interested in augmenting your own internal research, investigating a new technology, seeking talented employees, or staying abreast of the latest advances, UC Santa Barbara’s Corporate Affiliates Program helps you make the connection. Everyday UC Santa Barbara pushes the boundaries of human knowledge, and not just for knowledge’s sake. Our faculty and students invented and commercialized online video conferencing, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and LED lighting technologies. Partner with UC Santa Barbara and see what your future holds. As an Affiliate we help you... Create opportunities by:
Bringing you together with students and faculty Leverage your investment in: Research Scholarship & student support
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Nakamura wins Prince of Asturias Award Professor Shuji Nakamura, Director UC Santa Barbara’s SolidState Lighting and Energy Center, has been named a recipient of the 2008 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research. Each recipient of the prestigious award is presented with a medal and a Joan Miro sculpture commissioned specifically for the awards; the recipients in each category also share a €50,000 (US$77,000) stipend. The Technical and Scientific Research prize is given annually to “the individual, work group or institution whose discoveries or research represent a significant contribution to the progress of humanity in the fields of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, Earth and Space Sciences, as well as their related technical aspects and technologies” by the Prince of Asturias Foundation. The awards will be presented on October 24 in Oviedo, Spain by Crown Prince Felipe of Spain, the Prince of Asturias. Nakamura’s invention of revolutionary new light sources—blue, green, and white light-emitting diodes and the blue laser diode— also garnered the Millennium Technology Prize, the world’s biggest technology prize, in 2006. (That was the second time the alternate-year Millennium Prize was given; the first winner, Tim Berners-Lee, developer of the WorldWide Web, is also a
prior recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research.) “We’re both pleased and proud that Shuji and his work have again been recognized with this high honor,” commented Matthew Tirrell, Dean of UC Santa Barbara’s College of Engineering. “His discoveries have made it possible for solid-state lighting to replace today’s incandescent and fluorescent lighting at up to ten times the energy efficiency—That’s going to be a major benefit to our planet and its people, with impact far into the future.” Other 2008 winners of the Prince of Asturias Award in the Technical and Scientific Research category include Professors Sumio Iijima (NEC), Robert Langer (MIT), Tobin Marks (Northwestern) and George Whitesides (Harvard). Relevant Links: Solid-State Lighting and Energy Center sslec.ucsb.edu Prince of Asturias Foundation fundacionprincipedeasturias.org/ing/ Frank Doyle appointed Associate Dean for Research of the College of Engineering Francis J. “Frank” Doyle, III, has been appointed the UC Santa Barbara College of Engineering’s Associate Dean for Research. In this role, Frank will help identify, create, and pursue new research initiatives within
the College and collaboratively across the campus and with external partners. His efforts will be particularly focused on the confluence of medicine and technology. Doyle came to UC Santa Barbara as the first Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Chair in Process Control in Chemical Engineering, and holds additional appointments in Biomolecular Science and Engineering and in Electrical and Computer Engineering. In his role as Associate Director of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB), he has led the “Network Science” thrust, which has created nexus for systems biology on the campus. He is also Principal Investigator for the newly announced UCSB-Pfizer Insulin Resistance Pathways Project. Immediately prior to his arrival at UCSB, Doyle was at Stuttgart University in Germany, where he held a Humboldt Research Fellowship in the Institute for Technical Process Systems Theory. Prior to that fellowship, he held tenured faculty positions in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware and Purdue, and also worked in industry. He earned his Ph.D. at Caltech, his C.P.G.S. from Cambridge, and his B.S.E. from Princeton, all in chemical engineering. His current research interests include systems biology, circadian rhythm, and diabetes. His most recent honor was his election as a Fellow of the IEEE.
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research focuses on the formation of nanophotonic devices that may provide more energy-efficient lighting sources and may also facilitate new, faster computation and communications. She has been at UCSB since 1984. Murdoch is a professor ecology in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. An internationally recognized ecologist, his research has focused on population dynamics, and the factors affecting the abundance of individuals in populations, combining empirical study with mathematical theory. He joined the UCSB faculty in 1965. Both Hu and Murdoch in recent years have also been recognized with the Faculty Research Lecturer award at UCSB, the highest honor that the campus’s faculty members bestow on one of their own. Their election brings to 29 the number of active UCSB faculty members who are members of the academy. James Thomson is a renowned University of Wisconsin stem cell researcher who also holds appointments at UC Santa Barbara as an adjunct professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and as Co-Director for Biology of the Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. Thomson, who has been described as the father of stem cell research, has conducted pioneering work in the isolation and culture of embryonic stem (ES) cells and in the creation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from skin cells. Hu, Murdoch, Thomson elected to National Academy of Sciences UC Santa Barbara professors Evelyn Hu and William Murdoch have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, as has adjunct professor James Thompson. They are among a total of 72 new members elected to the prestigious academy this year in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Hu is scientific director of the California NanoSystems Institute and a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of materials. Her
The National Academy of Sciences is the country’s most prestigious scientific organization, and election to membership in the academy is considered one of the highest honors that can be accorded a U.S. scientist or engineer. Those elected this year bring the total number of active members to just over 2,000. The new members will be inducted into the academy next April at the group’s annual meeting in Washington. Relevant Links: National Academy of Sciences nasonline.org
$1 Million Gift Establishes Bren School Distinguished Visitors Program UC Santa Barbara’s Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management recently received a $1 million gift from Zurich Financial Services Group, a Bren School Corporate Partner, to establish and endow a Distinguished Visitors Program. Zurich will also provide additional funds to initiate the program immediately. The Zurich Financial Services Distinguished Visitors program will allow the Bren School to attract international leaders in environmental policy, law, business, and science to enrich and expand the intellectual life of the Bren School community and share insight on issues critical to climate change. The Visitors, who will be in residence for periods ranging from one week to one quarter, will teach short courses, offer public lectures, conduct seminars, and lead colloquia and symposia based on their research, professional endeavors, or areas of expertise. “Many of these events and activities will directly address such climaterelated issues as carbon emissions trading, sustainable building design, renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource productivity, impacts, mitigation, adaptation, technological innovations, and more,” said Bren Professor Charles Kolstad. Kolstad is a lead author on the most recent climate change assessment by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. “Each of these topics,” he continued, “ affords the opportunity for our students and faculty to work on climate-change solutions, an interest we share with Zurich Financial Services leadership.” Written and reported by staff writers and editors, and by staff from the Office of Public Affairs.
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CONVERGENCE The Magazine of Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara
ELEVEN, SUMMER 2008 Editor: Tony Rairden Creative Director: Peter Allen Writers: Anna Davison Frank Nelson Gail Gallessich Copy Editor: Marie Howell Editorial Board: The image in the background is a graphical representation of biotinylated hexagonal DNA arrays (green) attached to Epithelial Growth Factor receptors (red) of tumor cells through the antibodies (blue) to EGF receptor. The foreground image was taken by confocal microscope and illustrates the attachment of DNA arrays (green) to a HeLa cell EGF receptors using antibodies. HeLa cytoplasm is labeled blue and plasma membrane red. The work of Alexey Koyfman and Gary Braun in Professor Norbert Reich’s lab on high load capacity DNA delivery system can potentially specifically deliver a number of small molecules to cells or selectively label certain cells.
Note from the editor Concurrent with the publication of this issue of Convergence, we’re taking the magazine to the Web at convergence.ucsb.edu. Our Website is designed as an online magazine, taking advantage of the dynamics and flexibility of the Web. When you go to the site, you’ll arrive at the current issue. Previous issues will be accessible via thumbnails at the bottom of the page or by selecting Issues from the top navigation bar. The text of all articles and news shorts is searchable from any page. The News Shorts column on each page will show our most recent news, rather than, if you are on an issue page, the shorts from that issue. We initially have online this issue and the most recent three back issues; we’ll be “backfilling” earlier issues onto the site over the next few months. Additional features of the site include a “Tag Cloud” and mobile compatibility. PDF files of each issue will continue to be available should you want a digital version of the print edition—they’ll let you print individual pages or articles from an issue just as they look in the print edition. TR
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News Shorts Physicists Find “Double Einstein Ring” using Hubble Telescope. Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies Has Key Role in New, Major Diabetes Research Program