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The Magazine of Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara

THIRTEEN, SUMMER 2009 Editor: Tony Rairden Creative Director: Peter Allen Writers: Anna Davison Frank Nelson Vic Cox George Foulsham Gail Gallessich Copy Editor: Karen Ko

This image illustrates the process of amyloid fiber formation via parallel stacking of monomeric protein units and oligomeric protein building blocks to elongated protein ‘strings’. Songi Han, her student Anna Pavlova, and coworkers are developing a generally applicable magnetic resonance tool to study the molecular basis of the early stages of protein aggregation occurring in situ. When protein-protein binding occurs, the surface hydration water at the interaction interface will be perturbed or excluded. Water is “squeezed out” at the interface whenever tight binding occurs, as detected by specifically tethered spin labels (shiny yellow dots). A. Pavlova, E. R. McCarney, D. W. Peterson, F. W. Dahlquist, J. Lew, S. Han, Site-specific dynamic nuclear polarization of hydration water as a generally applicable approach to monitor protein aggregation, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys (2009) in press.

Editor’s Note.

A couple of issues ago, we promised you more on our biomedical research and engineering. Here we bring you several more of the many stories in that area that we have here on campus. Extending our already broad interdisciplinarity, our article on autism ranges beyond our usual “engineering and the sciences” beat, as the clinical side of UCSB’s work on autism is actually taking place in the Givertz Graduate School of Education even as the neurological aspects are explored in our Neuroscience Research Institute. Our other biomedical research pieces, on understanding the deleterious effects of second-hand smoke, creating vaccines that can inoculate against multiple strains of pathogens, and detection and diagnostics, are complemented by an article on quantum spins in diamond. That last article leads us toward a full circle: The quantum information devices that may be made possible by the research described would be orders of magnitude faster and more capable than what we think of as computers today, and such devices would, in turn, significantly accelerate biomedical research, more and more of which has a computational foundation. We hope you enjoy this issue, and that you’ll stay caught up with what’s happening in engineering and the sciences here between issues by occasionally checking in at Convergence Online, TR

Editorial Board: Matthew Tirrell, Dean, College of Engineering Pierre Wiltzius, Dean of Mathematical, Life and Physical Sciences, College of Letters and Science Bruce Luyendyk, Associate Dean of Mathematical, Life & Physical Sciences, College of Letters and Science David Awschalom, Scientific Director, California NanoSystems Institute Kevin Almeroth, Associate Dean for Advancement, College of Engineering Frank Doyle, Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering Glenn Beltz, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, College of Engineering Kristi Newton, Assistant Dean for Development, Engineering and the Sciences Tony Rairden, Communications Manager, College of Engineering Peter Allen, Marketing Director, College of Engineering Joy Williams, Assistant Dean for Budget and Administration, College of Engineering Andrea Huebner, Publications Director, UCSB Alumni Association Michelle Keuper, Executive Assistant to the Dean, College of Letters and Science Convergence is a publication of Engineering and the Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5130. If you have comments or questions about this publication, contact please Tony Rairden at

To effect a change of address, please update it online at convergence.ucsb. edu, or send e-mail to, or via post, your name and old and new addresses to Karen Ko, Marketing Project Coordinator, College of Engineering, UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5130.

Material in Convergence and at Convergence Online can be reproduced or reported upon. Credit to Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara would be appreciated. The University of California, in accordance with applicable federal and state law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy (including childbirth and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth), disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Office of the Affirmative Action Coordinator, University of California, Santa Barbara, 805.893.3105.

If you need Convergence in another format because of a disability, please contact Karen Ko: 805.893.2568 or

Convergence - Issue 13  

The Magazine of Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara

Convergence - Issue 13  

The Magazine of Engineering and the Sciences at UC Santa Barbara