Apr 10, 2014
New NSF Center Leverages Industry Partnerships to Improve Microfluidic Devices
Thirteen industry partners gathered today at UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering for the inaugural meeting of a newly established National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC). The Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM) will develop design tools and manufacturing technologies for integrated microfluidics, also known as labs-on-a-chip. These tiny devices can be used for cost-effective, quick and easy diagnosis of problems in the environment, agriculture and human health.
The mission of the center is to advance research and education on the science, engineering and applications of integrated microfluidic design and expandable production through dedicated ongoing industrial partnerships.
Much of the development of labs-on-a-chip has so far been achieved at universities, without much consideration of the materials being able to intersect with other components and existing technology infrastructure. Abraham Lee, the William Link professor and chair of the biomedical engineering department who will serve as CADMIM director and principal investigator, sees the center as a way to achieve higher levels of integration with academia and industry.
“The design of microfluidic technology has been either bottom up, driven by the academic researchers motivated by curiosity and innovation, or top down, driven by industry looking to solve problems within the current technology systems,” says Lee. “I see CADMIM being able to connect the two approaches and enabling real progress.”
Mar 31, 2014
97 Senior Projects Displayed at Winter Design Review
Engineering students proudly showed off their senior design projects at the 2014 Winter Design Review in mid-March. More than 500 students were involved in 97 projects.
Mar 25, 2014
Symposium Gathers Leaders in Fuel Cell Technology
The National Fuel Cell Symposium in late February offered a meeting of the minds for researchers, policymakers and industry representatives – all important stakeholders -- in fuel cell technology.
“Finding cleaner, better, more effective ways to power ourselves around, and power the things we use every day is one of the most important challenges we face in the world today,” said UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake.
Hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) at UCI’s Samueli School, the symposium at the Beckman Center was attended by nearly 300 people. The day’s speakers expressed their excitement that the future had arrived for fuel cells.
“Fuel cells are beginning to play a major role in the provision and generation of electrical power and in the next generation of automobiles,” said Scott Samuelsen, director, NFCRC, and Samueli School HORIBA professor emeritus.
“This symposium brings together leaders from academia, government and industry; it’s an unprecedented opportunity to not only share knowledge and network, but to organize around how to move forward,” said Gregory Washington, dean of the Samueli School.
Mar 19, 2014
Titanium Clubs Can Cause Golf Course Fires, UCI Study Finds
Sparks fly when head hits rocks in the rough, potentially igniting brush
“One fire almost reached homes before they stopped it. This unintended hazard could potentially lead to someone’s death,” said Samueli School chemical engineering & materials science professor James Earthman, lead author on the paper. “A very real danger exists, particularly in the Southwest, as long as certain golf clubs remain in use.” He suspected that the titanium heads on some clubs designed for use in “the rough” – natural areas off irrigated fairways – could be to blame for the fires.
Mar 14, 2014
Samueli School Celebrates E-Week
Nearly 900 engineering students participated in E-Week 2014, organized by the Samueli School’s Engineering Student Council (ESC). This year’s theme was “The Art of Engineering,” and all students who checked in received a Samueli School t-shirt. The celebration featured the Dean’s Pancake Breakfast, an Awards Banquet, 10 competitions, a BBQ and the annual softball game, pitting students against faculty. Students broke the professors’ long-running winning streak with a tie game.
E-Week is an annual event aimed at increasing public awareness and appreciation for the engineering profession. Established in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, the weeklong celebration provides an avenue for students to demonstrate inventiveness and imagination through a variety of events.
“This week is intended to benefit the engineering students, and if they take advantage of the opportunity, they can get a lot out of it,” says Liz Brooks, ESC president. “The week is put on to celebrate engineering and acknowledge all of the hard work engineers do every single day. After participating in UCI’s E-Week since I was a freshman, I can say it is continuously improving every year.”
Mar 13, 2014
OC Engineering Council Names Payam Heydari a Distinguished Educator
The Orange County Engineering Council honored Payam Heydari with a Distinguished Engineering Educator Award at its National Engineering Week awards banquet in February. Heydari, a professor of electrical engineering, was recognized for his academic excellence.
Heydari has contributed to the advancement in his field through his significant research accomplishments. His expertise is in the design and analysis of novel terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. His research group recently showcased the most complex imaging receiver chip in the world at the 2014 IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference.
A former associate chair for graduate affairs, Heydari is actively involved in the effort to attract graduate students to the Samueli School. His teaching was recognized by the UCI Engineering Student Council in 2010 with a Faculty of the Year Award.
“It is nice to be recognized on a local level with this award,” says Heydari.
Mar 5, 2014
Thomas Yuen ’74 earns UCI Alumni Association’s Extraordinarius award
Thomas Yuen, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader, will receive UC Irvine’s Extraordinarius award May 15 at the 44th annual Lauds & Laurels ceremony, sponsored by the UCI Alumni Association. He is among 18 campus faculty, staff, students and alumni who will be honored.
“Lauds & Laurels is our opportunity to publicly recognize and thank those people who make a positive impact on the university and our community,” said Jeff Minhas ’04, interim assistant vice chancellor for alumni relations and UCIAA executive director.
The event, which is being held in the UC Irvine Student Center’s Pacific Ballroom, begins with a reception at 6 p.m.
A 1974 graduate of UC Irvine, Yuen has been widely recognized for his superlative business accomplishments, philanthropy and volunteer work. He is the first of the university’s 150,000 alumni to garner both the Extraordinarius award and the UCI Medal, presented in 1990 for his exemplary service.
Yuen arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1970 and four years later received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. In 1980, he and two friends founded personal computer manufacturer AST Research, which grew into a Fortune 500 company. Later, Yuen became chairman and CEO of SRS Labs, a world leader in audio and voice technology. Today he’s chairman and CEO of PrimeGen Biotech LLC, a private stem cell research company.
He has served on the UC Irvine Foundation board of trustees and continues to be a major donor – along with his wife, Misa – to the campus and UC Irvine Douglas Hospital, particularly in support of cutting-edge stem cell research.
Feb 24, 2014
A Hundred Tiny Hands Hopes to Inspire Young Scientists
Michelle Khine is known for her playful approach to science. She used a toy – Shrinky Dinks – to invent a method of quickly and cheaply developing custom microfluidic chips for researchers to use in their labs. Now she and her student researchers are inventing toys to inspire kids to not only conduct science, but also become inventors themselves.
The associate professor of biomedical engineering, most recently named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 1000, issued a challenge to the graduate students working in her laboratory. “Many of the students in my lab serve as Rocket Science Tutors, so they are working with kids already,” says Khine. “I wanted them to think about how to get children interested in becoming inventors.”
They came up with three ideas for educational toy kits that are “fun, creative, and chock-full of scientific content and ah-ha moments for any child at heart.” Khine and her students formed an academic nonprofit co-op called A Hundred Tiny Hands and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 to produce the kits. Contributors to the Kickstarter campaign will receive the kits and other fun gifts in return (such as kid-sized lab coats), or they can donate to a school in need and have their donation matched with contributions from Tiny Hands.
Each kit’s packaging features a cartoon character based on the corresponding graduate student and includes a booklet using the character to help children learn the scientific concepts. The idea with the kits is to create a virtual community of young inventors. A Hundred Tiny Hands plans to hold fun challenges – who can build the biggest Polytropolis city with the maximum number of lit up buildings generated from a nine-volt battery? It also intends to encourage kids to upload their own invention ideas, and the graduate students would help them make and produce their own custom kits, including a cartoon character made from their likeness to star as the main character in the booklet and on the box.
Feb 21, 2014
Biomedical Engineer Designs a Living Cell with Second DNA Replication System
UC Irvine’s Chang Liu has created an engineered living cell with a second DNA replication system that mutates independently of and without harming the cell’s original genome. This parallel replication cell works like a two-lane highway -- with a fast lane and a slow lane -- for direct evolution in a lab setting. With it, biomedical engineers will be able to rapidly evolve a huge array of biomolecules with custom desired functions. Liu and his research group published their work in the March issue of Nature Chemical Biology.
“Using the evolutionary process in a bioengineering lab is historically a very inefficient endeavor because you have to constantly move DNA into and out of cells,” explains Liu, an assistant professor in biomedical engineering. “This is because high mutation rates, necessary to create enough diversity to find new function on laboratory timescales, are only available in a test tube. High mutation rates are not available inside cells. In fact, organismal mutation rates must be kept extremely low because modern organisms have large complex genomes that are easily broken by high mutation rates.”
The parallel replication system designed by Liu can be made highly error-prone without hurting the genome, and any gene encoded on the new system will undergo rapid evolution. “Genes of interest placed in the fast lane can potentially evolve thousands to millions of times faster than they would if they were encoded in the genome, or the slow lane,” says Liu.
Feb 18, 2014
Anandkumar Receives ‘Early-Career’ Sloan Research Fellowship for her Work in Machine Learning
Anima Anandkumar, an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, has been awarded a 2014 Sloan Research Fellowship for her work at the interface of theory and practice of large-scale machine learning and high-dimensional statistics. Bestowed annually since 1955 by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the two-year fellowships go to 126 early-career scientists and scholars in the U.S. and Canada whose achievements and potential identify them as the next generation of scientific leaders. Fellows – who are nominated by their peers – receive $50,000 to further their work. “It’s a great honor to join the prestigious ranks of Sloan Fellows,” Anandkumar says. “The support from the Sloan Foundation will enable me to continue my research on large-scale machine learning.”
Feb 14, 2014
Department of Energy Makes Solar Decathlon Official at UCI
On a clear and appropriately sunny Southern California day, the Calit2 courtyard yesterday provided a picturesque setting for a formal announcement that many at UC Irvine had been anticipating eagerly.
Feb 13, 2014
UC Irvine to lead “Team Orange” at Solar Decathlon 2015
Deputy Energy Secretary announces contestants, decathlon site in campus visit
UC Irvine and three fellow Orange County campuses will compete in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015, the international student competition to design and build the best solar-powered home. Chapman University, Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College will join UC Irvine as “Team Orange” to create a residence that reflects the traits of the drought-resistant, sun-loving California poppy.
“I’m thrilled that Team Orange has been selected to compete in this world-class event,” said Gregory Washington, dean of UC Irvine’s Samueli School of Engineering, who will lead the effort. His research specialty is “smart” materials that harvest energy. “We and our partners will show California and the nation that our campuses and Orange County lead the way on innovative, affordable solar power and other clean energy advances. The home team can definitely win.”
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman will visit UC Irvine today to announce the 20 teams selected to compete in Solar Decathlon 2015, which will be held at the Orange County Great Park. (The event will be live streamed at www.energy.gov/live.) Teams, from colleges and universities across the country and around the world, will now begin the nearly two-year process of building solar-powered houses that are affordable, innovative and highly energy-efficient.
“As President Obama made clear in the State of the Union address, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy that creates a safer and more sustainable planet, while ensuring American students and workers have the skills they need for the challenging jobs of today and tomorrow,” Poneman said. “The Solar Decathlon provides the next generation of America’s architects, engineers and entrepreneurs with the real-world experience and training they need to strengthen U.S. innovation and support new, clean sources of energy.”
Feb 7, 2014
The Children’s Heart Foundation and American Heart Association Sponsor Two Cardiovascular Science Projects in Biomedical Engineering
The Children’s Heart Foundation has awarded Kheradvar $200,000 over two years to support a hybrid tissue-engineered heart valve. Kheradvar and his research team are developing a patient-specific heart valve prosthesis with self-regenerating capacity. “This approach to engineering heart valves holds promise for combining the mechanical valves’ long-term durability advantages with biological valves’ self-regenerating capacity and improved biocompatibility and hemodynamics,” explains Kheradvar, a Fellow of the American Heart Association.
Kheradvar has also received a Grant-in-Aid from the American Heart Association to study patients with right-sided heart failure, using UC Irvine’s state-of-the-art 4-D-flow echocardiography technology. Despite the fact that right-sided heart failure may carry a worse prognosis than left-sided heart failure, almost no quantitative information is available on flow patterns inside the right ventricle. The main reasons for this lack of knowledge are the highly 3-D flow within the right side of the heart, and the inability of current imaging modalities to quantitatively map such 3-D blood flow patterns.
“This study should help us better understand the blood flow features in failing right hearts and devise more efficient therapies for these patients,” says Kheradvar.
Feb 6, 2014
Said Elghobashi Elected to National Academy of Engineering
The celebratory events started early as colleagues gathered to congratulate Said Elghobashi on his election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Elghobashi is one of 67 new U.S. members and 11 new foreign associates announced today by the academy.
A professor in the Samueli School’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), Elghobashi has spent his career at UC Irvine. His research over the decades has involved challenging and important areas of fluid dynamics: turbulent flows, multiphase flows, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). His leadership in each of these areas has been well recognized, and his early works have impacted the standard commercial CFD computer codes in the field. His more recent works are setting future trends.
“It’s a good feeling to know that your peers have read your work and then voted to bestow this honor,” says Elghobashi. “I woke up this morning to about 50 emails from around the world.”
UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, Provost Howard Gillman and Samueli School Dean Gregory Washington were on hand at a morning event to recognize Elghobashi. The chancellor noted that this was a great and much deserved honor. “Very few people rise to the top of this list. The nomination is extraordinarily competitive,” he said. “Then to get through the ballot takes the acknowledgement from peers that your work is truly invaluable.”
“What I’m most proud of with this recognition is that Said is organic to UCI,” said Washington. “He exemplifies what this university is all about. He took a chance when coming here 35 years ago, and he is as much responsible for its success as any senior administrator.”
Jan 31, 2014
Biomedical Engineer Receives Grant from Allergan
Allergan has awarded Michelle Digman a $787,000 grant to study how a subunit of botulinum neuro-toxin affects cells and tissue on a molecular level. An assistant professor of biomedical engineering, Digman’s research expertise involves using optical microscopy tools to track molecules and microscopic particles in living cells and tissues. She is a co-investigator of UC Irvine’s Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics, an NIH Biotechnology Resource for the development of fluorescence microscopy.
With this grant, she will be using fluorescent imaging to track the transport and diffusion of the toxin in living cells, to better understand any biochemical and physiological changes that occur. She will also study metabolic changes in tissue at the point of injection.
“Botulinum neuro-toxin is used in a variety of clinical treatments including neuromuscular diseases, epilepsy and pain-related illnesses,” says Digman. “This study is important on a clinical level and will provide valuable information in the development of future therapies for pain-related disorders.”
Jan 30, 2014
Samueli School Engineers Named IEEE Distinguished Lecturers
The IEEE has selected two Samueli School professors to serve as 2014-2015 Distinguished Lecturers: Professor Payam Heydari for its Solid-State Circuits Society and Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani for its Communications Society.
IEEE Distinguished Lecturers are engineering professionals who lead their fields in new technical developments that shape the global community. They serve two-year terms and deliver lectures at chapter meetings and regional seminars around the world.
Heydari’s research expertise involves the design and analysis of novel terahertz, millimeter-wave and radio-frequency integrated circuits. His group at the Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits Labs recently showcased the world’s highest frequency wireless transceiver, operating at a record breaking 210 GHz in complementary metal oxide semiconductor process, at the 2013 International Solid-State Circuits Conference and is slated to present the world’s highest frequency synthesizer at 300 GHz at next year’s conference. “I am honored and privileged to be recognized as part of this selected group of scientists/researchers within the IEEE society,” says Heydari.
Jafarkhani’s expertise is in distributed beam-forming in wireless relay-interference networks, cooperative communications, limited feedback beam-forming in MIMO, and distributed space-time coding.
Another Samueli School electrical engineer, Professor Syed Jafar is in the midst of a two-year term as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Communications Society. “These lectures have been rewarding, as the audience tends to have broader interests than those of a typical technical conference audience,” says Jafar, who has shared his expertise in interference alignment and index coding with IEEE chapters in Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Iowa.
Jan 27, 2014
Engineering Professor Receives the IEEE Sumner Award
The IEEE presented UC Irvine Chancellor’s Professor Hamid Jafarkhani with the 2013 Eric E. Sumner Award at its Global Communications Conference in Atlanta in December. Jafarkhani is a co-recipient of the award, which recognizes researchers’ outstanding contributions to communications technology.
“It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award,” says Jafarkhani, professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Center for Pervasive Communications and Computing.
The collective work of Jafarkhani and two colleagues has helped the wireless communications industry improve quality of service and increase network capacity and has been a key enabler for fourth generation OFDM/MIMO systems. The trio’s research has greatly influenced the standardization, commercialization and advancement of space-time codes. In particular the award citation called out Jafarkhani’s contributions to “block signaling for multiple antennas.”
Jan 23, 2014
Engineering Students Test their App in Local Art Center
“In the museum world, we are always looking for ways to deepen visitor’s engagement with art,” explains Kate Hoffman, executive director of the Huntington Beach Art Center (HBAC). So when a group of graduate students from the engineering and computer science departments approached her with an idea for using technology to enhance visitors’ experience, she loved it.
The students tested their idea – a mobile application called Kaleri – at the HBAC in early December. Kaleri (which stems from the Greek word for gallery) does two things. First it provides a technologically savvy way for users to delve into a piece of artwork. Using innovative indoor positioning technology, the application recognizes the art that is closest to the visitor and displays it on a mobile device. Visitors can interact with a given piece of art by rating, bookmarking, using social networks to share with their friends, and storing this interaction for future retrieval. The second objective of Kaleri is to understand visitors’ behaviors – common routes, most viewed items, time spent at each artwork, comments posted, and returning visitor information – to help museums provide more engaging experiences. During the pilot test, 40 people used Kaleri to explore HBAC’s sculpture-based exhibit of contemporary art: Reverberation.
“This was an opportunity for our visitors to instantly learn more about a piece,” says Hoffman. “We are a city owned and operated institution with a limited budget. We aren’t able to offer audio tours. This was a way to access information through a type of technology that many people are familiar with and that generates excitement.”
Dec 20, 2013
Fall Design Review Showcases Senior Design Projects
Around 860 people attended the 2013 Fall Design Review, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and industry representatives.
Dec 19, 2013
Malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every minute. This life-threatening disease, caused by parasites transmitted through infected mosquitoes, can be prevented and cured if detected and treated early. But malaria afflicts primarily the poor, who often do not have ready access to healthcare and who tend to live in malaria-prone rural areas in dwellings that offer few barriers against mosquitoes.