Biomolecular Engineering Research
Current strengths in this area include genomic sequence alignment and assembly, gene-finding, RNA and protein sequence alignment and structural prediction, and comparative genomics. These are areas of critical importance as major sequencing projects are completed and become available for analysis.
Computational and Experimental Systems Biology
A consequence of the availability of complete genome sequences is the advent of a new paradigm in biology in which systems are investigated as a whole. Specific areas of focus include gene regulation, large-scale studies of gene function (functional genomics), and computational models of cellular pathways and networks.
Nanotechnology / Technology Development
New technologies enable researchers to address questions that were previously considered impossible or impractical. Bioelectric approaches, those that detect biological events with electrical signals, represent one innovative avenue to expand the capabilities of biomedical investigators. The BME department is pursuing this and related opportunities for technology development that can be applied to basic biomedical discovery, clinical diagnosis, and environmental monitoring.
Biotechnology / Infectious Diseases / Immunoengineering
This research focuses on the development of products and methods useful for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases. Some of our work involves molecular epidemiology to characterize viruses responsible for new infections and to understand the evolution of the virus within individuals. Additional efforts are focused on analyzing the immune response to infections and developing preventative and therapeutic measures that harness the power of the immune system
BME faculty are involved in an interdepartmental effort focused on stem cell biology and belong to the UCSC Institute for the Biology of Stem Cells (IBSC). We use multiple approaches, including technology development, experimental cell and molecular biology, and computational biology, to address mechanisms of stem cell self-renewal, multipotency, and cell fate decisions. Technology development includes advancing adaptive optics techniques to enable high-resolution, high-contrast imaging of biological specimens to study embryonic development. In addition, novel nucleotide sequencing techniques enable the profiling of individual stem cells and their progeny. Cell and molecular biology experiments focus on understanding embryonic and hematopoietic stem cell development and differentiation. Bioinformatic and computational biology methods are being developed and used to process and integrate large-scale data sets to enhance the global perspective of the unique properties of stem cells from different biological systems.