Dean's Letter - April 2009

A Sun Microsystems Recruiter Speaks with a Student at a Baskin Career Event
R. Stanley Williams, Sr. HP Fellow and Director of Quantum Science Research, HP Labs, Diane Cast, UCSC, Nobby Kobayshi, Assoc. Prof. EE; Tan Ha, Sr. R&D Engineer, Info. & Quantum Systems Lab, HP Labs
Pat Mantey, Joe Pinto, and Michael Isaacson
 Awais Khan of KPMG LLP, Baskin EE Professor Ali Shakouri, and Peter Borden of Applied Materials. (NASA Photo by Eric James)

Greetings from the Jack Baskin School of Engineering. We're enjoying a nice spring here in Santa Cruz. Appropriate for the season, we have new programs and ideas appearing on the scene.

We are welcoming Arthur Penn Ramirez, the new Dean of Baskin Engineering. Art joins us officially May 1, and we are looking forward to the next phase of the school's growth and development under his leadership.

Michael S. Isaacson
Acting Dean, Jack Baskin School of Engineering
Narinder Singh Kapany Chair

Academics. Universities around the US are reporting that enrollment in their computer science programs has risen for the first time in six years. Baskin Engineering actually has enjoyed steady growth for several years, most especially in our computer game design concentration. There is big interest in gaming, and our enrollment reflects the fact that we have the nation's premier program here at Baskin. Led by Michael Mateas, our program explores not just the game side of gaming but the many applications to all endeavors that gaming expertise will have for decades to come.

Another new Baskin Engineering major, bioengineering, is what we call the interface between engineering, medicine and biology. Three Baskin departments – biomolecular engineering, computer engineering and electrical engineering - are collaborating with the molecular cell and developmental biology department of the division of Physical and Biological Sciences to build curriculum and research opportunities.

Baskin Engineering also is rolling out our new Technology and Information Management (TIM) graduate degree program centered at the UCSC Silicon Valley Center in Moffett Field. Recently approved by the UC Academic Assembly, the program is designed to serve the needs of technologists in business – a key plank of UCSC's presence as the "UC of Silicon Valley." TIM is multidisciplinary, focusing on the integration of systems, technology and business management to solve business problems and manage corporate technology. It will fill a major void in the industry, offering those with an engineering background graduate preparation in areas such as new product development and enterprise management.

A newly funded NSF fellowship program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) is providing financial and academic support for Baskin Engineering graduate students in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. Placing special emphasis on recruiting students from the California State University system, three to four students will receive need-based fellowships of up to $10,000 per year. We have recruited our first cohort of ACCESS scholars as well. The ACCESS Scholarship program funded by the NSF provides two-year scholarships of up to $10,000 for each year to high-achieving, financially disadvantaged students pursuing degrees in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. 16 students have been offered scholarships for Fall 2009 and we anticipate that at least 10 will accept.

Corporate recruiters came to Baskin Engineering earlier this month to talk with students about career and internship opportunities. More than 100 students met with representatives from companies including SONY, Sun Microsystems, and 2K sports. This event was a success by any measure, but the current times make it a standout.

Research. We'll soon be announcing the donation of equipment by Hewlett Packard Labs to the laboratory of Associate Professor Nobby Kobayashi for use in his research on nanostructures for energy conversion and advanced computing devices. This generous donation will contribute greatly to Baskin's research in nanotechnology.

In January, UCSC received a $1.5 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation. It establishes the W.M. Keck Center for Nanoscale Optofluidics. Under the leadership of Baskin's EE Professor Holger Schmidt, the center explores the integration of nanotechnology and optofluidic silicon chips and how this technology can be used to improve biomedical analysis in a wide range of fields – including toxicology, immunology, disease detection and diagnostics.

In February, the university held a Stem Cell Symposium, which presented a variety of research projects now underway on campus. Last year, the Shared Stem Cell Facility, a state-of-the-art laboratory built with funds from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), opened, enabling further research. To date, UCSC has received more than $19 million in CIRM funds.

The university's exclusive licensing agreement to Oxford Nanopore Technologies is funding research in the biomolecular engineering labs of David Deamer and Mark Akeson, who have pioneered the science of using protein nanopores to analyze DNA molecules. David and Mark also serve on the company's newly convened Technical Advisory Board.

Last summer, Baskin Engineering began an international collaboration in renewable energy, headed by EE Professor Ali Shakouri, with Denmark's Roskilde University and The Technical University of Denmark. 20 UC students from Santa Cruz, UC Davis and UC Merced joined 20 Danish students, undergraduates and graduates, to study and visit communities in Lolland, Denmark to observe the variety of renewable energy sources in use there. This summer, the students will study on our campuses in Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley. They will focus on how California's laws are increasing the use of renewable energy and sustainable development plans and practical solutions to developing renewable energy systems.

A UCSC-Stanford research team has detected that cancer-associated proteins, or biomarkers, in blood samples is a potentially powerful tool for early diagnosis of cancer and monitoring of cancer treatment. Biomolecular Engineering assistant professor Nader Pourmand and the other researchers have developed a compact prototype detector that uses magnetic nanotechnology to spot cancer-associated proteins in a human blood serum sample. The new detector achieves much higher sensitivity than detectors currently in use.

People. On April 17, we were pleased to host the final distinguished lecture of the academic year. Our guest was Joe Pinto, Cisco's senior vice president for technical services, whose talk, "Engineering Smart and Web-based Systems to Support Customers in a Global Economy," addressed the intersection of the Internet with customer service - a hot topic for Cisco Systems and a source of ongoing research for our students in the Network and Management Operations (NMO) Lab. The event also was an occasion to celebrate the Lab, which operates in space made possible by CITRIS (California's Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society). Read more about it in the last issue of this letter.

In March, we enjoyed the hospitality of Latham & Watkins, made possible by Dean's Advisory Council member Laura Bushnell, for a research review of the Storage Systems Research Center (SSRC).

Professors Phil Berman (biomolecular engineering) and Pat Mantey (computer engineering) have been invited to submit a proposal for a Center of Excellence on Information Technology and Infectious Diseases – as part of the proposed UC School of Global Health. UCSC will be the lead campus, collaborating with UCLA, UCSF, UC Berkeley and UCSD. The school will focus on providing the training required to apply information technology solutions to major problems in global health that result from infectious pathogens.

We had a standing-room-only crowd for our panel on renewable energy in February. Held at the UCSC Silicon Valley Center, we heard Baskin EE Professor Ali Shakouri, Peter Borden of Applied Materials, and Awais Khan of KPMG LLP approach the subject from their professional perspectives and raise interesting issues to consider as the nation ramps up its efforts in this area. Visit: to watch the video.

Faculty Accomplishments

Martin Abadi: Fellow, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), for contributions to computer security and verification of computer systems

William Dunbar: NSF CAREER grant for research on the use of active control for regulating the position of a single DNA molecule while in a single protein channel (a nanopore)

David Draper: Fellow, Institute of Mathematical Statistic

Jose J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves: Fellow, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), for contributions to the theory and design of computer communication protocols

Kevin Karplus: Winner, Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction Contest, for model quality assessment and detailed stereochemistry for template-based modeling and refinement

Herbert K. Lee III: Fellow, American Statistical Association

Marc S. Mangel: Fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh

Visit Wikipedia and Read About Baskin

We've had an interesting experience providing updated content to the Baskin Engineering entry on Wikipedia. We invite you to visit and keep an eye out for new content.

Upcoming Events

Commencement. Visit this web page to see our full schedule of events.

Baskin Engineering in the Media

Cisco heads back to school for network research

With finance disgraced, which career will be king?

$2.2 million grant approved for program to train stem cell scientists

Cancer genomics browser gives cancer researchers a powerful new tool

New stimulus package impact on BioInfoNano research

Jack Baskin School of Engineering to establish Keck Center for nanoscale optofluidics

Medical robotics expert explores the human machine interface