Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nanoparticle decoy therapies and immune disorders / new research in PNAS

UC San Diego NanoEngineering professor Liangfang Zhang and a team of collaborators have a paper this week in PNAS entitled "Clearance of pathological antibodies using biomimetic nanoparticles"

PNAS described the work in their "In This Issue" section under the title Nanoparticle decoy therapies and autoimmune disorders. Excerpt below:

"Jonathan Copp et al. (pp. 13481–13486) tested whether nanoparticles could act as decoys to lure potentially destructive IgG antibodies away from healthy red blood cells in a mouse model of antibody-induced anemia. The authors coated polymer-based nanoparticles with red blood cell membrane, consisting of molecules that are targeted by anemia-causing antibodies."
Visit Liangfang Zhang's research group on the web: Nanomaterials & Nanomedicine Laboratory. These researchers are also affiliated with the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. 

Nanoparticle decoys protect red blood cells from destruction by macrophages. Photo credit: PNAS 

UC San Diego students can attend CommNexus event for free. Keynote: Steve Mollenkopf, CEO Qualcomm Inc.

UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering students, you can hear (for free) Steve Mollenkopf Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm Inc. give a talk discussing where the industry is going at an upcoming CommNexus event on Friday Oct 3. 

Steve Mollenkopf photo

Location: Qualcomm Headquarters Building N, Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall: (5775 Morehouse Drive, San Diego, CA 92121)

5:00 PM - 7:45 PM
5:00PM – Registration/Reception/Networking/Demos
6:15PM - Program Begins7:45PM – Program Ends

Questions? Contact Brittany Bjerke at

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This soft rubber robot is propelled by controlled explosions

And Mike Tolley, soon to be a professor of mechanical engineering here at the Jacobs School, does it again. This time, he presented a soft robot that uses controlled explosions to jump at the IROS 2014 conference in Chicago this week.
The three-legged robot made of silicon rubber is propelled by a butane-oxygen reaction. Check out the video to see it in action. Cool slow-motion shots start a little bit before the one-minute mark.
Full IEEE Spectrum story here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Q&A with Chemical Engineering Alumna Emma Wong

Alumna Emma Wong was featured last month in a blog post from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. One of the questions is excerpted below. Check out the original blog post for the full Q&A.    Wong earned her MS in Chemical Engineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

What advice would you give to girls/young women considering a career as an engineer?
I have mentored many young women about the career path to becoming an engineer. While it can prove to be challenging, it is an area where women can thrive. Here is some of the advice I have provided to others:
Don’t be afraid to try new things, such as different types of engineering majors, internships. Keep trying until you find what fits best. Besides knowing what you want to do, it is also good to know what you don’t want to do.
Have multiple mentors and advisors. As you grow, don’t be afraid to find new mentors who fit your current needs. Besides, it’s always nice to have someone to talk to.
Engineering and science are not scary. All the numbers, symbols, and complex equations may make it seem that way, but all engineers and scientists had to start somewhere — one equation and theory at a time.
Being an engineer is a good career path. But if you find out later that something else fits better, an engineering education is a good foundation for many other careers, including medicine, law, business and regulation.

Krstic Wins Chestnut Textbook Prize

Miroslav Krstic, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate vice chancellor for research at UC San Diego, has received the triennial Chestnut Textbook Prize awarded by the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC).
His book, Boundary Control of PDEs, earned the following citation from the award committee: “This textbook makes the difficult subject of control of partial differential equations accessible to engineering students for the first time. It fills a decades-long need in control education. It covers, at an introductory level, a wide spectrum of physically relevant topics. The clarity and thoroughness of the presentation have already earned it a broad audience and its impact is already exceptional and will continue to grow within and beyond the field of control engineering.”
He received the award in Cape Town, South Africa, in late August. The award honors the memory of Harold Chestnut, the founding president of IFAC (1957), president of IEEE (1973), and member of National Academy of Engineering (1974).
IFAC, founded in 1957, is a multinational federation of national member organizations representing the engineering and scientific societies concerned with automatic control.
The federation promotes the science and technology of control systems.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Structural engineers use drones to investigate damage from Napa Valley earthquake

After the 6.0 Napa Valley earthquake struck in the early morning on Aug. 24, structural engineering professor Falko Kuester took a team of his students, and their drones, to investigate the damage. NBC Bay Area profiled their work in this video.

Said Kuester: 
 "As tragic as this seismic event this earthquake was, it is also a very powerful learning tool which allows us to study how buildings have responded to the ground shaking -- how they've been damaged."
Full story here. 

Alum launches Kickstarter for new and improved GoPro mount

A Jacobs School alum has launched a Kickstarter for a GoPro mount for bikes, canoes, and more. Yohei Yamamuro graduated with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering in the mid-1990s before earning an MBA from USC.

An avid mountain biker, he came up with the idea for the mount, called Talon, while trying to position and hold a fluid dispensing nozzle. The Kickstarter project, which has 27 days to go, is currently at about $3,400 raised of its $20,000 goal.

This is what Yamamuro told us about this experiences as an engineering student at UC San Diego:

In hindsight, MAE 156A&B prepared me tremendously for the “real” world. Since we had one project, a miniature outdoor blimp with a gyroscopic camera, the class divided itself into teams. We had design teams for the major components such as chassis, engine, camera systems, and blimp. I chose to be on the project management team—and it was quite a revelation where up to that point most academic activities focused on individual versus collaborative performance. Managing a team effort and all of its advantages and perils helped lay the foundation for who I am today, a technology commercialization and industrialization leader. I am a lifelong learner therefore I have had many favorite classes and professors including: Instructor Dave Tribolet for MAE 156A&B, Professor Vecchio for MAE 11, Professor Hegemeier for MAE 121A (Statics), Professor Pao Chau, Professor Nemat Nasser for Differential Equations, Professor Miller for Thermodynamics, and many, many more.