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The Big BENG - Empowering Bionegineering Students


November 8, 2022 -- A new educational resource has taken off as a go-to tool for bioengineering students at UC San Diego. A Youtube channel, created by students, for students, called the Big BENG is making waves across the bioengineering department at the University.

Maria Sckaff, a bioengineering major and transfer student, first came up with the idea for the Big BENG after struggling with grasping certain concepts early on in her classes. Recognizing the need to understand bioengineering circuit fundamentals, she was shocked at the lack of resources and study tools available for bioengineering students; those that did exist were too complicated to follow or exhaustive in material. While UC San Diego’s other engineering departments offered tutoring services for their students, there was no such program for bioengineering students. For immediate progress, this would need student-initiated change.

Maria pitched her idea to Dr. Andrew McCulloch, distinguished professor of bioengineering and medicine and director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine. He provided much support for the concept early on. Maria then reached out to her talented peers Sarah Schwab, Abbey Ervin, Hope Lang and Max Pendleton, who formed the original Big BENG team. The team was joined by Dalila Gonzalez-mejia, another promising bioengineering student. Together, they split up roles of content creation, script and grant writing, animating, editing, and administrative tasks.


Members of The Big BENG team

The group came to UC San Diego with similar backgrounds, all being transfer students majoring in bioengineering or biochemistry. More importantly, however, each member of the team has a clear passion for their studies, inspired by a variety of things such as the experiences of their own family members, intrigue towards subjects like physics and chemistry, as well as their own curiosity to take initiative in solving the problems around them. 

The initial intentions of The Big BENG were to assist students who may not have entered the bioengineering major upon their acceptance to UC San Diego. With a program unlike many others, students have three different areas of interest to specify in. The team wanted students to be able to see the content and explore through their videos before making their decisions. Now, prospective and current bioengineering students both can rely on the Big BENG to meet their needs as a supplemental resource.


Multiple series of videos were created to tackle subjects students need to know in various courses at UCSD such as bioinstrumentation (as seen on the left), biomechanics, probability, mass transfer, and thermodynamics and kinetics. The channel has grown to have over 200 subscribers, with over 90 short videos and the group is eager to continue growing their team and developing more content, with a focus on accessibility. Looking back on their production, the team is grateful for different aspects of the Big BENG, from creating a close-knit and friendly community to working closely with professors such as Dr. McCulloch and Dr. Cauwenberghs and watching their channel grow as a result. Hope humbly recalled her pride in producing this tool, saying “if we could just show students that they could understand [course content] as well, then it’s very empowering.”

beng_left.png beng_right.png

Additional images from videos on probability (right) and mass transfer (left)

Today, professors and students alike have referenced Big BENG, with the channel being used to assist in educating, reviewing, and even being included in the Bioengineering department’s annual report. The team has enjoyed branching their channel out to explore new themes and concepts. One example is their new series, “Fun Facts” - videos about cool things anyone would want to know. 

As for where the team is heading next,  there is much greatness to expect from this group of talented individuals. The majority of the group are part of the University’s 2021 graduating class. Maria is headed to UCSF as a Research Associate with the Conklin Lab at the Gladstone Institutes. Hope will be attending Stanford University as a PhD candidate in bioengineering. Abbey will be working on her own application for medical school, and Max has begun his own preparations to take part in the MCAT Exam. Sarah is excited to take time for herself and explore the outside world, while preparing for medical school and recently completing a trip to Yosemite National Park. As for Dalila, she is looking forward to enjoying her final year at UC San Diego and looking into doctorate programs. 

Want to learn more about The Big BENG? Visit their Youtube Channel and Facebook page.



Center for Engineering in Cancer Takes Off


October 10, 2022– This year IEM appointed Nicole Steinmetz, a professor of Nanoengineering, and Ezra Cohen, a professor of Medicine, as co-directors for the Center for Engineering in Cancer. Steinmetz was recently awarded 2 R01s totaling $4.3M to advance their research of plant virus nanotechnology for breast cancer and melanoma therapy. 

This nanotechnology works as an immunotherapy, a strategy used to treat disease by engaging the body’s natural defenses– the immune system– which can be used to treat solid tumors such as melanoma and breast cancer. Aggressive tumors, however, continue to grow and spread because these cancers are able to circumvent normal immune response. Therefore, strategies that stimulate the immune response to overcome this immunosuppression are crucial to restoring the body’s normal function. The idea is to train specialized immune cells to recognize and kill tumor cells so that healthy cells may live for many years to protect the body against such recurrences.


The CEC has developed an immunotherapy approach using a plant virus called the cowpea mosaic virus that infects black eyed peas. The virus is not infectious to humans. When administered into a mammal, however, the immune system recognizes the virus as foreign and triggers an immune response.

Steinmetz utilized this information and applied the virus directly into a tumor. It was observed that the virus did not infect the model, but its presence will alert the immune system and specialized immune cells with traffic to the tumor. The virus serves as a ‘bait’ to recruit and activate the immune system to come to the tumor. Once at the tumor site, the immune cells will recognize the tumor cells and start to attack the tumor. This initial tumor combat orchestrated by the plant virus leads to a cascade of events resulting in clearance of the tumor. 


But most importantly, the killing of the injected tumor leads also trains immune cells to recognize tumor cells anywhere in the body therefore fight metastatic disease. In fact, this form of therapy acts like a vaccine and induces long-lasting immunity. This means these specialized immune cells may live for a long time and these cells will remember the tumor to protect patients from recurrence of the disease.

The success of this immunotherapeutic approach has been demonstrated in many mouse models as well as in canine patients with melanoma, breast cancer, and sarcoma. In all studies, the animals show prolonged survival and survivors were tumor free and protected from recurrence of the disease.

With the new funding, this will allow the CEC to apply their grant “toward translation of a plant virus-based in situ vaccination nanotechnology”. This will allow for development of a more scalable process for production of the cancer therapy candidate and to continue with testing in mouse models with melanoma and also in canine patients. This project is a collaboration with investigators at Dartmouth College and Oklahoma State University as well as Mosaic ImmunoEngineering Inc., a biotechnology company co-founded by Dr. Steinmetz.


The grant "Dual-pronged nano-drug delivery using plant virus-like particles” targets triple native breast cancer and the CEC will develop the next generation of CPMV based cancer immunotherapies, specifically targeted to metastatic sites and in combination with checkpoint blockade.  Studies will be in mouse models of breast cancer but also in canine patients with breast cancer and they will collaborate with a group at Universidad Alfonso X el Sabio in Spain as well as Dartmouth College to achieve this.




OPALS, The Shimmering Next Generation


September 20, 2022-- Generating subcellular damage using a laser and picking strawberries from local farm fields, summer was filled with immense excitement for high school interns here at the University of California, San Diego. This year IEM launched the OPALS program, a six week internship aimed at providing high school students with hands-on experience in a research laboratory setting. OPALS follows a transition from the previous Biophotonics Outreach program established in 2018, which was briefly online for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. OPALS 2022 was conducted mostly in-person and is run by Linda Shi of the Berns lab. Shi has worked in biophotonics for over 18 years with an engineering background in China and received her Ph.D in the states.

This year, OPALS enrolled 38 students from different parts of the world. The number of students participating in the program has seen a gradual increase since 2018. Interns were split into 9 groups and each researched and developed their own projects to be presented at the end of the program. Project topics ranged from axon stress testing to lysosomal and mitochondrial tracking to DNA repair. They worked with technologies such as laser microscopy and laser imaging in order to analyze cell lines. 90% of students were even able to get a certification in MatLab from Mathworks.


The 2022 Summer OPALS interns.

Differences in conducting the program from Biophotonics included the presence of various guest speakers such as professors, previous interns, and even an architect. Around 80% of the interns expressed an interest in pursuing a profession in medicine in the future, and as such, Shi brought in various healthcare professionals such as doctors, physician assistants, and physical therapists to present and lecture to the interns. One speaker, Dr. Jaime Chen, even demonstrated some of his own equipment to the students. The program also consisted of lab tours, one of which was to visit Dr. Michael Berns’ Biophotonics center located at the University of California, Irvine. Another visit was to an earthquake testing facility. “I find it really important to give the students a broader view of what opportunities are available in engineering,” says Shi, “I wanted these lab visits to show them what’s out there.”

OPALS also hosted visitors from the Elementary Institute of Science (EIS), a program aimed at middle school students with low-income backgrounds. Students were shown fixed cells and red blood cells to demonstrate the use of an inverted microscope. Shi, in the future, hopes to continue to host the EIS program here at UCSD.



Students from the Elementary Institute of Science visiting UC San Diego’s Student Center.

Shi also acknowledges the importance of providing a balance of work and leisure activities for the interns. The program included trips to the Birch Aquarium, visits to Old Town San Diego, strawberry picking in Carlsbad, and UCSD’s own challenge courses. These events were not possible before as the Biophotonics internship was hosted entirely online for the last two years. “Being able to do this program in-person was so much more meaningful,” says Shi. “Some of the students [who] returned from last year… were so happy [to be] able to see their friends face-to-face.”


The interns on a trip to Old Town San Diego.

The most rewarding part of the program for Shi was to support her students’ learning, and seeing the incredible amount of growth they had obtained by the end of the program. She is driven by a passion to help students learn, encourage them as a mentor, and is unafraid to extend this passion to their families as well. “My students are so precious to me, and I wanted to let the parents know how important it is to encourage the students at home and to cheer them on. Something I told my students is that no matter what you do, try your best. Even though you aren’t exposed to some of these things, you are still learning and know what direction to take.”

At the end of the program, Shi rewarded the students with stuffed animals as they presented their projects. The interns were all very appreciative of the friendship and connections they made during the six week internship. Although summer comes to a close for OPALS, this does not stop the interns from continuing their own research endeavors. Two interns presented their posters at SPIE Translational Biophotonics Conference on Sept. 13 in LA. Four posters were accepted by the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) . Four interns will present their results/findings on October 13 in San Antonio, Texas. Shi is also coordinating new projects with some of the interns who wish to continue working with her into the following school year. 



The students with their stuffed animals in celebration of completing OPALs

As for future plans, Shi wants to continue the summer program next year. She aims to start reaching out to more students from underrepresented and low-income backgrounds. “Since this year was the 1st year, we didn’t spend as much time preparing for it and it was much less structured and very confusing. I also had to talk to a lot of different labs to organize the visits.” Shi is very optimistic of making next year even better as she has established a firm network and has several ideas on how to make the program more structured. Most of all, Shi is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to run this program. “I appreciate everything that IEM has done for me and I hope to continue working in this direction.”

Applications for the next wave of interns is projected to open around January. To learn more about OPALS, visit their website here. To see highlights from OPALS 2022 click this link.



2022 ISPO and J Yang Study Abroad Research Symposium

August 30th, 2022

The International Students Programs Office (ISPO) office along with the IEM hosted a research symposium Friday August 26, 2022 providing visiting international summer students an opportunity to present their research experience at UC San Diego.  This cohesive group of undergrad students visiting from various universities in Taiwan presented a range of research areas including human performance physiology, machine learning, ophthalmology, electrical engineering, computer science, language sentiment assessment and quantum mechanics. This bright articulate group of young scientists teamed with leading researchers at UCSD to gain real world experience in ongoing STEM research.   Partial support for this program was made possible by the J Yang foundation which helped fund the travel and lodging as part of the Undergraduate Research Abroad Program administered by IEM in collaboration with the ISPO.


2022 Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine Awardees

August 4th, 2022

Maya Rowell, Ph.D. Student, Bioengineering, has been awarded a 2022 GEMINI Fellowship Recipient. Dr. Daniela Valdez-Jasso, Associate Professor, Bioengineering, has been awarded a 2022 GEMINI Faculty Mentor Awardee. 


Shaochen Chen Has Been Awarded a NSP BRITE Fellow Grant

March 31st, 2022

Shaochen Chen, co-director of Biometerials and Tissue Engineering Center at UCSD IEM, has been awarded a NSP BRITE Fellow Grant. Read more here


Michael Berns Wins the 2022 SPIE Gold Medal  

January 11th, 2022

Michael Berns, co-director of the Biophotonics Technology Center at UCSD IEM, has won the prestigious SPIE Gold Medal. Read more here.  


UC San Diego Leads a $12.25 Million Grant to Improve Epilepsy Treatment  

September 9th, 2021        

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $12.25 million grant to the University of California San Diego to develop and enhance brain-sensing and brain-stimulating platform technologies to enable treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. The project is led by UC San Diego electrical engineering professor Shadi Dayeh. Read more here.


UC San Diego Researchers Develop the First Steerable Catheter for Brain Surgery  

August 23rd, 2021        

A team of UC San Diego engineers and physicians has developed a catheter that for the first time will give neurosurgeons the ability to steer the device in any direction they want while navigating the brain's blood vessels. Read more here.  


UC San Diego Announces Participation in New Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance  

July 21st, 2021        

UC San Diego is one of six universities invited to participate in the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance, an initiative to research the biological principles underlying human performance. IEM Director Dr. Andrew McCulloch is leading the UC San Diego Alliance team. Read more here.     


Titans of Industry, Academia Team Up to Advance Engineering in Medicine  

June 10th, 2021        

Renowned UCSD Bioengineer and IEM founder Shu Chien and Academy of Engineering member and ResMed founder Peter Farrell will be recognized through a named research collaboratory in Franklin Antonio Hall. Read the article from the UC San Diego News Center here.        


FDA Authorizes PCR Quality, Over-the-Counter COVID-19 At-Home Test  

April 12, 2021        

The FDA has authorized the LUCIRA CHECK IT™ COVID-19 At-Home Test, the first single-use, PCR quality over-the-counter at-home COVID-19 test. Its development was led by LUCIRA CEO Erik Engelson, PhD, a UCSD Bioengineering alumnus. Read the article here


Cardiac Arrhythmia Modeling Minisymposium

February 17, 2021 

IEM hosted an online Minisymposium on "Cardiac Arrythmia Modeling" that fostered new research collaborations. Gordon Ho, MD, discussed current clinical methods used to model arrythmias. Nele Vandersickel, PhD, presented her research on cardiac modeling with the network theory. Read the article here


Two Health Sensors Unite in One Powerful Gadget

February 17, 2021 

A team at the UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors, which includes IEM member Sheng Xu and IEM CMSA director Joseph Wang, has created a stretchy skin patch that is the first wearable device to track heart signals and biochemical levels at the same time. Read the article here


Racial Inequity in Grant Funding from the NIH

February 3, 2021 

Grant applications submitted by African-American or Black scientists are less likely to be funded than applications submitted by white PIs, and efforts to narrow this funding gap have not been successful. Read the article here


The NIH Racial Funding Disparity Prevents Black Scientists' Success

February 1, 2021 

A nationwide network of Biomedical Engineering women faculty published a Cell article shedding light on the NIH's racial funding disparity and suggesting solutions to this problem. Read the article here


$1.2 Million Grant Funds a New Generation of Healthcare Telemanipulation Robots

February 1, 2021 

A multi-campus research group led by Dr. Laurel Riek of UC San Diego has been given the UC MRPI award. The award will fund their work developing advanced telehealth robots to protect healthcare workers and help isolated people connect with their communities. Read more here


Bioengineering Diversity Council Winter Town Hall: Women in STEM

January 29, 2021 

The UCSD Bioengineering Diversity Council held a town hall to discuss issues of gender parity in the STEM field. Six female panelists in different stages of their scientific careers shared their experiences, thoughts, and advice. Read more here


UC San Diego Alumnus at Helm of Company Behind First At-Home COVID Test 

January 21, 2021

In November 2020, the Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit was the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing at home to be authorized by the FDA. This accomplishment was led by Erik Engelson, a UC San Diego bioengineering and microbiology alumnus and the CEO of Lucira Health. Read more about Lucira's COVID-19 test and CEO Erik Engelson here.  


COVID-19 Crisis Inspires Undergraduate Ventilator Research Project 

January 4, 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, Professor Ryan Kastner's Research Group (KRG) and PhD student Michael Barrow were eager to do their part. With physician Dr. Shanglei Liu, they created a team of 12 undergraduate engineering and computer science students who are developing a mechnical ventilator. 


Awards Announced for the 2021 Accelerating Innovations to Market Cycle 

December 14, 2020

UC San Diego's Accelerating Innovations to Market (AIM) has awarded a total of $206,000 to five researchers this year, including two researchers affiliated with the Institute of Engineering in Medicine's Center for Medical Device Technology (CMDT): the co-director of CMDT, Frank Talke, and CMDT member Edward Chao. Seed funding in support or this research project were provided by the UC San Diego Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) program, a collaborative effort to promote innovation between the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine. Read more about the award winners here


FDA Authorizes First COVID-19 Test for Self-Testing at Home 

November 18, 2020

The Lucira COVID-19 All-In-One Test Kit is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing at home to be authorized by the FDA. The test kit uses self-collected nasal swab tests to provide quick diagnoses at home. This accomplishment was led by UCSD bioengineer Erik Engelson, the CEO of Lucira Health. Read more in the FDA News article here


ACTRI Seeks Applicants for SUSTAIN Program 

August 25, 2020

The UCSD Altman Clincal and Translational Research Institute is launching a new program called SUSTAIN (Supporting Under-represented Scholars in Translational and Interdisciplinary Networks). This program seeks to increase the rate of successful resubmission of grants for under-represented minority faculty. For more information about SUSTAIN, view program details here or visit the SUSTAIN website here


Roger Tsien invention given approval by US FDA for first-in-man study

May 11, 2020

The FDA has given approval for a first-in-man study of ALM-488, a fluorescent peptide-dye conjugate to illuminate nerves in real time, in patients undergoing Head and Neck Surgery.  Dr. Ryan Orosco, together with collaborators at Stanford and Harvard will lead a Phase 1/2 clinical trial to test ALM-488 at the University California San Diego (UCSD) beginning Q2 2020. 

The technological underpinnings for ALM-488 was co-invented by the late Roger Tsien, PhD (1952-2016), Nobel Laureate Chemistry 2008, Dr. Quyen Nguyen, Professor, Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery with support from the Institute of Engineering in Medicine.  Alume Biosciences, a biotechnology company founded by Dr. Nguyen in 2017, has licensed this technology from UCSD for clinical development.  ALM-488 is expected to have broad surgical application due to unique characteristics of binding that are independent of myelin. This allows ALM-488 to highlight multiple types of nerves including motor, sensory, autonomic and degenerated nerves important during reconstructive procedures.


Dr. Valdez-Jasso Was Awarded 2020 Faculty Recipient of the Inclusive Excellence Award

February 28, 2020

Daniela Valdez-Jasso, a professor of bioengineering, was the 2020 faculty recipient of the Inclusive Excellence Award. The 25th annual UC San Diego Inclusive Excellence Awards recognizes faculty, staff, students, departments and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in support of UC San Diego’s commitment to inclusive excellence and diversity. To read more about Dr. Valdez-Jasso  click here. To watch the video presented at the 25th Annual Inclusive Excellence Awards  click here.


MedTech Accelerator Application Deadline Tuesday, March 03

February 28, 2020

IGE is launching a MedTech Accelerator geared to ACCELERATE your product to market no matter where you are in the development cycle. If you want to learn more about MedTech and this program  click here . If interested in applying directly  click here 


J Yang Scholarship Program to be established at UC San  Diego with $1.5M gift

February 05, 2020

The J. Yang & Family Foundation has pledged a $1,500,000 award to UC San Diego over the next five  years for international student support and exchange, and faculty research and travel with partners from Taiwan. For information on how to apply click here:  J. Yang Scholarship Awards Information .



May 22, 2019

Congratulations to Dr. Shu Chien for being one of three recipients of the Seventh Annual Excellence in Stewardship Award winners. For more information on past recipients please visit the Excellence in Stewardship Awards website: 


Registration for the 20th Annual UC Systemwide Bioengineering Symposium is Open!

February 22, 2019

Register now for the 2019 Bioengineering Symposium hosted by UC Merced. The Symposium offers students, scientists, and industry partners an opportunity to learn about cutting edge research and form intercampus and industry partnerships. It will take place from Thursday, June 27 - Saturday, June 29, 2019.


GEM Challenge 2019: Applications Now Open 

February 22, 2019

Applications are now available for the sixth round of the Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) Challenge, designed to identify clinical challenges for which engineering solutions can be developed and implemented. Awards are in the range of $60,000 and the deadline for submission is Monday, April 8, 2019.


3D printed implants promote nerve cell growth to treat spinal cord injury

January 15, 2019

Shaochen Chen, professor of nanoengineering and faculty member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine, lead a team of engineers and neuroscientists in developing 3D printed implants that could one day help restore neural connections and lost motor function in patients with spinal cord injuries. This new work takes us one step closer to the goal of full restoration of physical function after a spinal cord injury. 


The IEM Tenth Anniversary Symposium a Success!

December 13, 2018

On November 1, over 200 Institute members & guests gathered at Atkinson Hall for a daylong celebration of IEM's accomplishments. Click the link above for an overview of the day's highlights. Thanks to those who attended & made it all possible.


Bioengineers awarded $14M from NIH to build digital maps of the brain, other organs at single-cell level

November 2, 2018

Kun Zhang, professor of bioengineering at UC San Diego, receives $14 million in grants from NIH to build 3D digital, single-cell maps of the human brain and other organs.  The work aims to provide a deeper understanding of the functions and malfunctions of organs in the human body at the level of individual cells.


Machine learning identifies antibiotic resistance genes in tuberculosis-causing bacteria

October 25, 2018

Researchers at UC San Diego from Bernhard Palsson's lab have  developed an approach that uses machine learning to identify and predict which genes make infectious bacteria resistant to antibiotics.


Wearable Ultrasound Patch Monitors Blood Pressure Deep Inside Body

October 11, 2018

Sheng Xu, a professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego, has developed a new ultrasound patch that is able to monitor central blood pressure non-invasively. This is a major breakthrough in the advancing field of wearable technology, and has the potential to be useful in a multitude inpatient procedures.


Congratulations to the Class of 2019 Siebel Scholars

September 19, 2018

We are thrilled to announce the 2019 Siebel Scholars for Bioengineering! Congratulations to Ashley Kroll, Colton Lloyd, Rachel Marty Pyke, Kimberly McCabe, and Alexander Williams, who now join over 1,300 of the world's brightest distinguished scholars, researchers, and entrepreneurs.


Liangfang Zhang's Lab Invents Microscopic Sponge to Combat Arthritis

September 4, 2018

Liangfang Zhang, a UC San Diego nanoengineering professor, has developed neutrophil 'nanosponges' that are capable of safely absorbing and neutralizing a variety of proteins that promote rheumatoid arthritis. This work is one of the latest examples of therapeutic nanosponges developed by Zhang’s lab. 


Biosensor Chip Detects Single Nucleotide Polymorphism Wirelessly and With Higher Sensitivity

July 9, 2018

A team led by UC San Diego has successfully developed a chip 1,000 times more sensitive at detective a genetive mutation known as SNP than any current available technology.


We Need to Do Better: The Search for Opioid Alternatives

July 3, 2018

Dr. Krishnan V. Chakravarthy, a pain management specialist at UC San Diego Health and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, is researching new alternatives for pain management in the face of the alarming growth of opioid abuse in the United States.


Professor Joseph Wang Awarded Honorary Doctorate

June 19, 2018

Congratulations to Professor Joseph Wang, Director of the Center of Excellence for Nano-Medicine and Engineering (CNME), who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Comenius University in Bratislava for his innovative work in nanobioelectrics and his history of collaborating with the university.


Researchers develop a remote-controlled cancer immunotherapy system

January 15, 2018

A research team which included the laboratories of Wang and Shu Chien has developed an ultrasound-based system that can non-invasively and remotely control genetic processes in live immune T cells so that they recognize and kill cancer cells.


SEM Sperm Atlas Project

January 5, 2018

The Sperm Atlas is a database of images showcasing the diversity of reproductive cells in the Animal Kingdom. Just published, this website was a collaboration between IEM, the UCSD Department of Bioengineering, the San Diego Zoo Beckman for Conservation Research, and Dr. Michael Berns at the Beckman Laser Institute, University of California Irvine.


Macrophage Nanosponges Could Keep Sepsis in Check

January 4, 2018

A team of researchers at the University of California San Diego has developed macrophage “nanosponges” that can safely absorb and remove molecules from the bloodstream that are known to trigger sepsis.


Experimental Drug Blocks Toxic Ion Flow Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

December 5, 2017

An international team of researchers has shown that a new small-molecule drug can restore brain function and memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug works by stopping toxic ion flow in the brain that is known to trigger nerve cell death. Scientists envision that this drug could be used to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and ALS.


Type 1 Diabetes Symposium: Combining Medicine and Engineering

January 19, 2017

UC San Diego Pediatric Diabetes Research Center (PDRC) and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) hosted a full day symposium entitled "Type 1 Diabetes: New Technologies and Therapeutics". The meeting convened experts with engineering perspectives on diabetes therapy, alongside experts pursuing biological research and treatment approaches.


Temporary Tattoo Brings Hospital Care to the Home

November 25, 2016

Todd Coleman, UC San Diego Bionengineering professor, shares his quest to develop wearable, flexible electronic health monitoring patches that promise to revolutionize healthcare and make medicine less invasive

temporary tattoo

Bioengineering Professor David Gough Named 2016 AAAS Fellow

November 21, 2016

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the nation’s largest general science organization, has awarded the distinction of fellow to 391 members, including five from the University of California San Diego.

temporary tattoo

UC San Diego School of Medicine Researchers Receive $5 Million in Type 1 Diabetes Grants

October 24, 2016

1.25 million people in the U.S. live with type 1 diabetes. Past research has led to treatments that make type 1 diabetes a manageable disorder but there are still unanswered questions. Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine hope to answer some of them with two Type 1 Diabetes Special Statutory Funding Program grants from the National Institutes of Health totaling more than $5 million.

diabetes grant

Four UC San Diego Physician-engineer teams receive the 2016 Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine awards

October 12, 2016

Four physician-engineer teams from UC San Diego have been selected to receive the 2016 Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) awards, which were created to bring engineers and clinicians together to develop innovative technology solutions to challenging problems in medical care.

medicine award

2016 Alternative Muscle Club (AMC) Meeting

September 30, 2016

The AMC organizing committee is calling for young investigators in skeletal muscle and cardiovascular research to participate in a free one-day meeting! Click the title for more details!

amc meeting

UC San Diego Nanoengineer Makes Popular Science's 'Brilliant 10' List

September 12, 2016

Popular Science magazine has named Liangfang Zhang, a nanoengineering professor at the UC San Diego, in its 15th annual “Brilliant 10” list, a lineup of “the 10 most innovative young minds in science and engineering.”

liangfang zhang

Call for Innovative Multi-Disciplinary Research Grant Proposals

August 12, 2016

The Center for Healthy Aging solicits proposals for the support of innovative interdisciplinary research and education projects during 2016-17.

call for proposals

Nanobowls Offer a Way to Magnetically Deliver Drugs in the Body

August 3, 2016

Researchers at UC San Diego have developed nano-sized vessels that could be filled with drug molecules and controlled with magnets for guided delivery to specific tissues and organs.


UC San Diego Bioengineering Ranked First by National Research Council Since Founding 50 Years Ago

May 26, 2016

Bioengineering researchers celebrated their achievements over the past five decades and looked to the future during a three-day 50th anniversary celebration May 19 to 21.The department is the coordinating entity for all bioengineering efforts within the University of California. Two faculty have received the National Medal of Science—program founder YC Bert Fung, a legend in the field, and department founding chair Shu Chien

jessica ungerleidert

Engineers take first step toward flexible, wearable, tricorder-like device

May 23, 2016

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed the first flexible wearable device capable of monitoring both biochemical and electric signals in the human body. Click the title to find out more.

new device

Tzyy-Ping Jung elevated to IEEE Fellow for contributions to blind source separation for biomedical applications

May 2016

"Recognizing the achievements of its members is an important part of the mission of the IEEE. Each year, following a rigorous evaluation procedure, the IEEE Fellow Committee recommends a select group of recipients for elevation to IEEE Fellow. Less than 0.1% of voting members are selected annually for this member grade elevation...." -J. Roberto B. de Marca

tzyy ping jung

Stem Cells Regenerate Human Lens After Cataract Surgery, Restoring Vision

February 10, 2016

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Shiley Eye Institute, with colleagues in China, have developed a egenerative medicinal approach to remove congenital cataracts in infants, permitting remaining stem cells to regrow functional lenses.

stem cells cataracts

Transcriptional Regulation of Arterial Venous Differentiation and its Role

February 10, 2016

Dr. Dai will illustrate his research effort in the arterial venous differentiation of embryonic stem cells and the transcriptional mechanisms that lead to the distinct functional phenotypes of arteries and veins and their different susceptibility to vascular diseases.

guohao dai

Engineers 3D-print a new lifelike liver tissue for drug screening

February 8, 2016

A team led by engineers at the University of California, San Diego has 3D-printed a tissue that closely mimics the human liver’s sophisticated structure and function. The new model could be used for patient-specific drug screening and disease modeling.



Why the Flu Vaccine Is Less Effective in the Elderly

December 15, 2015

Around this time every year, the flu virus infects up to one-fifth of the U.S. population and kills thousands of people, many of them elderly. A study published by Cell Press on Dec. 15 in Immunity now explains why the flu vaccine is less effective at protecting older individuals. Shankar Subramaniam, IEM associate director, co-senior study author of this journal.

flu vaccine

Peter Mage: Breaking The Wall Of Guesswork In Medicine at Falling Walls Lab Berlin 2015

December 09, 2015

Competing in the Falling Walls Lab at UC San Diego was a great chance to hear about some of the excellent research being done across Southern California. It was an honor to win the San Diego competition and a privilege to go to Berlin and compete in the Falling Walls Lab Finals.

peter mage

Tod Coleman Featured in Top-100 List on Influential Site

November 17, 2015

Bioengineer Todd Coleman, from the University of California, San Diego, has been named one of 100 outstanding individuals for 2015 by The Root, a premier news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers.

Dr. Shu Chien wins Franklin Award

November 12, 2015

Founding Chair of UC San Diego Department of Bioengineering, Dr.Shu Chien, receives prestigious Franklin Award for contributions to the understanding of the physics of blood flow, and for applying this knowledge to better diagnose cardiovascular disease.

La Jolla Immunology Conferece

September 29 – October 1, 2015

Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium, Salk Institute for Biological Sciences Abstract Submission Due September 1st Inaugural symposium of the IEM Vaccine Engineering Center will be on Wednesday, September 30 in the SALK Auditorium.

Two UC San Diego Scientists Receive Stem Cell Technology Grants

Febuary 3, 2015

The governing board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded two University of California, San Diego researchers almost $3 million in combined funding to pursue new technologies intended to accelerate advances moving stem cell therapies out of the lab and into the clinic.

Stomach Acid-Powered Micromotors Get Their First Test in a Living Animal

January 26, 2015

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have shown that a micromotor fueled by stomach acid can take a bubble-powered ride inside a mouse. These tiny motors, each about one-fifth the width of a human hair, may someday offer a safer and more efficient way to deliver drugs or diagnose tumors.


NSF grant to improve visualization capabilities for the biosciences and geosciences

December 17, 2014

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is partnering with the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), to expand and enhance visualization capabilities in the bio- and geosciences through a grant from the National Science Foundation. The collaboration builds on existing software capabilities developed at NCAR and UC San Diego, and it will combine them to produce new open source tools for scientists to explore large data sets.

The 8th Annual Bilateral Symposium between the University System of Taiwan and UC San Diego

June 19, 2014

The 8th Annual Bilateral Symposium between the University System of Taiwan (UST) and UCSD was held in the Fung Auditorium of the Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall on November 13 and 14, 2014. IEM was responsible for organizing this event in collaboration with NYMU and NCTU.

Dr. Shu Chien Receives the Roger Revelle Medal

June 19, 2014

In the study of how blood flow and pressure affect blood vessels. His research has led to the development of better diagnostic tests and treatments for atherosclerosis as well as other diseases. Chien played a crucial role in forming the Jacobs School’s department of bioengineering and building it into a world-class institution that is ranked No. 1 for biomedical engineering by the National Research Council.

UC San Diego Neonatal Neurologist Awarded Grant from The Hartwell Foundation

June 13, 2014

MJ Harbert, MD, assistant clinical professor in the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, has been named a recipient of an Individual Biomedical Research Award by The Hartwell Foundation for her project “Brain Activity During Birth for Prediction of Newborns at Risk for Brain Injury.” The award will support Harbert’s research in the field of neonatal neurology for three years at $100,000 per year.

Bioprinting a 3D Liver-Like Device to Detoxify the Blood

May 13, 2014

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a 3D-printed device inspired by the liver to remove dangerous toxins from the blood. The device, which is designed to be used outside the body -- much like dialysis – uses nanoparticles to trap pore-forming toxins that can damage cellular membranes and are a key factor in illnesses that result from animal bites and stings, and bacterial infections. Their findings were published May 8 in the journal Nature Communications.

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of UCSD Department of Bioengineering

May 11, 2014

On April 11th, members of the UCSD community gathered to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Department of Bioengineering, which was founded in 1994. Albert P. Pisano, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering, provided introductory remarks to kick-off the event, followed by a welcome by the Chair of Bioengineering, Geert Schmid-Schoenbein. Professors Shu Chien, Shankar Subramanian, Gabriel Silva, Karen Christman and Todd Coleman recounted the history of the department over the past twenty years.

IEM Member Karen Christman Engineers a New Biomaterial Therapy for Treating Heart Attack

April 9, 2014

University of California, San Diego bioengineer Karen Christman's new injectable hydrogel, which is designed to repair damaged cardiac tissue following a heart attack, has been licensed to San Diego-based startup Ventrix, Inc, which is planning the first human clinical trials of the technology. Christman is a co-founder of Ventrix.

Cell Art Exhibit at San Diego Airport features IEM Researchers' Work

April 5, 2014

The image entitled "Nanointerface", shows neurons (brain cells) from the cortical region of a rat brain growing on nanowires -- tiny wires on the order of a billionth of a meter in diameter that interface with neural tissue. Taken by Dr. Massoud Kraiche during his postdoctoral tenure in Professor Gabriel Silva's lab, it was selected for display at the Cell Art Exhibit at the San Diego Airport in conjunction with Biocom.

IEM Member Adah Almutairi’s lab discovers new light-triggered release mechanism

April 5, 2014

Researchers in the Center for Nanomedicine and Engineering (CNME) have introduced a new means of using light to control the activity of molecules that relies on the ability of water to absorb energy at a particular wavelength. This discovery represents a major innovation because only a handful of strategies for light-triggered release from nanoparticles have been reported.

IEM Member's Neuroengineering Research highlighted by Science Nation

April 2, 2014

IEM member Professor Gert Cauwenberghs and his colleagues study how brain activity results in movement. Their NSF sponsored work uses EEG, virtual reality and motion tracking to understand the brain dynamics of human motor control. Recently their work was covered by Science Nation, a video series commissioned by the National Science Foundation.

Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) Project Phase II begins, looking for engineering solutions

February 26, 2014

Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) is a new collaboration between the UCSD Clinical and Translational Research Institute (CTRI) and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) that is facilitated by the Division of Innovation and Industry Alliances (DI2A) in the UCSD Office of Research Affairs (ORA).

20th Anniversary of Bioengineering Celebration

February 14, 2014

Plan to join us in celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Department of Bioengineering at UCSD on Friday, April 11, 2014. Connect with classmates, colleagues, faculty and friends for a celebration highlighting the contributions of students and alumni to the success of your UCSD Bioengineering Department!

Bose and IEM hold Technology Forum

February 14, 2014

On January 22, 2014, Bose Corporation and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) jointly held a one-day technology forum at UC San Diego featuring speakers and participants from both industry and academia. The intent of the forum is to develop collaborations between Bose and UCSD faculty and students to foster innovation and facilitate the translation of research to industry.

San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering

February 13, 2014

For more info, see the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering website.

8th Annual UCSD Bioengineering Day

January 14, 2014

"Foundations and Futures of Bioengineering". Held on Saturday, April 12th 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM at Sanford Consortium. More information can be found at the official website.


Dr. Mary Harbert named finalist for San Diego Business Journal's 2013 Women Who Mean Business Award

December 13, 2013

Dr. Mary Harbert, Co-Director of the Center for Perinatal Health (CPH) in IEM and Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSD, was selected as one of the finalists of the 2013 Women Who Mean Business (WWMB) award by the San Diego Business Journal. IEM wishes to congratulate the four UCSD award winners Drs. Connie Benson, Kelly Frazer, Maria Elena Martinez, and Linda Zangwill, as well as and finalists, Drs. Mary Harbert, Razelle Kurzock and Candis Morello.

Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine Project: Entering Phase II

December 12, 2013

The Galvanizing Engineering in Medicine (GEM) Project, where clinically active UCSD faculty propose clinical challenges in need of engineering solutions, is entering Phase II. In Phase I, clinicians submitted proposals for problems. This phase invites engineers to propose solutions to these problems. The deadline for submitting proposals for Phase II is 5:00 PM on February 14, 2014.

Advanced Imaging Equipment and Services Available through CMILS

December 7, 2013

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has several cutting-edge technologies and world-class services available for researchers. MRI machines and confocal microscopes are available including optional assistance for use. The following Excel documents outline the available items and rates.

2013 I-RiCE Advisory Committee Meeting held at UCSD

December 5, 2013

On November 21, 2013, the annual advisory committee for the International Research-intensive Center of Excellence in Taiwan (I-RiCE) on Advanced Bioengineering took place at UCSD. The Center is an international research partnership between UCSD and the University System of Taiwan (UST), composed of National Yang-Ming University (NYMU) and National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU) as well as two other universities, with the common goal of advancing bioengineering research.

IEM Associate Director, Shankar Subramaniam, named AAAS Fellow

December 2, 2013

Shankar Subramaniam, Professor of Bioengineering and Associate Director of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM), has been named 2013 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), along with five other UCSD Professors. IEM congratulates the distinguished Fellows for their tremendous achievements and is grateful for their contributions to science.

UCSD Computer Science Student Develops App for Balboa Park Advised by IEM's Dr. Jason Haga

November 19, 2013

UCSD undergraduate, Jesus Rios, developed an Android app, Haiku Hunt, taking the user through a riddle-filled journey through the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa park. Mr. Rios developed the app while studying in Japan under the Pacific Rim Experiences for Undergraduates (PRIME) program. He was advised by his Japanese host, Professor Shinji Shimojo, and UCSD Research Scientist Jason Haga in the Institute of Engineering in Medicine.

Announcing the Center for Perinatal Health

November 2, 2013

The Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM) is excited to announce the establishment of the Center for Perinatal Health (CPH), co-directed by Drs. Todd Coleman and Mary Harbert. Coleman, a professor of bioengineering, and Harbert, a clinical professor of neuroscience and neonatal neurologist, teamed-up to form the CPH as a collaborative effort between physicians, engineers and scientists to produce innovative medical solutions for pregnant mothers and babies.