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Baskin Newsbeat 2019

The Baskin News Beat is a new BSOE bulletin for sharing successes, anecdotes, insider information, goings on, and other information not generally communicated via other channels such as Tuesday Newsday and email announcements.

There are many good things happening here in the Baskin School of Engineering. I invite you to share your stories, successes and insider information with the BSOE community. Just email to at any time. 

Alexander L. Wolf, Dean


Baskin News Beat - September 2019

Rebecca DuBois seeks to engineer new vaccines for common childhood illnesses

Since she arrived at Baskin Engineering six years ago, Rebecca DuBois' focus has been to understand how the immune system responds to viral infections and use that information to develop next-generation vaccines, particularly for illnesses that impact children. This year, she is involved in three major NIH funded projects: Her ongoing research on the human astrovirus (a potentially deadly stomach bug) received a five-year $1.7M dollar grant from the NIH that will allow her to study the structure of the virus and how it interacts with the immune system. A second one-year grant is funding her research on Respiratory Syncytial Virus, a common respiratory illness in children, and just this month she received a major NIH subaward on a large multi-institution vaccine project. We can't reveal the details of the latter quite yet, but keep your eyes peeled for an exciting press release in the coming weeks! Read more about DuBois' research on vaccines in inquiry @UC Santa Cruz.  

Holger Schmidt develops new technology for single molecule analysis
Researchers in Holger Schmidt’s lab and their collaborators have developed a chip-based platform that integrates nanopores and optofluidic technology with a feedback-control circuit. This device will give researchers an unprecedented level of control over individual molecules and particles on a chip for high-throughput analysis. The platform can be used to control the delivery of individual biomolecules—including ribosomes, DNA, and proteins—into a fluid-filled channel on the chip, enabling selective analysis of target molecules from a mixture and pointing the way toward a novel research tool. Read more

Ed Green's technique for recovering and sequencing DNA from hair is a front-page story in the New York Times

In a tantalizingly titled article, "Why This Scientist Keeps Receiving Packages of Serial Killers’ Hair," the New York Times reports how Baskin Engineering professor Ed Green has been helping law enforcement crack criminal cases using a technique he developed to extract DNA from human hair. His method of extraction makes it possible to get a genetic profile even from hair follicles that do not contain a root, something that was impossible with previous technology. Ed was brought onto these cases by Steve Kramer and Barbara Rae-Venter, who famously cracked the Golden State Killer case using genealogy databases in 2018. Read more

Conservation biologists find new applications for AI tools
Conservation biologists increasingly make use of automated cameras and other sensors to monitor natural ecosystems and animal populations, but these devices produce mountains of data, so they're turning to AI to help them sort through it. Andrew Port, a computer engineering graduate student in Professor Roberto Manduchi's Computer Vision Lab, has been working with conservationists to develop AI to analyze the data picked up by cameras that monitor fish and insects. Read more


Research Roundup

Seagate, UC Santa Cruz collaboration poised to accelerate genomics data analysis
Faculty from the Genomics Institute and the Baskin School of Engineering are partnering with Seagate Technology to accelerate analysis of the Human Cell Atlas, a scientist-led initiative to map every type of cell in the healthy human body as a resource for studies of health and disease. Read more


Karen Miga and team release the first end-to-end assembly of a human chromosome
Karen Miga, Kristof Tigyi, Joel Armstrong, and Benedict Paten from the Genomics Institute, along with their collaborators, completed the first-ever complete assembly of a human chromosome. This achievement demonstrates that finishing the human genome is now within reach. Read more


Researchers find strong coupling between magnons and phonons on a nanomagnet
Holger Schmidt and electrical engineering Ph.D. alumnus Cassidy Berk in the Applied Optics group discovered “strong coupling” between the magnetic and vibrational dynamics within a single nanomagnet, which could have implications for the data storage industry. Read more


Peter Harrington and Pascale Garaud featured in AASNova
An article featuring former SciCAM student, Peter Harrington, and his advisor, Pascale Garaud, was featured in the March issue of AASNova, the magazine of the American Astronomical Society. Read more

Dongwook Lee receives new funding for collaborative project in astrophysics

Dongwook received a $500K, three-year NSF grant for his project “Collaborative research: Extreme-­scale ready high-­order methods for astrophysical and laboratory turbulence,” which he’ll be collaborating on with PIs from the University of Chicago and Michigan State University. Read more


Holger Schmidt receives new NIH grant for single molecule analysis of Zika virus
Holger's nanopore-based multi-target analysis of Zika virus infection received a four-year NIH grant that will total $2.3M. Read more


Yu Zhang receives fellowship to fund research on power systems
Yu received a 2019 Hellman Fellowship, awarded to promising junior faculty, to fund his project, “Modernizing power system planning and optimization to improve grid resilience against hazardous events.” Read more


Nic Brummell receives funding for studies in solar physics
Nic was awarded a $400K, three-year grant from NSF to study the transport of magnetic fields through the solar interior and develop a new theory for the solar hemispherical helicity rule. Read more



Jose Renau and Scott Beamer receive grant for open source hardware
The US Army/AROD awarded a $1.1M, three-year grant to Jose Renau and Scott Beamer to create a productive open-source hardware development flow. This new resource aims to improve the productivity of hardware designers.  



Student Spotlight 

Graduate student spotlight: Yohei Rosen, recipient of the 2019-2020 Baskin Fellowship
Yohei Rosen is the recipient of the 2019-20 Baskin Fellowship, which will help fund his interdisciplinary projects on the Human Genome Variation Map and device engineering. Rosen’s background in both mathematics and medicine provides him with a unique perspective, and he is excited to be at an institution where collaboration between disciplines is valued. Read more




Undergraduate spotlight: April Zitkovich

April Zitkovich recently completed her B.S. in Computer Engineering and will continue on as a graduate student at Baskin Engineering this fall. One of her favorite classes as an undergraduate was Mechatronics, where she got to help build a robot and later tutored other students to do the same. She says, “I love the sense of community we had in that class. You get so much satisfaction out of making something come to life." Read more


Baskin News Beat - May 2019

Sara AbrahamssonMicroscope expert develops powerful new tools for biologists

With Sara Abrahamsson's arrival in the Baskin School of Engineering, UC Santa Cruz is becoming a hotbed of advanced microscopy and microscope development. Abrahamsson is building and testing the first multifocus structured illumination microscope, one that that will show 3-D imaging of living cells with super-resolution.
Read more

epuckUncertainty-aware robot control

New video features Dejan Milutinović and his graduate students showcasing their research on the control of robotic and autonomous systems in the presence of uncertainty.
Read more

ricardo and yegetaUCSC engineers to participate in research center on autonomous systems

Professor Ricardo Sanfelice provides expertise in hybrid and cyber-physical systems to a consortium led by the U of Florida and funded by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
Read more




Student Spotlight: Kateryna Voitiuk

"As an undergrad, I worked on the Braingeneers project, which started off very small but has grown quite large, especially after we got funding. The Haussler Lab is growing these cortical organoids, which are 3D tissue structures that mimic real tissue in the human body. We’re able to guide this tissue, starting from stem cells, into a specific type of cell."
Read more

edwardStudent Spotlight: Eduardo Hirata Miyasaki

"I’m working on a multifocus microscope that is able to capture 3D images. With most conventional microscopy techniques you can look at the image of only one plane at a time, and you have to move the sample and scan through it. But in this case we get all the information at once."
Read more




Study gives new perspective on production of blood cells and immune cells

Researchers tracked and quantified the production of different kinds of blood cells and immune cells to understand how the body maintains a balanced supply.
Read more


C. Seshadhri lands SDM/IBM Early Career Data Mining Researcher Award

C. Seshadhri ("Sesh") received the award for excellence in data analytics.
Read more

Abhradeep Guha Thakurta wins Google Faculty Award for data privacy

Thakurta's winning proposal was on “Practical, Private Algorithms for Modern Over-parameterized Learning.”
Read more

DVEngineering speaker series highlights diverse voices in tech

Sponsored by Baskin Engineering, the speaker series is part of an ongoing effort to get a more diverse population interested in engineering as a field of study and technology as a career.
Read more





Three recent patents from Baskin School of Engineering faculty

J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves' and Qian Lee’s distance-based routing protocol integrates with adaptive publish-subscribe mechanisms by establishing routes to well-known controllers using distance-vector signaling.
View the patent

David Bernick’s and Andrew Smith's patent involves a method of sequencing a tRNA molecule that involves the addition of oligonucleotide adapters, potentially including a cholesterol tag, to tRNA. The sequencing is performed using a nanopore sequencer.
View the patent

Invention by Charles J. Vaske, Stephen Benz, Joshua M. Stuart, and David Haussler describes a computational method for inferring the activity of the genetic circuitry inside cancerous cells.
View the patent

Baskin News Beat - March 2019

Who Owns Your DNA?

Abhradeep Guha Thakurta, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, is on a team exploring how to best give researchers access to increasing amounts of genomic data. The stakes are high, promising unprecedented insight into what causes—and could possibly cure—a range of diseases and chronic conditions. Read the story.

UC Santa Cruz launches brain research project

The project, funded by Schmidt Futures, involves applying modern artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to understanding and emulating the architecture of the human brain. A key component of the research is to advance the technology for growing and studying three-dimensional models of brain tissue, called cerebral organoids, in the laboratory. The project includes researchers from Baskin Engineering, in collaboration with neuroscience faculty at UC San Francisco. Read the story.

Research Roundup

Discover Magazine article features David Haussler

David Haussler discusses the human-specific NOTCH2NL gene's role in our ancestor's brains becoming bigger and more powerful in "State of Science: Finding Human Ancestors in New Places."

Lise Getoor gives Annual Faculty Research Lecture

The talk, Responsible Data Science, addressed the technical and societal issues in emerging data-driven technologies. In case you missed it, the recorded lecture by Lise Getoor will soon be available on the Academic Senate Faculty Research Lecture web page. More information

Technology developed by Holger Schmidt and collaborators featured in new Zika virus detection study

Scientists are working to develop a new way to detect Zika virus using optofluidics. Electrical and computer engineering professor Holger Schmidt, who helped develop the technology, is featured in this article.

Leila Takayama wins Google Research Award for robot training

A Faculty Research Award from Google will help Associate Professor Leila Takayama learn what it takes for a robot to learn from its human peers. (See "Comings and Goings" below for an introduction to incoming Associate Professor Leila Takayama.) Read the article

Air Force Office of Scientific Research awards grant to develop tools for hybrid dynamical systems

Flying an autonomous vehicle through unfamiliar terrain demands better, more reliable, algorithms; UC Santa Cruz Engineer Ricardo Sanfelice aims to deliver them.  Read the article.

Engineer Ali Yanik wins National Science Foundation CAREER Award

Grant will support Ali Yanik's research into phononic metamaterials and their use in acousto-microfluidic technologies for biomedical applications. Read the article.

Western Digital and Baskin School of Engineering collaborate to accelerate genomics sequencing

Results could lead to the acceleration of clinical genomic analysis and precision medicine diagnoses at scale. Read the article.

!!Con arrives UC Santa Cruz

32 speakers and 200 attendees participated in an energetic and very successful two-day celebration of the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing. Lindsey Kuper, Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, (and a few of her friends) were the original creators of the event in New York City in 2014. Learn more.


Mathematical biologist Marc Mangel honored by American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists

Marc Mangel, distinguished research professor of applied mathematics, has been chosen to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists. Read more.

Carlos Maltzahn selected to speak at the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Leadership Summit 2019

Carlos Maltzahn will discus “How to Leverage Research Universities” at OSLS 2019. Learn more about the event.

Eddie Melcer participates in fireside chat about games and learning at Ubisoft

"Gaming for Learning" was Eddie Melcer's topic for the event in San Francisco.

Insider Information

Baskin Engineering LinkedIn

Follow Baskin Engineering on LinkedIn for news and updates. You can also find us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Social Media Directory

You can find a new directory of Baskin Engineering-affiliated social media sites on the Communications website. Please let the Communications Team know if you would like to be added to this directory.

Baskin Engineering to host Santa Cruz cycling event 

Baskin Engineering will provide the start and finish venue for the Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge, an annual cycling event put on by the Santa Cruz County Cycling Club (SCCCC). The event is Saturday, July 20, 2019. The SCCCC has generously provided 10 free registrations for Baskin Engineering faculty and staff. Be one of the first 10 to sign up and snag your free ride. Sign up here

Payroll Unit converts academic population to post-reshaping payroll accounts

The Payroll Unit team—Mel Scanagatta, Sara Puhl, Summer Croft, and Raychel Sky—successfully converted the Baskin Engineering academic population from the pre-reshaping chart of accounts to the post-reshaping chart of accounts in the payroll and the timekeeping systems. This effort took nearly 500 separate payroll entries, over 380 individual transfer of payroll expense transactions, and 20 employee assignment data updates in the timekeeping system. Great work!

Comings and Goings


Steve Whittaker, Professor

Please join me in welcoming Steve Whittaker to Baskin Engineering's Computational Media Department, where he will continue his research in Human-Computer Interaction. Steve comes to us from the Psychology Department. He has received more than 40 patents, been elected as a fellow to the Association for Computing Machinery, co-authored more than 150 technical papers, and received a CHI lifetime achievement award from SIGCHI in 2014.

Leila Takayama, Associate Professor

Please also welcome Leila Takayama, who is joining the Computational Media department from Psychology as well. She is an internationally recognized expert in Human-Robot Interaction, awarded an IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, Early Career award in 2015. Before coming to UC Santa Cruz she founded Hoku Labs in Santa Cruz, worked as a senior user experience designer at Google X and has been a researcher at Nokia Research, Willow Garage, Inc. and PARC.

Adrian Fuller, Staff Human Resources Manager

Adrian will manage all staff processes (hiring, compensation, performance management, merits, awards, etc.) within the school and coordinate with central Staff HR. Teaming up with Maria Walker, our very capable SHR Coordinator, Adrian is available for consultation and support in these areas. His office is in BE 325 and you can reach him at aefuller@ucsc.eduor extension 9-5879.

Emelye Neff, Administrative Assistant  
Emelye will support Senior Design capstone courses and additional projects led by Dr. Patrick Mantey. Emelye is a recent graduate of the International Education Management master's program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. She has lived in many places in East Africa, Asia, and Central America and has worked as an English teacher in Denver and a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Her office is in E2 571.
Bryn Kanar, Web Developer

Bryn has joined Baskin Engineering as our new web developer. He comes to us from ITS Learning Technologies, where he served as the University Library web developer. His first day was March 1st. His office is in BE 311A. Welcome Bryn!


Kristin Bradham

Kristin accepted a position with campus ITS. Though she will be missed at Baskin Engineering, we wish her all the best in her new post.

Jeff Duncan

Jeff was promoted to CHES (UCSC Housing) West Housing Coordinator. Please join me in thanking him for all the hard work he has dedicated to keeping things running smoothly at Baskin Engineering. 

Student News

Game created by UC Santa Cruz undergrad will help create global coral database

As an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz, Jarrett van den Bergh created a game that teaches players to classify corals using satellite images of reef systems around the world. The results of the game will train a machine to classify corals automatically and create a global database. Read the article.

UC Santa Cruz Grad Slam finalists include two engineering students

Andrea David (Ph.D., computer engineering) and Minmei Wang (Ph.D., computer engineering) are Grad Slam finalists. To see them compete, head out to the Grad Slam event on March 8, 2019 at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center (320 Center Street). Doors open at 5:00 pm. Learn more.


Computational Media Department students and alumni in the news

Computational Media P.h.D. candidate Kate Compton has been nominated for RedHat’s Women in Open Source Software award in the student category for her open source project, Tracery, and her AI tutorials and starter projects.

Four 2018 graduates of the Games & Playable Media MS program (including Creative Director Ahmet Terzioglu) have formed startup Lava Games to commercialize their capstone project. The company is funded by venture capital investment, and has leased office space in Los Angeles.

Undergraduates from the Computational Media Department are building a disaster preparedness game for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The game is part of the Opportunity Project, run by the Census Bureau. Eddie Melcer, who is supervising the students, showcased the game to government officials at the demo day in Washington, D.C. on March 1st. Learn more about the Opportunity Project and the UC Santa Cruz Disaster Awareness Game. 

Bears Repeating

UC Santa Cruz creates the state's first graduate program in Serious Games

The Baskin School of Engineering is launching the first professional master’s degree program in serious games offered in the United States, with an initial cohort of students starting in fall 2019. Read more.

Two Baskin School of Engineering faculty members receive patent awards

J.J. Garcia-Luna Aceves and David Bernick have been acknowledged by UC Santa Cruz Office of Research's Inventor Recognition Program for their groundbreaking inventions. View the patents.

Darrell Long to serve as strategic faculty advisor for Baskin School of Engineering

Darrell Long will lead the school's efforts to create a security technology and policy research center, will advance engineering faculty recognition, and act as an ambassador for Baskin Engineering in various national and international fora. Read more.

UC Santa Cruz engineering students' autonomous boat could keep micro plastics out of oceans

The boat and net system would collect plastic waste where rivers meet oceans, preventing it from drifting out to sea. Read more.

Amateur radio thrives at UC Santa Cruz

The UC Santa Cruz Amateur Radio Club offers students opportunities to engage with the community and meet industry professionals. Read more.

Tech titan returns to campus, shares tales of survival

Alumnus Michael Lopp is vice president of engineering at Slack, the popular team-building platform, and the author of two books and a blog about leadership. Read more.

Researchers at UC Santa Cruz receive training to model optical components and systems

Baskin Engineering students learn optical design software from Code V. Read more.

Seed-funding innovation

The UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board of Trustees seeks interesting new projects to fund. Read more.