Stay Informed:
Baskin Engineering COVID-19 Information and Resources
Campus Roadmap to Recovery
Zoom Links: Zoom Help | Teaching with Zoom | Zoom Quick Guide

Dean's E-newsletter April 2011

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Art Ramirez

Note from Dean Ramirez

This past quarter has been busy. As you read the RecentAPR Awards section, you will notice a number of our faculty have been honored lately with prestigious awards. We are continually pleased to recognize the top caliber of our faculty. We have also received another very generous gift from our benefactors, Jack and Peggy Baskin, to establish an endowment to support graduate student Fellowships. As you know, fellowship support is critical in attracting and keeping talented graduate students. We very much appreciate the on-going support from the Baskins. As you are also aware, the University of California will be taking a substantial funding cut in 2011-12 fiscal year and each of the ten campuses will have mandatory cuts to their operating budgets. The impact on the Baskin School is not yet known, but the faculty remain committed to ensuring that the students receive first-class instruction. But, in spite of all the gloomy budgetary news, the Baskin School continues to raise monies through private donations, corporate and foundation donations, and gifts-in-kind. Right now is when the next cohort of students are being admitted. We are excited by the high number of prospective students for our undergraduate majors as well as a stellar group of PhD applicants. We look forward to welcoming many of these new students in the fall.

Spotlight on Center for Games and Playable Media

New center for games is future-focused

GamesThe mission of the new UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media can be summed up in one phrase: "Enabling the games of the future." The center, formally established in 2010, tackles core technology and design challenges in its five laboratories, including the Expressive Intelligence Studio -- one of the largest technical game research groups in the world. 

Members of the center believe that addressing these core challenges will help make game authorship more broadly accessible and dramatically expand the expressive power of games, as well as help sustain the game industry's economic growth.

Areas of research include artificial intelligence and interactive storytelling, natural language dialogue systems, cinematic communication, procedural content generation, computational photography, and level design.

The Center for Games and Playable Media is led by Director Michael Mateas, associate professor in Baskin School of Engineering, and Associate Director Jane Pinckard.

The center is committed to furthering the impact of first-class game research by building relationships between its labs and the game industry; building and releasing research-driven experimental games; facilitating UC Santa Cruz game students in joining and changing the industry; and engaging the public and the media.

"We're looking forward to starting conversations between academics and industry professionals on where the field of computer games might go," said Mateas.

The center will host its inaugural symposium, "Inventing the Future of Games," April 15 in Silicon Valley. The Sims' Will Wright, Linden Labs CEO Rod Humble (Second Life) and Mateas will give keynote speeches. For more information, visit


Recent Awards

  • Two professors in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the association announced this week. They are J. J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, Baskin Professor of Computer Engineering, and Phokion Kolaitis, professor of computer science.
  • Neanderthal genome research featured in UCTV report Research on the Neanderthal genome by UC Santa Cruz bioinformatics professor Richard E. "Ed" Green is featured in the winter edition of "State of Minds," a 30-minute video magazine produced by University of California Television (UCTV). The report is viewable online and begins at 21:47 into the program.

  • Stem cell discovery could lead to improved bone marrow stem celltransplants Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have identified a key molecule for establishing blood stem cells in their niche within the bone marrow. The findings, reported in the January issue of Cell Stem Cell, may lead to improvements in the safety and efficiency of bone marrow transplants.
  • Bioinformatics expert Richard Green wins Sloan Research Fellowship The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship to Richard E. (Ed) Green, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz.

  • The IEEE Computer Society has awarded a 2011 Technical Achievement Award to J. J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves, Baskin Professor of Computer Engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. The award honors Garcia-Luna-Aceves "for pioneering contributions to the theory and design of communication protocols for ad-hoc wireless networks."
  • Towards the 15-minute genome

    Genetics: Pulling strands of DNA through tiny holes, called nanopores, could dramatically speed up the sequencing of human genomes.

  • Claire Gu, professor of electrical engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, has been elected a Fellow of the Optical Society (OSA).

  • Magazines of all kinds present round-ups of the year's top stories in Top 10their December issues, and science magazines are no exception. This year, two stories involving UCSC turned up on a wide array of lists of the top science stories of 2010.
  • Discovery of a minimal form of RNase P in Pyrobaculum
    Associate Professor Todd Lowe, Biomolecular Engineering Department, whose research with Venkat Gopalan's lab at Ohio State, was just recently published.

  • Two articles came out with a UC Santa Cruz Games focus -- The Sentinel did a story on the Game Jam ( and Gamasutra ran a feature on playable models that extensively quoted Michael Mateas (

  • Electrical Engineer Peyman Milanfar wins IEEE Best Paper Award Electrical engineer Peyman Milanfar and two of his former graduate students have received a 2010 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Signal Processing Society (IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world' largest technical professional society). The award recognizes the exceptional merit of a paper they published in the February 2007 issue of IEEE Transactions on Image Processing.

  • UCSC faculty featured in "Masters of Innovation" episode on Plum TV Two cutting-edge laboratories at UC Santa Cruz areExoskeleton featured in a recent episode of the "Masters of Innovation" program on the Plum TV network. The show spotlights the search for new drugs at UCSC's Chemical Screening Center and medical robotics projects in the Bionics Lab at the Baskin School of Engineering.



Did you know....

UCSC announces Baskins' $1 million engineering gift at Scholarship Benefit Dinner

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal announced a special $1 million gift from Jack and Peggy Downes Baskin for engineering graduate fellowships at the campus's eighth annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner. More

UC Santa Cruz game design graduate programs make Princeton Review/GamePro top 10

UC Santa Cruz's graduate programs in game design were named among the top 10 in the nation by the Princeton Review and GamePro Media. The campus's computer science Ph.D. and M.S., along with its M.F.A. in Digital Arts and New Media (DANM), earned the school a seventh place ranking on the survey. This is the first year the Princeton Review, an education services company, has surveyed graduate programs in game design. More

Alumni News

Dan Heller, CS '88, has been named Executive Director of the UCSC Center for Entrepreneurship.


April 15 - Inventing the Future of Games Symposium @ India Community Center, 525 Los Coches Street, Milpitas, Calif. More

April 30 - Day by the Bay, Make plans to celebrate UC Santa Cruz at the second annual Day by the Bay. Come to campus, relax with your family, reminisce with your friends, and enjoy the world famous UCSC setting in all its glory. Be a part of this new UCSC tradition. Noon to 3:00, UCSC East Field, FREE

May 6 - Grad Research Symposium, 1:00-3:00; University Center

June 2 - Undergrad Poster Symposium, 2:00-4:00; Engineering Courtyard

June 12 - Baskin School of Engineering Commencement Ceremony, 4:00; Engineering Courtyard




Contact us:

Dean's Office -- 831-459-4877 or

Development/Alumni Office -- 831-459-1420 or