News Releases from 2016

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Creating Clinical Bioengineers

In a clinical bioengineering class, students observe physicians, identify problems in their clinical practices, and propose engineering-based solutions to bridge the gap between the bench and the bedside. In some cases, students have even obtained funding to turn their solutions into reality. Full Story

What Molecules You Leave on Your Phone Reveal About Your Lifestyle

We leave behind trace chemicals, molecules and microbes on every object we touch. By sampling the molecules on cell phones, UC San Diego researchers constructed lifestyle sketches for each phone’s owner, including diet, preferred hygiene products, health status and locations visited. This proof-of-concept study could have a number of applications, including environmental exposure studies, medication adherence monitoring, clinical trial participant stratification, criminal profiling and airport screening. Full Story

'Exceptional' nanosensor architecture based on exceptional points

Engineers from UC San Diego have developed a novel design for a compact, ultra-sensitive nanosensor that can be used to make portable health-monitoring devices and to detect minute quantities of toxins and explosives for security applications.  Full Story

Tackling Changes and Challenges With Robotics

 An aging, and sometimes ailing, population. An increasing number of self-driving cars and delivery drones. More complex and automated factories. These are just some of the coming changes discussed at the UC San Diego Contextual Robotics Institute’s third annual forum. The overarching topic, “Shared Autonomy: New Directions in Human-Machine Interaction,” will be important for defining the future of human health and well-being at the level of individuals, communities and societies.       Full Story

Engineers develop new magnetic ink to print self-healing devices that heal in record time

NanoEngineers at UC San Diego have developed a magnetic ink that can be used to make self-healing batteries, electrochemical sensors and wearable, textile-based electrical circuits. The work represents an important step towards widespread practical applications for long-lasting printed electronic devices. Such devices could be integrated into a wide range of health- and environment- monitoring applications and beyond.  Full Story

New U.S. Robotics Roadmap calls for regulation, research and education

A new U.S. Robotics Roadmap released Oct. 31 calls for better policy frameworks to safely integrate new technologies, such as self-driving cars and commercial drones, into everyday life. The document also advocates for increased research efforts in the field of human-robot interaction to develop intelligent machines that will empower people to stay in their homes as they age.  It calls for increased education efforts in the STEM fields from elementary school to adult learners. The roadmap’s authors, more than 150 researchers from around the nation, also call for research to create more flexible robotics systems to accommodate the need for increased customization in manufacturing, for everything from cars to consumer electronics Full Story

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

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. One engineer-physician team is developing battery-free wireless wearable sensors for sleep monitoring that could eventually be widely deployed at minimal cost. Full Story

Nanoengineer honored for fundamental research on battery materials

UC San Diego nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng is being honored for her work to advance our fundamental understanding of battery materials at the atomic level and at the interfaces. Better batteries are crucial for a wide range of transportation, utility grid, and wearable-health applications. Full Story

UC San Diego nanoengineer receives NIH New Innovator Award to Develop a New Class of Wearable Medical Devices

NanoEngineering professor Jesse Jokerst has received a $2.3 million New Innovator Award from the NIH to develop a new class of wearable medical devices that use photoacoustic imaging for non-invasive, real-time and continuous monitoring of therapeutic drug levels in the human body.  Full Story

Dog Poop Microbiome Predicts Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Our gut microbiomes — the varieties of microbes living in our digestive tracts — may play a role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). UC San Diego researchers analyzed microbiome information in fecal samples from dogs to predict which dogs had IBD and which did not. This is part of a larger research effort on campus to improve human health, at the level of individuals and communities, through microbiome science.   Full Story

UC San Diego Names Computer Engineer to Fratamico Endowed Chair

Tajana Rosing has been named the John J. and Susan M. Fratamico Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering. Her wide-ranging work includes use of drones to detect areas of higher air pollution collaboratively and dynamically, and to provide this feedback in real time in emergencies (e.g., forest fires), and in normal daily life (such as air pollution due to recent fertilization of nearby fields, or due to higher than normal and localized smog conditions). Full Story

Engineers receive $1 million grant to improve the way robots interact with people in U.S. factories

Laurel Riek, a roboticist at UC San Diego, will lead a three-year NSF grant aimed at making it easier for machines to work alongside people. This work has long term implications for how individuals, communities and societies deal with aging.   Full Story

UC San Diego Researchers Devise New Method for Detecting Hardware Trojans

To prevent, detect and combat hardware Trojans in a wide range of devices including wearable health-tracking technologies, computer scientists from UC San Diego, together with their collaborators, have devised a new technique that tracks information flow through a circuit’s logic gates. Tortuga Logic – a UC San Diego startup tied to this research – offers a set of related commercial products.  Full Story

UC San Diego, SDSU to Roll Out Research Platform to Improve Hearing-Aid Technologies

Engineers from UC San Diego, including Patrick Mercier from the Center for Wearable Sensors, and audiologists from SDSU have set out an ambitious timetable for delivering two new electronic platforms to dramatically improve and accelerate research on better hearing aids. Full Story

Nanobowls offer a way to magnetically deliver drugs in the body

Imagine a device that could transport drugs to any diseased site in the body with the help of a small magnet. Engineers at UC San Diego have taken a step toward that goal by developing nano-sized vessels, called nanobowls, that could be filled with drug molecules and controlled with magnets for guided delivery to specific tissues and organs, including cancer tissue, small organs such as the pancreas and hard to access areas like the brain. Full Story

Flexible wearable electronic skin patch offers new way to monitor alcohol levels

Engineers at UC San Diego have developed a flexible wearable sensor that can accurately measure a person’s blood alcohol level from sweat and transmit the data wirelessly to a laptop, smartphone or other mobile device. The device can be worn on the skin and could be used by doctors and police officers for continuous, non-invasive and real-time monitoring of blood alcohol content. Full Story

UC San Diego Inventions Gain $6-Million Venture-Capital Backing

“MouthSense” and “SmartFoam” are two inventions by UC San Diego engineers that have attracted funding from NextWave Venture Partners. MouthSense is a salivary diagnostic sensor that can be worn in the mouth or used externally for continuous non-invasive real-time monitoring of saliva biomarkers, such as lactate, cortisol and uric acid – a marker related to diabetes and gout. SmartFoam is an intelligent, ultra-compliant composite foam that could be used in wearable biomedical sensors. Full Story

Curbing the HIV Epidemic: UC San Diego Students Design Low-Cost HIV Viral Load Monitoring System for Tijuana, Mexico

Two teams from UC San Diego’s Engineering World Health (EWH) student organization and Global TIES program are combining forces this summer to bring a low-cost device they created to monitor viral load in HIV patients to a clinical setting in Tijuana, Mexico for testing.  Full Story

UC San Diego Students Fabricate Device to Protect Seniors from a Fall

Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older killing more than 400,000 people each year. A team of engineering undergraduates at the Jacobs School is working to address the situation thanks to AirSave, an impact protection system they designed. Full Story

From Engineer to Change Maker: Somayeh Imani

Somayeh Imani found her niche in circuit design of wearable sensors – and it opened her eyes to the world of startups. “There is so much opportunity in the field of wearables to commercialize technology,” said Imani, who is a graduate student in the Energy-Efficient Microsystem lab of Patrick Mercier, the Co-Director of the Center for Wearable Sensors at UC San Diego. Full Story

Bioengineering: Research landmarks

The faculty of the UC San Diego bioengineering department boast a number of achievements in a wide range of fields, gravitating around diagnostic tools and treatment and prevention, genomics, and regenerative medicine.  Full Story

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

Engineers at UC San Diego have developed the first flexible wearable device capable of monitoring both biochemical and electric signals in the human body. The Chem-Phys patch records electrocardiogram (EKG) heart signals and tracks levels of lactate, a biochemical that is a marker of physical effort, in real time. The device can be worn on the chest and communicates wirelessly with a smartphone, smart watch or laptop.  Full Story

UC San Diego to Participate in White House's National Microbiome Initiative

On May 13, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) announced a new National Microbiome Initiative, a coordinated effort to better understand microbiomes and to develop tools to protect and restore healthy microbiome function. UC San Diego is a leader in microbiome science. The Jacobs School of Engineering runs the Center for Microbiome Innovation.  Full Story

The frontier of wearable sensors discussed at summit

Scores of industry leaders and researchers turned out to participate in the Jacobs School's wearable sensors summit run by its Center for Wearable Sensors. Full Story

Lipomi Lab is Stretching the Limits of Wearable Devices

UC San Diego NanoEngineering professor Darren Lipomi is stretching the limits of wearable devices for a wide range of health- and wellness- monitoring applications and beyond. Lipomi is a key member of both the Center for Wearable Sensors and the Sustainable Power and Energy Center. Full Story

New therapy could treat poor blood circulation caused by peripheral artery disease

Bioengineers and physicians at UC San Diego have developed a potential new therapy for critical limb ischemia, a condition that causes extremely poor circulation in the limbs and leads to an estimated 230,000 amputations every year in North America and Europe alone to prevent the spread of infection and tissue death. The new therapy could prevent or limit amputations for a condition that affects more than 27 million people and is a manifestation of advanced peripheral arterial disease.  Full Story

Vaginal Microbes Can be Partially Restored to C-Section Babies

In a small pilot study, UC San Diego and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai researchers determined that a simple swab to transfer vaginal microbes from a mother to her C-section-delivered newborn can alter the baby's microbial makeup (microbiome) in a way that more closely resembles the microbiome of a vaginally delivered baby.  Full Story

Brain monitoring takes a leap out of the lab

Bioengineers and cognitive scientists have developed the first portable, 64-channel wearable brain activity monitoring system that’s comparable to state-of-the-art equipment found in research laboratories. The researchers are working toward a world where neuroimaging systems work with mobile sensors and smart phones to track brain states throughout the day and augment the brain’s capabilities. Full Story