A new study led by graduate program faculty members Todd McDevitt and Bruce Conklin helps explain how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, inflicts damage on heart cells. The team’s findings, shared publicly on bioRxiv, show the virus’s unexpected effects on the structure of heart cells in the lab, as well as in heart tissue from COVID-19 patients.
UCSF Health’s Medical Center was rated #8 nationally, #3 in California and #1 in the San Francisco metro area. The hospital ranked among the top 10 hospitals nationwide in 10 specialty areas: cancer; diabetes and endocrinology; geriatrics; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; ophthalmology; psychiatry; pulmonology; rheumatology; and urology. In addition, UCSF Medical Center was noted as the Best in the West in diabetes, neurology and neurosurgery, rheumatology and urology.
Congratulations to recent BioE PhD Julea Vlassakis, now a postdoctoral scholar in Amy Herr’s lab, one of eight US scholars receiving a 2020 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface. Scholars receive $500,000 over five years to bridge advanced postdoctoral training and the first three years of faculty service.
“I am incredibly honored to be selected for this award and am grateful for the support of many within the BioE and UC Berkeley research communities, especially Dr. Herr,” says Vlassakis. The award recognizes Dr. Vlassakis’ research in single-cell proteomics in the Herr lab, and provides funding towards Vlassakis’ long-term goals to unravel roles of protein complexes in pediatric cancers with novel micro and nano-scale biochemical and biophysical instrumentation.
UC Berkeley EECS Professor Rikky Muller, member of the graduate program, is one of three scholars to win 2020 McKnight Technological Innovations in Neuroscience Awards, recognizing projects with the ability to fundamentally change the way neuroscience research is conducted. Muller is designing and building a high-speed holographic projector that can project 3D light into the brain at neural speeds, many times faster than current projectors, and so manipulate thousands of optogenetically-controlled neurons with high precision.
Professor Jennifer Doudna and BioE PhD student Connor Tsuchida are among the team that discovered CasΦ (Cas-phi) proteins, which have advantages over current genome-editing tools when they must be delivered into cells to manipulate crop genes or cure human disease.
Bioengineering graduate student Gabriela Lomeli interviewed five scientists who have pivoted their research during COVID-19 to write decontamination guidelines for personal protective equipment.
Seth Shipman, graduate group faculty member and Assistant Professor of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences at UCSF, is one of 22 early-career researchers selected this year to join the Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. A rare honor, Pew Scholars receive 4 years of funding to invest in foundational research to pursue scientific breakthroughs and advance human health
PhD alumnus Stanley Qi, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford, developed a technique called Prophylactic Antiviral CRISPR or PAC-MAN. Working with Lawrence Berkeley Lab, his team has adapted the technique, which uses enzyme Cas13, a virus killer, and a strand of guide RNA, to commands Cas13 to destroy specific nucleotide sequences in the coronavirus’s genome.
Congratulations to our students awarded 2020-21 UCSF Graduate Division Fellowships!
Jake Bieber – Achievement Award for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarship
Hecong Qin – Fletcher Jones Fellowship
Alonso Torres – NIGMS Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) Fellowship
Graduate program faculty member Todd McDevitt and collaborators at the Gladstone Institute are investigating how COVID-19 might damage the heart by asking two questions: How susceptible are the cells in the heart to infection by the virus, and what pharmaceuticals could be used to lessen damage to the heart or prevent the virus from infecting heart cells altogether?
Alumnus Richard Novak, now a senior staff engineer at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, helped design and rush to production a more economical nasal swab for COVID-19 testing. Swabs are in short supply and thousands of their new design should be in clinical hands within weeks.
Congratulations to incoming and current PhD students who have been awarded new NSF Graduate Research Fellowships!
Congratulations to current PhD students Joann Gu, Melod Mehdipour, and Hannah Schmitz; and incoming doctoral students Ilina Bhaya-Grossman, Jessica Herrera, Nicholas Higgins, Claire Hilburger, Kevin Joslin, and Lucas Waldburger.
BioE graduate students & alumni organized a donation drive of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers at UCSF. Anjali Gopal and Julea Vlassakis collected over 60 masks and protective gear in less than two days.
With the help of photolithography and programmable DNA, researchers have created a new technique that can rapidly print two-dimensional arrays of cells and proteins that mimic a wide variety of cellular environments in the body. The work was led by recent BioE PhD Olivia Scheideler with graduate group faculty Lydia Sohn and David Schaffer, plus BioE PhD Andrew Bremer and current BioE student Roberto Falcón-Banchs, among others.
UC Berkeley professor and BioE Graduate Program member Na Ji and collaborators have built a microscope that can image the brain of an alert mouse 1,000 times a second, recording for the first time the passage of millisecond electrical pulses through neurons.
US News and World Report has ranked the UC Berkeley-UCSF Graduate Program in Bioengineering FOURTH among bioengineering graduate programs in the US. UC Berkeley remains the #3 engineering school, and UCSF the #6 overall medical school.
Alumna Elizabeth Schneider, PhD 2011, shares her experience catching, and surviving, COVID-19.
BioE PhD alumna Kate Hammond Rosenbluth is featured in the San Francisco Business Times series, “Women Who Lead in Life Sciences”. “Cala Health aims to restore functionality to essential tremor patients with wearables” explains her company’s successful launch of a revolutionary therapeutic device.
Tejal Desai, PhD alumna and chair of the UCSF Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences, was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.
Bioengineering faculty member Todd McDevitt appears on The Stem Cell Podcast to discuss his recent work using machine learning in stem cell bioengineering.
BioE startup Novome Biotechnologies, founded by BioE PhDs Will DeLoache, Zachary Russ, and Weston Whitaker, has secured $33 million in a Series A financing. Novome is focused on treating chronic diseases with the first platform for controlled and robust colonization of the human gut with engineered therapeutic bacteria.
Professor Todd McDevitt, with colleagues at Gladstone Institutes and Boston University, have used a computational model to learn how to coax stem cells into forming new arrangements, including those that might eventually be useful in generating personalized organs.
BioE graduate student Anjali Gopal of Prof Amy Herr’s lab took 3rd place this weekend at the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies SciX meeting.
Tejal Desai, alumna and Chair of UCSF Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, joined the 2019 class of fellows of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering (IAMBE) for her in research in microparticle and nanoparticle engineering.