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BIOENGINEERING
FALL
QUARTERLY 2016

A LETTER FROM
THE DEPARTMENT CHAIR
Dear Friends of UCSD Bioengineering.
As the first Academic Quarter and the Year 2017 comes to an end, please share with
us highlights of academic life in the Department of Bioengineering.
The Department has now entered its next half-century, and you are seeing the fruits
of our extensive experience in a rapidly growing engineering discipline. UCSD
Bioengineering applies itself to ever more challenging problems in health, one may
call it Bioengineering Version 2.0. In this newsletter you meet some of our new
faculty recruits who, like the rest of the bioengineering faculty, work on important
and challenging disease and biological problems. You see the students in action.
Besides learning the foundations of Bioengineering, they have opportunities to see
first hand the human condition through the eyes of clinician engineers. The
students are hard at work in their courses, they are inventing and authoring patent
applications, and they look out into industry for opportunities, all of that while
making friendships and having fun.
The Department is extraordinarily proud of these highly talented students.
Warm wishes for the Holiday Season.
Geert W. Schmid-Schoenbein (also known as Dr. G.)
Professor and First Servant of the Department.
BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 2

Meet the BioEQ Team

Features

The Features section covers department awards and recognition, staff and
Curriculum changes, and department special events.

Interviews

The Interviews section chooses students and professors within the department to
cover.

Spotlight

The Spotlight section covers student nominations within the Bioengineering
Department and interviews the student(s) nominated.

Research

The Research Highlights section focuses on a single faculty member of the
Department, and examines recent and notable work done in his/her lab.

Copy Edit

The Copy section proofreads and edits the articles.

Production

The Production section designs the layout for the issue, and organizes the articles
inside.

Graphics

The Graphics Design section develops the designs for articles and miscellaneous
sections.

If you are interested in joining our staff, contact us at ucsd.bioe.news@gmail.com!
BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 3

The Bioengineering Quarterly (BioEQ) is a student run publication that covers the
people, the research and the events that occur within the UC San Diego Bioengineering
Department. For Fall 2017, we decided it’s time to focus on what comes next for this
dynamic field.

CONTENTS
5

Student Organizations

8

Features
Professional Evening with Industry 2017
Oculeve and the Future of Biotechnology

12

Interviews
Dr. Ester Kwon
Dr. Francisco Contijoch
Dr. Geert Schmid Schoenbein

18

Student Spotlight
Making Ties with Bioengineering
Taylor Williams: The Firefly that Illuminates Our World

21

Research Highlight
Ventrix - Karen Christman

24

Acknowledgements
BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 4

STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS
Biomedical Engineering Society
UCSD BMES started off the year strong with the
incredible honor of being awarded national BMES’ award
for outstanding chapter. Since then, we have become over
170 members strong, and seen incredible growth in our
mentorship program, which almost 150 of our members
are participating in. We have held professional
development events such as a research-oriented graduate
panel and info sessions with Genentech and Xenobia. In
addition, we organized a professional photoshoot, resume
workshop, and team building workshop. This quarter we
have also been busy planning twice as many events for
next quarter, so stay tuned to see what’s next!
Facebook: UCSD BMES
Website: http://bmes.ucsd.edu/
Email: bmes.ucsandiego@gmail.com
Rep: Alexandra Kasper

Bioengineering Graduate Society
We kicked off the year with our Annual Bear Hug,
welcoming new students and faculty to UC San Diego
Bioengineering. In November, we had our 23rd Annual
Breakfast with Industry with our keynote speaker, Dr. Jeff
Lievense, Senior Advisor to the CEO, Bioengineering &
Technology, at San Diego based Genomatica, a leader in
bioengineering of biobased process technologies for
chemical production. We had a handful of social events
including a Potato Chip hike, ping pong tournament, and
Halloween pumpkin carving.
Facebook: BEGS UCSD
Website: http://begs.ucsd.edu
Email: begs@ucsd.edu
Rep: Marty Spang

BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 5

Org Recap

Undergraduate Bioinformatics Club
In the past quarter the Undergraduate Bioinformatics
Club has systematically expanded its outreach,
membership, and initiatives towards the common goal of
strengthening UCSD's bioinformatics program. We have
conducted community service projects with Illumina,
planned technical workshops for interested students,
expanded our previous mentorship program, initiated
collaborations with a cryptocurrency platform, and much
more. It is our sincere pleasure and honor to conduct
these programs under the guidance of UC San Diego's
Bioengineering, Biology, and Computer Science
departments, and we look forward to continuing our
work.
Facebook Group: UBIC at UCSD
Website: http://ubic.ucsd.edu
Email: ubic.ucsd@gmail.com
Rep: Arya Kaul

Engineering World Health
The four new project teams started this year are working
tirelessly every week to develop new technology that
reduces the cost of medical devices and improves global
healthcare. They are addressing a variety of issues with
teams centered on a solar sterilization process, air filtration
device, 3D-printed prosthetic, and oxygen analyzer. Each
project team is learning extensively about the design
process and strengthening their technical skills as they
finalize plans and prepare their proposals for the EWH
National Design Competition.
Facebook: UCSD EWH
Website: http://ewh.ucsd.edu
Email: ewh@ucsd.edu
Rep: Noah Meurs
BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 6

Org Recap

International Society for
Pharmaceutical Engineering
During the first ISPE GBM of the year, students were
introduced to the opportunities that ISPE has to offer in terms of
internship and networking opportunities, as well as meet our
Executive Board for the year. Additionally, students had a
chance to hear about Genentech internship opportunists from a
campus ambassador who was present to introduce interested
students to opportunities. ISPE also co hosted a Genentech Info
session with BMES for students to learn more about the
company’s opportunities. Our end of the quarter event was our
Mentorship Program Opening Ceremony. Mentees had the
opportunity to meet all the mentors in the program through
networking activities in an informal setting after which a reveal
activity was conducted to establish mentor-mentee pairs. This
was followed by a networking session for students to get to
know their mentors and vice versa.
Facebook: ISPE
Email: ispe.ucsd@gmail.com
Website: http://ispeucsd.weebly.com/

SynBio
SynBio kept up consistent journal club meetings twice a week,
hosted a networking event with members to discuss project
proposals, and directed a workshop to teach the basic principles
of python and its applications to bioinformatics.
We also sent our third team to the 2017 iGEM international
synthetic biology competition this November! In trying to
establish the iGEM 2018 project, we've been reaching out to the
new Bioengineering professors to get them involved. We've
been working on establishing a DIY biology space - still a work
in progress, but we're in contact with CSI staff members who
work with social innovation projects. We plan to reach out to
alumni as we've heard there have been concerns that many
people
graduate
without
in-lab
experience.
Facebook:
Email:
Rep: Jenny Lee

SynBio
diybioucsd@gmail.com
BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 7

Features

Professional Evening with Industry 2017
Minghua Ong | Features Writer

Shattering Glass Ceilings in STEM
On October 30, 2017, the 9th Annual Professional
Evening with Industry (PEI) went without a hitch. The
annual event includes both a career fair and a pre-fair
dinner, which allows for
numerous networking
opportunities and is particularly impactful in challenging
traditional boundaries and increasing diversity

Thanks to the PEI Committee, this year was widely
successful, with an all-time high of 28 companies and
600+ students in attendance.

NSBE: National Society of Black Engineers

SWE: Society of Women Engineers

SHPE: Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

WIC: Women in Computing
oSTEM: Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics.





…realizing that they started out just like we
did was very motivating. It really shows that
the most successful people can start out on
the same level that you do, and that you can
be successful like them if you work hard and
take every chance you're given.”
—Safa Raffo (4th year CSE major)

Dinner was an intimate affair. Exclusively open to
IDEA Scholars and members of the diversity
organizations, this sit-down portion consisted of
diversity organization introductions, social interaction
time, and two key-note speakers.



“[they] want to see you succeed and
are always willing to offer a helping
hand in reaching your goals and
dreams”
– Amy Hu (SWE VP External)

It was a great honor for me to return to
UCSD and represent Northrop Grumman...
and it’s amazing to see how much the
school has grown since then, both in size
and in reputation.”
—Larry Stullich (Director of
Engineering, Northrop Grumman Mission
Systems, UCSD Alumnus ‘96)

BIOE QUARTERLY F17 | 8

Features
Each company is pre-assigned to a table, and students
chose a potential future employer to dine with, the perfect
chance to establish a personal connection. At my own
table, I watched 4th year MechE student, Maris Doherty,
instantly connect with the CIA Representatives over a
recent conference. Unlike any ordinary career fair, this
dinner enables a deeper network, and it’s true what they
say: a little bit goes a long way.

By focusing on diversity and equity, PEI is one step closer
towards eliminating the imbalance in STEM.
Underrepresented students are given the chance to walk
through a door previously shut to them.

DESPITE significant leaps towards minimizing the
demographic gap in STEM, the discrepancy still exists.
Across professions, there often lacks a truly representative
workforce. Outdated stigmas deter many individuals from
ever pursuing professions in STEM, and those that do
choose these pathways may often lack support for them to
truly flourish. That is why events like PEI are so
important: they cater to historically disadvantaged and
underrepresented students in order to even the playing
field.





we look forward to hosting PEI 2018
again next year and continuing to
bridge the divide between the
student, the professional, and the
community!”
–Kayla Ortiz (oSTEM President)

Special thanks to the PEI Committee, the IDEA
Engineering Center, and Photographer Albert
Peralta-Garcia.

This event is so important to me because
we are putting this event on for minorities
and people underrepresented. It helps
them reach their goal
–Yosira Hernandez (SHPE VP External)

BIOE QUARTERLY F17| 9


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