Wonder how research happening at UC San Diego translates into real-world benefits? Find out from faculty experts at the annual Founders Symposium. These short talks from six extraordinary minds will illuminate the collaborative approach used to understand and address complex issues within the broad research themes of understanding and protecting the planet, and enriching human life and society. The talks will be followed by an interactive, moderated Q&A session.
Before the symposium, join us for a reception at The Loft, featuring undergraduate social innovators who are addressing issues such as poverty, health, education and the environment.
Chasing Waves: Measuring Skyscraper-High Waves Beneath the Sea and Their Importance for Submarines, Coastal Ecosystems and Climate
“Internal waves,” large waves that break underwater, can displace the ocean’s layers, mixing cold, nutrient-rich water below with the waters above. Alford will introduce these waves, describe the technology used to observe them and discuss their three primary impacts: interfering with submarine navigation, divers and offshore structures; fueling biological production and redistributing algae and larvae by transporting ocean nutrients into shallow coastal regions; and predicting climate change in conjunction with computer simulations of the ocean.
Alumnus Matthew Alford received his doctorate from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. A seagoing physical oceanographer, Alford leads Wavechasers, a group of scientists and engineers who travel the world building and deploying high-tech robotic systems to detect and measure skyscraper-sized internal gravity waves as they move across the world’s oceans. Learning about these deep waves and flows is critical to understanding the Earth’s climate. Alford has more than 60 refereed publications in top-tier journals and has led several ambitious experiments funded by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation.
China: Consumption, CO2, and Climate Change
China’s carbon-dioxide emissions now greatly exceed those of the United States and are growing at a rapid rate. Any path forward that leads to averting some of the worst climate-change impacts relies on understanding what can be done in China and other rapidly industrializing countries. Carson will highlight work done by UC San Diego economists to forecast Chinese carbon-dioxide emissions and examine tools that China can use to reduce future emissions.
Richard Carson received his doctorate in resource economics from UC Berkeley. He has served as principal investigator on several major projects, including the benefit assessment for the U.S. Clean Water Act, the determination of optimal levels of water quality in California cities, and the economic damage assessment for the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Carson’s recent work has focused on forecasting Chinese carbon dioxide emissions, quantifying the benefits of major changes to British water-quality regulations, examining the labor market impacts of widespread arsenic contamination of shallow tube wells in rural Bangladesh, looking at the role incentives play in the purchase of new electric vehicles in California, and preserving a large tropical rainforest in Malaysia.
Turbulence: Chicken Soup for the Coral-Reef Soul
Reef-building corals are generally located in low-nutrient environments. Their growth and health are strongly influenced by ocean turbulence, which facilitates the exchange of nutrients and larvae between the coastal region and the open ocean. Changes in climate also affect how contaminants are flushed from the coast and can have important implications for wave-induced storm surge as well as tsunami inundation. Focusing on coral reefs, Pawlak will discuss the role of hydrodynamic processes, including internal waves and turbulence, in coastal environments.
Alumnus Eugene Pawlak earned his doctorate in the Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences (now Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering). His research in environmental hydrodynamics focuses on mixing and dispersion in coastal and estuarine systems. Pawlak aims to understand the fundamental processes that lead to the exchange between the coast and the open ocean by focusing on resolving the role of topography and roughness in the context of tropical reef environments.
Pervasive Air-Quality Monitoring via the Crowd
Recent revelations about the impact of air pollution on our health are troubling, yet air pollution and the risks it poses to us are largely invisible because federally mandated monitoring stations are sparse. Griswold will explain the CitiSense system, developed at UC San Diego, which leverages the proliferation of smartphones and the advent of cheap, compact sensors to enable real-time monitoring of air quality. By sharing all users’ data through the cloud, CitiSense can create a regional air-quality map and predict air pollution for those not carrying a sensor.
William Griswold received his doctorate in computer science from the University of Washington. His research interests include software engineering and ubiquitous computing, specializing in the construction of large, complex software systems; software design; aspect-oriented software development; mobile applications; and educational technology. Griswold is a pioneer in the area of software refactoring. He built ActiveCampus, one of the early mobile location-aware systems, and his CitiSense project has been investigating technologies for low-cost universal real-time air-quality sensing.
Personalized Cancer Therapy: Promise and Challenge
Genomics is a disruptive technology that enables personalized cancer therapy, while suggesting that old paradigms of clinical research and practice cannot work and must be changed. Kurzrock will show how the impact of personalized cancer medicine is likely to be transformative—if the ethical, logistical, and technological challenges are addressed and overcome.
Razelle Kurzrock received her medical degree from the University of Toronto. She is best known for successfully creating and chairing the largest phase-one clinical trials department in the world while at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Her unique approach emphasizes a personalized strategy to optimize cancer treatment by using cutting-edge molecular profiling technologies to match patients with novel targeted therapies. Kurzrock has served as the principal investigator on more than 90 clinical trials, and has overseen more than 300 trials, mainly using novel targeted molecules, several of which have gone on to Food and Drug Administration approval.
Big Data: What It Means to You
Electronic health records from billions of doctor’s visits could help scientists learn what therapies work best for patients with specific profiles—if used in a way that preserves patient privacy. UC San Diego is at the forefront of the “learning health-care system” revolution, finding patterns in health-care and genomic data by using supercomputers and multidisciplinary teams of experts in medicine, informatics, computer science, statistics and engineering. Ohno-Machado will describe recent biomedical-informatics advancements and ways in which UC San Diego will lead the path to better health.
Lucila Ohno-Machado received her medical degree from the University of Sao Paulo and her doctoral degree in medical information sciences and computer science from Stanford University. Her research interests include biomedical informatics, predictive modeling and biomedical data analytics. Ohno-Machado is the lead investigator on the Biomedical and healthCAre Data Discovery and Indexing Ecosystem (BioCADDIE) project, a three-year National Institutes of Health-funded project to help modernize and transform how researchers share, use, find and cite biomedical datasets. Prior to her current position, she was a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Sciences and Technology.