Because this is my final letter of the fall quarter,
and of the year 2005, I would like to take a moment to discuss
UCSD’s overall impact. A university should be judged by the
quality of its graduates, and the university’s collective
contribution to the world. From our innovative and
interdisciplinary scholarship to our active involvement in
world issues, UCSD has clearly constructed an even brighter
future by building on its most notable attributes.
Working with Our Neighbors
dedicated to working with other countries to seek answers to
global problems. In this spirit of global outreach, I recently
traveled to Mexico to unveil initiatives that will improve the
quality of life for citizens in both the United States and
announcement of the new UCSD-Mexico initiatives occurred at a
press conference in the Tijuana Cultural Center on November
30. Several prominent UCSD faculty and staff members, Mexican
business, cultural, and political leaders and university
rectors joined us for this important event. Under the title
“UCSD Partnership with Mexico,” the first four initiatives
Improving air quality in both nations by focusing on Baja-San
Diego region; • Building a technology corridor on both sides
of the U.S.-Mexico border;
• Improving prospects for all
members of Mexican society through innovative economic
policies (please see related interview with Economics
Professor Chris Woodruff.); and
understanding and identifying additional partnership programs,
beginning with a full-time UCSD representative in Mexico City.
first initiatives create a platform for future projects in
coming years, providing a dynamic environment on which to
build. They will bring together leaders from education,
business, government, non-profit organizations and society to
address issues that affect our health and welfare.
named a group of advisors – Founders – for the partnership.
The Founders, including Aaron Feldman, John Moores and Richard
Atkinson, have contributed the initial funds for each of the
Capitalizing on UCSD’s strength in coalition building,
the partnership with Mexico will produce vital collaboration,
interdisciplinary excellence, and innovations that will
benefit all of our citizens.
Extending Our International Reach
promising example of international collaboration at UCSD is
the recent announcement that the School of Medicine will work
with Egypt’s National Research Center in Cairo to help
children with inherited mental retardation.
a high rate of mental retardation and other inherited genetic
diseases. This new partnership aims to enable scientists in
the two countries to better understand the cause of these
inherited diseases, and improve the ability of the Egyptian
scientists to identify families at risk.
team is headed by Dr. Joseph Gleeson, Assistant Professor of
Neurosciences and Director of the Center for Cerebellar
Malformations. Professor Gleeson will work with Dr. Abdel
Hamid Abaza, head of Egypt’s General Organization of Teaching
Hospitals and Institutions.
Creative Collaborations Bring New Solutions
Interdisciplinary approaches bring more than one
academic discipline to bear on a particular problem. Through
these unusual collaborations, we often break new ground and
formulate new solutions.
UCSD is interdisciplinary scholarship more active than in the
field of nanotechnology, a field with applications to many
areas, including biology, healthcare, environmental science,
chemistry, and consumer electronics. One of the latest
newsmakers in interdisciplinary collaboration at UCSD involves
nanotechnology and cancer treatment, and a $20 million
initiative made possible by the National Cancer Institute
receive $3.9 million in the first year of the five-year
initiative to establish a Center for Cancer Nanotechnology
Excellence (CCNE). The UCSD center will use nanotechnology to
develop anti-cancer therapies that directly target tumor
cells, more accurate and faster diagnostics, and ways to track
down cancer cells that survive therapy.
named a total of seven university centers in the initiative.
The UCSD team includes engineers, chemists, and biologists who
will collaborate with physicians at the Rebecca and John
Moores UCSD Cancer Center, colleagues at the Burnham Institute
for Medical Research, and UC campuses at Irvine, Riverside,
and Santa Barbara.
for Excellence will bring the best minds in engineering, basic
and translational research, and clinical care together to
apply the power of nanotechnology to the improved treatment of
cancer, the second leading cause of death in our society
Collaborations Help UCSD to Respond to Natural
disaster strikes, people must work together. And when
Hurricane Katrina struck Louisiana this fall, UCSD built
collaborative, interdisciplinary connections to answer the
demands of the disaster. The University responded in many
different ways to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, but the
most recent effort involves a collaboration among various
disciplines to produce a Geographic Information System (GIS)
to assess toxic hazards from the hurricane.
University was awarded $760,000 from the National Institute of
Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to build the GIS. The
system links to the NIEHS Hurricane Katrina Information Website,
providing workers in the field and researchers with up-to-date
information on toxicant exposure and human health. The
supplemental grant was awarded by the NIEHS to the UCSD
Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP), directed by Robert
Turkey, professor of pharmacology, chemistry, and biochemistry
in the UCSD School of Medicine.
Bettering the World, One Idea at a Time
quarter has seen the development and deployment of many
innovative products and processes at UCSD. One of the more
heart-stopping examples was the simulation of the Jan.17, 1994
Northridge earthquake by UCSD engineers in an effort to test
new building designs.
largest shake table in the U.S. (25 ft. by 40 ft.) specially
designed by UCSD engineers for the project, a 275-ton,
seven-story building was subjected to mechanical shakes that
duplicated the ground motions recorded during the Northridge
earthquake. Such a full-scale test has never been possible
because of weight, space, and technical limitations of smaller
indoor shake tables.
building, also designed by UCSD engineers, was built with less
reinforced steel than usual, which could drastically cut
construction costs. But the innovative design would also
maintain a high degree of seismic safety, according to
computational analyses conducted by Professor Jose Restrepo, a
structural engineer at the Jacobs School of Engineering.
Mark A. Meyers let his boyhood curiosity of toucan beaks lead
him to an innovative discovery: the construction of the beaks
could be used to design lightweight, extremely strong
products. Meyers, a materials scientist and professor of
mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCSD’s Jacobs School
of Engineering, says makers of airplanes and automobiles may
benefit from the first-ever detailed engineering analysis of
toucan beaks conducted in his lab.
his graduate students report in a paper published on Dec. 1 in
Acta Materialia that the secret to the toucan beak’s
lightweight strength is an unusual bio-composite. The beak’s
structure acts as a high energy impact-absorption system,
which could save lives if translated into car panels.
Strong Numbers: UCSD Rankings Drive Ever-Upward
sign off for the year without a word about our great “report
cards”. I am proud to say that UCSD is doing better than ever
in national rankings! This fall has seen UCSD rise up the
scale in some rankings, as well as achieve ranking ‘firsts’
for the University. The newest additions to our accolades
include one from the Institute for Scientific Information,
which ranks UCSD the 9th most-cited institution in the
world, based on its published research in science and
the social sciences from 1995-2005. Another is from a study
published in the Nov./Dec. issue of Science Watch. The
study evaluated institutions based on papers published and
cited in the field of economics and business, and rated UCSD
as the 5th highest impact research institution in the
nation from 1995-2005.
closing, I want to thank you for your interest in UCSD. As you
can see, the University is using its current strengths as
stepping stones to future success. I wish you and your family
a healthy and happy holiday, and look forward to the
excitement and learning that the New Year will
With warm regards,
Marye Anne Fox