2017 Siebel Scholars

2017 Siebel Scholars (L-R, top:) Matthew Bakalar, Paul Bramsen, Benjamin Epstein, Wesley Hsieh (Bottom:) Elena Kassianidou, Caroline Le Floch, Sylvia Natividad-Diaz, Kevin Yamauchi

Eight from Berkeley named 2017 Siebel Scholars

Eight Berkeley engineers are among 92 in the Siebel Scholars Foundation’s 2017 class. The honor recognizes exceptional graduate students in business, computer science, bioengineering and energy science and comes with an award of $35,000.

The Siebel Scholars program promotes leadership, academic achievement and “the collaborative search for solutions to the world’s most critical issues.” In the past decade, the Siebel Scholars Foundation has helped support the early careers of more than 1,100 graduate students.

“We are proud of our Berkeley students and really grateful that they are acknowledged for their hard work by the Siebel Scholars Foundation,” said S. Shankar Sastry, dean and Carlson professor of engineering at Berkeley. “This prestigious recognition will help prepare some of our brightest minds for future leadership roles. We look forward to the innovative contributions they will make to engineering, healthcare and energy.”

Meet the 2017 class of Siebel Scholars at Berkeley:

  • Matthew Bakalar finds methods to overcome immune evasion by tumor cells. He has also designed and deployed an automated cell phone-based microscope for quantification of the tropical Loa loa parasite. 
  • Paul Bramsen builds data structures. In collaboration with two other undergraduates, he created a networked file system that uses the Global Data Plane as its underlying storage substrate.
  • Benjamin Epstein applies gene-editing technology in conjunction with viral gene therapy approaches to the treatment of retinal degenerative diseases, such as retinitis pigmentosa.
  • Wesley Hsieh leverages human intuition and demonstrations to improve robot learning.
  • Elena Kassianidou investigates how cell geometry, actin network architecture and myosin-related pathways contribute to tension generation of stress fibers.
  • Caroline Le Floch uses computational methods to control the charging of large fleets of electric vehicles in a power distribution grid. Her interests lie at the intersection of applied mathematics, renewable energy integration and behavioral science.
  • Sylvia Natividad-Diaz is designing minimally invasive therapy to help regenerate cardiac tissue after a heart attack.
  • Kevin Yamauchi crafts microfluidic tools for single-cell protein analysis to help biologists unravel protein signaling networks that drive such processes as cancer metastasis.

For more information on the awardees and about the Siebel Scholars Foundation, see the foundation's news release.