10/08/09 — After 32 years at other universities, Matthew Tirrell joined Berkeley in July, and from his new Stanley Hall office, he ruminates on the job he's just taken, that of Department of Bioengineering chair. "A chair's creativity is needed when faculty members want help getting their ideas enacted -- that's enabling. And sometimes a chair gets a good idea of his or her own and has a chance to lead. Managing is fine, but I like enabling and leading best. I'd like to help this department define what it could be."
08/02/08 — High axial myopia, or extreme nearsightedness, is one of the world's leading causes of blindness. The condition stems from weakness in the sclera, the eyeball's white outer wall, which causes it to deform even under normal pressure within the eyeball. James Su, a graduate student researcher co-advised by MSE and Bioengineering Professor Kevin Healy and School of Optometry Professor Christine Wildsoet, is developing a promising new treatment for the condition, based on a synthetic biomaterial known as hydrogel.
06/02/08 — Nanofibers that create a miniature scaffold for growing cells could soon help patients regenerate severed nerves in their arms and legs, says Shyam Patel, chief scientific officer for a Fremont startup called NanoNerve. Patel is developing a synthetic graft intended to guide neurons across gaps and restore lost connections in nerves serving limbs and other parts of the peripheral nervous system. In the United States alone, an estimated 800,000 people a year experience peripheral nerve injuries that require surgery and that can lead to a loss of sensation and movement. The new device-a flexible conduit that resembles a slender white straw-could open a new treatment option.
02/02/08 — A team of Cal undergraduates has demonstrated how genetically modified E. coli bacteria might be converted into a cheap-and safe-blood substitute. The engineered product, called “Bactoblood,” addresses a global shortage of human blood for transfusions, particularly in developing countries and emergency situations, the young developers say.
01/02/08 — As the biotech industry has grown, Professors Lee Schruben, Rob Leachman and Phil Kaminsky of Berkeley's Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) have watched the young field bring lifesaving new drugs to market. They have also seen that their potential benefit to society isn't always realized when these drugs are priced out of reach or when stocks run short. Recognizing that some good IEOR principles could address these problems, they organized the first NSF symposium on Biomanufacturing and Logistics Systems in 2006.