05/04/11 — Humans and mice have more in common than just an affinity for cheese. The two mammals share about 99 percent of their genes, making mice a useful model for studying human health and disease. There are, however, stark differences between their livers, the organ that removes metabolized drugs from the blood. When it comes to drug trials, this can create problems, as testing on mice often fails to accurately show a drug's toxicity to humans. But Alice A. Chen (B.S'03 BioE) has devised a technology that could result in faster, safer and more efficient drug development. She has created a humanized mouse with a tissue-engineered human liver, allowing researchers to predict how a new drug could affect humans at a much earlier point in the development process.
05/02/11 The Daily Californian — UC Berkeley professor of environmental engineering Kara Nelson has been awarded a five-year $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for her unconventional research in sanitation and human waste management. Nelson said she will use the grant money to treat human waste at the point where it is being produced, in an effort to eliminate the amount of contact humans have with fecal pathogens.
04/27/11 Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center — The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center will give a public briefing presenting the preliminary results of a U.S. research team's reconnaissance trip to Japan to survey damage from the 9.0 magnitude Tohoku earthquake and ensuing tsunami of March 11, 2011. The briefing, to be held on April 28, is jointly organized by the PEER, GEER, and EERI's Learning from Earthquakes Program.
04/08/11 — When disaster strikes, all of us feel compelled to respond. Japan's devastating earthquake on March 11 called forth our faculty and students to help in ways only an engineer can.
04/08/11 — Slated to open in late 2013, the new eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge is meant to do what the old one didn't: withstand a major Bay Area earthquake, sustain only limited damage and quickly admit emergency vehicles and traffic. It must deliver a performance to match its “lifeline” designation. It's also a lifeline for Marwan Nader (M.S'89, Ph.D'92 CE)-because he's bet his career on it. Read part 2 of our story and watch a slideshow of the new Bay Bridge construction.
04/08/11 — Take a big concrete wall, a few rolls of duct tape and what do you get? A networking opportunity that bonded Berkeley engineering students in more ways than one. To the cheers, applause and overall amusement of scores of onlookers, nine teams of undergraduates affixed one of their peers to a decidedly nonadhesive wall outside the Bechtel Engineering Center with yards of sticky, silvery stuff. The occasion was a first-ever Duct Tape Competition, one of a series of science and socially themed events celebrating UC Berkeley's EWeek.
04/08/11 — Two new research ventures at Berkeley Engineering have boundary-shattering visions for the future of computing. Jointly unveiled at the recent Berkeley EECS Annual Research Symposium (BEARS), these labs have distinct missions. The Swarm Lab will advance work in tiny wireless sensors capable of linking our homes, cities and bodies to the cyber world. The AMPLab will focus on solutions to the growing challenge of storing, accessing and analyzing a deluge of data that has begun overwhelming today's technology.
04/07/11 Berkeleyside — Six student teams, made up largely of Cal post-grads, who pitched their start-up concepts to a panel of veteran entrepreneurs and potential sponsors were finalists in Cal's Venture Lab program, part of the university's Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology founded by UC Berkeley engineering Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu. The event, called "Entrepreneurship in the Global Marketplace," promised winners either a $5,000 grant from Alibaba.com or a $10,000 Acceleration Award from the Plug and Play Tech Center.
03/23/11 PRLog — Arts et Métiers ParisTech has finalized an exchange agreement for graduate students and researchers with UC Berkeley. The agreement will enable the exchange of graduate students, researchers, and faculty in science, technology, research and engineering fields between the institutions. "Arts et Métiers students are renowned among our faculties for their scientific excellence and their strong motivation. This is an exciting opportunity to increase their presence among us," said David Dornfeld, Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UC Berkeley.
03/19/11 Los Angeles Times — U.S. scientists and sensors are poised to detect radioactive fallout from Japan's nuclear accident, but aside from a 'minuscule' amount at a Sacramento station, they've found none. The nuclear engineering department at UC Berkeley set up its own independent monitoring Wednesday on top of the campus' Etcheverry Hall. The system looks for gamma rays with energy "signatures" corresponding to radioactive isotopes, said Kai Vetter, a professor in the department. As of Friday morning, Vetter said, they hadn't seen any evidence of suspicious radiation.
03/18/11 Bloomberg — U.S. nuclear power plants that store thousands of metric tons of spent atomic fuel pose risks of a crisis like the one unfolding in Japan, where crews are battling to prevent a meltdown of stored fuel, nuclear safety experts said. Nuclear plants weren't designed with the intention of storing their spent fuel permanently, said Bozidar Stojadinovic, a professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley. "The plants have always been designed with the idea that the fuel will be taken care of," Stojadinovic said. "The government promised to do that."
Radioactive particles arriving in the Bay Area, but pose no risk, say UC scientists and health officials
03/18/11 San Jose Mercury News — While public health officials downplayed fears that a plume from Japan's crippled nuclear reactors was descending on California, scientists at UC Berkeley declared they were already detecting radioactive particles from 5,000 miles across the ocean. The differing accounts illustrated the confusion on the fallout from Japan's crisis, but scientists and public health experts agreed that whatever radiation may drift to California and the West Coast will be too minuscule to pose any health risks. "We see evidence of fission particles -- iodine, cesium, barium and krypton, a whole dog's breakfast of radiation," said Ed Morse, professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley, whose students have set up a monitor on the rooftop of the campus's Etcheverry Building.
03/18/11 Los Angeles Times — As a crack is discovered in a Fukushima spent fuel pool, officials confront two crucial tasks: preventing a runaway chain reaction into the nuclear fuel and maintaining a massive flow of seawater through the damaged pools and reactor vessels. Edward Morse and Per Peterson of UC Berkeley's Department of Nuclear Engineering offer analysis.
03/17/11 California Watch — As Californians closely watch the catastrophe at Japan's nuclear plants, many engineers are also studying the failure of a dam in Japan's northeast Fukushima prefecture. The extent of the damage is still unknown. "One dam failure is too many," said Nicholas Sitar, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley.
03/16/11 NOLA — The latest detailed analysis of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico offers no new theories on what caused the deepwater-well blowout in April, but it does bring a fresh take on how the oil industry and government can make drilling safer. Bob Bea, the UC Berkeley engineering professor who achieved renown for his independent analysis of the levee failures after Hurricane Katrina, says top oil companies need to put their heads together to develop best practices and equipment for drilling in the most dangerous conditions.
03/15/11 Bloomberg — UC Berkeley nuclear engineering professor Don Olander said the damage to nuclear plants in Japan after an earthquake is different from the disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986. "This is a reactor which has two containments...If that is intact, if the melt has not gone through the bottom, then most of the fission products will stay inside. Chernobyl did not have that protection. Chernobyl was open and the entire core was destroyed."
03/15/11 KQED Forum — As Japan struggles to contain the worst nuclear emergency since Chernobyl, Michael Krasny talks with experts including Per Peterson, chair of the Nuclear Engineering Department at UC Berkeley, about the potential fallout from the nuclear reactors in Fukushima.
03/14/11 San Francisco Chronicle — As Japanese nuclear engineers struggled to contain partial meltdowns of two major nuclear power reactors in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami, experts in the United States said Sunday that a similar disaster would be highly unlikely here. Fifty-four power reactors regularly supply electricity throughout Japan, and the crisis represents "an incredibly rare worst-case disaster," said Jasmina Vujic, a professor of nuclear engineering at UC Berkeley and a specialist in the design of reactor cores and radiation protection.
03/12/11 ABC News — States of emergency are in effect at five nuclear power plants in Japan. Evacuations are underway as the concern grows about the possibility of a nuclear meltdown. Berkeley nuclear engineers say the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, which is now shut down, is about 40 years old. "This increase of radioactivity in the control room makes me very nervous," said UC Berkeley nuclear engineering professor Joonhong Ahn, who was born in Japan.
03/11/11 National Public Radio — The Japanese have invested heavily in infrastructure and buildings designed to withstand quakes. To better understand the structural precautions Japan had in place during Friday's 9.0 earthquake and whether the U.S. employs similar technology and building codes, host Robert Siegel talks with Stephen Mahin, professor of structural engineering at UC Berkeley and director of the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center.