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NEWS RELEASE

March 06, 2003

Media Contact:
   Troy Anderson, tdanderson@ucsd.edu, 858-822-3075

TWO JACOBS SCHOOL PROFESSORS RECEIVE SLOAN FELLOWSHIPS

Jacobs School bioengineering assistant professor Jeff Hasty and computer science and engineering assistant professor Daniele Micciancio have received the prestigious Sloan Research Fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The awards are intended to encourage scientists in the early stages of their careers who are deemed likely to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.

Jeff Hasty (left) is leading the way in engineering synthetic gene networks in order to gain insight into the general modules of gene regulation. These modules include subnetworks that act as switches or oscillators, as well as networks that communicate across a population of cells. The work provides a framework for predicting and evaluating basic gene regulatory motifs that govern protein production at the genomic level. Hasty's long-term goal is to build synthetic genetic switches or oscillators which could be inserted into a patient's cells to tightly regulate the expression of a desired protein, or even to cause an undesirable cell to self-destruct. Hasty joined the Jacobs School’s bioengineering department in 2002 and previously served as a research professor in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Boston University. He is a 2003 recipient of the NSF Career Award.

Daniele Miccioancio (right) is an expert in algorithms for cryptography. In particular, he is a leader in the development of lattice-based primitives, a scheme in which messages can be encoded as points on a lattice, or multi-dimensional grid. Researchers can enhance the "complexity" (computational difficulty) of cracking the scheme simply by adding extra dimensions. Micciancio is working on many other topics in the area of cryptography and computer security, including forward-security (an enhanced notion of security that takes into account theft of digital keys used to sign a message), zero-knowledge protocols (a general tool for securing various kinds of interactive applications), and formal methods for computer security—the development of tools and techniques to make the design and validation of cryptographic protocols a more manageable task.

Micciancio came to UCSD in 1999. He is a 2001 recipient of an NSF Career Award, and 2001 Hellman Fellow, and author of the book "Complexity of Lattice Problems: a cryptographic perspective" (Kluwer, 2002).

Three other UCSD faculty — Pamela Reinagel of neuroscience, and Michael Fogler and Douglas Smith of Physics — have also received Sloan Research Fellowships. This year, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation gave a total of 117 awards to researchers at 50 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Twenty-eight former Sloan Fellows have received Nobel prizes.

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