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UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering

Two Jacobs School Engineers Named AAAS Fellows

San Diego, Calif., Nov. 29, 2013 -- Two faculty members at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, better known as AAAS. Ratnesh Lal, in the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Bioengineering, and Victor Vianu, in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, join 700 other AAAS members who have been elected fellows—including 10 at UC San Diego—for their efforts to advance science and its applications. The new fellows will be officially recognized Feb. 16, 2013 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. The fellows also will be announced Nov. 30 in the journal Science.

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Ratnesh Lal, a mechanical engineer and bioengineer, has been named a AAAS Fellow this year. 

Lal is an authority on biomedical applications of atomic force microscopy (AFM) and nanoscale imaging of complex biological systems. Research in his lab involves the development of nanotechnologies for, and multi-scale biophysical and system biology studies of, channels and receptors. His research on amyloid ion channel paradigm provides a new perspective on the mechanism underlying protein misfolding diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, ALS, diabetes and many systemic diseases. His research on the structure-function of hemichannels that connect cells to their surroundings and to each other provides a new mechanism for cell growth as well as mechanics and new pathways underlying toxicity of oxidative stress and other environmental agents, including smoking. His lab also designs nanosensors and devices for biomedical diagnostics and therapeutics.

Lal is on advisory board of several entrepreneurial companies, including RC Nano LLC and Be Green Packaging LLC. He also is an associate editor of the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine and serves on the NIH Nano study section. He holds several patents based upon AFM cantilever arrays, microfluidics, optoelectronics and nanotubes for medical diagnostics and medical nanodevices, nanoscale fluid behavior and new TIRF, FRET and related optical microscopy.

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Victor Vianu, a Jacobs School computer scientist, has been named a AAAS Fellow this year. 

An expert in database theory and computational logic, Vianu has contributed to the foundations of modern database languages.  He devised an abstract model of databases as a "relational machine," leading to a better understanding of the computational complexity of data processing. He has shown that automata theory provides a valuable tool for analyzing modern query languages on data in XML form, the Web standard for data exchange. XML and the Web increasingly form Vianu's focus.

He is developing type-checking and verification algorithms to guarantee the robustness of Web applications centered around data; designing databases able to respond to queries with only partial information available; and exploring how useful information can be extracted from streams of XML wrapped data. Vianu has also worked on spatial databases, showing how queries can take advantage of annotations about the topology of spatial data. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of the ACM and an editor ofACM Transactions on Computational Logic, and has co-authored the standard graduate textbook on database theory.

Other UC San Diego Fellows are:

·         Dimitri Basov (Physics) - For distinguished contributions to spectroscopic studies of new materials.

·         Jeffrey Esko (Cellular and Molecular Medicine) - For pioneering contributions to the understanding of the chemistry, biochemistry and cell biology of cell-surface glycans.

·         Benjamin Grinstein (Physics) - For distinguished contributions to the field of particle physics, leading to accurate tests of theory and the precise determination of fundamental constants of nature.

·         David Kleinfeld (Physics) - For distinguished contributions in quantitative neuroscience, including active sensation in the vibrissa sensorimotor system, blood flow dynamics within cortical vasculature, and novel analysis and instrumentation.

·         Aneesh Manohar (Physics) - For distinguished contributions to the field of elementary particle physics, particularly for the development of effective field theory methods and their application to quantum field theory.

·         John Newsam (Chemistry and Biochemistry) - For distinguished contributions to the structural science of materials of industrial significance, especially zeolites, and to science entrepreneurship.

·         Katerina Semendeferi (Anthropology) - For distinguished contributions to scientific knowledge about comparative primate neuroanatomy, particularly for pioneering research on the prefrontal substrates of advanced cognitive abilities in humans.

·         Arthur Wolfe (Physics) - For distinguished contributions to the fields of astronomy and cosmology, particularly for predicting aniostropies in the cosmic microwave background and discovering Damped Lyman Alpha Systems.

More information about all the UC San Diego AAAS Fellows can be found here.

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