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Thailand Prepares to Train Its Bioengineering Faculty at UCSD

The Jacobs School's Department of Bioengineering will begin training graduate students from Thailand this fall under an agreement between UCSD, the government of Thailand, and Prince of Songkla University (PSU) in Thailand . The five Thai students admitted to the new graduate fellowship program in bioengineering at UCSD will return after five years of study to bioengineering faculty positions at PSU.

The agreement between UCSD and Thailand is another manifestation of the Jacobs School 's strong commitment to international educational collaborations. For example, Jacobs School faculty members collaborate with dozens of colleagues in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North and South America . In addition, 412 of the Jacobs School 's 1,111 graduate students are from China , India , Taiwan , South Korea , and 51 other countries.

The newest fellowship program involves a Pacific Rim country that historically has placed few students in graduate schools at UCSD and other UC campuses. Vitoon Leelamanit, a physician, professor at PSU and president of the Thai Bio-Medical Engineering Society, met with UCSD bioengineering professor Andrew McCulloch to create the framework of the program, which was then recommended by Leelamanit and McCulloch to their respective universities. Thailand has agreed to pay the educational expenses of five students accepted into the bioengineering program at UCSD.

The six-year agreement also calls for Thai undergraduates to participate in summer research projects at the Jacobs School's Department of Bioengineering, and for UCSD undergraduates, including engineering students, to work on collaborative research projects in Thailand.

"This new fellowship program with Thailand is a wonderful learning opportunity for some of that country's brightest students, and it also will provide California bioengineering students with life-altering experiences abroad," says McCulloch. "In a global economy, and certainly in an international scientific and technological environment, this is really an asset to the participants of both countries."

The UCSD student component of the Thailand program will be offered under the umbrella of the Pacific Rim Undergraduate Research Experiences (PRIME) program, which was launched in 2004 to allow UCSD undergraduates with an interest in using cyber infrastructure to do hands-on research in international settings. Sources of funding to pay for travel and living expenses of UCSD students hoping to study in Thailand have not been identified.