News Release

2023 Jacobs School Highlights

December 19, 2023--It was another busy year at the Jacobs School of Engineering, as our students, faculty, staff, and industry and community partners worked together to pursue engineering and computer science for the public good. From research breakthroughs in robotics, AI and healthcare, to launching new centers for microelectronics and computing, here are just a few highlights from 2023.

Computer scientists at the Jacobs School founded the $50.5 million UC San Diego-led Processing with Intelligent Storage and Memory center (PRISM) to make computing orders of magnitude faster and more efficient. With a $35 million grant from the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) plus $15.5 million from a group of 10 university partners, the center will focus on novel memory and storage devices and circuits; next generation architectures; systems and software; and grand challenge applications in drug discovery and data analysis. More on PRISM:

Researchers at the Jacobs School are key contributors to the Department of Defense-funded Microelectronics Commons project. This coalition of research and industry organizations will work to accelerate the development and manufacturing of microelectronics in the United States, and translate the sophisticated materials and devices developed in academic labs to fabrication. Their work will also focus on 5G/6G technologies. Learn more:

We built momentum for making California the fusion state, hosting a California Fusion Workshop to organize and share research efforts. In addition, our Center for Matter Under Extreme Conditions received $12.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to maintain one of nine national centers for excellence. Awarded every five years, the funds support advancing one of the most complex areas of science while educating and training the next generation of high-energy density scientists. Learn more:

This 10-story building was put to the test on our earthquake shake table. 

This year, we celebrated 25 years as the Jacobs School of Engineering! In 1998, a generous gift from Irwin and Joan Jacobs put the relatively new school of engineering at UC San Diego on a trajectory to become the perennial top-10 powerhouse of engineering and computer science education, research, and technology transfer that it is today. In the 25 years since the school was named the Irwin and Joan Jacobs School of Engineering in honor of that gift, nearly 42,000 students have graduated with bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in engineering and computer science. More about our 25th anniversary celebration:

In 2023, we welcomed 15 new faculty to the Jacobs School. This brings us to more than 160 new faculty over the last 10 years! Meet our new faculty members:

The Jacobs School continued to work to make our community, and engineering academia, a more diverse and welcoming place through programs including NextProf Pathfinder, ENLACE, an Intel-funded summer research program, and our IDEA Engineering Student Center, to name just a few. 

Our Institute for the Global Entrepreneur enabled the success of several startups, including Limber Prosthetics and Orthotics, Persperion, and Ateios Systems. IGE also went global in 2023, teaching Japanese biotech companies about the startup market in the U.S. through the BeyondJAPAN program

Jacobs School of Engineering faculty and students pioneered many impactful research breakthroughs in 2023. Mechanical engineers developed a handheld, non-invasive device that can detect biomarkers for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. The biosensor can also transmit the results wirelessly to a laptop or smartphone.

Computer scientists found a way to give old smartphones a second life by repurposing the phone processors – a big departure from consumer recycling that would leave a notably smaller carbon footprint. This would help tackle the waste from 1.5 billion smart phones thrown away annually.

Bioengineers discovered that the UV nail polish drying devices used to cure gel manicures may pose more of a public health concern than previously thought.

Bioengineers discovered that ultraviolet nail polish drying devices used to cure gel manicures may pose more of a public health concern than previously thought. The researchers studied these UV light-emitting devices, and found that their use leads to cell death and cancer-causing mutations in human cells.

Nanoengineers developed the first fully integrated wearable ultrasound system for deep-tissue monitoring, including for subjects on the go. It facilitates potentially life-saving cardiovascular monitoring and marks a major breakthrough for one of the world’s leading wearable ultrasound labs. 

Structural engineers tested a 10-story tall building on our earthquake simulator, the only outdoor shake table in the world. The cross-laminated timber building is the tallest full-scale building ever to be constructed and tested on an earthquake simulator. It underwent simulations of two of the most destructive earthquakes in recent history: the first test was the equivalent of the 6.7 magnitude 1994 Northridge earthquake, the second the equivalent of the 7.7 magnitude Chi Chi earthquake that took place in Taiwan in 1999.

Researchers used artificial intelligence to make wildfires easier to spot and speed up response times. The ALERTCalifornia network of cameras and sensors has become an essential tool for emergency responders, and was recognized by TIME as one of the best inventions of 2023. 

Electrical engineers developed a new model that trains four-legged robots to see more clearly in 3D. The advance enabled a robot to autonomously cross challenging terrain with ease—including stairs, rocky ground and gap-filled paths—while clearing obstacles in its way.


Media Contacts

Katherine Connor
Jacobs School of Engineering