Engineering the Life Sciences Focus Theme of the Seventh Annual Industry Research Symposium

Nationally acknowledged academic experts and industry leaders discussed disruptive technologies and transforming the life sciences


The Henry Samueli School of Engineering hosted its seventh annual “California: Prosperity Through Technology” Industry Research Symposium on May 19, 2008, themed “Disruptive Technologies for the 21st Century:  Engineering the Life Sciences.”  More than 200 people attended this dynamic event, developed to create an interactive forum in which nationally recognized academic visionaries and industry leaders addressed and discussed technological innovations that will transform the life sciences.

Event sessions included topics such as next generation gene sequencing, stem cell advances, microfluidics, tissue engineering, surgical techniques, and telemedicine. 

The one-day symposium was held at the Arnold and MabelBeckmanCenter of the National Academies, in Irvine, Calif., and was supported by 32 sponsors from leading companies across numerous technology-driven industries.

Session speakers included:

Peter J. Donovan, Ph.D.
Professor, Biological Chemistry and Developmental and Cell Biology
Co-Director, Sue and BillGrossStemCellResearchCenter
of Biological Sciences
UC Irvine

Gregory R.D. Evans, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Professor, Surgery and Biomedical Engineering
Chief, Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Institute
The HenrySamueliSchool of Engineering
UC Irvine

Lisa A. Flanagan, Ph.D.
Assistant Researcher, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
School of Medicine
UC Irvine

Robin H. Liu, Ph.D.
Director, Device Technology
Osmetech Molecular Diagnostics

Andrew J. Putnam, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
UC Irvine

Stanton J. Rowe
Corporate Vice President, Advanced Technology
Edwards Lifesciences Corporation

Axel Scherer, Ph.D.
Bernard A. Neches Professor of Electrical Engineering, Applied Physics, and Physics
Director, Kavli Nanoscience Institute
California Institute of Technology

Barbara J. Wold, Ph.D.
Professor, Molecular Biology
Director, Beckman Institute
California Institute of Technology

“It was inspiring to be part of an event that focused on emerging technologies that will drastically change the world around us and challenge the status quo, especially in the life sciences.  For our attendees to have the opportunity to learn from so many talented and bright experts, and participate in discussions and collaborate with nationally respected leaders in their fields, was a remarkable experience,” said Nicolaos G. Alexopoulos, dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering.

Symposium participants also had the unique opportunity to listen to a prominent keynote speaker during the event, Richard M. Satava, M.D., F.A.C.S., professor of surgery at the University of Washington and senior science advisor for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, who gave the symposium keynote presentation.

Dr. Satava’s theme, “Skating to the Puck: Anticipating New Technologies and Products That Will Replace the Old as a Result of the Healthcare Revolution,” sparked a lively presentation focused on obsolescence in the healthcare industry and the numerous innovative and “disruptive” technologies emerging in today’s world.

He discussed issues such as, “No longer will the scalpel be ‘King of the Operating Room,’ as the robots begin to reign,” as well as many advanced energy-directed technologies used for diagnosing patients, such as photonics and advanced ultrasounds, which may replace traditional modalities, such as taking blood samples or X-rays.

Following Monday’s symposium, the Samueli School also hosted its annual dinner and awards banquet at the Engineering Plaza on campus, in honor of selected outstanding faculty members and students, as well as the “Engineering the Future,” award recipients. 

UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake, M.D., gave the evening’s keynote address, and spoke to guests about how engineering research conducted at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering is making a significant impact - to both the local community and state – by developing, expanding, and advancing technologies that improve the quality of life.

Chancellor Drake also welcomed and introduced a special banquet guest, the incoming dean, Rafael L. Bras, Sc.D., to the UC Irvine community, and expressed sincere appreciation and thanks to Dr. Alexopoulos, who has served as dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering from 1997 – 2008. 

Dr. Bras, a prominent MIT hydrologist and hydroclimatologist, will become the new engineering dean effective Sept. 1, 2008.

Three guests of honor were acknowledged with prestigious awards; James V. Mazzo, chairman, president, and CEO of Advanced Medical Optics, Inc., and Michael A. Mussallem, chairman and CEO of Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, were both presented with the “Engineering the Future” award.  Janice M. Holstein, former assistant dean of planning and administration for The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, was given the “Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in Engineering Administration” award.

“It was a pleasure to recognize these three outstanding leaders who have all had a profound impact on The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UC Irvine, and their surrounding communities.  I am humbled by their numerous accomplishments and contributions made to education, students, research, and engineering science,” said Dr. Alexopoulos.

Lisa A. Flanagan, Ph.D., assistant researcher of pathology and laboratory medicine in the UC Irvine School of Medicine discusses stem cell research.

Andrew J. Putnam, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemical engineering and materials science in The HenrySamueliSchool of Engineering at UC Irvine explains his research laboratory's work in tissue engineering.

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