International Workshop Focuses on Biomedical Innovation

From left, Ariel Porat, president of Tel Aviv University; Noam Eliaz, dean of the engineering faculty at TAU; Magnus Egerstedt, dean of the Samueli School of Engineering; and Hal Stern UCI provost and executive vice chancellor, attend Bio-Convergence 2030, a two-day workshop on biomedical innovation, at the Steinhardt Museum at TAU, Israel.

Jan. 18, 2023 - Faculty, graduate students and researchers from the UCI Samueli School of Engineering and Tel Aviv University (TAU) came together Nov.14-15, 2022, in Tel Aviv, Israel, for Bio-Convergence 2030, a two-day workshop on biomedical innovation.

The international conference took place at the Steinhardt Museum at TAU. About 100 people attended the meetings, participating in presentations and discussions about developments and challenges in bio-convergence technologies. This is the seventh joint workshop hosted by the two institutions since they began the collaborative effort in 2012, and the first gathering after a pandemic-related hiatus.

Ten UCI faculty made the trip to participate in the workshop. Engineering deans Magnus Egerstedt, UCI, and Noam Eliaz, TAU, welcomed attendees on the first day, and TAU President Ariel Porat delivered opening remarks. Zoran Nenadic, Pierre Baldi and Daniel Chow participated in a session on artificial intelligence. Wendy Liu, Joshua Mauney and Herdeline Ann Ardoña discussed biomaterials, and Abraham Lee and Michelle Khine spoke about sensors for the future. The conference included a Leadership Panel involving academic, government and industry leaders who facilitated a discussion on disruptive technologies and current opportunities in the bio-convergence sector.

Because the conference specifically focused on human health, the Department of Biomedical Engineering played an important role. “The value of this meeting is that there is a lot of potential synergy between the two universities, two schools and two biomedical engineering departments,” said Nenadic, chair of UCI’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. “We plan to pursue these opportunities through research collaborations and future visits.”

The two-day gathering was sponsored by the Samueli Foundation, and Samueli Family Philanthropies President Lindsey Spindle gave welcoming remarks at a dinner at which UCI Provost Hal Stern was the keynote speaker.

TAU, Israel’s largest academic institution, shares close ties with UCI. Both universities excel in science and technology education, include expert faculty and resources in all fields and promote strong interdepartmental interaction. Previous workshops have focused on communications, innovative medical technologies, energy and water technologies, Internet of Things, nanomaterials and intelligent systems.

“What I appreciated is that Tel Aviv University is quite similar to UCI in terms of age, size and focus,” said Egerstedt. “As such, it is a very natural partner to us and it was clear from the high degree of interactions between our and their faculty members during the meeting that this partnership is really a win-win.”

– Lori Brandt