Volume 5, Issue 3, March 28, 2018
UCLA Institute for Digital Research and Education
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Flu Vaccine Research Aims to Improve Effectiveness

Flu virus particles
A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help lower the number of Americans hospitalized during future flu seasons. Dr. Ren Sun, a professor molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and IDRE’s Hoffman2 sponsor, used leading-edge genomics to identify and eliminate the virus’s defense mechanisms, enabling them to develop a vaccine “candidate.”

More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014–15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help lower that figure for future flu seasons. 

The scientists, including Dr. Ren Sun, a professor molecular and medical pharmacology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine and IDRE’s Hoffman2 sponsor, used leading-edge genomics to identify and eliminate the virus’s defense mechanisms, enabling them to develop a vaccine “candidate” — meaning that it must still undergo evaluation and approval by the FDA — that in animals has been proven to be safe and highly effective against influenza.

In the study, which was published in the journal Science, the engineered influenza virus induced strong immune responses in animals. While further research will be needed, the UCLA scientists are hopeful that their approach could lead to a new, more effective vaccine that can be taken as a nasal spray at home, rather than as an injection by a health professional. Read more.

IDRE-related Lectures, Seminars & Colloquia

CEE 200 Sec 1 Seminar: Advanced Sensing and Modeling for Infrastructure

Monday, April 2
12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
4275 Boelter Hall 

Abstract: With the aging infrastructure in the developed countries and the massive construction of new infrastructure in the developing countries, infrastructure performance is of great concerns on nations’ sustainability. Monitoring and modeling the performance of various infrastructure systems are critical but challenging tasks. This seminar will present an overview of Bentley’s research within the context of infrastructure asset performance modeling, elaborate on our endeavor in developing computational intelligent methods for facilitating monitoring/field testing, extracting information from large datasets, inverse modeling for adequately representing an infrastructure system, and also the use of the calibrated model for performance evaluation and anomaly identification. The needs and opportunities will also be discussed for future innovative research in infrastructure performance modeling. In particular, the seminar will cover the topics including smart monitoring, intelligent data analytics and advanced modeling for building, bridges and water systems, advanced structural health monitoring and modeling by remote vision sensor, and big 3D data and classification for semantic 3D modeling.

Speaker Bio: Zheng Yi Wu, Ph.D., F. EWRI, is Bentley Fellow with more 25 years of experience. Since 2007, Dr. Wu has been managing the applied research projects for Bentley Systems in developing the computational intelligence with the emerging computation paradigms. Prior to joining Bentley through the acquisition of Hasted Methods in 2004, he had various positions of software development, engineering consulting and applied research at MWH Global in Pasadena CA, Sinclair Knight Merz in Sydney Australia, Sembawang Engineers and Constructors in Singapore, and Danish Hydraulic Institute in Copenhagen Denmark. Dr. Wu is an author of more than 160 technical papers, contributing author of three technical books, primary inventor of 15 patents (issued and pending), and also awardee of ACM, ASCE, AWWA and IWA. He holds bachelor and master degrees in Civil and Structural Engineering from Guizhou University in China, master degree in Hydroinformatics from UNESCO-IHE Delft in the Netherlands, and Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Adelaide in Australia.

Click here for more information.

Mechanics, Manufacture, and Applications of Electronic Tattoos

Wednesday, April 4
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
38-138 Engineering VI

Abstract: Bio-tissues are soft, curvilinear and dynamic whereas wafer-based electronics are hard, planar, and rigid. Over the past decade, stretchable electronics involving stiff functional materials have emerged as a result of new structural designs and unique materials processes, where mechanics plays a pivotal role. Electronic tattoos (e-tattoos) represent a class of stretchable circuits, sensors, and stimulators that are ultrathin, ultrasoft, skin-conformable and deformable just like a temporary tattoo. This talk introduces a low-cost, dry and freeform “cut-and-paste” method to fabricate e-tattoos within minutes. This method has been proved to work for thin film metals, polymers, ceramics, as well as 2D materials. I will demonstrate the unique advantages of such disposable e-tattoos as a mobile and disposable platform for continuous vital sign monitoring, human-robot interface (HRI), as well as personalized therapeutics. Battery-free wireless e-tattoos based on NFC will be demonstrated. Bio-electronics integration such as conformability and suction-enabled reusable adhesives will be discussed

Speaker Bio: Professor Nanshu Lu received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2009 and spent two years as a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at UIUC. She joined University of Texas at Austin in 2011 and became tenured Associate Professor in 2017. Her research is on the mechanics, fabrication, and bio-integration of flexible and stretchable electronics. She has been named TR35 and has received NSF CAREER Award, multiple DOD Young Investigator Awards and 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.

Click here for more information. 

Active Optics for Space-Based Telescopes

Thursday, April 5
1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
38-138 Engineering IV

Abstract: The resolving power of space-based telescopes and other remote-sensing spacecraft is dictated by the wavelength of light in which it observes and the diameter of its collecting area (i.e. the primary mirror). To ensure that diffraction is the only limiting factor in performance, the entire optical path of the telescope must be accurate to a fraction of a wavelength of light – often 10s of nanometers over 10m class structures. This challenge is further complicated by the need to cryogenically cool the telescope such that thermal emissions from the spacecraft do not overwhelm the target signal. Active mirror technologies can overcome these challenges by providing in-situ wavefront correction capabilities to compensate for a variety of optical errors. In this talk I will provide an overview of the design, manufacturing, and testing of two lightweight active mirror technologies. The first is based on thin carbon fiber laminates along with a sequence of functional layers to produce a multi-layer structure. The second implements lightweight silicon carbide substrates with discrete stack actuators. Details on the performance of these structures as well as methods to control their shape will be provided. Considerations for operation at deep cryogenic temperatures will also be presented, including studies to develop zero-dissipation actuators. In the second part of this talk, I will detail the design of a custom wavefront sensor capable of estimating mirror figure errors to sub-nanometer precisions. The sensor, which implements the phase-contrast technique, modulates phase variations into intensity changes that can be readily sampled by a pupil-viewing detector. An overview of the system, numerical predictions on its precision limits, and preliminary experimental results will be presented.

Speaker Bio: Dr. John Steeves is a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the Advanced Deployable Structures Group. Prior to joining JPL, he completed his PhD at the California Institute of Technology under the guidance of Professor Sergio Pellegrino where he developed active composite mirrors for future space telescopes. His research interests are centered around the design, manufacturing, and testing of lightweight precision structures with a particular focus on those that have a high degree of integrated actuation capabilities. At JPL, Dr. Steeves is responsible for a number of technology development efforts related to future space-based telescopes including active mirrors, cryogenic actuators, advanced metrology systems, and starshades. He also serves as a design team member on several ongoing NASA proposals including the Origins Space Telescope (OST), the Habitable Exoplanet Imaging Mission (HabEx), and the Galaxy Evolution Probe (GEP).

Click here for more information. 

Medtech Panel: Digital Health and Wearable Technologies

Tuesday, April 10
5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Easton Technology Management Center, 110 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA

Hosted by Biotech Connection LA and Easton Technology Management Center at UCLA Anderson. Biotech Connection LA (BCLA) is teaming up with Easton Technology Management Center at UCLA to organize a Medtech Panel on digital health and wearable technology, at UCLA Anderson School of Business. The medtech sector has been rapidly evolving in the recent years with advancements in wearable and mobile technology. The program of the event will include short presentations by the panelists, a panel discussion and finally a networking mixer with booth exhibitions. Click here for more information. 

IDRE-related Workshops & Events

Quantitative Linear Algebra Workshop I: Expected Characteristics Polynomial Techniques and Applications

Monday, April 9 through Friday, April 13

Overview: A central goal of the program is to further connections between problems in infinite and finite dimensional linear algebra. This workshop will focus on the expected characteristic polynomials of finite-dimensional random matrices, which have played a crucial role in several recent results in this area (including the solution of the Kadison-Singer problem) and seem to offer a middle ground between the two settings. One one hand, their zeros turn out to be related to estimates in asymptotic random matrix theory, von Neumann algebras, and Free Probability theory; on the other hand, they can also be used to control the eigenvalues of the finite random matrices in question, which might come from another area such as spectral graph theory or frame theory.

In this workshop we will examine several occurrences of expected characteristic polynomials, with two goals: (1) to articulate a more rigorous understanding of the bridge between the infinite and the finite; and (2) to explore the consequences of recent applications of the method to concrete problems, and ideally uncover new applications.

Click here for more information.

Quantitative Linear Algebra Workshop II: Approximation Properties in Operator Algebras and Ergodic Theory

Monday, April 30 through Saturday, May 5

Overview: Modeling non-commutative phenomena in finite dimensional matrix algebras is a central theme of the program Quantitative Linear Algebra. This workshop will focus on a variety of concrete questions around this theme, coming from several directions, such as operator algebras, quantum information theory, geometric group theory, ergodic theory, etc. Topics will include:
  • Connes approximate embedding conjecture, predicting that any II1 factor can be approximated in moments (“simulated”) by matrix algebras, with its numerous equivalent formulations in C*-algebras, quantum information, logic, etc.
  • Related questions in combinatorial optimization, computational complexity and quantum games (e.g., the unitary matrix correlation problem).
  • The sofic group problem, on whether any group can be “simulated” by finite permutation groups, and whether all free actions of a sofic group are sofic.
  • Defining “good notions” of entropy for measure preserving actions of arbitrary groups (e.g., extending sofic entropy, etc).
  • The commuting square problem for bipartite graphs, arising in subfactor theory.
This workshop will include a poster session; a request for poster titles will be sent to registered participants in advance of the workshop.

Click here for more information.

Grant & Funding Opportunities

UCLA Office of Information Technology
Institute for Digital Research and Education
310-825-6635 |
5308 Math Sciences
Box 951557, Mail Code 155705
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1557

Barbara Woltag, Editor, IDRE Newsletter
310-794-5169 |

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