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Lifechips Courses


NSF Funded IGERT-Lifechips program at the University of California, Irvine has continued to offer the two graduate courses that both Lifechips students and UCI students can take. The courses are Technology for Life offered in Winter quarter and Technology of Life offered in Spring quarter. These courses are taught by leading faculty members, researchers, and scientists who come from backgrounds of Engineering, Physical Sciences, Biological Sciences, and Medicine.

The Technology for Life course in Winter quarter discussed engineering techniques including physics, chemistry, biology and micro/nano technology for enabling life sciences research in the areas of the major life sciences research efforts: chips for genomics/proteomics, cells, tissues/organs, and biomolecules. Students will learn the fundamentals of chip fabrication technology in the context of required biocompatibility, life-chip analysis and design, bio-system engineering in the micro/nano domain, and chip technology requirements for life science discovery.

The course was taught by nine different instructors as followed:
1) Professor G.P. Li from department of Electrical Engineering and computer Science with a lecture in IGERT-Lifechips: the union of life sciences and technology arts,
2) Professor Douglas Wallace from department of Molecular Medicine with a lecture in Bioengergetics in human evolution,
3) Professor Zuzanna Siwy from department of Physics and Astronomy with a lecture in Ionic transport through nanopore: from living cells to diodes and transistors,
4) Dr. Ed Nelson from School of Medicine with a lecture in Immunobiology and Lifechips,
5) Professor Ozdal Boyraz from department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a lecture in Real time imaging,
6) Professor Ken Shea from department of Chemistry with a lecture in Plastic antibodies recent advances in the development of synthetic receptors,
7) Professor Lisa Flanagan from Pathology with a lecture in Stem cells in the machine or how Engineering technologies aid Biology,
8) Professor Abe Lee from department of Biomedical Engineering with a lecture in On-chip microfluidic delivery of nanomedicine and his two graduate students, Andrew hatch and Javier Prieto, giving lectures in Microfluidic materials and Dialectric cell behavior: theory and applications,
9) Professor Dan Mercola from department of Pathology with a lecture in Evaluation of predictive signatures of prostate cancer.

The Technology of Life offered in Spring quarter is currently an ongoing course. The aim of this course is to discuss the complexities of biological problems and the solutions of living systems, illustrating the interplay between the different components of life, such as DNA, RNA, proteins, macromolecular complexes, signaling networks, cells, organs, and organ systems. Ideas for adoption of the nature’s strategies to modern micro/nano-engineering will also be covered. Through individual topics, students will learn fundamentals of biological systems with an emphasis on their analogues in engineering technology. Additionally, students will be exposed to experimental methods for exploring life systems, system engineering modeling of biology, and applications of life technology to designing life-chips.

Since this is an ongoing course, the instructors that have taught are as followed:
1) Professor G.P. Li from department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science with a lecture in IGERT-Lifechips: The union of life sciences and technology arts and Professor Eva Lee from department of Biological Chemistry with a lecture in Cancer genes and cancer stem cells,
2) Dr. John Longhurst from department of Medicine with two lectures in Role of Acupuncture in treating pain and cardiovascular disease and Acupuncture’s effects on cardiovascular function mechanistic studies,
3) Dr. Thorsten Ritz from department of Physics and Astronomy with a lecture in Design principles of a magnetic sensory system,
4) Professor Steven Gross from department of Developmental and Cell Biology and department of Physics with a lecture in Molecular motors: the ultimate nano-machines.

The upcoming lectures will be taught by other instructors such as Professor Bruce Blumberg from department of Developmental and Cell Biology, Dr. Yuncai Chen from department of Pediatrics, and Dr. Peter Donovan from department of Biological Chemistry.

Both of these courses offer students a number of lectures in so many different fields and research topics. Students become very engaged as they come to class every week expecting to learn something different. Also, for most students, it might be their first time of listening to a research projects that are not familiar to them. This pushes them to ask lots of questions and that helps make the class become an environment where they can openly discuss about the lecture topics.

Address Goals

The courses address discovery as the primary strategic goal and learning as the secondary goal because they offer the students the opportunities to explore the inter-and-multi disciplinary research that are being discussed through the lectures. They also learn about research methods, techniques, and necessary tools that can be applicable to their own research. Both Lifechips students and UCI graduate students express in their own paper assignments that these courses show them how researchers from completely different backgrounds can collaborate and work diligently on joint projects. Another important aspect of these courses is students learn to be creative and inventive in writing proposal or grant through their paper assignment of writing a thesis for a research topic of their choice. Lifechips program continues to plan and support these courses as they offer not only educational benefits but the visions of possibilities and development for research collaboration.