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Jacobs School News

Scientists sequence complete genome of E. coli Strain responsible for food poisoning 8/29/14
Scientists sequence complete genome of E. coli Strain responsible for food poisoning
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have produced the first complete genome sequencing of a strain of E. coli that is a common cause of outbreaks of food poisoning in the United States. Although the E. coli strain EDL933 was first isolated in the 1980s, it gained national attention in 1993 when it was linked to an outbreak of food poisoning from Jack-in-the-Box restaurants in the western United States. Their paper published online Aug. 14 in the journal Genome Announcements reports the full, complete sequence with no gaps. Their analysis includes so-called jumping genes that can move around the same genome, sometimes causing damage to individual genes or enabling antibiotic resistance.
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Researchers find security flaws in backscatter X-ray scanners 8/19/14
Researchers find security flaws in backscatter X-ray scanners
A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University have discovered several security vulnerabilities in full-body backscatter X-ray scanners deployed to U.S. airports between 2009 and 2013. In laboratory tests, the team was able to successfully conceal firearms and plastic explosive simulants from the Rapiscan Secure 1000 scanner.  The team was also able to modify the scanner operating software so it presents an “all-clear” image to the operator even when contraband was detected.  
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COSMOS program celebrates 10th anniversary 8/19/14
COSMOS program celebrates 10th anniversary
What have you accomplished over the past four weeks? Made your own biodiesel? Miniaturized a pollution particle counter? Created an app for the color-blind? No? Then you’re probably not in the COSMOS program. The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) is a four-week residential summer program designed for talented and motivated high school students – students so motivated they’re not afraid to dream big, technologically speaking, to take on some of the world’s most difficult problems. The program celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
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Matrix Stiffness is an Essential Tool in Stem Cell Differentiation 8/11/14
Matrix Stiffness is an Essential Tool in Stem Cell Differentiation
Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have proven that when it comes to guiding stem cells into a specific cell type, the stiffness of the extracellular matrix used to culture them really does matter. The research team, led by bioengineering professor Adam Engler, also found that a protein binding the stem cell to the hydrogel is not a factor in the differentiation of the stem cell as previously suggested. The protein layer is merely an adhesive, the team reported Aug. 10 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Materials.
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Designing Better Materials for the 21st Century 8/7/14
Designing Better Materials for the 21st Century
The U.S. Defense Department recently named Jian Luo, professor of nanoengineering and materials science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego as one of 10 new National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows (NSSEFF). The award provides up to $3 million over five years to develop a new materials design tool called interfacial phase diagrams.
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A taste of engineering for incoming freshmen 8/6/14
A taste of engineering for incoming freshmen
The four-day Summer PrEP program is organized by the IDEA Student Center at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. In all, 51 students took part this year. They met with faculty members who gave them advice about academics and with students and alums who gave them advice on student life and life after graduation. Students also took part in many fun activities. In fall, they will become IDEA Scholars, who received mentoring from Jacobs School students, alumni and faculty and are involved in undergraduate research, among other things. 
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Learn to code while playing Minecraft 8/5/14
Learn to code while playing Minecraft
A team of computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego, has developed a software package that allows users to learn how to program while playing the popular video game Minecraft. LearntoMod, which allows users to make a wide range of modifications to Minecraft, is available for pre-order for $30 here. The software will be delivered in October.
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UC San Diego Professor Awarded $300K for Mobile Health Lab-on-Chip Technology 8/4/14
UC San Diego Professor Awarded $300K for Mobile Health Lab-on-Chip Technology
University of California, San Diego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Shaya Fainman has been awarded $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop a portable device with a disposable cartridge “lab-on-chip” (CLOC). The device will use bodily fluids to help people determine if they have a viral or bacterial infection or are experiencing an allergic reaction.
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