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Technology Institute at UC San Diego Appoints New Directors to Oversee Research in Homeland Security and Medical Informatics

William Hodgkiss
William Hodgkiss -- Click here for hi-res photo

Leslie Lenert
Leslie Lenert, M.D. 
San Diego, CA, June 2, 2004 -- To accommodate rapid growth in the size and scope of its operations on the University of California, San Diego campus, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology [Cal-(IT)²] is reinforcing its executive ranks with the appointment of two associate directors. Professors William Hodgkiss and Leslie Lenert will report to UCSD division director Ramesh Rao, and will oversee the institute's new initiatives in homeland security and medical informatics.

"With construction of Cal-(IT)²'s new building nearing completion later this year, UCSD is embarking on  multi-disciplinary research in two vitally important areas that hold great promise for our  society," said Richard Attiyeh, Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies. "The appointment of these associate directors will give the institute the bench strength it needs to expand research into areas that are being transformed by telecommunications and information technology."

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor William Hodgkiss will assume responsibility for all homeland security-related research activities in the institute's UCSD division. Hodgkiss is deputy director of SIO's Marine Physical Laboratory, and is an adjunct professor in the Jacobs School of Engineering. He will also continue in his current role as leader of Cal-(IT)²'s Environment and Civil Infrastructure layer at UCSD.

Hodgkiss is an expert in data telemetry, sensor array signal processing, and environmental parameter estimation. He will coordinate Cal-(IT)²'s homeland security research in close association with Mark Thiemens, dean of physical sciences, who coordinates all homeland-security research initiatives at UCSD.

"The institute can play a vital role in supporting initiatives of the university as well as the San Diego Regional Network for Homeland Security," said Hodgkiss. "With its multi-disciplinary contingent of staff scientists and engineers as well as faculty and graduate students, Cal-(IT)² is in a unique position to develop and deploy new security technologies much faster than might be possible in a traditional university setting."

Leslie Lenert, M.D., is a professor in the UCSD School of Medicine and chief of the Laboratory for the Study of Patients' Preferences in the VA San Diego Healthcare System. In addition to his medical background, Lenert received an M.S. from Stanford University in biomedical informatics. He is also the principal investigator on the School of Medicine's joint project with the VA and Cal-(IT)² called WIISARD (Wireless Internet Information System for Medical Response in Disasters). With over $4 million in funding from NIH's National Library of Medicine, WIISARD is one of several projects at the intersection of medical science, wireless communications and information technology that constitute medical informatics. In his new capacity as Associate Director, Lenert will oversee all institute activities in this emerging field.

"With the new national emphasis on health information infrastructure," said Lenert, "it is more important that ever for the institute and the university to devote attention to wireless Internet solutions that enhance the lives of patients and the efficiency and safety of healthcare delivery systems."

Both associate directors will maintain their current teaching loads and research affiliations, but plan to devote up to one-third of their time to Cal-(IT)² activities.

"The institute is uniquely positioned to produce important advances in both homeland security and medical informatics, and we expect that these activities will attract substantial support from federal agencies as well as the private sector," said Rao, who holds the QUALCOMM Endowed Chair in Telecommunications and Information Technology in the Jacobs School of Engineering. "Professors Lenert and Hodgkiss are extremely talented academics and administrators, and both are very involved in ongoing research under the aegis of Cal-(IT)². I look forward to working with and supporting them as they shepherd current as well as new projects to fruition."

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