BGI, UC Davis to host international genomics conference this Fall

The cutting-edge role of genomics — large-scale sequencing and analysis of DNA — in medicine, agriculture and science will be the topics of  the Second International Conference on Genomics in the Americas, to be held in Sacramento, Sept. 12-13. The conference is being organized by BGI, the world’s largest DNA-sequencing institute and UC Davis.

More information and registration available here.

“The conference will present a powerful platform to share research in basic and applied genomics and advance new approaches to sequencing and bioinformatics,” write Huanming (Henry) Yang, chairman of BGI and Harris Lewin, vice chancellor for research at UC Davis, in announcing the conference.

Great new apps on the move: Mileage and music

Jason Moore and Tai Stillwater, two researchers at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, have developed a neat little smartphone app that monitors fuel economy as you drive. They have already been awarded $2,000 in phase one of the White House Apps for Vehicles Challenge and are in the running for $34,000 in phase two. Vote for Drive5 here and help them to their goal!

Test for hormone-disrupting chemicals gets global seal of approval

A test for hormone-disrupting pollutants, originally developed at the University of California, Davis, has been approved as an international standard by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development as well as by the U.S. government.

“Endocrine disruptors” are chemicals that interfere with the action of hormones on cells. There has been growing concern that such chemicals, from a wide variety of products, might have an impact on both human health and the environment.

Hormones such as estrogen act on cells by triggering a receptor on the cell surface, setting off a chain of events inside the cell. The new test uses a cell line, BG1Luc4e2, which produces a glowing firefly protein called luciferase when exposed to estrogens or similar chemicals.

Power-saving startup Ennetix graduates from engineering technology incubator

(Contributed by Paul Dorn)

Ennetix, a startup firm based on research conducted at UC Davis, has graduated from the university’s tech incubator, the Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC). Ennetix is the second firm to exit the ETTC, following the May 2012 launch of Dysonics, an audio technology company that received $750,000 in private investment after less than a year of ETTC residency.

Founded by UC Davis engineering distinguished professor Biswanath Mukherjee, Ennetix commercializes university research on network topology optimization and adaptation. Ennetix, formerly named Putah Green Systems, currently offers a software application called “EnergyPlus,” which optimizes energy use in IT networks and connected systems.

UC Davis magazine: Entrepreneurs, guns, domes

The Spring issue of UC Davis Magazine is on its way out to alumni and parents, and available online at the magazine’s website and in a new online “zmag” format.

The cover story of this issue, by Clifton Parker, is on campus entrepreneurship and efforts to promote innovation — how scholars and researchers are bridging the gap between campus and the marketplace with collaborations, patents and startup companies.

Clifton also reports on a new lease of life for Baggins End, the student cooperative housing also known as “The Domes.” The funky housing had been set to close until a new agreement was signed with the Solar Community Housing Association to manage the neighborhood.

Learn about med-tech commercialization at July 21 forum

If you are interested in learning about medical technology commercialization opportunities, or would like to network with experienced med-tech inventors, investors and entrepreneurs, plan to attend a special forum on Thursday, July 21, 2011 on the Sacramento campus of UC Davis. The forum, part of UC Davis’ Medical Technology Commercialization Clinic program, will include presentations by an angel investor and several med-tech teams that have successfully developed commercialization plans for their innovative technologies and concepts. The event will offer ample networking and discussion opportunities, as well as encourage each attendee to engage, learn and be challenged.

iMobot modular robot technology licensed

UC Davis has signed an exclusive license agreement with Barobo, Inc. of West Sacramento, Calif., to commercialize the modular robot technology called “iMobot” – an Intelligent Modular Robot for applications in research, education, industry, search and rescue, military operation, and law enforcement. The license agreement covers the design of iMobot, giving it unique mobility developed by the Integration Engineering Laboratory at UC Davis.

Commercial robots are usually built for specific applications. Modular robots are different kinds of robots. Similar to Lego, iMobot is designed as a building block. However, unlike Lego, a single iMobot module is a fully functional robot with four controllable degrees of freedom. iMobot can roll, crawl, and creep.iMobot in camera platform mode

UC Davis to partner with BGI, world’s biggest genome institute

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Jian Wang, director of BGI (formerly the Beijing Genome Institute) signed a formal agreement to establish the BGI@UC Davis Partnership during a meeting in Shenzhen, one of China’s Special Economic Zones.

Under the agreement, UC Davis faculty and students will gain access to the capabilities and expertise of one of the world’s premier genomics and bioinformatics companies, while BGI researchers will be able to access the university’s diverse resources and expertise in education and research, especially in biology, human and veterinary medicine, agriculture and the environment.

UC Davis in new Intel Visual Computing Center

UC Davis will partner with seven other universities in a new effort, sponsored by Intel Corporation, to make computer-generated images ever more realistic. The Intel Science and Technology Center for Visual Computing is lead by Stanford University and will be supported by Intel with $2.5 million a year for up to five years.

John Owens, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at UC Davis, will be ‘theme leader’ for graphics systems — one of four themes that the center will work on.

Video: Owens discusses his role in the new Center

Research@Intel blog post on the new Center (with videos)

‘Father of the Plug-in Hybrid’ gets a Chevy Volt

UC Davis engineering professor Andy Frank has been called ‘The Father of the Plug-in Hybrid,’ and yesterday he picked up one of the first to be sold. The Chevrolet Andy Frank with his new VoltVolt made by General Motors has both an electric motor and a gasoline engine, and it’s EPA sticker says it can get up to 93 mpg in city driving. That’s because the Volt can drive for up to 30 miles — enough for most in-town commuting — on electric power alone, and can recharge its batteries either from the gasoline engine or from a 110 volt socket.