News 2009


November 2, 2009 

UCIrvine Feature CCBS Faculty Member Dr. Steve George - Matters of the Heart
Dr. Steven George, CCBS faculty member and founding director of the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, looks to advance technology for treating cardiovascular disease.

October 13, 2009 

CCBS Faculty Awarded $1.9 M Grant from the PRISM Program
UCI was awarded a five-year, 1.9 M grant from the PRISM (Proactive Recruitment in Introductory Science and Mathematics) program of the National Science Foundation in August 2009. The study was led by CCBS faculty Jack Xin (mathematics). along with co-PIs Hongkai Zhao (CCBS, mathematics), Sarah Eichhorn (mathematics), and Max Welling (information and computer science). The PRISM grant is the first major undergraduate education and research grant in the history of UCI mathematics department.

October 7, 2009 

CCBS Faculty Awarded $2M Grant from NIH
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a highly competitive $2M "Grand Opportunity" grant for two years to researchers from the Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS) at the University of California, Irvine.  The grant is for a multi-disciplinary study of feedback control in cancer cell lineages in solid tumors.

NIH Grand Opportunity grants support high impact ideas that lend themselves to short-term funding, and may lay the foundation for new fields of investigation. The UCI study, led by principal investigators Arthur Lander (CCBS, Developmental and Cell Biology) and John Lowengrub (CCBS, Math), and involving CCBS co-Investigators Eva Lee (Biological Chemistry), Natalia Komarova (Math), Max Welling (Computer Science), Dominik Wodarz (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), unifies three relatively new research directions that come from different disciplines.  The key ideas involve a new view of how cell lineages involving stem cells and their progeny are organized, based on engineering principles of feedback control; the cancer stem cell hypothesis, which acknowledges that cell lineage relationships continue to exist and matter within tumors; and advances in mathematics and computation that enable the application of high-throughput approaches to the analysis and testing of models.

The team of investigators hypothesize that the strategies that tissues use to control the number of cells in organs fail in predictable ways when cancer develops.  In particular, from clinically accessible data, such as tumor size, shape, heterogeneity and change over time in individual patients, they aim to develop and validate mathematical models that will predict tumor progression and response to therapy in a way that is more detailed and accurate than currently possible, effecting a leap forward in both personalized medicine and cancer care.

October 3, 2009

NAS declares a new biology for the 21st Century 
According to a new book from the National Academy, now more than ever, biology has the potential to contribute practical solutions to many of the major challenges confronting the United States and the world. A New Biology for the 21st Century recommends that a "New Biology" approach--one that depends on greater integration within biology, and closer collaboration with physical, computational, and earth scientists, mathematicians and engineers--be used to find solutions to four key societal needs: sustainable food production, ecosystem restoration, optimized biofuel production, and improvement in human health. The approach calls for a coordinated effort to leverage resources across the federal, private, and academic sectors to help meet challenges and improve the return on life science research in general.

August 31, 2009

Fellowship Applications to Attend NEMB 2010
Graduate students and postdocs interested in attending NEMB 2010 are invited to submit applications for funding on behalf of the NSF Summer Institute on Nanomechanics, Nanomaterials, and Micro/nanomanufacturing.

Applicants are eligible for full funding which will include: Attendee registration for the tutorial on NanoEngineered Therapeutics I & II Full Congress Fee allowing recipients full Congress access  For further information, please visit" Or contact:
Click here for NEMB 2010 Brochure 

July 9, 2009

CCBS Faculty Xiaohui Xie Receives NSF Career Award
The National Science Foundation has recently awarded Dr. Xiaohui Xie, a CCBS faculty from Dept. of Computer Science its prestigious CAREER Award. The CAREER award, one of NSF’s most prestigious and competitive awards for junior researchers, recognizes those who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. The five-year, $751,980 award will support Dr. Xie' research and educational efforts in bioinformatics and computational biology, an interdisciplinary research area that employs computational and mathematical tools to study biomedical problems. Congratulations! 

July 7, 2009

Finding Common Ground in Diverse Research
On July 6, 2009, CCBS and Calit2 co-sponsored a Workshop on Biological and Computing/Communi-cation Systems. About 50 computer scientists, engineers and biologists attended th event to discuss the commonalities in their fields, looking to develop shared principles of organization and control, and seeking potential collaborations.
Arthur Lander, Director of CCBS, told the group that systems biology has undergone a philosophical shift. Not only must biologists acknowledge the field’s complexities and reliance on modeling and mathematical simulations, but they must recognize that the principles of design are just as important as the mechanisms themselves. more.. 

May 11, 2009

UC Irvine Features MCSB Student Meng Yu - Using Math to Battle Loss of Hearing
Meng Yu, a first year student from Dept. of Mathematics has developed a blind-speech separation algorithm that - via computer - pulls apart sounds he has recorded. He hopes one day to embed this technology in hearing aids.

April 30, 2009

CCBS Faculties Recieve UCI Celebration of Teaching Awards
The Division of Undergraduate Education, The Council on Student Experience & The Teaching, Learning & Technology Center.proudly present the recipients of this year's campuswide Celebration of Teaching Awards.  

CCBS faculty member, Dr. Michael B. Dennin from Dept. of Physics & Astronomy won the "Instructional Technology Innovation" category. Also, Dr. Sheryl Tsai from Dept. of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry was selected by School of Biosciences to be honored for her excellence in undergraduate teaching. 

Recipients will receive their awards at the 16th annual Celebration of Teaching on Thursday, May 28, 2009, 4:30-6:00 p.m. in the University 
Club.  A reception follows.


April 22, 2009

Systems Biology Awarded $2.4 million from NIH for Training Programs
UC Irvine's systems biology program has been awarded two grants totaling $2.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to train graduate students for careers in this field. The first grant is mainly used to support incoming graduate students in the area of  Mathematical, Computational and Systems Biology (MCSB) through a gateway program and the second grant is used to support advanced graduate students to study developmental biology using a systems biology approach. As noted by Director, Dr. Arthur Lander, "Over the past few years, we've seen grants with a Systems Biology/Bioinformatics flavor, like ours and the BIT (bioinformatics) grant, receive outstanding scores and generous support.  It seems NIH is signaling a move toward favoring a much more interdisciplinary approach to biology training. We have recognized this; and were able to take advantage of this shift."

It is unusual to be awarded two NIH training grants in one research area in the same institution in the same year.

This story is featured on UCI ZotWire and is scheduled for the April 29 issue of UCI.brief.

April 26, 2009 

Call for Nominations - Systems Biology of Development Training Grant
A call for nominations for seven pre-doctoral positions to be supported from the new NIH training grant in Systems Biology of Development, starting July 1, 2009, has been made this week.  Deadline for the receipt of nominations is May 20, 2009.  Selections will be made shortly thereafter.  Please contact the Administrator of the Center for Complex Biological Systems, Karen Martin,, for further information on the procedure for nomination. 

April 21, 2009

CCBS Announcing New Faculty in Systems Biology - Dr. Olivier Cinquin
CCBS is pleased to announce that effective April 1, 2009, Dr. Olivier Cinquin became a new faculty in Systems Biology. Dr. Cinquin received his BS and MS degrees in Mathematics and in Biochemistry from Joseph Fourier University (Grenoble, France), and an engineering degree in computer science from ENSIMAG (Grenoble, France). He moved to University College London (UK), where he earned a  PhD in Modelling of Biological Complexity. He then conducted  postdoctoral research at UW Madison.

Dr. Cinquin's research focuses on the systems biology of cell differentiation. Using a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches, he asks how regulatory networks control the progression from a stem cell state to a differentiated state. A particular model system that he uses is the C. elegans germ line. 

Dr. Cinquin can be reached at 

April 21, 2009

CCBS Announcing New Faculty in Systems Biology - Dr. German Enciso 
CCBS is pleased to announce that effective April 1, 2009, Dr. German Enciso became a new faculty in Systems Biology. Dr. Enciso received his PhD degree in Mathematics at Rutgers University under prof. Eduardo Sontag, studying monotone dynamical systems and their applications to biological problems.   He was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School, Department of Systems Biology, and the Mathematical Biosciences Institute.

Dr. Enciso's research focuses on the theoretical aspects of gene regulation, from proving mathematical results about the dynamical behavior of specific network topologies, to modeling special systems in collaboration with experimental biologists.  His previous biological collaborations include work on signal transduction, cell cycle regulation, neuroscience, and cancer biology.

Dr. Enciso can be reached at 

March 25, 2009

CCBS Faculty Zuzanna Siwy Recieves German Research Award
CCBS faculty member Zuzanna Siwy, physics & astronomyassistant professor, has received a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundationin recognition of her research and teaching accomplishments. The award is given annually to 25 or fewer scientists from all disciplines worldwide. Siwy plans to work with German researchers on preparing small holes in polymer films, which can be used as sensors on proteins and DNA. They also can be used to study ions and molecules at the nanoscale. 

March 4, 2009

NIH "Challenge Grants" Guidelines and Applications -Message from Dr. Arthur Lander 

Dear Colleagues,
As you may have heard, The NIH has released the guidelines for its new "challenge grants", two-year opportunity awards (for up to $1M Total Costs) to make significant progress on issues of major importance within certain defined areas.  These awards were created to enable NIH to spend a significant portion of the Economic Stimulus Package money it was given.  The NIH plans to give out at least 200 of these one-time awards.  This is a fantastic opportunity to infuse new funds into your research, and attempt to do new things.  These awards will probably never come again, so those who get them will have garnered a significant advantage in generating the sorts of preliminary data needed for continuing funding down the road.  For this reason it is important for as many of us as possible in CCBS, and in UCI in general, to submit these grant proposals. 

The deadline is very short--April 27th.  But so are the applications (specific aims plus 12 pages).  We will be devoting a significant block of time at the upcoming CCBS retreat (at the end of this month) to discussing this and other stimulus-package related funding opportunities, with an emphasis on trying to use these opportunities to forge new research collaborations. 

I encourage you to read the RFA, which may be found at: 
In addition, this 180 page document presents all of the topic areas that the various NIH institutes have designated as being relevant to this grant mechanism.  Please look it over.  Some cursory searching on my part identified the list of topic areasthat might be of particular interest to CCBS members. 

If you identify a particular topic area for a challenge grant proposal in which you might like to participate, and you feel that the proposal might benefit from some interdisciplinary collaboration that you do not already have, please let us (me or Karen Martin) know, so that we can attempt to assist you.  If your interests are more open-ended, you might want to consider nominating one or more of the challenge grant topics for a break-out discussion group at the retreat, where colleagues from all over the campus will attempt to brainstorm together.  To nominate an area or topic, just send an email to Karen about it.

2011 News 2009. Copyright © 2013. The Center for Complex Biological Systems, UC Irvine
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