Seeking to capitalize on the potential of a new generation of multi-functional nanoscale devices and special materials built on the scale of individual molecules, UC San Diego has established a new Department of NanoEngineering within its Jacobs School of Engineering effective July 1.
Undergraduate and graduate students will learn from an interdisciplinary team of professors who are leaders in various fields of engineering, physics and chemistry and a variety of new sub-disciplines where those fields overlap.
"Many of the most exciting, cutting-edge discoveries are being made at the interfaces of scientific and engineering disciplines,” said UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.
“This new Department of NanoEngineering, one of the first such departments in the nation, continues UC San Diego’s leadership role in the paradigm shift to interdisciplinary research and education in revolutionary new fields that will benefit both society and the planet."
The department will cover a broad range of topics, but focus particularly on biomedical nanotechnology, nanotechnologies for energy conversion, computational nanotechnology, and molecular and nanomaterials.
“Nanotechnology promises to produce revolutionary advances in medical diagnostics and treatments, energy systems, electronics and materials,” said Frieder Seible, dean of the Jacobs School.
“Yet we are only just beginning to understand how to assemble and fabricate nanocomponents into higher order materials. Our industry partners tell us they need a new breed of engineers trained in this field to help them fulfill their future workforce needs, not just on the biotechnology side, but in many other areas,” Seible continued.
The Department of NanoEngineering’s educational program will develop in phases, with plans to reach a steady state of approximately 20 faculty members and an enrollment of 400 undergraduate students and 120 graduate students. The department will also serve as the administrative home of the existing undergraduate and graduate programs in chemical engineering.
The Department of NanoEngineering is supported by faculty in the five other departments at the Jacobs School, and the new department is seeking collaborations with faculty throughout UCSD.
The leadership team that was the driving force for creating the new department is made up of engineering professors Sadik Esener (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Michael Heller (Department of Bioengineering), Sungho Jin (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), Jan Talbot (Chemical Engineering program within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering), and Kenneth Vecchio (Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering).
The new department will capitalize on a growing trend throughout public and private research-funding organizations to focus on nanoscience and nanotechnology approaches that have the potential to make valuable contributions to biology and medicine.
The new department will occupy nearly half of a new 110,000-square-foot building, currently in the final stages of design that will be built by 2010. The building will house core instructional and laboratory area and complement the existing Nano3 facility at the UCSD division of the California Institute of Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). The Nano3 facility provides an advanced cleanroom environment to UCSD researchers investigating nanoengineering, nanomedicine, and nanoscience.