Biology + Engineering = Bioengineering
Bioengineering marries the tools of engineering with a deep understanding of the complexities of living systems. “We think like engineers, but we understand the biology,” says Professor Karl Deisseroth. Stanford’s Department of Bioengineering straddles the School of Medicine and School of Engineering, which are located right across the street from each other, and further benefits from its location in Silicon Valley. During The Stanford Challenge, the department added faculty, grad students, and an undergrad major.
Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center
Dedicated in 2010, the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center is more than just a new home for the School of Engineering. It’s a destination for students and faculty in science, engineering, and medicine—the hub of Stanford’s new Science and Engineering Quad. Housing more than 270 faculty and staff, the Huang Center draws hundreds of other visitors for collaborative study and research. It represents the state of the art in sustainable design and serves as a tribute to the heroes of Stanford engineering who have helped reshape our world.
Cutting Across Academic Boundaries
Doctoral student Melinda Cromie, PhD ’11, helped show muscle “sarcomeres” at work in the human body for the first time by developing a new kind of microscope system. That required a new kind of funding: the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF). Traditional fellowships usually support work in a single field of study. Her SIGF, awarded through Stanford’s Bio-X program, allowed Melinda to work between labs in engineering, physics, and biology, collaborating with orthopedic surgeons. The resulting technology enables researchers to better understand motor control diseases such as stroke and cerebral palsy.
Bioengineering/Chemical Engineering Building
Now under construction, the Bioengineering/ Chemical Engineering Building is the last of four structures that make up the new Science and Engineering Quad. It will house two departments: Bioengineering (a joint department of the schools of engineering and medicine) and Chemical Engineering. The building thus places a range of engineering expertise literally next door to doctors and researchers in the medical and life sciences. Together, they will collaborate on problems in human health, environmental sustainability, and other fields.
Empowering Students to Solve Problems
Coral reefs are essential to healthy oceans. Jamie Fleischfresser, a doctoral student in engineering, studies how nutrients flow through the water column, modeling the way minute changes in current can affect how corals grow. This nontraditional combination of engineering and marine biology is made possible by her Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship—one of 53 new fellowships university wide that empower students to cut across traditional academic boundaries to pursue cutting-edge research on complex problems.
Science of the Super Small
Stanford significantly upgraded its nanotechnology research capabilities with the Center for Nanoscale Science & Engineering. Opened in 2010, as part of the new Science and Engineering Quad, the building houses some of the world’s foremost nanoscale facilities, designed to accelerate research in numerous fields of study. The resulting work could lead to better solar cells, more efficient batteries, and new tools to detect and treat cancer, among other breakthroughs. Design features include vibration-damping floors and dust-free labs 1,000 times cleaner than the average office.
- Biology + Engineering = BioengineeringBioengineers combine the tools of engineering with a deep understanding of living systems.
- Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering CenterA new home for the School of Engineering is the hub of the Science and Engineering Quad.
- Cutting Across Academic BoundariesSIGF funding supports graduate students exploring multiple fields of study.
- Bioengineering/Chemical Engineering BuildingConstruction is under way on the fourth and final Science and Engineering Quad building.
- Empowering Students to Solve ProblemsNew fellowships empower students to pursue cutting-edge research.
- Science of the Super SmallNanotechnology research offers promise for multiple fields of study.
MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN
From my office in the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center, I look out on the remarkable new Science and Engineering Quad. Across the tiled piazza I see the Center for Nanoscale Science & Engineering. The Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building is just to the west. In the distance, I hear the faint sounds of construction on the Bioengineering/Chemical Engineering Building that will open in 2014.
These four buildings are the heart of what is unquestionably one of the greatest centers of technical innovation. In the offices and classrooms lining every side of the quad are faculty and students who are second to none. I am pleased beyond measure to report they now have facilities equal to their talent. These are 21st-century facilities for a 21st-century world.
The excellence of these buildings in their design, engineering, and sustainability features are a metaphor for the excellence of the school itself—a fitting home. And yet, as beautiful and as promising as these buildings are, it is remarkable to me that none of them existed just five short years ago when The Stanford Challenge began.
Contemplating all that we have accomplished in that time, I am left with the deep sense that the Science and Engineering Quad has literally and figuratively transformed the landscape of the Stanford School of Engineering and, in turn, the world.
As The Stanford Challenge has now drawn to a successful conclusion, it is a welcome opportunity to look back at all that has changed and all that we have accomplished. The change has been profound. The School of Engineering is simply not the school it was just five years ago.
- The Science and Engineering Quad is one of the world’s foremost technical research facilities with state-of-the-art classrooms, labs, and equipment. This new home for the School of Engineering is a hub of interdisciplinary collaboration among experts in science, engineering, medicine, sustainability, and policy who are shaping broad-based, multidisciplinary solutions to the challenges of our growing world—health, energy, environment, and water.
- Five years ago, the d.school was a year-old operation with just 30 students. From a single office in a doublewide trailer, the d.school now boasts a stunning 30,000-square-foot space in the heart of campus that supports experiential, project-based learning and collaboration for more than 700 students.
- In 2007, the Aeronautics and Astronautics Department secured $105 million over a five-year period to form the Army High Performance Computing Research Center, a multi-university consortium that is stretching the boundaries of supercomputing.
- In 2011, the National Science Foundation granted $10 million to the Stanford Technology Ventures Program to create a center to foster innovation.
- An interdisciplinary group won $18.5 million to form an NSF Engineering Research Center at Stanford to rethink America’s water infrastructure. It is the first time Stanford has been chosen to head such a center. An additional $20 million awaits based on in-progress reviews.
- The Department of Bioengineering has vaulted from its founding in 2003 to become one of the top five programs in the nation. The department has turned out innovations like optogenetics and rapid, inexpensive DNA sequencing that are reshaping the fields of human health.
- The school won the DARPA Grand Challenge with an autonomous car that set a new standard in the field of artificial intelligence.
- Stanford has been able to attract and retain professors of the highest worldwide reputation and to bring on the brightest young stars.
- We have funded no fewer than 81 graduate fellowships that will help tomorrow’s leading researchers complete their degrees and lay the groundwork for the breakthroughs of the future.
- And where else would a school of the stature of Stanford Engineering undertake a complete rethinking of the undergraduate curriculums in two storied departments—Electrical Engineering and Computer Science—to better prepare students for the challenges of a new century? The answer is nowhere but Stanford.
After The Stanford Challenge’s historic run, it is good to take stock of investments made by so many who understood that the School of Engineering had the potential to rise higher than ever before. I am pleased to report that the dividends of our hard work can already be seen where they matter most: in the output of this great institution. I am deeply impressed by what we have accomplished together and eager to see what the next five years—and beyond—will bring to Stanford University, to the School of Engineering, and to the world we share.
James D. Plummer
John M. Fluke Professor of
Electrical Engineering and Dean