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Siebel Foundation awards top UC San Diego bioengineering graduate students

As breakthrough discoveries in bioengineering become more crucial to fundamental global issues, including health, food production and water supplies, UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering's top ranked bioengineering department continues to be on the cutting edge of this field. The Siebel Foundation has recognized the Jacob School's pioneering efforts with a $2 million endowment to fund fellowships for some of its top bioengineering graduate students. The fellowships will be administered by the UCSD Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM), in collaboration with the Jacobs School. The IEM brings together faculty in engineering, medicine and pharmaceutical sciences who are collaborating on novel approaches to medicine.

This is the first year the Seibel Scholars program which recognizes the most talented students at the world's leading graduate schools of business and computer science will include top students from leading universities that are breaking new ground in bioengineering. The Jacobs School of Engineering established one of the first bioengineering departments in the country, and it is currently ranked No. 2 by U.S. News & World Report for graduate students.

"We are grateful to the Siebel Foundation for this generous gift," said Frieder Seible, Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego. "The Jacobs School commends the Foundation for its vision to include the leading bioengineering programs in the United States in the Siebel Scholars Program. We are pleased that our students have been recognized for the quality of their research in a wide-range of emerging areas, from systems biology to regenerative medicine. As Siebel Scholars, our bioengineering students are poised to make even greater strides in breakthrough discoveries that will benefit society."

Besides UC San Diego, the Siebel Foundation chose top bioengineering scholars at UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, and Stanford University. Each institution has selected five top-ranked graduate students based on academic excellence and leadership to participate in the Siebel Scholars program.

"These leading universities are producing groundbreaking research in this discipline to solve urgent global problems," said Nitsa Zuppas, Executive Director of the Siebel Foundation. "These universities' most accomplished bioengineering graduate students will join a growing community of 540 past and present scholars that include their peers from top business and computer science programs."

The 2010 UC San Diego Siebel Scholars in bioengineering include Terrell Green, Amy Hsieh, Jennifer Singelyn, Julio Ng and Roy Lefkowitz.

"Receiving the Siebel Scholars grant will further help me to realize my dream of making an impact on society and how we think about science and engineering," said Terrell Green, who came to study bioengineering at UC San Diego after graduating from Tulane University with a biomedical engineering degree. "In my career as a bioengineer, I plan to help shape science policy. Being a Siebel Scholar gives me the unique opportunity to join a prestigious community of highly motivated proven leaders. By joining this community, I will be in a fertile environment to foster new ideas and fulfill the mission of the foundation, which is to find answers to the global issues facing us today."

Green, a Louisiana native, plans to graduate from UCSD in spring 2010. She said she chose UCSD's bioengineering department to further her graduate studies because, "I knew I would be working with some of the greatest minds in the field."

Green said support from organizations like the Siebel Foundation will not only help boost young careers but also help fuel the bioengineering field.

"The overall mission of the Siebel Foundation is to inspire its scholars to work collaboratively to solve society's most urgent problems," she said. "The field of bioengineering fosters collaboration by applying engineering principles to medicine to resolve the many health issues plaguing our society. Bioengineering is therefore a necessary means to the Siebel Foundation's overall goal.

"I would like to continue behind a long list of trailblazers engaging in cutting-edge research, fostering professional interactions, and promoting public awareness of the field of bioengineering," she added.

Roy Lefkowitz, who also graduates from UCSD's bioengineering department in spring 2010, began his studies as an undergraduate in electrical engineering at UCLA. He chose bioengineering as the focus of his graduate studies because it applies engineering principles toward solving biomedical problems.

"Bioengineering provides a new hope in the battle against diseases such as heart disease and cancer, and I wanted to contribute as much as I could to this fight because I know what is at stake," said Lefkowitz, who lost his father from a heart attack. "I choose UCSD's bioengineering department without any hesitation because it is one of the best bioengineering departments in the world.

"The Siebel Scholars award with help further my studies and future career through the prestige that this great recognition brings," he added. "Being a Siebel Scholar will help me stand out from the rest when looking for my next career opportunity."

Amy Hsieh noted that the Siebel fellowship will allow her to focus more on her research and to share her current ideas with other respective Siebel Scholars.

"The Siebel Scholars grant will also further my future career in that I will be able to pursue some of the translational ideas that I have developed over the years as well as converse with other Siebel Scholars to develop new ideas that may one day help influence or lead to the development of technologies and innovations that may benefit society," Hsieh said.

She said she chose UC San Diego's bioengineering department because of its renowned research, inspiring faculty, and its connection to the Jacobs School of Engineering and the science and technology community.

The department leads in frontier areas including systems biology, regenerative medicine, and multi-scale bioengineering focused on understanding, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

"Committed as UC San Diego is to the field of bioengineering, this Siebel Scholars recognition is truly rewarding for the Jacobs School, the IEM, the Department of Bioengineering, and our outstanding students," said Shu Chien, a bioengineering professor and Director of the IEM. "Innovative ideas often come from interdisciplinary interactions and collaborations. The Siebel Scholars program will enhance the research, education, training, and entrepreneurism of our bioengineering graduate students, who will benefit immensely from working with the finest in the Siebel Scholars community."


Contact: Andrea Siedsma
University of California - San Diego

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