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The First JRI Annual Mini-Symposium, UCLA, U.S.

California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), UCLA, May 6-7 2010

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Scott Waugh
Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost
University of California, Los Angeles


Scott L. Waugh is Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He assumed the post on December 1, 2008, following his service as Acting Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost for nearly two years. Waugh served as Dean of the Division of Social Sciences, UCLA's largest academic division, for 14 years (1992-2006). He first came to UCLA as a student, graduating summa cum laude in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in history. In 1975, after earning a Ph.D. from the University of London, he returned to UCLA to teach in the Department of History. He has received honors, fellowships, and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and others. He also received the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award, the Harvey L. Eby Award for the Art of Teaching, the UC President's Fellowship in the Humanities, and a UCLA Faculty Development Award. The author of two books and co-editor of a third, he has also published numerous articles in scholarly journals.

Jianhua Lin
Vice President and the Provost
Peking University

Research Fields and Interests:

Our research focuses on efforts to tailor new inorganic materials that may show interesting chemical and physical properties and features in using powder diffraction techniques to determine crystal structure of unknown compounds. The main topics in our group are:

  1. Polyborate Chemistry: 1) Material with octahedral open framework; 2) New metal borates with novel structure type; 3) Nonlinear optical materials
  2. Complex transition metal oxides: Synthesis, structure and properties, in particular, the oxides that shows magnetic, electric and catalytic properties
  3. Incommensurate structures, including oxides and intermetallic compounds

James Liao
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, UCLA

Talk Title: Next Generation Biofuels

Global energy and climate problems have stimulated increased efforts in synthesizing fuels and chemicals from renewable resources. Compared to the traditional biofuel, ethanol, higher alcohols offer advantages as gasoline substitutes because of their higher energy density and lower hygroscopicity. In addition, branched-chain alcohols have higher octane numbers compared to their straight-chain counterparts. However, these alcohols cannot be synthesized economically using native organisms. Here we present a metabolic engineering approach using various microorganisms to produce higher alcohols including isobutanol, 1-butanol, 2-methyl-1-butanol, 3-methyl-1-butanol and 2-phenylethanol from renewable carbon source. This strategy leverages the host’s highly active amino acid biosynthetic pathway and diverts its 2-keto acid intermediates for alcohol synthesis. In particular, we have achieved high yield, high specificity production of isobutanol from glucose. We further developed a non-natural chain-elongation pathway to produce abiotic longer chain keto acids and alcohols by engineering the chain elongation activity of 2-isopropylmalate synthase and altering the substrate specificity of downstream enzymes through rational protein design. When introduced into E. coli, this non-natural biosynthetic pathway produces various long-chain alcohols with carbon number ranging from 5 to 8. This strategy has also been implemented in photosynthetic cyanobacteria, Synechococcus elongates to produce isobutyraldehyde and isobutanol directly from CO2, bypassing the need for plant or algal biomass processing.

Zhen Yang
School of Chemical Biology & Biotechnology, PKU

Talk Title: The Strength of Drug Discovery at Peking University

My talk will discuss the following topics.

  • Drug discovery is knowledge-based and highly competitive.
  • The success of drug discovery is dependent on government’s support and effective IP protection.
  • Drug discovery relies on strong team-work of scientific talents across various areas.
  • Significantly increased incentives offered by the Chinese government to drug discovery and innovation.
  • The experiment of building up a functioning drug discovery platform at the Shenzhen Graduate School of Peking University.

Stanley Osher
Department of Mathematics, UCLA

Talk Title: New Algorithms in Information Science

The past few years have seen an incredible explosion of new (or revival of old) fast and effective algorithms for various imaging and information science applications. These include: nonlocal means, compressive sensing, Bregman iteration, as well as relatively old favorites such as the level set method and PDE based image restoration. I'll give my view of where we are and what's left to do.

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