While automotive engineers and designers wowed audiences with the “future of drive,” San Jose State University engineering students impressed visitors with their own innovative built-from-scratch vehicle designs at the SV Auto Show Jan. 4-7. The students displayed Formula One cars, a quadricycle, a golf cart run on solar power and an electric race car. The San Jose Mercury News highlighted the student cars in an article.
Dr. Amit Saha, a lecturer and research scientist in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, has co-authored an article that has been published in the Biophysical Journal, which is a leading topical journal in the field of biomechanics and biophysics. Entitled, “Cholesterol Regulates Monocyte Rolling through CD44 Distribution,” the interdisciplinary publication includes contributions from other researchers, namely Dr. Pawel Osmulski, Dr. Shatha F. Dallow, Dr. Maria Gaczynska, Dr. Tim H. Huang and Dr. Anand K. Ramasubramanian. The researchers undertook this study as part of a National Institutes of Health grant focused on discovering the contributions of bacterial infections to heart disease.
According to Saha, atherosclerosis, which may lead to heart attack and stroke, is the thickening of blood vessel walls due to the accumulation of ‘fatty’ cells or foam cells. The foam cells are formed when a certain type of white blood cells called monocytes enter the blood vessel wall, get stuck, and take up a lot of cholesterol. As it can be imagined, the first step of this process, namely the ’touch down’ of monocytes from flowing blood to vessel wall, is extremely crucial. The efficient capture of fast moving monocytes is brought about by interactions between proteins on the surface of the monocytes and on the surface of endothelial cells on blood vessel wall.
“In this research, we have shown that cholesterol levels on monocytes can redistribute the proteins mediating the interaction, thus providing efficient brakes,” he said.
The study shows that cholesterol, a well-known cause of atherosclerosis (a thickening of blood vessels walls due to the accumulation of ‘fatty cells’ that may lead to heart attack or stroke), can significantly influence the disease initiation and progression by a mechanism that was not focused on previously. The results demonstrate that chemicals can change the course of biological phenomena by altering the underlying physics.
Dr. Sheryl H. Ehrman has been appointed as dean of SJSU’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering, effective July 3.
Ehrman joins San Jose State University from the University of Maryland, College Park where she has served as Keystone professor and chair of the Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering since 2010. She has worked at the university since 1998 as a faculty member. As chair, she oversaw an expansion of tenure-track faculty, development of two new BS/MS programs, the growth of the transfer student pathway, initiation of a multidisciplinary research center for advanced battery technology, and development and implementation of strategies to engage alumni and industrial partners.
She received a bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to complete a doctoral degree in chemical engineering in the major field of aerosol science and technology and the minor field of atmospheric science at UCLA. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Maryland.
Ehrman served as a visiting scientist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Maryland and as a National Science Foundation-sponsored post-doctoral fellow at the Paul. Scherrer Institute, in Switzerland. In 2006, she was named a Fulbright Scholar and visiting associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, where she engaged with students and faculty in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She served as a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador from 2013-16.
During the search process, Ehrman expressed a passion for research, a proven ability to create industry partnerships and an aspiration to foster a diversity of ideas. Most importantly she possesses the skills to build student engagement and support student success at SJSU.
By Lauren Hernandez, ’15 Journalism
When Hanni Ali, ’17 Chemical Engineering, took the Student Union Ballroom stage, she prepared to share an all-too familiar experience with more than 300 female engineering students and professionals as part of the second annual Silicon Valley Women in Engineering (WiE) Conference on March 12.
“Usually, when people ask me what I’m majoring in, I reply with ‘engineering,’ and they give me a confused look and ask me ‘Why?’” Ali said. “And I reply, ‘Why not?’”
Ali attended the conference last year as a prospective transfer. This year, she was selected to speak at a gala dinner. The event offers the opportunity for professional women engineers to share their perspectives with students on entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership in the male-dominated industry.
“It is crucial to continue to hold events to encourage and empower future generations of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) women,” Ali said. “This year’s conference is bigger than last year’s, with a lot more professionals donating their time to inspire the next generation of women innovators.”
Guests attended some of the 25 workshops offered throughout the day on topics ranging from mentorship strategies, women leadership in STEM, buildings, infrastructure and the environment. Speakers included Oracle CEO Safra Catz, Apple Vice President of Wireless Technologies Isabel Mahe, and Facebook Vice President of Product Management for Social Good Naomi Gleit.
Apple’s Mahe alleviated the common concern that women can’t be successful engineers and also be strong mothers when she shared her experience of getting invited to dinner by Steve Jobs while she was still on maternity leave. After two hours of conversation with Jobs, Mahe accepted the position that she has held for eight years. She is now a mother of four.
IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager Kristina Vasquez, ’02 Computer Engineering, hosted an interactive mentorship workshop with nine engineering students to discuss the importance of mentors and how to find them.
“I remember being in their shoes and I remember the people who helped me, and I don’t think I would be here today if it weren’t for them,” Vasquez said. “I have a daughter and these girls are like my daughters. I want the best for them.”
Vasquez, who graduated from San Jose State in 2002, said she saw the conference as an opportunity to maintain a sense of community among women engineers at the university, but also teach women that anyone can fill the role of being a mentor.
Nearly 1,700 students participated in graduate orientation on Aug. 14, including 650 international students. This year’s graduate student orientation was enhanced to foster more interaction between local and
international students, with financial support from Academic Affairs through its Educational Excellence and Student Experience priority.
Xilu Wang, who is from Shanghai, said SJSU is well-known among her friends in her native country.
“(SJSU) is located in Silicon Valley,” she said, of her reason for choosing the Lucas Graduate School of Business. “(Silicon Valley) is a great location. Its reputation is good and it is growing very fast. My friends all want to study business and computer science here.”
The orientation included presentations from departments on campus that interact with graduate students, with sessions on Visa and health information for F-1 students, and financial aid and scholarships for local students. Students also chose from supplementary sessions such as library tours, a career center workshop and even a foodie/grocery tour, among other options.
Chance Payne, a Human-Factors Ergonomics major in the Davidson College of Engineering, said he also chose SJSU because of its proximity to Silicon Valley.
“I want to get an internship,” he said, while browsing the Resource Fair.