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College Of Engineering Lecture Series Continues Oct. 24

Published: October 15, 2013

“Engineering for the Body: Reproducing Body Functions” is the theme for this year’s College of Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series Thursday, Oct. 24, in The Pointe in CSULB’s Walter Pyramid beginning at 5 pm. Admission is free but reservations are requested at Coe-dev@csulb.edu.

Speakers at the event will include Dr. Fred Burbank, founder and medical director of Salt Creek, Brown University’s David Stout, Applied Medical’s Senior Patent Council Patrick Ikehara and moderator Nick Sramek, Commissioner for the Port of Long Beach. From 5:30 to 7 p.m., speakers will address the technological needs and intellectual property protection issues related to innovations in the areas of tissue engineering, cell modeling and device development. The event is usually sponsored by friends of the college including Denso Corp., Applied Medical, P2S Engineering, Sempra Energy, Forte Design and the Port of Long Beach.

“This is our gift to the community, made possible by the Dean’s Advisory Council,” said Forouzan Golshani, dean of the College of Engineering. “We feel that this is an effective instrument for connecting faculty, staff and students to the community. We want to underline the importance of research at the forefront of our college.”

The series carries clout with the community, said moderator Sramek.

“The series has been a great success and is very important to the College of Engineering,” he said. “It brings visibility, prestige and funding opportunities to the College of Engineering and great information to everyone.”

Sramek was pleased by the series’ breadth. “From the environment to clean transportation, future energy, medical robotics and other innovations for replicating body functions, the wide variety of topics on display emphasize areas of engineering to peak student and faculty interest as well as provide everyone with an idea about what is being done now and in the future,” he said. “We’ve had great interest from faculty, students and industry and have been able to raise some funding for the College of Engineering. I’m proud to be able to contribute to the college and future generations of students.”

The goal of the series is to offer a balance of engineering and the science behind it plus business and policy issues. “It’s a juggling act to balance the speakers in order to address all the issues with respect to these interdisciplinary subjects,” said Golshani. “Each of the speakers will provide a perspective on the topics from a different angle. Together, they hope to present a coherent view of all issues related to the topic.”

The key is connection. “We are interested in putting the community in contact with leaders of thought,” said Golshani. “It’s an easy sell for participants. The fact the College of Engineering can bring in speakers of such quality shows that there is interest in interacting with the university as an institution committed to the region’s economic growth. They see that in us.”

One recurring theme is the importance of innovation. “Innovation and problem-solving are hallmarks of the College of Engineering,” said Golshani. “This is what engineers do and what this college is committed to. We would like to train engineers who are capable of innovating new solutions. We want to make sure our students, by the time they leave our program, know that is what they should be doing.”

Over the last several years, engineering has empowered numerous innovations in the field of medicine that have improved the lives of many, Golshani continued.

“These innovations cover a wide array of areas, including prostheses (producing limbs with 3D printers) and transplants, nanotubes, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine (growing body forms) and genetic medicine to name just a few,” he said. “The applications for these innovations are growing as their use increases and more and more physicians learn about the expanding technologies.”

The lecture series feedback has been uniformly positive. “We have many audience members who return from year to year,” said Golshani. “Our repeat participants tell us the importance of this series especially in light of heavy student participation.”

Since the series’ beginning in 2008, its policy has been to address the grand challenges for the engineering community. “That’s when we decided to offer these topics to the community—environment, energy and water, which were the topics of the first lectures and are all interrelated. In fact, it is a balancing act to get all three elements to work together. Since then, topics have included cyber security, clean transportation and bioengineering,” he said.

The lecture series resumes in the spring with a look at the human brain. “It is meant to compliment the October lecture topic ‘Engineering for the Body: Reproducing Body Functions.’ The topic is right at the forefront of engineering. The speakers are noted leaders in their respective fields. It is a thought-provoking event. Everyone is invited,” said Golshani.

–Richard Manly