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On this edition of Computing Primetime Ravi Ramamoorthi, director of the new UC San Diego Center for Visual Computing - or VisComp - is joined by two other faculty members on the interdisciplinary roster of UC San Diego researchers in the center: Cognitive Science professor Zhuowen Tu, and Qualcomm Institute research scientist Jurgen Schulze, who also teaches computer graphics in the Computer Science and Engineering department. In a wide-ranging conversation they discuss the three grand research themes that underpin VisComp activities: Mobile visual computing and digital imaging to capture, process and display the visual world with smartphones and other devices; Interactive digital (augmented) reality to allow us to render and mix real and virtual content seamlessly and realistically in real time, and the ability to automate computer-based visual understanding of the world from small-scale underwater organisms to large cities.

Anna Lappé looks at the hidden cost of our food system: the climate crisis. Our web of global food production and distribution is connected to as much as one third of total greenhouse-gas emissions. She offers a vision of a food system that can be part of healing the planet. Recorded on 11/10/2016.

Dr. Gurpreet Dhaliwal is a Professor of Medicine at UCSF and is generally considered one of the most skillful diagnosticians in the United States. He teaches medical students and residents in the ER, inpatient wards and outpatient clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. He studies how doctors think, how they diagnose, how they make treatment decisions and how they develop expertise. He has published over ninety articles in leading medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA. Dr. Dhaliwal writes for The Wall Street Journal's "The Experts" series, and, in 2012, he was profiled in The New York Times.

Most people are part-Neanderthal, the closest extinct human relative. Svante Pääbo explores human genetic evolution by analyzing preserved genetic material from the remains of ancient organisms, including Neanderthals. What can we learn from the genomes of our closest evolutionary relatives? Pääbo is an evolutionary anthropologist and pioneer of paleogenetics and the director of the Max Plank Institute of Evolutionary Genetics. He was awarded the 2018 Nierenberg Award for Science in the Public Interest. Recorded on 10/03/2018.

Olivier George researches addiction at the Scripps Research Institute. He describes the effects of drugs on the brain, including alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and opioids; why some people, but not others, develop an addiction; and highlights new therapeutic strategies to fight addiction. Recorded on 11/17/2018.

Cancer becomes highly dangerous when it spreads from its original site to a different vital organ. These secondary tumors called metastases are what kill most patients. Despite hundreds of years of research, it is not understood why, where, and how cancer spreads to organs like the brain. Lawrence Livermore Lab scientist describes how they bring together cancer biology, 3D printing and material science, to understand and hopefully prevent metastases in the future. Recorded on 02/16/2019.

Conversations host Harry Kreisler welcomes Professor Jennifer Doudna of UC Berkeley for a discussion of her intellectual odyssey that led to the discovery of CRISPR-Cas9, a revolutionary tool for gene editing. In the conversation, they explore the implications of CRISPR-Cas9 for agriculture, biotechnology and biomedicine. They also discuss how education and public advocacy can broaden insight into the ethical and policy dimensions of the biological revolution that is upon us. Recorded on 03/01/2019.

Can scientists genetically engineer mosquitos to eliminate malaria? Professor Ethan Bier from UC San Diego believes they can. In this talk at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, he discusses various ways in which self-copying—or active—genetic elements can be used to bias inheritance of beneficial characteristics. Such active genetic elements can be used to confer resistance to transmission of pathogens, re-sensitize pesticide-resistant insect pests and disease-vector populations to insecticides, restore natural ecosystems, or combine multiple favorable traits to create animal models for human disease or optimized agricultural strains of plants.

What makes us human is a question that not only science asks, but all disciplines of mind from philosophy to religion to sociology and ethics, and even to storytelling and the arts. Tim Disney's new movie "William", about a Neanderthal living in the modern world forces us to ask that and many other questions. Director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program Alysson Muotri brought together a panel of experts from across a spectrum of disciplines to discuss those issues in a lively and engaging forum with the movie's creator.

The science of stem cells and how they impact your health.

Stem Cell research could unlock the mystery of what makes the human brain special. Researcher Alysson Muotri is using stem cells to grow tiny versions of developing human brains in his lab to study everything from autism to the Zika virus. His lab is even looking into how space flight impacts brain development.

Southern California Edison has a goal to reduce carbon-emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, with an electric grid supplied by 80% carbon-free sources. Gary Barsley discusses SCE's pathway to clean power and electrification, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and cleaning the power grid by decarbonizing the electric sector, electrifying the transportation sector, and electrifying buildings. SCE Emerging Products projects include assessing a number of new technologies to help achieve these important goals. Recorded on 05/16/2019.

Stochasticity (randomness) is ubiquitous in biological systems. Linda Petzold explores some of the ways in which it arises and is used to advantage by biological systems, at a wide range of scales. Petzold is a professor in the UCSB Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science. Recorded on 07/01/2019.
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