Biology faculty lead in several campuswide interdisciplinary initiatives that include other on-campus and off-campus units. These centers create critical research mass well-suited to tackle big research challenges and to jointly propose innovative solutions.
The goal of the Center for Circadian Biology (CCB) is to advance leading-edge research in chronobiology (the study of rhythmic/circadian effects on plant, animal and human life) that will have dramatic and lasting effects on improving human health, the environment, and the economy.
Circadian Biology is essential to understanding rhythms in physics, computer science, mathematics, engineering, and medicine.
The Center for Circadian Biology will make the critical connections across research disciplines that explain fundamental biological principles through a comparison of different species and integration across multiple levels of biological organization in the 4 key research cluster areas of molecular clocks: gene-protein networks, oscillator networks, metabolism, and physiology, as well as sleep, cognition, and behavior.
Campus partners include the Psychiatry, Pharmacy, Psychology, Physics and Bioengineering Departments. CCB is directed by Susan Golden, Division of Biological Sciences, MB Section.
The Center for Neural Circuits and Behavior is a joint initiative of the Division of Biological Sciences and the Department of Neurosciences in the School of Medicine. The center’s goal is to explore the biology of neural circuits in order to define the elements and processes essential to normal brain function and to elucidate the changes that characterize neurological disorders.
Animal models, microscopic and functional imaging technologies, and behavioral genetics provide unique opportunities for discovery and innovation.
KIBM researchers bridge disciplinary boundaries to further understand the origins, evolution, and mechanisms of human cognition, from the brain’s physical and biochemical machinery to the experiences and behaviors we call the mind.
KIBM leverages UC San Diego’s preeminence in fields such as neuroscience, biology, cognitive science, psychology and medicine, along with the extensive resources of the broader La Jolla scientific community, to extend its position as the pacesetter in brain-mind research and education, and as a vibrant hub for dissemination of its discoveries to advance science and benefit humankind.
Campus partners include the Neurobiology Section, the Salk Institute, the School of Medicine, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Cognitive Sciences.KIBM is jointly directed by Nickolas Spitzer (Division of Biological Sciences, Neurobiology Section) and Jeffrey Elman (Division of Social Sciences, Department of Cognitive Sciences).
The focus of Cal-CAB is the sustainable production of liquid transportation fuels from algae to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to provide independence from foreign oil supplies.
UC San Diego has a wealth of expertise in the new fields of systems and synthetic biology that will be harnessed for the production of advanced biofuels from microbes—ultimately providing a roadmap for reduction of the carbon footprint generated by the transportation sector.
Campus partners include: the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jacobs School of Engineering, Division of Social Science, SSI, CalIT2, as well as other academic and industry partners.
The Center grew out of the San Diego Consortium for Systems Biology started by Amy Kiger (Division of Biological Sciences, CDB Section), and Sumit Chanda (Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla).
SDCSB focuses on interactions involved in cells’ responses to stress. SDCSB researchers plan to analyze interactions among all of the genes and proteins within a cell in response to potentially harmful changes in the environment, and then test the functions of specific genetic "circuits" involved in the response by recreating them in isolation using synthesized genes.
SDCSB will build computational models that describe the networks of interactions involved in the stress response, and then identify promising subsets of that network using simulations based on the model.
To test each newly identified design principle, researchers will construct artificial "circuits" within cells using reporter molecules that reveal dynamic responses to stress.
The UC San Diego Natural Reserve System is part of the University of California Natural Reserve System, a network of protected natural areas throughout California. Its 36 sites encompass approximately 135,000 acres, making it the largest university-administered reserve system in the world.
Most major California ecosystems are represented here, from coastal tide pools to Sierra Nevada forests, and inland deserts to oak woodlands.
Founded in 1965 to provide undisturbed environments for research, education, and public service, the Natural Reserve System contributes to the understanding and wise management of the Earth. David Holway, Division of Biological Sciences (EBE), directs the UC San Diego Natural Reserve System.
UC San Diego has used institutional funds to establish a human embryonic stem cell (ES) core in the Center for Molecular Medicine for experiments on both federally approved and non-approved human ES cell lines.
This core is well equipped to perform tissue culture, microscopic imaging, and basic molecular biology experiments.
Specific areas of investigation include transcriptome and proteome profiling of mouse and human ES cells to identify genes that define the stem cell state, screening for growth factors and small molecules that maintain ES cell self-renewal, generation of ES cells with stem cell reporters, investigation of specific intracellular signaling pathways in ES cell self-renewal, and identification of mechanisms that maintain genetic stability in ES cells.
Additional activities focus on identifying the extracellular and intracellular signals that regulate the directed differentiation of ES cells in contexts including hematopoietic and neuronal cell lineages.
Food & Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21) is a formal organized research unit at UCSD.
FF21 facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle the significant research objectives regarding the use of photosynthetic organisms for enhanced food production and energy independence that cannot be addressed by any one discipline alone. It supports the development of innovative, sustainable and commercially viable solutions for the renewable production of food, energy, green chemistry and bio-products using photosynthetic organisms.
It is a member of the University of California Global Food Initiative, and participates through its research in developing sustainable food and fuel using photosynthetic organisms.