2014 Program Events

Site and Clinical visits from summer 2014

The 2014 Berkeley Biodesign Immersion Experience (BIE) visited various clinical and industrial sites around the San Francisco Bay Area to observe how different entities factor into the cycle of care of different disease states. Combining their research with their notes and observations, students then determine unmet needs at each site, emphasizing what needs to be solved rather than how they should be solved. These unmet needs not only contribute to a growing database that serves as the bedrock for future projects in UC Berkeley’s Senior Design Capstone Course but also fulfill a larger goal of highlighting where research in bioengineering fits in different stages of the treatment of disease.

San Francisco General Hospital Ward 86
Ward 86 was the first HIV/AIDS specialist clinic in the country, opened at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) in response to the newly publicized AIDS epidemic in the United States after the CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report of June 5, 1981. The students visited Ward 86 on the day before the 33rd anniversary of the report’s release. The visit host, Dr. Monica Gandhi, is the chief of the Ward 86 service. The students sat in on the week’s HIV/AIDS Grand Rounds presentation, which focused on neurosyphilis in an HIV+ patient, Dr. Gandhi gave them a chalk talk on HIV/AID, showed them around Ward 86, and described her research in the hair lab, where drugs are screened in hair samples from HIV+ patients.

San Francisco General Hospital Toxicology Laboratory
Student teams participated in toxicology grand rounds with Director Alan Wu and visited numerous members of the toxicology laboratory staff. The teams made extensive observations of clinical chemistry and toxicology equipment to measure chemical composition of blood, assay pathogen presence in biological samples, and analyze the damage in biological samples from drug abuse.

Dr. Hobart Harris, UCSF Chief of General Surgery
Students observed surgery performed by Dr. Hobart Harris and his colleagues in the Division of General Surgery.

UCSF Liver Transplant Clinic
After a presentation about liver transplantation and both pre-operative and post-operative care, Dr. Michelle Brandman led teams through the inpatient floors, where students could listen in on patient rounds in progress in the transplant ICU, recovery floors, and the endoscopy room.

Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI)
The entire group visited the HEDCO Health Sciences Building at CHORI, which houses a DXA bone density scanner and the country’s only SQUID machine that serves a clinical population. SQUID (Superconducting Quantum Interference Device) is used to measure iron overload in the body by scanning the liver; the DXA (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry) measures bone mineral density. Dr. Marcella Wehymiller and Dr. Ellen Fung gave an extensive presentation on the techniques and clinical applications of the machine. They then demonstrated SQUID and DXA scanning on two volunteers from the cohort who consented to a study involving SQUID/DXA measurements.

UC Davis Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
One team visited on the day of the Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic, while the second visited on the day of the monthly Multidisciplinary ALS Clinic. The host, Dr. Nanette Joyce, sees patients in both clinics. The Pediatric Neuromuscular Clinic consists of physicians who see pediatric patients with different neuromuscular disorders such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The monthly Multidisciplinary ALS (amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) clinic consists of neurologists and physical medicine specialists who see patients with varying stages of the disease. In both clinics, nurses and specialists perform pulmonary function testing with spirometers, motor function testing with EMGs, and field questions about lifestyle concerns.

Henry Plastic Molding, Inc.
Based in Fremont, this company crafts plastic parts for various companies, including biomedical companies, using plastic injection molding. Eric Robinson gave an extensive presentation on plastic injection molding techniques and their importance in manufacturing, such as in producing vascular stents. Mr. Robinson furthermore emphasized the importance of manufacturing considerations early in the design process, especially if plastic parts will be involved due to the technicalities of plastic injection molding. He then led a tour of the plastic molding facilities, allowing the students to examine the sophisticated molds in which plastic parts are formed by injection molding and to observe both production and quality assurance.

Dr. Michele Steffey, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
After touring the surgical prep facilities and the pathology department, the students watched tumor resection from the bowel of a small animal (a cat).

Stanford Life Flight


Intuitive surgical
Tour of manufacturing facilities and assembly of the new da VinciTM Xi telerobot.

Dr. John Hixson, San Francisco VA Medical Center’s Epilepsy service
A chalk talk on epilepsy followed by a brief tour of the epilepsy monitoring room and a sample patient room.