Perhaps fitting of someone in the engineering realm, E. Daniel Hirleman was attracted to UC Merced in part by the opportunity to build something.
Hirleman, who took over as dean of UC Merced's School of Engineering last month, said he's looking forward to participating in the second phase of building a program and a campus that now have five years' worth of groundwork in place.
"I am a builder by nature," Hirleman said. "And it was clear that the school must aggressively build on the excellent foundation that founding Dean Jeff Wright and the current faculty created. I'm really thrilled to take on the challenge."
Hirleman previously served as the head of Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering. He chairs the advisory board of Engineers for a Sustainable World, so he appreciated UC Merced's focus on sustainability in its construction and research.
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"We are very strategically positioned with respect to sustainability, both in our physical plant and our teaching and research, so that was a great fit with my personal interests," Hirleman said.
He was also impressed by UC Merced's interdisciplinary strength, a consistent crossing over and collaboration between researchers in different fields and even different schools and campuses. Hirleman sees his own research -- developing biosensors for food safety and cell characterization -- as an example of that interdisciplinary spirit, combining engineering with biological sciences.
Hirleman said he thinks UC Merced and its schools should continue to develop a distinctive identity and not become "clones" of other UC campuses. In his vision of the future, UC Merced is a unique place whose growth is guided by its own unique responsibilities and opportunities.
"I see a School of Engineering that continues its remarkable trajectory toward having an impact of the quality and scale worthy of the top programs in the world," Hirleman said. "We will be known for signature initiatives and discoveries that help people and change the world, starting with the San Joaquin Valley. And we'll be known for students and graduates who make a difference."
Learn about stem cells
UC Merced will celebrate Stem Cell Awareness Day today by inviting members of the community and university supporters to campus to learn more about stem cells, the campus' research, existing therapies and the importance of the campus' Stem Cell Instrumentation Foundry.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. today, with a reception in front of the Classroom and Office Building (COB). Guest will have a chance to meet some of the campus' researchers. Presentations begin at 6 p.m. inside COB 116.
The foundry, funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will provide researchers at the university and throughout California access to advanced instruments for single-cell analysis. It is being built within the campus' Science and Engineering building, and officials expect construction to be completed by the end of December.
UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the university's Office of Communications. To contact the communications team, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.