California State Senate Budget Chair Visits Calit2 at UC San Diego

By Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825,

Denise Ducheny Visit
State Sen. Denise Ducheny (left front) listens to Calit2 researcher Shannon Spanhake (far right) describe how the Squirrel personal pollution sensor works.
San Diego, CA, April 16, 2007 -- State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny spent two hours at Calit2 on the UC San Diego campus April 13. Ducheny, a Democrat, represents California's 40th District, which includes portions of San Diego and Riverside Counties and all of Imperial County, and chairs the Senate Budget Committee as well as the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. The senator was accompanied by her husband, Al Ducheny, and two Senate staffers.

Besides Calit2 director Larry Smarr, and Ramesh Rao, the UCSD division director of Calit2, on hand to welcome Ducheny were Jacobs School of Engineering dean Frieder Seible, Scripps Institution of Oceanography director Tony Haymet, and John Orcutt, associate vice chancellor for research at UC San Diego. 

Traffic Demo
Calit2's Alexandra Hubenko (back to camera) demonstrates how the wireless traffic service works for Calit2 division director Ramesh Rao and State Senator Ducheny.
"We were very pleased that Senator Ducheny would take the time to visit Calit2," says Calit2's Smarr. "We believe our mission to drive innovation will help the California economy and improve the quality of life of our citizens."

The senator got a whirlwind tour of research activities at Calit2 -- without having to leave Atkinson Hall. There were demonstrations by research groups in the building from the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Jacobs School of Engineering, UCSD School of Medicine and others. Ducheny also visited with Calit2 staff researchers involved in a variety of projects, including CAMERA (marine microbial genomics); WIISARD, which is developing technologies to help first responders react to a mass-casualty medical emergency; a project developing Squirrel,  a personal pollution sensor; and Calit2's Wireless Traffic Report, which now has approximately 15,000 registered users in San Diego County.

Leslie Lenert and Deniese Ducheny
WIISARD PI Leslie Lenert (left) explains how the project's new technologies can help first responders in the event of mass casualties from a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Listening at right: State Sen. Denise Ducheny and husband Al Ducheny.
To illustrate the unity of Calit2's two divisions in San Diego and Irvine, Ducheny got another taste of high-tech - when UC Irvine director G.P. Li participated in a high-definition videoconference his UCSD counterpart, Ramesh Rao, and Sen. Ducheny. Li briefed Ducheny on LifeChips, an ongoing research initiative to develop and build semiconductors and other electronic devices for use in the medical field (including for cancer treatment and for damaged eye and ear enhancements.)

Related Links
Denise Ducheny Website