A Look Back at 2022
As we look forward to the upcoming new year, UC San Diego Today invites readers to look back at some of the university’s milestones from 2022. From the exciting physical transformation of our growing campus to research breakthroughs across disciplines to visionary gifts, here’s a glance at a selection of memorable moments from the past year:
New Spaces Enrich the UC San Diego Experience
The Debut of the Epstein Family Amphitheater
The Epstein Family Amphitheater, a state-of-the-art outdoor entertainment venue at UC San Diego, welcomed its first guests in October 2022. To provide a first look at the new space, the university celebrated an array of debut events for the campus and local community.
Among the festivities was An Evening of Celebration with the San Diego Symphony, which spotlighted talent from some of UC San Diego’s music faculty and alumni: UC San Diego Distinguished Professor of Music Steven Schick, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Music Lei Liang, Distinguished Professor of Music Rand Steiger and alumna Anna Thorvaldsdóttir. Then, during the Blacktronika: Where I Stand Festival curated by Assistant Teaching Professor of Music King Britt, six innovative musical groups ranging from free jazz to cosmic funk came together for a day of sonic cultural expression.
UC San Diego Park & Market Opens to the Public
UC San Diego Park & Market, the university’s long-planned presence in downtown San Diego, opened to the public in May 2022. Made possible with philanthropic support from Malin Burnham and David and Claire Guggenheim, the new hub is designed to serve the entire San Diego community as a social and intellectual hub for civic engagement, learning and collaboration. The mixed-use space is located steps away from the Blue Line Trolley, featuring a 58-seat cinema, a state-of-the-art computer lab, classroom spaces and more.
Franklin Antonio Hall Opens its Doors
This fall, UC San Diego celebrated the opening of Franklin Antonio Hall. The 186,000-square-foot building is home to 13 collaboratories—research laboratories bringing together researchers from different departments to solve a wide range of problems facing society. The new space is named after the late UC San Diego alumnus Franklin Antonio in recognition of his incredible $30 million gift to the Jacobs School of Engineering.
Students Explore a Newly Renovated Geisel Library
Marking the completion of the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative, UC San Diego’s iconic Geisel Library received an interior update to enhance the user experience with modern, collaborative spaces. The “reveal” of the renovation was celebrated this fall, with students invited to explore the building’s newly renovated second floor. Its updated features include 160 additional comfortable spaces for students to study, a new gallery space and more.
UC San Diego Receives $100 Million in State Funding for New Student Housing
UC San Diego received $100 million in state funding for the Pepper Canyon West Living and Learning Neighborhood, which will provide more than 1,300 single-occupancy rooms to transfer and upper-division undergraduate students when it opens in the fall of 2024. The funding is part of a new Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program established by the state, which provides one-time grants for projects to support increased California resident enrollment.
A Year Filled with Innovative Research
Research Funding Reaches Record-Breaking $1.64B
2022 marked a record-breaking year for research funding at UC San Diego. In fiscal year 2022 (July 1-June 30), the university earned $1.64 billion in research funding, up from $1.54 billion the previous year—a more than 6 percent increase.
The top 10 investments in university research included a $25.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to pioneer a method that better integrates renewable energy into power grids. Additionally, $11.2 million in funds from the Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research went toward supporting advanced computing, instrumentation, and laboratory facilities aboard the oceanographic research vessels operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
UC San Diego Launches New Human Milk Institute
UC San Diego launched a new Human Milk Institute to accelerate research into the nature, biology and therapeutic potential of human milk to prevent or treat both infant and adult diseases. The new institute is believed to be the first of its kind worldwide. By combining current programs into a single entity, researchers, physicians and educators hope to create a global hub for understanding and accelerating knowledge and application of human milk.
How Time-Restricted Eating Improves Cardiovascular Health for Firefighters
In a collaborative effort, physicians with UC San Diego Health and scientists at the Salk Institute reported that a form of intermittent fasting called time-restricted eating improved the health of firefighters who had been diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. The findings, published in Cell Metabolism, determined that time-restricted eating within a 10-hour eating window was not only feasible, but also helped the firefighters significantly decrease their VLDL, or “bad” cholesterol, improve their mental health and reduce their alcohol intake by roughly three drinks per week.
Extending your Lifespan through Physical Activity
Researchers at the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego set out to understand whether associations between physical activity and sedentary time and risk of death varied based on different levels of genetic predisposition for longevity. In a study published online in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, they found that even if you aren’t likely to live long based on your genes, you can still extend your lifespan by engaging in positive lifestyle behaviors such as regular exercise and sitting less.
Tiny Swimming Robots Treat Deadly Pneumonia in Mice
Nanoengineers at UC San Diego developed microscopic robots, called microrobots, that can swim around in the lungs, deliver medication and be used to clear up life-threatening cases of bacterial pneumonia. In mice, the microrobots safely eliminated pneumonia-causing bacteria in the lungs and resulted in 100% survival. The results were published in September in Nature Materials.
Global Policy and Strategy Professor Debuts New Book on Civil Wars
Barbara F. Walter, a leading expert on civil wars, political violence and terrorism, poses crucial questions in a time of national unrest in her new book, “How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them.” Walter holds the Rohr Chair in Pacific International Relations at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy. The book includes stories from countries around the globe whose citizens have turned on each other, as well as some warnings for Americans.
UC San Diego and Thermo Fisher Scientific Enter Innovative Strategic Partnership
UC San Diego and Thermo Fisher Scientific have agreed to form a transformational 10-year strategic partnership that leverages the leading expertise of each organization. With the aim to build a pipeline of next-generation talent centered on equity, diversity and inclusion, the partnership will focus on training diverse students in advanced research methods and applied skills through education programs and employment opportunities.
UC San Diego Team Works to Track and Understand Cliff Erosion
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are using advanced imaging and geotechnical technology to gain a better understanding of the complex processes that lead to cliff failures. By conducting LiDAR (which stands for Light Detection and Ranging) surveys to create high-resolution maps of cliffs, scientists can measure how they are eroding and changing over time.
Expansion of Atmospheric River Storm Observations over Pacific Ocean
An expanded Atmospheric River Reconnaissance (AR Recon) program began in November as a result of the unexpected “bomb cyclone” in October 2021 that hit North America’s West Coast, followed by another atmospheric river less than a month later that caused severe flooding in Washington. Critical data gleaned as part of the flights will be used to improve forecasts of atmospheric river storms over the Pacific Ocean. AR Recon is led by UC San Diego’s Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at Scripps Institution of Oceanography with support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and California Department of Water Resources.
San Diego’s First Large-Scale, University-Based Resource on Homelessness Established
The campus launched the Homelessness Hub at UC San Diego, the region’s first large-scale, university-based research and data hub focused exclusively on homelessness, thanks to support from campus friends Phyllis and Dan Epstein and Hanna and Mark Gleiberman. The new program, in the university’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, will serve as a non-partisan hub for research, education, policy and action on homelessness.
Researchers Work to Unravel Role of Tau Proteins in Neurodegenerative Diseases Such as Dementia
Researchers in the School of Physical Sciences and Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute are working to better understand the role misfolded tau proteins play in causing neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, which may lead to more effective drug therapies. Exactly how different misfolded proteins contribute to the cause and progression of disease remains unclear. UC San Diego’s team of interdisciplinary researchers believes the solution to the protein-aggregate riddle is hidden in fundamental biology that cannot be accessed using traditional methods and requires not a single kind of expertise, but many kinds.
World Premiere Brings the Haunting Music of the Arctic to San Diego
This October, renowned composer Lei Liang unveiled a new composition evoking cycles of life and change in the Arctic at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Music Center Experimental Theater. The new piece, “Six Seasons,” represents the culmination of a years-long collaboration between Liang, the inaugural Research Artist in Residence at the Qualcomm Institute and Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Music at UC San Diego, and oceanographers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Successful Women Make the Best Advocates to Help Other Women Rise up in the Ranks
New research utilizing data from U.S. Supreme Court law clerk hiring decisions found that female job applicants with recommendations from other highly tenured women have the strongest chance of getting a job offer. The study from UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management examines the impact personal references have on hiring decisions because who you know is often just as or more important than what you know when it comes to getting hired.
Breakthroughs that Help Tackle and Address COVID-19
School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital Join Nationwide Long-COVID Study
Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego have joined a nationwide study to better understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 on patients in the United States across all demographic groups. The $1.15 billion, four-year study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, is called the RECOVER Initiative.
Determining the Origin of the COVID Pandemic
In a pair of related studies, UC San Diego researchers, with colleagues on four continents, showed that the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019 was at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, and resulted from at least two instances of the SARS-CoV-2 virus jumping from live animal hosts to humans working or shopping there.
UC San Diego Professor Presents Air Filtration Fan to the White House
This September, renowned atmospheric scientist Kimberly Prather presented a Corsi-Rosenthal Box to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry, outlined how the air filtration box is a low-cost innovation made of parts that are readily available that can effectively work in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 simply by cleaning the air.
COVID-19 Rebound after Taking Paxlovid Likely Due to Insufficient Drug Exposure
In a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine evaluated a patient experiencing “COVID-19 rebound” after completing the antiviral Paxlovid treatment. They found that their symptom relapse was not caused by the development of resistance to the drug or impaired immunity against the virus. Rather, the COVID-19 rebound appears to have been the result of insufficient exposure to the drug.
Transformative Gifts that Drive Positive Change
Philanthropy Makes an Impact
UC San Diego’s visionary donors are helping propel a diverse community of doers: those who are working to uncover unexpected answers to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Over the last year, private support has boosted the bold efforts of students, scholars, researchers, healers, entrepreneurs and creators who are working to benefit people around the globe, leveraging discoveries from the depths of our oceans to the skies above us. Here are just a few of the remarkable gifts and philanthropic milestones that UC San Diego celebrated in 2022:
A Record-Breaking $3.05 Billion Raised in Campaign for UC San Diego
UC San Diego reached the conclusion of its landmark Campaign for UC San Diego on June 30, 2022, and announced that a total of $3.05 billion in philanthropic support was raised over a span of 10 years, surpassing the initial campaign goal by more than $1 billion. More than 164,000 supporters designated charitable gifts and grants to over 450 different areas across campus.
With a $50 Million Gift, USC and UC San Diego Join Forces in Alzheimer’s Research
A joint gift to the University of Southern California (USC) and UC San Diego totaling $50 million from the Epstein Family Foundation is driving Alzheimer’s research and accelerating the search for treatments and a cure. The generous donation established the Epstein Family Alzheimer’s Research Collaboration at USC and UC San Diego.
$150 Million Gift is Taking Stem Cell Research to New Heights
Noted businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford committed $150 million in new funding to expand stem cell research and regenerative medicine—quite literally— into new spaces and endeavors. The gift established the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Institute, which will focus in part on leveraging space as a new frontier for stem cell science.
Gene Lay Names Bioengineering Department in Honor of His Mentor Shu Chien
Eminent biotechnology innovator and entrepreneur Gene Lay, through the Laygend Foundation, committed $25 million to support UC San Diego's world-leading bioengineering department. In recognition of the gift, which honors department founder and emeritus professor of bioengineering Shu Chien, UC San Diego named the department the Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering.
$20 Million Gift from Hanna and Mark Gleiberman Drives Glaucoma Research
Researchers at UC San Diego will have new resources to find ways to reverse the effects of glaucoma, thanks to $20 million in support from Hanna and Mark Gleiberman. The gift will establish the Hanna and Mark Gleiberman Center for Glaucoma Research, which will be home to research on advanced glaucoma, with the ultimate goal of protecting and restoring the vision of those who suffer from the condition.
UC San Diego Partners in $148M Initiative Accelerating AI Use in Science
The university was selected to join the Eric and Wendy Schmidt AI in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, a program of Schmidt Futures, to accelerate the next scientific revolution by applying artificial intelligence (AI) to research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The support enables UC San Diego and eight other leading universities to provide additional advanced AI training, funded research support and professional development opportunities for postdoctoral scholars.
Supporting an Inclusive Community Where Students, Staff and Faculty Can Thrive
New Faculty Bridge Black Studies and STEM
This year, the campus announced it will be welcoming 13 new faculty members across eight disciplines who will serve as connection points between the experiences and outcomes of Black and African American people and issues in STEM. UC San Diego has been making swift progress in recruiting this new cohort of talented faculty members who will be advancing research on communities of color, diversifying course offerings through the African American Studies Program and providing valuable mentorship for UC San Diego students.
A Growing Counseling and Psychological Services Team Supports Student Success
Over the past year, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has hired six new counselors, each one specializing in identity-based counseling. With the new hires, the CAPS team is now 40-strong and striving to serve all UC San Diego students. Students are offered a plethora of programs hosted by CAPS throughout the year, as well as special events held throughout the month of May during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Over a Dozen New Latinx Studies Faculty Members to Join UC San Diego
UC San Diego is steadily becoming known as “Mi Universidad” the university of choice among many Latinx and Chicanx students. To meet the academic and cultural needs of the growing community—which comprise nearly one-quarter of the university’s undergraduate population—UC San Diego announced it is hiring up to 14 new faculty members whose research and teaching focus on issues affecting Latinx and Chicanx students. The new hires are inspired by a $500,000 grant awarded through the University of California’s Advancing Faculty Diversity Program.
Campus Receives $16 Million NIH FIRST Award
UC San Diego received a five-year, $16 million grant from the National Institutes of Health Common Fund’s Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Program, marking the largest grant ever received by UC San Diego to enhance faculty diversity. The UC San Diego FIRST Program will enhance diversity in the biomedical sciences with the recruitment of diverse, early-career researchers and new programs to improve faculty recruitment, retention, inclusion and success.
University Announces Twelve New Faculty to be Hired to Design Just Futures
To increase the diversity of academic innovation at UC San Diego, the university announced a new cluster hire of up to 12 new faculty members whose work centers on designing just futures, particularly for Indigenous, Black and migrant communities. To help spur this work, UC San Diego was awarded a $500,000 grant through the University of California’s Advancing Faculty Diversity program to support the cluster hire.
First-Ever Innovation Day at Petco Park Showcases Diversity of UC San Diego’s Innovation Workforce
As part of the inaugural Innovation Day, more than 100 startups and business leaders convened in Petco Park to engage with the diversity, variety and ambition of the regional life sciences and technology startup scene. UC San Diego featured the largest representation of startups at the half-day event, highlighting the university’s commitment to driving discovery for societal good. Participating companies with Triton ties included Welfie, UNIGRID, Micronoma and many more.
World-Class Care for Superb Patient Outcomes
UC San Diego Health Ranks #1 Regionally by U.S. News & World Report
According to the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” survey, UC San Diego Health has once again ranked No. 1 in San Diego and No. 5 in California, placing it among the nation’s best health care providers. The annual rankings also highly ranked UC San Diego Health in 10 medical and surgical specialties, including geriatrics as well as pulmonology and lung surgery.
New Student Program Helps Address Diversity Gap in Health Care Industry
UC San Diego Health has received $2.2 million in grant funding from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) to develop a new student enrichment program—entitled the “UC San Diego Health Career Experience”—that seeks to encourage high school students in underrepresented communities to pursue health care careers.
UC San Diego Health Physicians Named ‘Top Docs’ in San Diego County
More than 100 UC San Diego Health physicians have been named “Top Docs” in the 2022 San Diego Magazine “Physicians of Exceptional Excellence” survey, an annual opportunity for doctors across the county to vote for their much respected and admired colleagues. UC San Diego Health is also the region’s only academic medical center.
Inspiring Patient Stories from Across the Region
Doctors and scientists at UC San Diego Health are acclaimed experts in their fields and well equipped to deliver unparalleled patient care. This year, transplant teams at UC San Diego Heath performed a heart, liver and kidney transplant on a patient experiencing organ failure. The successful surgery was a first for UC San Diego Health as well as the first triple organ transplant in the nation from a donor after circulatory death.
Demonstrating Triton Spirit through Stellar Accolades, a Buzzing Campus Life and More
A Leader in National and Global Rankings
UC San Diego is consistently recognized as a leader within various national and global university ranking lists. The university was named the nation’s eighth best public university in the U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 Best Colleges rankings, as well as No. 20 in the outlet’s list of most innovative schools in the nation. The institution is third among the nation’s top public colleges, according to Forbes 2022 America’s Top Colleges lis.t
Additionally, U.S. News & World Report ranked nine of the campus’s graduate programs among the top 10 in the nation in its 2023 Best Graduate Schools rankings. The university was also ranked among the top 20 universities in the world, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best Global Universities. In the annual list, UC San Diego maintained its rank as No. 6 among the nation’s top public colleges.
Welcoming the Newest Class
This spring, UC San Diego offered admission to 31,160 first-year and 11,267 transfer applicants who represent 1,546 high schools and 113 community colleges across California as well as more than 114 countries around the globe—including all 50 U.S. states. For fall 2022, around 9,600 new first-year and transfer students registered to become a part of the campus community.
Campus Community Reunites for In-Person Events
From lively athletic matches and the return of the Triton 5K, students, staff, faculty and visiting alumni had plenty to do and see on campus at UC San Diego. The campus community reveled in beloved annual events, such as the Homecoming celebration and Triton Weeks of Welcome. Event highlights include the Triton Tailgate, the UnOlympics, Meet the Beach and more.
Creating Art and Community at the Craft Center
The 11,000-square-foot Craft Center, a dynamic, multipurpose space situated at the heart of the new North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood, continues to serve as a buzzing hub for the entire campus. The new facility offers students, faculty, staff and the local community unique opportunities to connect and create. At the Craft Center, a team of artist instructors offer hands-on art classes in ceramics, jewelry-making, woodworking, surfboard shaping and culinary arts, in addition to engaging workshops.
University Publishes Inaugural Sustainability Report
During Earth Month, UC San Diego published its first-annual sustainability report. The inaugural report provided an update on the progress the campus made in 2020-21 towards sustainability goals across 10 key areas: air and climate, clean energy, engagement, environmentally friendly purchasing, food and dining, green buildings, sustainable landscapes, transportation and fleet services, water conservation and zero waste.
World’s Smallest Penguins Waddle into Birch Aquarium
On July 12, the new Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins habitat at Birch Aquarium opened to the public, marking the biggest addition to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in 30 years. Named in honor of a $1 million gift by the Beyster Family, the exhibit allows guests to watch as 15 tiny seabirds with playful personalities explore, waddle and swim around their new home.
Celebrating our Division I Scholar-Athletes
UC San Diego Celebrates its Second Full Season as a NCAA Division I School
After two decades as one of the most successful programs in NCAA Division II, the UC San Diego athletics program is now celebrating its second full season as a NCAA Division I School. Throughout the year, the university welcomed back fans and students to cheer on UC San Diego’s talented men’s and women’s sports teams. At thrilling athletic events hosted on and off campus, scholar athletes showed off their talent in sports including soccer, basketball, water polo and more.
RIMAC Arena is Named LionTree Arena
In 2022, UC San Diego announced that RIMAC Arena was named LionTree Arena in recognition of a $5 million gift for scholar-athletes from LionTree. LionTree—an independent investment and merchant bank with expertise in technology, media and the digital economy— was founded by UC San Diego alumnus Aryeh B. Bourkoff, who also serves as the firm’s CEO. LionTree’s gift is the largest ever received by UC San Diego Athletics, establishing the LionTree Endowed Scholarship Fund to support scholar-athletes.
Big Crowds Turn Out to Support UC San Diego Athletics
The success of UC San Diego’s athletic teams draws fans in big numbers, all eager to cheer on our record-breaking Tritons. During the 2022 season, UC San Diego women’s volleyball set new records for attendance in LionTree Arena—its second season of Division I competition.
Some of this year’s big wins include Triton women’s swimming taking home the program’s first Division I conference title. In front of a record crowd at LionTree Arena, the men’s basketball team defeated UC rival Cal for the second straight year.
Scholar-Athletes Excel Both On the Field and in the Classroom
As UC San Diego’s athletics program continued its transition to full Division I membership in 2022, its commitment to academic success was on full display. In the NCAA's annual release of its graduation rates report, the data revealed that scholarship scholar-athletes at UC San Diego graduate at the highest rate among all public institutions in Division I and II. When the Big West announced its annual list of fall All-Academic Team performers earlier this year, UC San Diego was the leader in total all-academic picks. A league-best 51 scholar-athletes from the UC San Diego were recognized by the athletic conference.
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