Biomolecular engineer David Haussler and computer scientist Martín Abadi recognized for pioneering achievements

February 09, 2018

Two engineers in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz—David Haussler, distinguished professor of biomolecular engineering, and Martín Abadi, professor emeritus of computer science—have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering for their outstanding contributions to the field of engineering. Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.

“We’re very pleased that the outstanding contributions of David Haussler and Martín Abadi have been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering,” said Alexander Wolf, dean of the Baskin School of Engineering. “The work of these two faculty members exemplify the power and importance of engineering in our lives. Professor Haussler’s work has transformed the field of genomics, and Professor Abadi’s research helped form the foundations of computer security.”

Haussler, the scientific director of the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, was recognized by the academy “for developments in computational learning theory and bioinformatics, including first assembly of the human genome, its analysis, and data sharing.” He is a pioneer in genomics research and an international leader in efforts to advance genomic medicine. Haussler’s team, driven by then graduate student Jim Kent, posted the first publicly available assembly of the human genome sequence online in 2000 and subsequently developed the UCSC Genome Browser, a widely used tool for biomedical researchers. His group’s work in cancer genomics includes collaborations with cancer researchers at medical centers nationally on efforts to discover molecular causes of cancer and pioneer a new personalized, genomics-based approach to cancer treatment.

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