Edited by Caroline OstermanThe Berkeley Master of Engineering is a rewarding and challenging one-year program that pushes engineers to innovate and grow both in leadership and technical depth. In May 2019, the program saw 330 students graduate, among t…
SkyDeck: Berkeley’s largest startup acceleratorBerkeley SkyDeck is UC Berkeley’s largest startup accelerator since 2012 — moving over 300 startups through its doors. SkyDeck has built a reputation for helping some of Berkeley’s top founders build their…
By Caroline OstermanCongratulations to MEng IEOR ’12 alum Han Jin for being named in Forbes’ 2018 “30 Under 30” in Consumer Technology!Han Jin, MEng Class of 2012; the LucidCam, a portable camera for AR/VR 3D content creationHan is co-founder and CEO o…
By Maya RectorLeela Tanikella graduated with her MEng degree in Bioengineering in 2015. She currently works at Intuitive Surgical, where she is a Design Controls engineer. Her favorite part of her job is knowing that she is improving the lives of patie…
Written by Michael Chai, Edited by Maya Rector
Throughout my term at UC Berkeley and in the Master of Engineering program, my capstone project was undoubtedly where I spent the most of my time and effort. It was an opportunity to work on something that I was truly passionate about; it was also a great relief from the more traditional forms of learning (think homework, midterms, finals, etc.). While all students improve their technical skills and gain a tremendous academic experience by working on a capstone project, I’d like to touch on one aspect of the experience that I feel is just as important — working with your team members and advisers.
Early on in the capstone selection process, students are asked to submit their top choices for projects they would like to work on. Almost all students, myself included, selected projects that they thought were the most interesting and closely-related to their field of study. What we neglected was the fact that choosing a capstone project also meant choosing your team members for the next nine months. Even though it is important to be in a project that you are passionate about, I think it’s equally as important to be with team members that you’d want to be working with for the duration of your M.Eng. program. I personally had overlooked this fact.
However, I was fortunate enough to be placed in a project with two other students that were great teammates who turned into great friends.
Our team for the Point-of- Care Diagnostics for Global Health capstone project consisted of three members: Hui-Ling Koh (BioE’14), Ian Legaspi (IEOR’14), and myself (BioE’14). Although I had never met Ling and Ian before we started the program, we discovered that we actually had a lot in common. Ling and I both attended the same high school, the International School of Beijing, and Ian and I went to UCLA for our undergraduate studies. The three of us also shared an interest in food. Almost all of our team meetings involved exploring the multitude of restaurants in Berkeley and its surrounding areas (Korean BBQ in Oakland is one of our favorites). Above all, we shared a love for Disneyland. One month into our project, we had already made a weekend team-bonding trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. It is fair to say that if you’re willing to spend 15 hours in the car and a whole day running around and lining up for roller coasters with someone, you’re no longer just capstone project team members — you are friends.
Our team made the extra effort to build a relationship with each other outside of school, which definitely paid off and translated into how our capstone team worked as a whole.
Being friends with my team members really made working hard and sometimes going above and beyond much easier for me. Some specific examples I can think of are: running experiments at 1 or 2 AM, attending weekly lab meetings early in the morning, taking turns setting up experiments during spring break, and attending workshops and networking events in San Francisco. It also made me more open to offer and receive criticism, because I knew at the end of the day, they are my friends and have the group’s and my best interest in mind.
As you will learn in the Organizational Behavior class, when you care about someone, you are willing to make compromises for them. Throughout the nine months, conflicts and issues are sure to arise, but when you care for and trust your team members, you will be able to work resolve and through them.
I strongly believe that the M.Eng. program has helped me prepare for the professional world in many ways. Besides improving my technical skills by taking classes at one of the best engineering schools in the world, I have also developed the interpersonal skills that are necessary in any job you will take after graduation. However, what I’m truly grateful for was the chance to meet my capstone team members and all the other wonderful people in the MEng program.
Hui-Ling now works as a R&D Engineer at Teco Diagnostics. Ian works at Connora Technologies as the Director of Operations. Michael works as a Technical Sales Engineer at COMSOL.
How Teamwork and Friendship Build upon each other was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
Written by Suneesh Kaul, Edited by Maya Rector
Flex is a Fortune-500 supply-chain solutions and manufacturing firm with operations in over 30 countries offering design, manufacturing, distribution and aftermarket services to a variety of global OEMs and other product based firms.
Predictive maintenance, self-optimizing production, and automated inventory management are the top three use-cases driving the Internet of Things (IoT) market growth through 2020 to the amount of $270B. Flex is a big player in the IoT space, producing and helping produce solutions involving tons of connected, intelligent devices that enable IoT in a variety of settings. We call it “Intelligence of Things”.
Internet of Things only means connectivity, but we are also putting a lot more intelligence into the end devices and that means building smart and connected devices — so it’s more than just the Internet. 
For instance, recently Flex described several innovations the company has pioneered which mix the sensing and electronic capabilities of a digital circuit with the stretchiness and washability required of a garment through IoT. Smart, connected solutions have enabled the wearable market to move beyond the wrist and become an integral part of someone’s daily outfit. Flex is empowering fashion designers to make technology a part of their vision as more and more customers expect fashion to integrate with their smartphone or connected device.
Imagine someone being able to tap into the power of a solar powered jacket when they suddenly realize that they’re off the path and night is getting closer. Maintaining a GPS signal can use a significant amount of battery as can connecting to remote cell towers in the woods. But if their smartphone has been charging in the afternoon sun courtesy of their solar jacket, they’ll be ready to find their way back home safely and securely.
Solar powered clothing can do more than avoid having to recharge on the go — consider clothing that automatically adjusts tiny vents to make a shirt warmer on a chilly day, or let in more airflow during a hot, challenging run. Clothing that is automatically smarter (and more comfortable) is within reach.
While at Flex, I have been engaged with the Global Supply-Chain organization to develop revolutionary solutions which can support this growth. One of our recent ventures is to transform the application of ‘Blockchains’ from the Finance industry to the Supply-Chain industry.
Blockchains are pegged to be the next internet  and will revolutionize the way we conduct business in the future. A Blockchain is a peer-to-peer distributed ledger forged by consensus, which can be used to build a new generation of transactional applications in-order to streamline business processes and legal constraints. 
Blockchain is the foundation on which Bitcoin transactions take place; we at Flex are exploring its applicability into recording the movement of goods in a complex global network across 100+ countries.
How’s that for complexity and scale?
Blockchain’s distributed ledger technology would register the transfer of goods on the ledger as transactions and would identify the parties involved, as well as the price, date, location, quality and any other information that would be relevant to managing the supply chain. Consequently, it would be possible to trace back every product to the very origin of the raw material used, its provenance.
Additionally, the decentralized structure of the ledger makes it impossible for any one party to hold ownership of the ledger and manipulate the data to their own advantage. 
Simply put, it ensures both transparency and security while building trust among the parties involved.
It’s an exciting time to be working at Flex; and it’s a remarkable feeling to have been given the opportunity to transform the business of tomorrow at this stage in my career.
Check out Flex’s Intelligence (TM) magazine at https://lnkd.in/gXmXhRi
By Giselle Diaz Reflow Filament is a venture started with one of our Alumni and CTO, Rahul Mehendiratta. Through the production of recycled filament, it aims to create a new model for the 3D printing industry that empowers communities and encourages innovation in developing regions worldwide. We recently had the chance to sit down with their… Read More »
By Clarice Cho and Giselle Diaz
“I just go for it.”
Often times, it’s just that simple.
Since graduating this past May, Job Shiach has devoted all of his attention into getting his startup NLYTN Beauty — pronounced “enlighten” — off the ground and running. NLYTN Beauty is focused on developing precision antibiotics to combat skin based infections caused by bacteria. That process has just been speed tracked thanks to Job’s acceptance into the prestigious CITRIS Foundry, a startup accelerator that will provide NLYTN with the resources it needs to expand and grow, including lab space and funding.
Now that NLYTN has been accepted to the CITRIS Foundry, Job has been able to move his startup into its new lab space at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, also known as QB3, where he will be fully equipped with the resources he needs to pursue NLYTN’s goal of alleviating bacterial infection, beginning with one that affects nearly everyone: acne.
Job and his brother, Jacob, are working full-time at NLYTN, making progress on creating precision antibiotics using bacteriophage technology — viruses that infect bacteria only. Using this platform, they are able to model a person’s microbiome — the bacteria and other microorganisms living on their body — identify the problematic bacteria, and produce a phage cocktail against that specific bacteria, leaving the rest of the microbiome intact.
Job explains that being able to preserve the microbiome is essential; killing the entire microbiota can impact a person’s immune system, mood, and metabolism.
These side effects are not only unpleasant, they are unnecessary. Job believes that with NLYTN’s platform, people will change the way they approach solutions to acne and other illnesses, cutting out the side effects that often come with medication. Acne, a non-life threatening condition, is a prime example of the impact that adopting precision antibiotics can have on individuals and on society.
Acne is caused by the bacterium Propionibacterium Acnes, a generally commensal species that can become aggressive, typically around puberty. Current acne treatments force users to sacrifice their health for their beauty and are widely ineffective and harmful. Current treatments can result in side effects that range from dry, irritated skin at best to liver failure and birth defects at worst. Among the most popular current treatments are broad spectrum antibiotics, which can be effective, but also eliminate most of the microbiome and can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria, further exacerbating the very serious antibiotic resistance problem.
It is the goal of NLYTN Beauty’s skin care division to educate people about the microbiome’s role in their health and beauty. Doing so means recognizing the fact that an alternative to broad spectrum antibiotics must be reached, which can benefit individuals looking for clear skin. Moreover, focusing on specific bacteria will help the public at large by no longer contributing to medicine’s dependance on general untargeted antibiotic medicines. These medicines do more harm than good; while they may initially alleviate a person’s condition, over-reliance on antibiotics leads to the creation of super bacteria, which no longer respond to antibiotic treatment.
When probed about the inspiration for the company, Job explained that he’s always been fascinated by medicine and finding solutions to complex problems.
“My brother and I used to sit down and have sessions where we’d think of a random disease and do research [on that disease], then try to find a solution to it. One of the diseases was multi-drug resistant tuberculosis — and antibiotic resistant bacteria in general — and this [company] is kind of what grew out of that…we were really excited about it so we ran with it!”
Job’s affinity for problem solving helped him thrive in academics, in spite of challenges. After completing his undergraduate degree in biology at Kansas State University, coming to Berkeley for Bioengineering meant that Job needed to expand his academic focus from biology and genetics to include mathematics and programming as well.
“At Kansas State I did empirical research; I learned through observation and experimentation about protein function and molecular pathways. And I loved it! As I grew as a scientist, I began wanting to build biological systems, and that led me to the field of bioengineering where I’ve learned to use empirical observations to build and create exciting biological products, like the ones we are making at NLYTN.”
Though the shift in his studies at UC Berkeley was “a big contrast” from what he had done during undergrad, the combination of classes — including business ones — prepared him for managing a startup.
“On the tech side, I learned how to engineer biology, and that was really hard for me because I didn’t have the math [skills] before. On the business-marketing side, I was able to use the business skills we learned to bump up our marketing [and business plans], and that’s how we were able to get into CITRIS Foundry and QB3.”
And his hard work keeps paying off. Not long after moving into QB3, Job learned that he attained exceptional Principal Investigator status, which is the first step towards conducting studies on humans, and one step closer to bringing NLYTN to market.
Joining QB3 has brought Job’s start up process full circle. After a long year of building up NLYTN’s brand, Job will be able to return to his primary interest: lab work. “It was challenging for me to move into the business side of it, he says, “I’ve been here the last year essentially, doing things like building the brand, and marketing, and connections with potential investors and anything else, and the business plan.”
Now that NLYTN has found a home in QB3, Job is able to switch his focus from advocating for his brand and pulling in investors to working on the science behind NLYTN.
“I am at my core, a scientist. Now, as the director of research and development, I’m excited to get back into the lab and get back into the science, which I love so much.”
To learn more about NLYTN, and the role of the microbiome in your health and appearance, visit NLYTN online, here.
NLYTN Beauty: Beating the Bacteria Behind Acne was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
By Joseph Bynoe
As a senior in high school, you are asked to channel the infinite wisdom you gained during 17–18 years of being a kid to choose a career that would potentially guide the rest of your adult life… Have you ever thought how ridiculous that sounds?
I was one of the lucky ones. I was 12 when I decided that I was going to be an aerospace engineer. With my deep passion for space travel and spaceship design, it seemed like the job was practically created for me. Every academic decision I made was for that purpose and culminated in an aerospace engineering degree. Growing up, it would’ve been impossible for you to convince me that I would become anything else. Well here I am, almost 26, a programmer, and I can’t put into words how miserable I would be as an aerospace engineer.
In my senior year of undergrad, I realized that aerospace was way too theoretical for my liking and wasn’t really the career for me. I felt totally lost, and I thought I was the only one. I had spent so long studying aerospace engineering that doing anything else just seemed impossible. It wasn’t until I started speaking to some of my mentors — senior people who have been in the business world for decades — that I realized they were just like me. They were richer and more successful, but just as lost.
The truth is the majority of us will never know what we truly want to do. Even though there will be times when you feel extremely trapped in your decision, know that for the most part it is all about your mindset. You may be a software engineer today, but there is little stopping you from being a carpenter down the road. Who knows, you may already have the experience you need, you just don’t realize it.
So what do you do when you feel trapped? How do you get out? You rebrand!
In 2012, people saw me as an aerospace engineer, and I was turned down on positions outside of this field. It didn’t matter that I was a super hard worker and a quick learner — all they saw was an aerospace engineer.
To rebrand, I went back to school. I was extremely fortunate to get into the Master of Engineering program at UC Berkeley. When I graduated I was not just an aerospace engineer, but also a mechanical engineer with a focus in product design. The leadership, business, and technical skills that I learned in the M.Eng. Program made my resume stand-out, and I was hired as a Product Manager at a startup.
When the startup life lost its charm, I started looking again. I set my sights on rebranding into the “sexiest job of the 21st century”: a data scientist. With no formal programming background, however, I didn’t consider myself a top contender. Instead of heading back to school, I reflected on my past jobs and academics for relevant experience. To my surprise, I was a pretty legitimate candidate having programmed at a number of my previous jobs. I was self-taught but always delivered. I even dragged that long lost aerospace engineering degree back to showcase my analytic proficiency.
Rebranding my skills and experience helped me to morph from an aerospace engineer to a mechanical engineer to a product manager and finally into a data scientist, but I doubt that’s where I’ll stop. Someone once told me that you take jobs to find out what you don’t want to do in life, and that is definitely true for me.
So what’s next? I’ve set my sights on rebranding into a billionaire — but that story is for a different article.
Maybe you’ll read this and think I’m just a serial career hopper, or maybe you’ll be able to relate. Whether you realize your career just isn’t for you, you feel underutilized, or you just get bored, there will be a point when you feel lost or trapped. The key is to remember that you can change it — all you need is some rebranding. Take a course, network and look for past relevant experience to rebrand yourself. No one is saying it is going to be easy, but it is possible!
So what do I want to be when I grow up? I’ll probably never know for sure. They say, it is the journey not the destination that matters, so don’t forget to enjoy it.