MicroFluidic Biomolecular Amplification Reader for Infectious Disease Agents in South Africa

The Microfluidic Biomolecular team is developing an integrated microfluidic system for simple and robust biomolecular amplification with an inexpensive reader to conduct a rapid and complicated analysis of a range of samples encountered in the field. They are targeting this microfluidic biomolecular amplification reader (MicroBAR) at global health diagnostics, with a specific focus on tuberculosis detection and classification based on drug resistant genotype. Funds will be used to return to South Africa to scale up their project for field deployment.

Fruitful Minds

Fruitful Minds is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that aims to educate fourth through eighth graders in at-risk communities in making healthy decisions regarding diet and lifestyle. This is accomplished through nutrition education programs and activities that cater to the specific needs of each community. Fruitful Minds collaborates with local elementary and middle schools in Alameda County, in order to design a curriculum that complements existing programs. UC Berkeley students will work as Ambassadors to deliver the nutrition education program, which includes six one-hour lessons over the course of six weeks. The organization is run by UC Berkeley students and alums, who develop the website, write grants, develop marketing materials, conduct training programs, and review legal matters. (Note: This project originally won in the Big Ideas “Social Justice & Community Engagement” category.)

Campus Biodiesel Project

The main objective of this project is to develop an optimal way to improve energy efficiency on the UC Berkeley campus by converting waste cooking oil to biodiesel and then using this biodiesel to power various campus operations. Biodiesel, a type of diesel that comes from biological sources, is biodegradable, non-toxic and produces 60% less carbon dioxide emissions than petroleum-based diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from waste cooking oil. This project advocates for the productive use of the 5,500 gallons of cooking oil waste on the UC Berkeley campus every year. If UC Berkeley’s dining halls each saved the waste oil that they produce into a drum or a large oil container, the oil could then be used to create biodiesel, which can then be used for sustainable campus operations.

Crime Fighter

Many students who died during the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech tried to text 9-1-1 for help, but their messages were never received because police departments did not have the technology to receive text reports. Crime Fighter is a technology that revolutionizes the way we report crime. Crime Fighter is the first mobile technology that allows users to be completely anonymous and report crimes in less than 2 minutes for any situation using a text-based application for all smartphones. The technology includes the mobile application for general users and a software system for the police department and university safety services. Currently, no comparable product exists in the market, enabling Crime Fighter to lead the path to a safer community using the modern and popular technology of texting.

Power for Water

Currently, about 140 million rural mountain inhabitants lack access to an improved water source. Consequently, there is an urgent need to find an efficient solution to supply safe water to these populations by further developing the delivery of piped water. Piped water is necessary to conveniently supply the water volume required to meet personal and household hygiene and consumption needs. Unfortunately, willingness to pay for water is traditionally low, and sustainable financing of the necessary water supply infrastructure is known to be very challenging. Power for Water will overcome this obstacle by implement an innovative combination of policy and technology. Specifically, the project combines a proven infrastructure synergy and an efficient public-private partnership to sustainably address the lack of access to safe water and electricity in rural mountainous regions of the world. By overcome the technological and institutional barriers currently preventing millions of people from access to clean, reliable water, this project will improve the lives of millions of people
living in remote mountain regions.

Requirements for a Renewables Revolution

This project identifies and analyzes the obstacles presently barring the rise of renewables, evaluates the role of the current policy favorite emission pricing, and offers design recommendations for a comprehensive U.S. renewable policy. Successful climate change mitigation requires a timely shift to renewable sources of energy, such as sunlight, wind or tides, to decarbonize today’s high-carbon electricity sector. But market pull alone is not strong enough. This paper discusses the most widely cited economic barriers and identifies and evaluates additional obstacles related to the electricity sector’s regulatory framework. The project explores a number of policy approaches and their relative chances success. In light of the plethora of obstacles to a timely transition to renewables, this project calls for concerted policy action by scientists, engineers, economists, lawyers, marketers, and educators to fuel the renewables revolution. (Note: This project originally won in the Big Ideas “Science, Technology, and Engineering Policy” category.)

Using Demand Management to Address the Problem of Intermittent Water Supply: The Capellanía Water System in Panama

Many piped potable water systems in developing countries do not provide continuous service. Intermittent supply is a nuisance to users and can degrade water quality. During much of the year the Capellanía water system in Coclé, Panamá provides only intermittent service to many of its clients. This project examines ways to address the issue of unreliable service in the Capellanía water system by managing demand rather than increasing supply. Many supply management approaches are explored, including improved metering, a changed billing structure and infrastructure improvements to prevent water loss. The paper finds that managing demand is a less expensive and more effective way to improve service quality for residents in developing countries affected by unreliable water availability. (Note: This project originally won in the Big ideas “Science, Technology, and Engineering Policy” category.)

Like a Green Chemist


Get down with this group of chemistry students as they use music to explain the 12 principles of green chemistry.

Green and Brown Chemists

In this video demonstration, four UC Berkeley chemists show us what to do and what NOT to do as we strive to be more sustainable.