Bringing wellbeing to the world: Deepak Chopra teams up with UC San Diego on new UC Wellbeing Channel


Depak Chopra wants to beam himself into your living room. He’ll be there to help you meditate, or improve your breathing techniques, or understand your relationship to the universe.

The technology is almost there. Perhaps in two years, he predicts, a person in China will be able to project Chopra’s hologram into that person’s own house. Lately, Chopra has become deeply immersed in the worlds of augmented and virtual reality, looking for ways to increase the power of his message and the size of his audience.

One of the world’s most famous proponents of integrative medicine is also determined to diversify his reach—and he’s hoping his latest partnership with UC San Diego will help him accomplish this goal. The project is called the UC Wellbeing Channel, and it will air on University of California Television (UCTV), the UC system’s television service managed by UC San Diego Extension.

“I think we can reach millions of people if not tens of millions of people,” said the 68-year-old co-founder of the Carlsbad-based Chopra Center. “Usually what happens within academia stays within academia. With UCTV, we can take academia to the world.”

Starting this fall, the channel will air a steady stream of interviews with leading experts, from the UC San Diego School of Medicine and elsewhere, on topics ranging from neuroplasticity to yoga to nutrition to personal relationships. Chopra will conduct some of the interviews himself.

The partnership also involves the company Jiyo, a wellbeing website and smartphone app that will promote the new UCTV channel. Dr. Paul Mills, a professor of Family Medicine and Public Health and director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Teaching in Integrative Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine, serves as the channel’s director, overseeing content. The Center of Excellence, working closely with the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine, is a hub for research excellence and collaboration in integrative health within UC San Diego and across the greater San Diego region.

“Whether it’s meditating or practicing yoga or managing stress and nutrition, there is infinitude of content out there,” Mills said. “We’re identifying experts in these different domains and bringing them together under one heading, one roof. The new channel will curate existing UC content relevant to wellbeing as well as partner with other institutions and experts for content to offer viewers an unparalleled resource of knowledge and inspiration to support their own wellbeing.”

For Chopra, the calculus is simple: joining forces with UC San Diego gives him access to the university’s deep pool of knowledge and talent while providing UC San Diego with all the benefits that come with exposure to Chopra’s global following.

“I think the more collaborative we can be, the better for all of us,” Chopra said. “We have a huge resource at UC San Diego and UCTV for bringing some of the academic experts and their knowledge to a broader audience that would really benefit from any insight into health, into wellbeing, and into longevity backed by credible research and academic authority.”

The UC Wellbeing Channel is just the latest of Chopra’s affiliations with UC San Diego School of Medicine. This past spring, he became a full professor. 
In recent years, he’s also provided training and given lectures about wellbeing to some of the school’s students and staff. Lately, he’s been offering tips to faculty about how to avoid burnout in the medical profession.

In May, Bess H. Marcus, chair of the university’s Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, announced that the school has “also been working on concepts of wellbeing surrounding our new Institute for Public Health” and “will be lecturing in the new course on Integrative Medicine and Public Health being developed for the Bachelor of Science and Public Health.”

The partnership comes as many of Chopra’s insights—documented in his best-selling books and popularized by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey—are gaining more credence within the medical profession. Chopra, for instance, was an early proponent of mindfulness, a method of using positive thoughts and other techniques to make your brain function in a healthier way. The benefits of mindfulness are now widely accepted within medical and academic circles.

Programming on the UC Wellbeing Channel, which can be found on cable and online, will include discussions with several prominent faculty members at UC San Diego School of Medicine, including Dr. William Mobley, chair of the Department of Neurosciences and one of the world’s leading experts in Alzheimer’s disease and Down syndrome, and Rob Knight, a pediatrics professor and one of the world’s top experts in microbiomes. The channel will also include content from numerous other faculty across the UC campus system, including UC San Francisco and UCLA wellbeing and integrative medicine programs.

The channel debuted on the web with a 40-minute Chopra lecture titled, appropriately, “A Guided Meditation for the University of California Community.”

4dsc_0525_ucsandiegopublications_erikjepsenIn the lecture, Chopra calls meditation “the most effective technique for stress management” and, among other things, offers some tips on good ways to meditate. Attaining self-reflection through meditation, for instance, involves closing your eyes and asking yourself questions such as, “Who am I?” and “What am I grateful for?” and then noting the sensations, images, feelings, and thoughts that enter your mind spontaneously.

“I like to think of stress as similar to surfing,” he says in the lecture. “If you’re a good surfer, then every wave is exhilaration. If you’re not prepared, then every wave is disaster.”

These techniques and analogies will sound familiar to Chopra’s devotees, of which there are many. He estimates he reaches an audience of roughly 15 million people through social-media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

That list of platforms now includes Jiyo. The website and smartphone app analyze data from your various devices and then offer tips on sleep, nutrition, personal growth, exercise, and relationships. These tips come in the form of videos, articles, social-media posts, and other formats. Some of UCTV’s content will be distributed to the world through Jiyo.

Chopra calls the app “your personal wellbeing coach, or as I like to say, your better half.”

Poonacha Machaiah, who co-founded Jiyo with Chopra and serves as its chief executive officer, said the purpose is to “democratize health and wellness.”

“It’s like an Instagram or Facebook for wellbeing,” Machaiah said.

It is Chopra’s willingness to embrace new technologies, from social media to virtual reality, that has helped make him such a famous figure.

“Over the last 30 years, I’ve been very active in social media and media in general,” Chopra says. “I feel we are now in a position to take the amazing work that has been happening in academia out to the world. And UCTV is the best way to do that.”

50 Voices of the Future: Blair Thornley on finding artistic inspiration

blairthornley50-2In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

The best artists tend to share this in common: they follow their own instincts, their own voices, rather than succumbing to a singular obsession with how to please an audience. Blair Thornley is a big believer in creating things that “come from the heart.” She is an award-winning illustrator, painter and animator whose work has garnered a national following and appeared in publications such as The New York Times and Vanity Fair as well as prominent ad campaigns. She lives in North Park and has taught classes at UC San Diego Extension, among other places. She looks for inspiration wherever she can find it – and one source happens to be her students. “I love being able to interact with young people and see how they’re thinking and how they problem-solve with their art,” she says. “And it keeps me on my toes.”

Why is the work you do important?

I feel that art reaches people on maybe a spiritual level or a deeper level to communicate one person to another and I feel that is important for our culture – for people to feel encouraged and hopeful by feeling connected to others. I think writing and music and acting and all of those things do very much the same thing. And visual art, when it’s from the heart, reaches other people, and that’s why I think it’s important.

See a sampling of Blair’s work at


What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The web and social media are changing everything. It has changed the field of illustration – it’s gutted the market and made illustrations very cheap and made it very hard to make a living as an illustrator. I think visual art has become fast and cheap. On the Internet, it’s too easy to lift something and use it. Many people who have not studied art can sample other people’s work and shove it together and call it art, too. Most illustrators that I know don’t do it full-time anymore because of those changes. Young artists need to start fighting for their rights when it comes to copyright issues.

The good side of social media and the digital world is that now I can look online and find other artists that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. I do that all the time on Instagram – I find wonderful artists around the world who are inspiring, and I wouldn’t have found them otherwise. Also, computer advances have helped. With Photoshop, you can do brilliant things. I use it to scan and clean up and send work, but what’s really great is I can make a gigantic poster of my artwork pretty cheaply, I can self-publish books, I can send my work to a gallery with very high-resolution and very quickly. It’s easier to get my art out into the world. And when I put it on Instagram, I’m connecting with the outside world right away and getting feedback right away. If you don’t find a way through social media to get your work out, then you absolutely disappear.

What’s the next big thing?

Artists really need to do work that’s personal and comes from their heart, not to repeat themselves to make money, not to be derivative of other people’s work to make money, but to really develop themselves and keep exploring and experimenting and do their very best in whatever visual medium they’re working in to be really true to themselves. I don’t think that’s new. That would have been my advice 100 years ago, too. I don’t know what the next big things is other than that each person as an artist has to go out and figure that out every day. Artists have the responsibility to reinvigorate themselves on a very regular basis.


How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

San Diego is a little bit like an open canvas. If somebody wanted to do something dramatic, they could go ahead and do it. There are artists and architects in town doing interesting things. I’m in North Park, where there’s a lot of young people, and that’s very exciting. Many of the new places are very creative. They’re kind of hand-made places. It’s not The Gap and it’s not corporate, which is exciting. It’s quite amazing. I never expected it. Want you really want is young people coming in and trying new things.

Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?

Whether it’s today, in 10 years, in 50 years, the best artists will always be true to themselves. Whether you’re drawing or painting, make it sincere, and always try new things and do it from your heart. Don’t do what you think other people want to see – because that’s just death.

Learn more about Blair Thornley and the courses she teaches on our website, and explore other Art areas such as Art History, Children’s Book Writing & Illustration, Fine Art, Illustration, and Studio & Decorative Arts.

50 Voices of the Future: Dr. Kimberly Brouwer on tracking disease worldwide


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Trying to reduce the spread of disease is an endeavor that can make a scientist pessimistic. There is always some new illness waiting to unleash itself on humanity. Dr. Kimberly Brouwer, a professor in the Epidemiology division of UC San Diego Family Medicine and Public Health and adjunct at UC San Diego Global Health, believes disease will remain a global problem for the foreseeable future. What’s encouraging, she says, is our ability to respond to these new threats far more rapidly than in the past. “With better surveillance and communications we can catch things much earlier than ever before,” she says. Decades from now, she predicts, we will be even more adept at mobilizing against whatever new diseases might pose the latest threat.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

There are always emerging infections we’re looking for. We’re looking for a better understanding of what causes disease and its transmission. Even for diseases that are well-known, epidemiology is very useful in that it can help you understand why certain people are more at-risk than others, why certain people are having a harder time accessing care or working under a certain treatment regimen than others. So it’s a very useful way to make informed decisions and provide the data that policy makers and health care providers need.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

It’s becoming more and more interdisciplinary. I started out focusing on infectious disease epidemiology and then I got additional training in spatial epidemiology, where I was incorporating geospatial calculations and techniques into my studies. Instead of just working with surveys to understand people, we’re mapping where they’re located. Sometimes we even follow them in real time with GPS. It gives you a much better idea of where diseases are clustered, where they might be heading in the future, and what neighborhood factors might affect transmission. This helps you better plan where services should be located. Now we’re often using both quantitative methods – surveying people, measuring biological markers – and also qualitative methods, where I get anthropologists involved as co-investigators. So we’re really taking advantage of multiple disciplines and trying to treat public-health problems in a new way than they have in the past.

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(3) What’s the next big thing?

We’re really running to catch up with technology and media trends. I feel like the marketing field tends to be ten years ahead of public health. For instance, they were doing geospatial calculations long before us to look at where to build the next Walmart. Now we’re finally applying this technology to where to build the next health center. They’re also doing social-media type advertising to get people to use their services and that is something that we in public health should also take advantage of. Maybe we can generate that type of popularity for beneficial behavioral changes or getting people more informed about public health issues. It’s a moving target, I’d say.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Hopefully it will play a big role. With climate change new disease vectors, such as different mosquitos, are entering the county. We also have a lot of population mobility, so you’re constantly facing the potential for new infections. These and other health changes are impacting many cities, although luckily people are getting more and more interested in the idea of prevention and better connecting people to services, from a public health but also from an economic perspective.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

If you’d interviewed people in the 1950s, they likely would have predicted that most infectious diseases would be conquered 50 years in the future. But I think what we’ve learned in the past several decades is that infections adapt and mutate and there’s constant surprises arising. It really speaks to the need for constant surveillance and constant vigilance. Fifty years from now, it may not be HIV, it may not be malaria, but there will still be plenty of infections that we’ll be trying to solve and treat. I think one main difference is that the pace at which we develop responses to them will be much faster than in the past. For instance, with Zika they developed diagnostics and are looking into vaccine development much faster than they have for diseases in the past. I would imagine that aspect of infectious disease epidemiology will continue to improve into the future.

Dr. Kimberly Brouwer is a professor in the Epidemiology division of UC San Diego Family Medicine and Public Health and an adjunct at UC San Diego Global Health in the School of Medicine at UC San Diego. She teaches Epidemiology II for the UC San Diego Extension Master’s degree program in Clinical Research.

50 Voices of the Future: Marcie Wessels on the fate of children’s books


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

It might seem both tempting and cynical to conclude that book reading is going extinct, especially among kids, who live in an age of virtual reality and other fast-evolving forms of gadgetry. But many authors, Marcie Wessels among them, don’t buy this type of thinking. The way Wessels sees it, as long as your story is well-told, you’ll find an audience, even if that story comes in the form of words written on hundreds of pages of paper, with a spine holding all that paper together. Wessels – a children’s author whose first book, Pirate’s Lullaby, was published last year – believes the written word will always have the power to connect with people. Of course, when your target audience is the very youngest of readers, having some pictures alongside those words is always helpful, too.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I tell stories and stories are what connect us. They are what have always connected us and what will always connect us. Books and stories are windows and mirrors. They’re a way for us to understand ourselves and our experiences. But they’re also a window into other cultures and other lives. Books in general help us become more empathic and open-minded. And with children, books can open up a whole new world. Children are naturally curious and books fulfill their desire for knowledge and can ignite their own curiosities.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The We Need Diverse Books Movement. It was started by people in the kid-lit world who feel minorities and different points of view aren’t represented within the canon of children’s literature. The population of the United States is changing, and its cultural diversity should be better reflected in our literature. Everyone should have access to books. And everyone should have access to telling his or her own story.

(3) What’s the next big thing

New technologies like e-books are giving more people access to a platform for telling their stories. But there is also a renaissance of sorts in traditional publishing for children. Some of the most talented writers and illustrators are creating beautiful pieces of art in a form that is underappreciated – picture books. There’s an increased respect for visual story-telling. Look at the growing popularity of graphic novels or highly illustrated stories. There’s a need for that, a call for that. My son was a bit of a reluctant reader but when I gave him a graphic novel, it opened up a completely new world for him.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I read somewhere that 20 percent of people in San Diego County are either illiterate or functionally illiterate, which is a huge problem. It can be prevented in future generations by instilling in kids a lifelong love of reading and learning. In the spring, I had the opportunity to partner with Words Alive, a local literacy organization, which goes into underserved schools and does story time with the kids. It was exciting to work with others in the community who are also interested in putting books into the hands of kids – kids that might not otherwise have access. If I go out into the community, do a story time and inspire one child to read, I feel I’ve done my job.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

In recent years, publishers have created enhanced e-books that embed music or videos or link to content on the web. This may be just one of the ways we tell stories in the future. But books will always exist. The medium we use to tell a story may change, but stories will always be told. Stories fulfill a basic human need. Who doesn’t love a good story?

Learn more about the UC San Diego Extension specialized certificates in Children’s Book Writing and Children’s Book Illustration on our website, or view the online information session on YouTube.

(Photo by Roxyanne Young)


Using psychology to save the planet

View More: Tabanico makes her living trying to change people’s habits and behavior. Her job requires a journalist’s investigative skills, an advertiser’s marketing talents, and a psychologist’s understanding of why people do what they do.

One day she might be helping the city of Oceanside coax residents into picking up after their dogs. The next she might be working with the city of Fort Worth, Texas, to improve its residents’ recycling habits.

Tabanico, 39, who will teach a new online course this fall at UC San Diego Extension, has been very successful very quickly. Her company, Action Research, which began as a small operation in North San Diego County, now has clients all over the country as well as a few in other parts of the world, and it recently opened a second office in New York.

Virtually all of her company’s clients, she said, want to change behavior in a way that helps the environment or public health and safety.

She, too, is committed to the cause. Changing people’s basic habits, she believes, is essential for the planet’s long-term health. Her company’s stated mission is “changing behavior for the public good” by promoting “clean, healthy, and sustainable communities.”

“When you look at any environmental problem or even a lot of our health problems, you can really drill that down to individual behaviors,” she said. “At the end of the day, you’re really looking at individual decisions and choices.”

The key, of course, is figuring out the most effective way to sway your target audience.

“It’s more than just educating people, and it’s more than just getting people to care about something,” she said. “It’s really addressing the underlying motivations that people have.”

Tabanico’s new nine-week course will be called Behavior Change Strategies for Sustainability, one of four courses taught as part of Extension’s Sustainability & Behavior Change certificate.

She’ll be teaching all the tactics required to succeed in this line of work, such as identifying and overcoming whatever obstacles might prevent a person from modifying his or her habits.

When it comes to, say, reducing water use, people might simply have a hard time remembering what days to water lawns and for how long. Or they simply might not care enough to change their ways. How do you figure out which of these is the main obstacle? And how do you proceed from there?

<p><a href=”″>Litter Researcher Tells Us Dirty Secrets – Clean Trails</a> from <a href=””>Clean Trails</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Tabanico hadn’t originally intended to embark on this career path. She thought she might go to medical school and become a doctor. But as an undergraduate and then master’s student at California State University San Marcos, she studied under Wesley Schultz, a social psychology professor.

It was during this time she started learning about community-based social marketing, “which is applying insights from psychology to motivate people to engage in (certain) behavior,” she said. “I kind of fell in love with that process as a graduate student. It really felt like I was making a difference.”

Meanwhile, Schultz, began doing some consulting work in the field. He formed Action Research, and Tabanico began helping him. The purpose of the company, she said, was to “link research from academics to the real world—program planners that are trying to engage communities or workplaces in behaviors that benefit the environment.”

In 2007, they hired staff and started building the company. She took over partial ownership in 2009 and complete ownership in 2015. Today, the company continues to grow at a rapid pace. She and her staff are working on 24 projects around the country as well as in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

One recent client was the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which oversees a variety of clean-energy programs. The agency was looking to convince residents of one particular building to cut back on their energy use. The problem: these residents had no financial incentive to do so because their rent covered their electricity usage.

Tabanico and her partners on the project began interviewing the tenants and giving them information about how much energy their neighbors were using. The idea was to motivate the tenants by using the “normative social influence” approach—in other words, using their neighbors’ behavior to convince them to change their own behavior.

The tactic worked. The building saw a marked decrease in energy use.

“A large body of research suggests that people look to others to determine their own behavior,” she said. “It’s been demonstrated time and time again that people tend to go along with the group. Whatever the majority of people are doing, people tend to fall in line.”

Tabanico also has written articles for a variety of technical publications, including the Journal of Environmental Psychology, BioCycle magazine, and the journal Social Influence.

View More: she’s not working, she might be kayaking, skydiving, or running an obstacle race. She lives in Oceanside with her eight-year-old son, who has been helping her clean up beaches since he was three.

She has worked on numerous local environmental issues since moving to the North San Diego County area in 1997.

“That’s where my heart has always been on a lot of the pollution-prevention work,” she said. “You can really see the local impact. That’s what I find very rewarding.  I feel like I’m making a real impact.”

For more information about our Sustainability and Behavior Change certificate, visit

Frothy brew: Inside San Diego’s craft beer industry

4DSC_4007UCSanDiegoPublications_ErikJepsenIf you’d predicted a decade ago that San Diego County might soon have more than 100 craft breweries, someone would have accused you of drinking one too many grapefruit-and-citra IPAs.

In San Diego, like most everywhere else, making craft beer used to be mainly the hobby of people who kept small home-brew kits in their basements and enjoyed swapping recipes online.

Today, however, San Diego has become one of the world’s leading players in the multibillion-dollar craft beer industry. And Ed O’Sullivan is uniquely qualified to lecture about the challenges facing anyone looking to get into the business.

O’Sullivan is a guest speaker in UC San Diego Extension’s Professional Certificate in Brewing. He also is one of the founders and owners of O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co. in Scripps Ranch.

As it happens, he and his brothers built their brewery while he was a student in the exact same UC San Diego Extension program where he now lectures.

“When I went to class, I was pretty much sitting in the front row asking questions about what I was going to be working on in the brewery the next day,” he said. “I was probably a pest with questions, but I was highly motivated.”

The industry has only grown and the competition has increased in the one and a half years since the O’Sullivans first opened their tasting room and began the arduous task of getting the right people to notice their beers.


Theirs was the ninety-sixth craft brewery in the county. Now, there are more than 125, all of them churning out exotic brews with names such as Farmhouse Noir, Daniel Boone Imperial Oatmeal Stout, and Freudian Sip Strong Ale. If you want a beer flavored with cinnamon, or watermelon, or chipotle peppers, or chocolate, or even peanut butter, you can find it on tap somewhere in the San Diego region.

O’Sullivan can talk at length about all the things a brewer must do to succeed in this environment. He has opinions about what equipment to buy, how big to make your tasting room, and the critical importance of making sure the next batch of a particular type of beer tastes exactly the same as the previous batch.

Given the level of competition, it is sometimes the smallest detail that can determine whether a business thrives.

“There are so many choices for the consumer,” he said. “All they want to do is to go to a brand new brewery they’ve never been to before. And you can do that on 128 consecutive weekends now in San Diego. That’s a long time.”

O’Sullivan has lived in San Diego since 1975 and was a successful businessman long before he decided to get into the craft-brew game.

He graduated in 1980 from UC San Diego with a degree in molecular biology, worked for many years in the tech industry, and eventually became the owner of two businesses: CFO Connect and Business Books, both of which provide consulting services to small biotech companies. He still owns both.

A few years ago, he and four of his brothers decided to open a brewery. On the O’Sullivan Bros. Brewing Co. website, they explain their decision this way:

“What if we combined our Irish heritage and California creativity to create a really tasty brown porter, or a clever stout made with a wide variety of yeast strains, hop selection, and malted barleys now available? Sounds good! Let’s do it.”

And so O’Sullivan enrolled in Extension’s Professional Certificate in Brewing. His professional and financial successes gave him the flexibility to pursue the new venture without the need for instant profits. That was fortunate because the brewery still operates at roughly the break-even point, at least for now.

“It’s not making anybody rich,” he said of his own business.

The beer, however, has been a success. This year, the brothers’ Catholic Guilt smoked porter won a bronze medal at the San Diego International Beer Festival, the largest such festival on the West Coast. A year earlier, the brewery won two silver medals at the same festival.

Unlike many other craft breweries, O’Sullivan Bros. doesn’t use any fruits, vegetables, or spices for any of its brews. Instead it concentrates on the four fundamentals: malt, hops, yeast (it propagates its own, using five different strains), and water (it takes tap water and treats it to certain specifications using special equipment and recipes). The brewery specializes in dark beers as opposed to many other San Diego breweries that focus more on West Coast IPAs.

The high quality of the product has been an essential part of the business model.

32DSC_4076UCSanDiegoPublications_ErikJepsen“There are a lot of craft beer bars in San Diego that are screening you,” O’Sullivan said. “Our first year was just developing street cred. So we got on tap at Hamilton’s. We got on tap at Urge Gastropub. At Barrel Republic. At Regents Pizzeria. People that really pay attention to craft beer, that know craft beer. Those are the guys that give you street cred.”

These days, you can find their beers at roughly 80 bars and restaurants in San Diego County. The brewery sells the beer in kegs but is hard at work on the next phase of its business: selling it in bottles, too.

“Bottling is another level of complexity: permitting, power, equipment,” O’Sullivan said.

Like all the other local craft breweries, O’Sullivan Bros. also faces a new challenge: competition from the enormous “macrobrewers,” such as Anheuser-Busch InBev, which are making an aggressive move into the microbrew industry.

“They have unlimited funds to do what they want,” O’Sullivan said. “I only have x number of dollars. It gets a little more difficult for the small brewers every year to compete.”

He discusses the fundamentals of launching a craft beer business to around 30 students as guest lecturer in a class titled, appropriately, “The Brewery Start-Up.” Despite the challenges, many students seem undaunted.

“What’s nice is you’ve got a bunch of very interested people wanting to hear about your experience,” O’Sullivan said. “A lot of them have that little dream of building a brewery of their own.”

50 Voices of the Future: Neal Bloom on finding the perfect job


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

In a few short years, technology has revolutionized the way we doing so many things, whether it be dating, hailing a cab, or finding a place to stay on a trip. Technology is also changing our job-search techniques. We used to rely on networking and a good résumé. Now we can use various websites that sift through billions of bits of data to help match our skill sets with the right employer. Neal Bloom believes new technology such as artificial intelligence will play a larger and larger role in helping us advance our careers. Bloom recently helped establish the San Diego office of Hired, Inc., a website that helps match employers with job candidates. He describes himself as someone who is “energized by helping others discover their calling.” In the future, he says, finding the perfect job, like finding your soul mate, will be a task made ever more precise by science.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

I think technology, mixed together with job creation, is really powerful. It’s giving people access to companies they never thought they’d work for.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The rise of Uber, Airbnb, online dating sites – algorithmic matching. This also applies to job recruiting. We’re in the third generation of HR technology. The first generation was Monster, job boards. The second was LinkedIn. Third generation is curated matching – the next best thing that’s happening. Computers are learning from recruiters how to judge talent. This is saving a lot of time on both sides. I see that on-demand mixed with (artificial intelligence) and algorithmic matching – that is driving a lot of hiring.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

With these new recruiting models being put to use in the hiring world, they’re starting with a pretty small field – the engineering world, mainly white-color workers. I think these models need to move faster and apply to everyone, from coal miners up to executives, CEOs. That’s where things are in the lab being tested right now, technology-wise. It’s obviously business-driven, so the places you can make more money is where the technology goes first. Engineers come with a higher salary than, say, a cleaning person. But either way, the whole goal is to find someone their dream job. And that’s where the technology should be headed. I see it going that way. I just think it needs more widespread adoption.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I specifically brought Hired to San Diego to help companies in San Diego grow and grow faster. The talent in San Diego is great, especially on the engineering side. I wholeheartedly believe that using this technology will help bring the right talent to San Diego.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

People are staying in jobs less amount of time. And people are taking on more either remote work or side work – they call them side hustles, side gigs. So I foresee that in the future, you may not be looking for careers. You may be looking for the perfect place to apply your skill sets for some money for a limited amount of time. People will be much more flexible.

Learn more about the future of HR as Neal Bloom imagines it, as well as the future of data science, in a range of courses and programs offered by UC San Diego Extension, including the Human Resource Management Certificate, the Talent Acquisition Certificate, Data Analysis & Mathematics Courses and the HR LearnAbout Tour.

50 Voices of the Future: Paul Roben on how innovation can change the world


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

A person with some tech savvy and a big idea can transform the world, as we’ve seen from companies as different as Facebook and Uber. Now more than ever, colleges and universities are searching for ways to help students run with these ideas. UC San Diego’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Commercialization, Paul Roben, believes he and his colleagues at other schools can help facilitate extraordinary advances in the next few decades in fields ranging from health care to climate-change. “I have a 2-year-old daughter,” he says, “and I can’t even imagine what the world will be like when she gets to college.”

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The world around us has changed. We’re now working in a real disruption economy, where all the rules of the old economy have been turned on their head. We run education programs to help educate students and faculty on “what is innovation, what is entrepreneurship, how do I tell my story, how do I build teams, how do I develop as a leader” so that they can go out and use their ideas to change the world. We give them the tools they need to help them on that journey from idea to impact, whether that be a commercial product, or a social innovation. We also support a lot of resources across the university — accelerators, incubators, entrepreneurs-in-residence, mentorship programs. All of this is to bring diverse perspectives together, and help people who have good ideas that they think are going to benefit people, turn those ideas into reality. And that’s really what’s important.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

The biggest hotel company in the world, AirBnB, doesn’t own a hotel. The biggest taxi company in the world, Uber, doesn’t own a car. We’re working in a different world now. People now have the opportunity to really change the world with ideas, and the economy and society we live in allows them to do that. And data is driving everything – it’s driving sustainability, it’s driving climate change, it’s driving energy. Until now, we’ve been good at generating a whole bunch of data but now we have the ability to analyze that data in meaningful ways so that we can solve some real intractable problems that affect us all as a global society.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

Precision medicine is helping us to develop cures for diseases that were, up until now, incurable. In health care, bringing together wireless technology with sensors, with personalized medicine, is really going to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own health in ways we haven’t seen previously. I’m very encouraged about that. When we get to sustainability and energy, I think we’re going to see massive leaps forward over the next ten years, whether it be water, energy, transportation or climate change. Ten years from now, we’re probably not going to be driving our own cars, which means the idea of ownership of cars is probably going to go away, to some extent at least, which opens up massive possibilities for improving transportation and energy use.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I think UC San Diego is one of the linchpins in terms of the economic development of the region. Our convening power, our ability to get people in a room talking to each other will play a critical role. We’re facilitators, and if we get the right people in the room, we will really help with all of this.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

I think if we do our job right, my profession may not be here in 50 years. What we’re doing is empowering people to run with their own ideas and turn them into reality. Today’s generation is taking so much more responsibility in their own hands, taking so much initiative. What I’m doing is helping them to open their eyes and lighting a spark. If we’re really good at this, we’ll get to the point where they don’t need us anymore.

AVC Roben is working with UC San Diego Extension and the Downtown San Diego Partnership on its newly established Collaboratory for Downtown Innovation. The goal of the Collaboratory is for UC San Diego to help support and strengthen Downtown’s growing tech ecosystem through a variety of programs that will provide networking, business support and workforce training.

50 Voices of the Future: William Mobley imagines life without Alzheimer’s


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Dr. William Mobley believes a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is a distinct possibility. In 50 years “Kids will learn about it in school,” says Mobley, who chairs UC San Diego’s Department of Neurosciences. “They’ll say, in the old days, there was this terrible illness called Alzheimer’s disease, but treatments were discovered that prevent it in San Diego. That changed everything for dealing with that disease.”

If anybody can help make that happen, it’s Mobley, one of the world’s leading experts in neurodegenerative disorders. These days he’s hard at work trying to understand the way neurons communicate with each other. The occasional breakdown of these communications can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome and Huntington’s disease.

What are the odds of finding a cure for these diseases in the next 50 years? “Hard to state probability,” Mobley says. “Better not to be weighed down by probabilities – just do it.”

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Our focus is on the mechanisms that underlie neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s diseases and Huntington’s disease and Down syndrome. The brain is a machine that links neurons together in networks. The integrity of those networks depends upon a two-way communication, from neuron #1 to neuron #2 and from neuron #2 back to neuron #1. We want to understand how it is, in the case of Alzheimer’s disease or Down syndrome or Huntington’s disease, how the system fails. Once we understand that, we’re in a position to basically reverse the disease process or prevent it.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

Exciting things include technological advances that will let us see how the brain works; advances that let us understand the underlying mechanisms by which neurons talk to each other and communicate effectively. We can devise systems that let us look at how neurons talk to one another and what information they exchange. That lets you look at normal communication, the changes that occur in disease models, and allow those models to teach us about what goes wrong. The other advances are the genetic and technical discoveries. The tools that allow us to modify genes, so we can understand what impact a mutation might have. It’s a wonderful opportunity to understand the underlying mechanisms and test therapies.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

I think the next big things are therapies to treat Alzheimer’s disease. I think we can have effective treatments by 2025. Why not? And that changes everything. Because now Alzheimer’s disease currently considered an oncoming epidemic, is aborted. Or at least it is made less severe in older people and in younger people perhaps completely prevented.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I think we have a chance here in San Diego to do for other disorders what we’re trying to do right now for Alzheimer’s disease. So I could see UC San Diego and the other institutions on the Mesa – making really, really important observations in a number of diseases – Huntington’s disease and autism and a number of diseases that at present are underserved – this biomedical community is a kind of a paradise, for work of this kind. I would argue that San Diego could be not just a player but a frontrunner, a leader, for solving these problems, especially for the brain but for other disorders as well.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

In 50 years, hopefully Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and ALS – all of these really terrible disorders – are no longer a problem. We have treatments or cures for all of them. And then finally we’ll then be able to turn our attention to enhancing human life, using studies of brain science, to deal with issues of empathy, compassion, to learn the brain basis behind anger, dismay, hopelessness and to gain insights needed to deal with any number of issues that face society. Benefiting from great brain science, we can begin to deal more effectively with the human condition.

Explore the Science and Healthcare programs and courses that UC San Diego Extension offers including a range of certificate programs in areas such as Clinical Trials and Biotechnology Project Management, and discover more about neuroscience on The Brain Channel on UCTV.

50 Voices of the Future: Don Norman on thoughtful design


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Don Norman is a guy who tinkers for a living. He’s spent his life thinking about how to make things work better, whether it’s a door, a computer or an entire health care system. His obsession with improving the way a device or system operates has led him to jobs at several universities as well as Apple Inc. His best-selling book The Design of Everyday Things is considered a classic.

He’s now the director of UC San Diego’s Design Lab, a perch from which he’s able to offer suggestions on how to improve our education system, our car culture, our healthcare system and a variety of other things. The successful designers of the future, he says, will “make sure technology fits the real needs and abilities of actual people.”

(1) Why is the work you do important?

We bring to technology a human-centered point of view. All too often our technologists fall in love with the things they’re building. They don’t think about how it affects people. “People will get used to it,” they say. We say, “No, let’s first figure out the things that people really need and how best to accomplish that need.” To us, design is a way of thinking. It’s a way of making sure we solve the real, fundamental problems, not the symptoms. And you always need to have the human at the center of the approach.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

Automation is taking away people’s jobs and we believe it shouldn’t. Instead of automating whatever we can automate and letting people pick up the rest of the pieces, we say, “What we can build that can make people’s lives easier and more effective and more enjoyable?” How can we use machines to enhance our abilities, not to replace us? A calculator is a great example: With a calculator, I can focus on formulating the problem and let the calculator handle the messy details. A person plus a calculator is smarter than either alone. Some things need to be automated. Take, for example, automobile driving. Some 30,000 people die every year and a million people are injured, just in the United States. We think automating the automobile is going to be wonderful. We will relieve the tedium and boredom of driving. You can work; you can sleep; you can talk with your friends. The highways will become more efficient because the cars can travel at a steadier speed, closer to each other. Automation never gets tired, never gets distracted, and never falls asleep. That’s a difficult, tedious job that’s going to be replaced. But automation of driving will have a severe negative impact as well. Driving is one of the largest sources of employment in the United States – think taxis and delivery services, think trucks. What will happen to those who are displaced?

(3) What’s the next big thing?

As a friend of mine said, predicting the future is easy. The hard part is getting it right. How we handle the energy crisis and global warming are going to have a really big impact in the next decade or two. Two major components of what we do in our lives have to change radically. One is health care. The other is education. MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) have caused people to rethink education. It’s allowed us to say, “Gee, why can’t we just learn things when we need them, throughout life?” We still rely on professors lecturing. Lecturing is the world’s worst way to learn something. I’m a fan of virtual reality, and I think virtual reality is going to change our whole educational experience, and the way we design things and entertainment.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

We would like the Design Lab to be a major player in San Diego. We’ve been working with the UC San Diego Extension, with San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, with the Mayor’s Office, with the Port of San Diego and with major industry leaders, saying, look, there’s a powerful design community in San Diego, let’s take advantage of it. Design can help transform a city.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

The best technology is the technology we don’t even notice, that just enables us to live our lives more effectively, more enjoyably without us even noticing. As we add more and more technology in our lives, let’s use it not to make our lives more frustrating and complex, let’s use it to make our lives more enjoyable. And I think that in 50 years, or less than 50 years, that will come to pass. We’ll see much more automation that takes care of the more onerous tasks in our lives, freeing us to be creative, imaginative and effective. People will enjoy life more.

Don Norman along with design, business and civic leaders will be discussing the importance of design, especially human-centered design, at Design Forward > San Diego, a day-long summit to be held on June 16.

Did you know that UC San Diego Extension offers a certificate program in UX (User Experience) Design? Find out more about the courses and programs that we have to offer in Digital Arts.