USF Engages Bay Area Life Science Community with Three Symposia at New Lo Schiavo Science Center

Interview with Chris Brooks, Associate Dean of Sciences, USF

We’re very happy to be partnering with University of San Francisco on the opening of their new John Lo Schiavo Center for Science and Innovation. The new building has been constructed to high environmental standards and is completely dedicated to classrooms and lab space. USF has recently launched a new masters program in biotechnology and are using the opening of the new building to reach out to the Bay Area life science community through three panel discussion/networking events this fall.

When we talk biotech education in SF, we are usually talking about the biomedical giant, UCSF, which caters mostly to graduate students. The smaller USF is actually the oldest university in San Francisco with 75% of its students being undergraduates. Attending a smaller liberal arts university gives USF students much more intimate class sizes with an attractive teacher to student ratio of 1:16. Now, with the new incredibly modern center built over the past 26 months, students will have state-of-the-art classrooms and labs.

The new center is a big deal for the university, which is located not far from Golden Gate Park and hasn't seen construction on this scale for many years. Limited from expanding outward due to real estate prices in San Francisco, and from going upward due to zoning restrictions, the designers of the new center went downward with a building that boasts a highly coveted LEED Gold designation, an impressive feat in keeping its environmental footprint to a minimum.

“The new Lo Schiavo Center itself is a teaching tool as well as a place to learn,” says Chris Brooks, the Associate Dean of Sciences at USF in our interview. (Listen to the full interview with Chris above.)

For example, the building collects rainwater and channels it for use in irrigation and steam to power the building. Floors are radiant and windows open and close automatically depending on the ambient temperature in the building. And, appropriately for a building in the high tech city of SF, all the building data, such as power usage, temperature, etc., are captured for student use.

“The building is really a lab for our students of environmental science,” says Chris, a computer science engineer by training who has been deeply involved in design, construction, and opening of the building.

Promotional video put out by USF on the new Lo Schiavo Center

Three Panel Discussions Welcome Bay Area Science Crowd

To show off the building and better engage with the Bay Area’s vibrant science community, USF is hosting three symposia this fall at the new center.

Sep. 19: Women Changing the World Through Science and Innovation

Oct. 17: Changing the World Through Life Science Innovation

Nov. 14: Big Data Symposium

The first panel set for 5 p.m. on Sept 19th will be moderated by Margaret Tempero, Director, UCSF Pancreas Cancer Center, USF Trustee.

Confirmed panelists include:

Divya Nag, Founder, StartX Med

Gini Deshpande, Founder/CEO, NuMedii

Nola Masterson, Managing Director, Science Futures

Ellen Daniell, Author, "Every Other Thursday: Stories and Strategies from Successful Women Scientists"

Juliet Spencer, Assoc. Prof., Biology, USF

Associate Dean Brooks says that USF has a high number of women faculty and bringing more equality to women and underserved minorities into STEM programs has been an important goal for the university. The Bay Area boasts some strong women in science, and the panel will bring them closer to the students. Attendees will also be invited to tour the new building at any of the three events. We're excited to see USF beef up their biotech and science programs. These panel discussions will bring more awareness to a place in the Bay Area which until now has been a well kept secret.

We’ll see you on Sept 19th to see the new building and enjoy listening to a star panel of women.

Register here for free.

Green is Good for Business


Jim Happ, President, Labcon Bio and Contact Info

Part 1: Going green and adding to the bottom line. Listen (21:37)

Part 2: What is sustainable development? Listen (19:03)

Part 3: A "green" culture is good for morale. Listen (07:16)

“I have made a visit to Paradise - the fairest land in all the world. Nothing in all California was comparable; everything was readymade for civilization . . . a land of pure enchantment.” This was written by Ensign Mariano Vallejo, describing the Petaluma Valley in 1834. Civilization certainly came to northern California and for years a life science company in Petaluma has been doing their part to keep it “a land of pure enchantment.” Titled “Green is Good for Business,” our show takes us to Labcon North America, a lab consumables manufacturer who is not only working to develop earth friendly products but is financially more successful doing it. CEO Jim Happ talks with us about the payback for using alternate energy sources. Labcon is saving $700,000/yr in electrical power, redesigning parts to use 30% less plastic, and pioneering a new biodegradable plastic. Importantly, Jim’s employees have bought in to the vision which has spread up and down the supply chain creating a sense of community and a thriving business culture.

In 1996 Labcon received the trademark Earth Friendly. In 2010 Labcon received a best practices award by the Business Environmental Alliance.