Joseph DiStefano III

Joseph DiStefano III

“Professor Joe” - as he is called by his students - is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Medicine and Chair of the Computational & Systems Biology Interdepartmental Program at UCLA - an undergraduate research-oriented program he nurtured and honed over several decades. As an active full-time member of the UCLA faculty for nearly half a century, he also developed and led innovative graduate PhD programs, including Computational Systems Biology in Computer Science, and Biosystem Science and Engineering in Biomedical Engineering. He has mentored students from these programs since 1968, as Director of the UCLA Biocybernetics Laboratory, and was awarded the prestigious UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award and Eby Award for Creative Teaching in 2003, and the Lockeed-Martin Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004. Professor Joe also is a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Visiting professorships included stints at universities in Canada, Italy, Sweden and the UK and he was a Senior Fulbright-Hays Scholar in Italy in 1979. Professor Joe has been very active in the publishing world. As an editor, he founded and was Editor-in-Chief of the Modeling Methodology Forum - a department in seven of the American Journals of Physiology - from 1984 thru 1991. As a writer, he authored or coauthored both editions of Feedback and Control Systems (Schaum- McGraw-Hill 1967 and 1990), more than 200 research articles, and recently published his opus textbook: Dynamic Systems Biology Modeling and Simulation (Academic Press/Elsevier November 2013 and February 2014). Much of his research has been based on integrating experimental neuroendocrine and metabolism studies in mammals and fishes with data-driven mathematical modeling methodology - strongly motivated by his experiences in “wet-lab”. His seminal contributions to modeling theory and practice are in structural identifiability (parameter ambiguity) analysis, driven by experimental encumbrances. He introduced the notions of interval and quasi-identifiablity of unidentifiable dynamic system models, and his lab has developed symbolic algorithmic approaches and new internet software (web app COMBOS) for computing identifiable parameter combinations. These are the aggregate parts of otherwise unidentifiable models that can be quantified - with broad application in model reduction (simplification) and experiment design. His long-term contributions to quantitative understanding of thyroid hormone production and metabolism in mammals and fishes have recently been crystallized into web app THYROSIM - for internet-based research and teaching about thyroid hormone dynamics in humans. Last but not least, Professor Joe is a passionate straight-ahead jazz saxophone player (alto and tenor), an alternate career begun in the 1950s in NYC at Stuyvesant High School - temporarily suspended when he started undergrad school, and resumed again in middle-age. He recently added flute to his practice schedule and he and his band - Acoustically Speaking -can be found occasionally gigging in Los Angeles or Honolulu haunts.

Affiliations and Expertise

Distinguished Professor Computer Science, Medicine & Biomedical Engineering Chair, Computational & Systems Biology Interdepartmental Program UCLA Los Angeles CA