Faculty

We integrate faculty and students with differing expertise to discover, design and characterize advanced materials needed to address global societal challenges.


Leadership

Shirley Meng
Shirley Meng

IMDD Director
Professor, NanoEngineering
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

smeng.ucsd.edu  

Michael Sailor
Michael Sailor

IMDD Co-Director
Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
UC San Diego Physical Sciences

Sailor Group  

Andrea Tao
Andrea Tao

IMDD Founding Faculty Member
Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Tao Research Group  

Jon Pokorski
Jon Pokorski

IMDD Founding Faculty Member
Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Pokorski Lab  

Faculty by Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

M. Burkart
Michael Burkart

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Chemical biology of natural product biosynthesis; Drug discovery; Algae biotechnology
Professor Burkart’s research focuses on enzymatic megasynthases to study metabolites, producer organisms, and protein-protein interaction to enable drug discovery, renewable energy, and novel biomaterials.

Burkart Lab 

J. Figueroa
Joshua Figueroa

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Synthesis and study of highly reactive and novel metal complexes
Professor Figueroa’s research specializes in design and synthesis of highly reactive transition metal complexes with applications ranging from small-molecule activation, catalysis and organic methodology. His group employs computational methods, synthetic and spectroscopic techniques to study these novel metal complexes.

Figueroa Group 

A. Kummel
Andrew Kummel

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Vacuum deposition of semiconductor oxides; Scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy
Professor Kummel focuses on atomic layer deposition (ALD) of oxides combined with scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS), density functional theory (DFT) computations to develop a fundamental understanding of semiconductor interfaces.

Kummel Group 

F. Paesani
Francesco Paesani

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Many-body molecular dynamics; metal organic frameworks (MOFs); Vibrational spectroscopy
Professor Paesani’s interests lie in computational simulation to predict the behavior of complex molecular systems at different length and time scales. His group focuses on many-body molecular dynamics, vibrational spectroscopy, and metal organic frameworks (MOFs) related research.

Paesani Research Group 

Professor
Michael Sailor

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Silicon-based nanotechnology; Drug delivery; in vivo and in vitro imaging
Professor Sailor is a leading expert in porous silicon nanomaterials and their applications. His research specializes in the synthesis of silicon-based nanomaterials, and using them for nanotechnology-enabled medical treatments such as drug delivery.

Sailor Research Group 

A. Schimpf
Alina Schimpf

Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Solution-based synthesis of cluster-based frameworks and colloidal nanocrystals
Professor Schimpf’s expertise is in the synthesis of novel nanoscale materials, and their spectroscopic characterization of electronic and photophysical properties. Her research group is developing inorganic cluster-based frameworks and colloidal nanocrystals using solution-based techniques.

Schimpf Lab 

A. Tezcan
Akif Tezcan

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Bioinorganic and biophysical chemistry; Metalloprotein design; Molecular dynamics
Professor Tezcan focuses on the development of metalloprotein structure and function, as well as biosynthesis of novel materials. His research group works on protein-polymer hybrids, protein-MOFs, and nitrogenases using a wide range of tools including computational protein design, spectroscopy, and microscopy.

Tezcan Lab 

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Neal Devaraj
Neal Devaraj

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Synthesis of artificial cells; Investigation of self-assembly of lipid vesicle assemblies
Professor Devaraj focuses on creating artificial cells and membranes, and investigating novel biochemical pathways. His research interests include developing tools for detecting/labeling RNA, and tetrazine bioorthogonal reactions.

 

Department of Computer Science & Engineering

Qi (Rose) Yu
Qi (Rose) Yu

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering
Theory and application of machine learning; Large-scale spatiotemporal data
Professor Yu and her research group are working on machine learning for large-scale spatiotemporal data. Her research interests include the interplay between physics and machine learning, and its application on learning dynamical systems for sustainability.

 

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Eric Fullerton
Eric Fullerton

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Thin film/superlattice growth; Magnetic recording; X-ray and neutron scattering
Professor Fullerton is an internationally acclaimed scholar in thin film and superlattice growth, as well as magnetic recording. His research interests include ultra-low-energy memory, processing elements and architectures to lower the energy consumption of information technologies.

 

Yu-hwa Lo
Yu-Hwa Lo

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Biomedical devices and systems; Nanophotonics and nanoscale semiconductor devices
Professor Lo designs biomedical devices that combine microfluidic, photonic, acoustic, and electronic technologies for diagnosis/prognosis of diseases. His group focuses on the study of condensed matter photonics and the fabrication of optoelectronic devices.

Lo Research Group 

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

P. Bandaru
Prabhakar Bandaru

Materials Science and Engineering Program Director, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Electrochemical energy storage; Control of thermal energy and fluid flow at the nanoscale
Professor Bandaru specializes in fundamental studies of materials, focusing on their electrical, optical, and thermal properties. The applications of his work include next generation capacitors and batteries. Director, Materials Science and Engineering Program.

Bandaru Group 

J. Garay
Javier Garay

Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Optical and magnetic materials/devices; Nanoscale materials engineering
Professor Garay’s research interests lie in understanding the role of the length scale of nano-/ micro-structural features on light, heat, and magnetism. His research group also works on devices utilizing optical and magnetic properties of nanomaterials.

Advanced Materials Processing and Synthesis (AMPS) Lab 

O. Graeve
Olivia Graeve

Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Extreme Materials; Luminescent properties of nanomaterials; Colloidal systems
Professor Graeve has gained international recognition in the area of nanomaterials manufacturing. Her research group works on electromagnetic multifunctional materials for sensors/energy applications and characterizations of nanopowders.

Xtreme Materials Laboratory 

M. Meyers
Marc Meyers

Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Biological and bioinspired materials; Materials under extreme conditions
Professor Meyers studies a wide range of naturally occurring biomaterials, including shells, crab exoskeleton and sharp materials. He also studies mechanical and dynamic behavior of materials with emphasis on laser compression and high speed reactions.

Meyers Group 

Lisa Poulikakos
Lisa Poulikakos

Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Optical Materials, Nanophotonics, Metamaterials, Anisotropic Materials
Professor Poulikakos’ research furthers the science and engineering of nanophotonic materials to controllably enhance, probe and influence naturally-occurring light-matter interactions on the nanoscale. Among the rich palette of societally-relevant applications enabled by nanoscale-light-design, her research interests include leveraging nanophotonic materials to exploit the interaction of biological matter with light.

Poulikakos Lab 

Molecular Biology

Rachel Dutton
Rachel Dutton

Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology
Microbial communities; Molecular biology
Professor Dutton’s research aims to understand the basic mechanism in microbial communities. Her group’s approach is to adopt a simplified microbial community by using cheese as a model system, to better understand the complex life of microbes.

The Dutton Lab 

James Golden
James Golden

Professor, Molecular Biology
Biotechnology of cyanobacteria; Molecular biology
Professor James Golden’s lab focuses on the development/application of improved genetic tools for cyanobacterial genetic engineering. His group synthesizes bioactive natural products and biofuels through genetic engineering of cyanobacteria.

 

Susan Golden
Susan Golden

Distinguished Professor, Molecular Biology
Circadian rhythms of gene expression in cyanobacteria
Professor Susan Golden studies the circadian clock of cyanobacteria. Her group uses molecular genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and structural biologists to understand the mechanism and pattern of the clock.

 

Stephen Mayfield
Stephen Mayfield

Professor, Molecular Biology
Engineering algae for the production of therapeutic proteins and biofuels
Professor Mayfield’s lab focuses on molecular genetics of green algae, the production of therapeutic proteins and biofuel molecules using algae as the manufacturing platform.

Mayfield Lab 

NanoEngineering

Jinhye Bae
Jinhye Bae

Assistant Professor, NanoEngineering
Polymeric materials for energy harvesting/storage systems; Flexible materials/devices
Professor Bae focuses on understanding and leveraging the physics, mechanics and dynamics of polymeric materials. Her group’s research interests include integrating material characteristics into new structural design and fabrication approaches for improving biomedical devices, sensors, and soft robotics.

Bae Research Group 

Shaochen Chen
Shaochen Chen

Professor, NanoEngineering
3D printing and bioprinting; Stem cells/tissue engineering; Organ/tissue-on-a-chip
Professor Chen specializes in 3D bioprinting and biomaterials for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. His group also works on human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), bio/nano materials and organ/tissue-on-a-chip for disease modeling and early drug screening.

Chen Laboratory 

David Fenning
David Fenning

Assistant Professor, NanoEngineering
Defect engineering for high-efficiency solar cells; Photoelectrochemical solar-to-fuels
Professor Fenning’s group focuses on development of new approaches for controlling defects in photovoltaic materials. His area of research includes silicon and perovskite solar cells and CO2 electrocatalysis for solar-to-fuels.

Fenning Research Group 

Darren Lipomi
Darren Lipomi

Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
Flexible/stretchable polymer-based solar cells; Mechanically compliant organic electronics
Professor Lipomi focuses on flexible and stretchable electronic devices, fabricated by green chemistry and nanomanufacturing techniques. His research interests include mechanical properties of organic semiconductor and semiconducting polymers, and nanoisland structures on graphene.

Lipomi Research Group 

Ping Liu
Ping Liu

Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
Electrochemical energy conversion/storage; Battery electrolyte; Electrochemical actuator
Professor Liu designs materials and architectures for electrochemical energy conversion and storage. His group’s goal is to make longer-life rechargeable batteries and solid-state actuators by tuning chemical and mechanical behavior of materials.

Liu Research Group 

Shirley Meng
Shirley Meng

Professor, NanoEngineering
Electrochemical energy storage/conversion; Advanced characterization of energy materials
Professor Meng is a leading expert in energy storage and conversion. Her research group focuses on investigating fundamental science behind energy materials, and their application for energy storage and conversion. Professor Meng’s group also specializes in advanced characterization of energy materials.

Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion 

S. Ong
Shyue Ping Ong

Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
Data-driven computational design of materials
Professor Ong’s research goal is to bring forth a data-driven future for materials science. His research group combines first principles calculations and artificial intelligence/machine learning for materials simulations and predictions.

Materials Virtual Lab 

Tod Pascal
Tod Pascal

Assistant Professor, NanoEngineering
Theoretical and computational spectroscopy; Materials physics; Thermodynamics
Professor Pascal works on theoretical and computational methods to elucidate the structure and dynamics of electrochemical systems, disorder in condensed phase systems and spectroscopy at molecular interfaces.

 

Jon Pokorski
Jon Pokorski

Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
Polymers for biomedicine; Nanofibers for regenerative medicine
Professor Pokorski focuses on developing novel materials for biomedical applications by integrating chemistry, protein engineering and materials science. His group specializes in polymer-based biomaterials, such as protein/polymer hybrid, and polyester nanofibers for regenerative medicine purposes.

Pokorski Lab 

Nicole Steinmetz
Nicole Steinmetz

Professor, NanoEngineering
Plant virus-driven materials; Molecular farming; Drug delivery
Professor Steinmetz’s research goal is to discover novel medicine and biotechnology through design, development of materials and biologics derived from plant viruses. Her research interests include plant virus-based nanoparticles and molecular farming, vaccines, immunotherapies, and drug delivery.

Steinmetz Lab 

Andrea Tao
Andrea Tao

Assoc. Professor, NanoEngineering
Plasmonic nanoparticles for photovoltaics and photocatalysis; Colloidal synthesis
Professor Tao focuses on novel low-dimensional materials for photovoltaics and photocatalysis. Her research group aims to understand the chemical mechanism behind nucleation and growth of inorganic nanocrystals and also the use of metal chalcogenide nanocrystals for plasmonics.

Tao Research Group 

Physical Sciences

Monica Allen
Monica Allen

Assistant Professor, Physical Sciences
Quantum materials; Nanoscale imaging with microwaves; Topological states of matter
Professor Allen focuses on the fundamental properties of quantum materials using nanoscale imaging and electronic device measurements. Her research group works on engineering new states of matter by using 2D quantum materials as building blocks, and developing quantum technologies in topological materials.

Allen Lab 

Chunhui Rita Du
Chunhui Rita Du

Assistant Professor, Physical Sciences
Development of quantum sensing and imaging techniques to study properties (spin, charge, and heat, etc) of quantum materials in the nanometer scale. These research tools are versatile, including optical measurement based on nitrogen vacancy center in diamond, transport, and microwave spectroscopy as well as scanning probe magnetometry.

Du Research Lab 

Alex Frano
Alex Frano

Assistant Professor, Physical Sciences
Quantum materials; Synchrotron x-ray scattering
Professor Frano focuses on investigating materials with strongly correlated electrons using x-ray scattering techniques. His group utilizes state-of-art x-ray scattering techniques to reveal emerging phases and functionalities of transition metal oxide ceramics.

Alex Frano's X Lab 

Jérémie Palacci
Jérémie Palacci

Assistant Professor, Physical Sciences
Active Colloids; Soft matter Physics; Non-equilibrium self-assembly
Professor Palacci focuses on the non-equilibrium self-assembly of colloidal building blocks. The research group introduces a novel approach to invoke dynamic self-assembly of colloids and to control the active colloids.

Palacci Lab 

Ivan Schuller
Ivan Schuller

Professor, Physical Sciences
Neuromorphic computing; Superconductors; Complex oxides
Professor Schuller and his group are working on a wide range of research projects from neuromorphic computing to superconductors and complex oxides. His group brings extensive experiences in superconducting materials and complex oxides-based devices.

Schuller Nanoscience Group, Quantum Materials for Energy Efficient Neuromorphic Computing 

Oleg Shpyrko
Oleg Shpyrko

Professor, Physical Sciences
Advanced x-ray microscopy of ionic, magnetic and electronic materials
Professor Shpyrko focuses on developing novel x-ray scattering techniques to probe dynamics in condensed matter systems. His research interests include operando imaging of working devices for energy applications and coherent fourth generation synchrotron sources, such as x-ray free electron lasers and energy recovery linacs.

Shpyrko Research Group 

Structural Engineering

H. Kim
Hyunsun Kim

Professor, Structural Engineering
Structural/topology optimization; Multiscale/multiphysics optimization of structures
Professor Kim’s research is primarily focused on topology optimization. Professor Kim and her research group are developing level set topology optimization methods for multiscale and multiphysics problems, leading to the development of optimum multifunctional structures.

M2DO - Multiscale, Multiphysics Design Optimization