Alexandra Bayles
Helgeson Lab, Squires Lab
Zachariah Berkson
Chmelka Lab, Israelachvili Lab
Michael Burroughs
Helgeson Lab, Leal Lab

In my research, I am investigating how entangled polymeric liquids behave under flow.

I was born and raised in the great state of NC. I received my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University in 2015 (Go Pack!). During college, I played alto saxophone in the marching and pep bands, worked various positions within University Housing, and conducted undergrad research in the areas of nanofibers and polymer hydrogels. 

Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, cooking, attending live music performances, and exploring Santa Barbara.

Tools and Techniques: Rheology, particle tracking, microscopy, light scattering, and magnetic resonance imaging


Lesley Chan
Gordon Lab

My research involves developing scalable, colloid-based processing methods for (1) bio-inspired anti-reflective surfaces for IR devices and visible LEDs, (2) next generation solution-assembled micro/nanoscale III-nitride LEDs, and (3) 2-D strain relaxed epitaxial growth templates for red and green emitting III-nitride devices. 

I am from Los Angeles, CA and completed my B.S. in chemical engineering at the University of Southern California.  Outside of research, I enjoy camping, traveling, cooking, and live music.

Tools and Techniques: Cleanroom processing, characterization (SEM, PL, CL, UV-Vis-NIR, FTIR, XRD, EDS, ellipsometry), optical simulation (FDTD - Lumerical, ray tracing - LightTools), Langmuir-Blodgett deposition


Patrick Corona
Helgeson Lab, Leal Lab

In my research, I am developing in situ small-angle neutron scattering techniques for measuring the microstructure of soft materials (e.g. colloids and polymers) in flow.

Originally from Cincinnati, OH; I received my undergraduate chemical engineering degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of research I enjoy bowling, playing tennis, and cooking.

Tools & Techniques: small-angle neutron scattering, computational fluid dynamics (COMSOL + OpenFOAM), rheology

Scott Danielsen
Segalman Lab, Fredrickson Lab

I utilize electrostatic interactions to assemble hierarchical structures of functional polymers in solutions, soft solids, and gels. As part of this research effort, I seek to understand both the parameters that tune the hierarchical assembly and the effects of the electrostatic assembly on the resulting optoelectronic properties of the soft, conductive materials.

Tools & Techniques: X-ray, neutron, & light scattering, microscopy, optical spectroscopies, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, polymer synthesis, density functional theory, field theoretic simulations


George Degen
Israelachvili Lab, Shea Lab
Howard Dobbs
Chmelka Lab, Israelachvili Lab
Kang-Ching Fan
Mukherjee Lab


I am exploring the use of LOV (light-, oxygen-, voltage-sensing) fluorescent proteins as scaffolds to build genetically encodable biosensors to visualize cellular chemicals (e.g. ATP, cyclic AMP, protease) in low-oxygen environments. Such biosensors are promising tools for studying the cell biology of anaerobes that are previously not well-understood using traditional green fluorescent proteins (GFPs).

I came from Taipei, Taiwan, and graduated from National Taiwan University (NTU) in 2015 with a BS in Chemical Engineering. During college, I studied the thermophoresis phenomenon of lipid molecules using supported lipid bilayer (SLB) as a platform. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, biking, playing the piano, and cooking.

Tools and Techniques: protein engineering, fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP), imaging processing, microfluidics


Thomas Farmer
Doherty Lab, Chmelka Lab
Jan Garcia
Fredrickson Lab

I use phase field simulations to study how polymer membranes are formed using phase inversion processes. 

I am Filipino-Canadian: born and raised in the Philippines, finished high school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and completed my BSc and MSc at the University of Alberta. My previous research areas include carbon capture, solar energy, and oil sands processing. I play basketball, table tennis, and the ukulele.

Tools and Techniques: I am one of the developers of the Fredrickson group's phase field simulation software. Our software can simulate fluid systems with different thermodynamic, mobility, and viscosity models using GPUs for fast parallel processing. I use the following languages and tools for my work: C++, Python, Bash, git.


Rich Hermann
Gordon Lab

My work is in the field of tip-enhanced near-field optical microscopy (TENOM), also known as tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). This technique focuses radiation in the UV-Vis-IR range to nanoscale spatial dimensions, much smaller than the diffraction limit of a conventional microscope, using plasmonic antennas. TENOM experiments have achieved spatial resolutions of 1-10 nm, and can reach high enough sensitivities for single molecule spectroscopy measurements. My research has included the design and validation of a custom-built TENOM instrument, and the use of Lumerical optical simulation FDTD software to investigate the physics of plasmonic nanostructures.

I grew up in Minnesota and received a dual degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry from the University of Minnesota. During college, I did research in the field of renewable heterogeneous catalysis, worked as an usher at the Twins baseball stadium, and played in the drumline for basketball and volleyball games. I started at UCSB in 2013 and love being able to now play golf year-round.

Tools and Techniques: optical microscopy and spectroscopy, lasers, plasmonics, scanning probe microscopies including AFM/STM/TENOM, LABVIEW, optical simulations (Lumerical FDTD)

Ryan Ley
Gordon Lab, DenBaars Lab

I study Gallium Nitride (GaN) based semiconductors for display applications. My research focuses on designing and fabricating microLEDs for high efficiency active pixels. I also work on nanostructuring GaN thin films to improve material properties for long wavelength (yellow, red) emission.

Tools and Techniques: Semiconductor device testing, wirebonding, LED packaging, thin film XRD, AFM, SEM, CL, lasers, Langmuir-Blodgett, clean room processing including photolilthography (stepper and contact aligner), electron beam deposition, ion beam deposition, plasma etching and ALD.

Jimmy Liu
Fredrickson Lab

My research aims to enable fast and accurate simulations of polymer systems by coarse-graining. There are well-known methods for coarse-graining particle-based models, but what about field theories? We developed a new method, phase field mapping, that systematically produces a fast and accurate phase field model using the output of short self-consistent field theory calculations. These field theories are ideal for describing dense polymer systems at near-atomistic scales, since simulations become more efficient as the density increases.

I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and moved to New York for high school and college. I have a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University, where I earned a red belt in sport taekwondo. Outside of research, I enjoy cycling, and playing the piano and guitar.

Tools & Techniques: polymer field theory, statistical mechanics, simulation (especially pseudo-spectral and finite difference methods), Python, MATLAB, Mathematica, C++

Jacob Monroe
Shell Lab

In my research, I utilize theory and molecular dynamics simulation to understand how water mediates interactions between solutes. I am determining how to use various metrics based on water structure near solutes to predict thermodynamic signatures of solvation or association. This work will eventually help to design peptidic materials or other materials with heterogeneous patterns on a sub-nanometer length scale.

When I’m not working, I enjoy running and practicing violin. In the past, I’ve played with the UCSB orchestra and currently play with a community orchestra that sight-reads music once a month.

Tools & Techniques: molecular dynamics simulation, statistical mechanics, free energy calculations, stochastic algorithms development

Hyunjin Moon
Scott Lab

My research is focused on synthesizing mesoporous materials which have a different degree of surface polarity and understanding of their surface characteristics. The findings can be applied for optimized biomass conversion. 

I am from Busan, Korea, and did my B.S. and M.S. programs in mechanical engineering at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Seoul National University. During the master course, my research interest was designing nanomaterial-based wearable electronics. I enjoy various sports, such as table tennis, boxing and bowling. 

Tools & Techniques: XRD, TGA, NMR, FT-IR, EPR, Fluorimeter.

Tuan Nguyen
Helgeson Lab

In my research, I’m developing processing strategies for gels formed through the thermoreversible assembly of nanoscale emulsions. Along the way, I’d like to understand the underlying colloidal phase behavior that leads to the system’s gelation. My goal is to use these gels as a template to form hierarchically structured soft materials for use in artificial biomaterials and consumer products.

Outside of my research, I enjoy playing board games, camping, and sleeping. My current favorite board game is Pandemic, and my most recent camping trip was to Glacier National Park.

Tools & Techniques: Rheometer, Microscope, Dynamic Light Scattering, High Pressure Homogenization

Clarke Palmer
McFarland Lab

In my research, I am using high-temperature molten metal environments to pyrolyze methane into molecular hydrogen and solid carbon. Unlike heterogeneous catalysis, the solid carbon formed floats to the surface of the liquid metal where it can be readily removed, preventing deactivation of the catalytic melt. The overall goal is to engineer a cost-competitive, CO2-free pathway for the production of industrial hydrogen.

I am from Watertown, CT and received my BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Outside of research, I enjoy playing board games or going to the bar with friends.

Tools & Techniques: High-pressure and high-temperature reactor fabrication, differentially-pumped mass spectrometry, catalyst synthesis and preparation, carbon characterization, and gas chromatography.


Joseph Peterson
Leal Lab, Fredrickson Lab
Abe Pressman
Chen Lab (Chemistry)

I like to describe my research as "playing Pokémon": I take large populations of molecular entities, compete them against each other over and over again until the winners evolve into more powerful forms, then convert them into digital information and email them to a bunch of professors. More broadly speaking, I look at the kinetics of evolutionary spaces as a model system for biochemical engineering.

Outside of research, I recently participated in the winning 2017 Dance Your PhD video, and I run a graduate student a capella group.

Tools & Techniques: cytometry, in vitro selection, FACS, HTS, PCR (ePCR, qPCR, RTPCR), watercolors, programming (Python, Java, miscellaneous, liquid-handling-robot, basic cable), trompe l'oeil, stage hypnosis.

Ji Qi
Christopher Lab
Alex Schrader
Israelachvili Lab, Han Lab
Pavel Shapturenka
Gordon Lab, DenBaars Lab

My research involves leveraging nanopatterning techniques to enhance the efficiency and versatility of III-nitride (specifically gallium, indium, and aluminum nitride) light emitting diodes and enable scalable device processing. Much of my work happens in the UCSB Nanofab, interspersed with some epitaxial thin film growth via metal-organic chemical vapor deposition. I'm also interested in surface science and soft matter systems, which hold great potential for high-throughput functional material processing.

I was born in Minsk, Belarus and was raised in Brooklyn, New York. I received by bachelor's degree in chemical engineering through the CUNY Macaulay Honors College at The City College of New York (CCNY) while doing research under the guidance of Drs. Ilona Kretzschmar and John Lombardi. I also played Division III tennis at CCNY for three years. I'm making an effort to maintain my tennis game well into the graduate student life, and am getting back into basketball after a fifteen-year hiatus. My other hobbies include learning guitar and reading (no research articles, I promise!).

Tools & Techniques: Thin Film Deposition, Characterization (electron microscopy, ellipsometry, XRD, electrical), and Processing (nanofab, wet chemistry), Colloidal Patterning, Surface Functionalization and Characterization, Optical Simulation

David Smith
Mitragotri Lab, Leal Lab, Shell Lab

My research focuses on a joint molecular simulation and continuum theoretical platform for elucidating the design-specific effects of 1-10 nm nanoparticles in their interactions with model cellular membranes. We leverage molecular dynamics simulations, free energy calculations, and simple models to delineate the structural states, thermodynamic driving forces, and kinetic pathways of lipid membrane interactions for nanoparticles of diverse size, surface chemistry, shape, softness, and surface roughness and topology. We believe the predictive principles that result from these detailed simulations and adapted theories will be crucial to overcome the present spatiotemporal limitations of experiments and existing theories and guide forthcoming nanoparticle regulations and pharmaceutical and consumer product technologies.

Outside of my research, I enjoy running, biking, hiking, reading about geography or economics at a coffee shop or at the beach, wandering around cities, and spending time with my long-time girlfriend Carla and French Bulldog Butters. I’m a proud Greater Philadelphian and East Coaster.

Tools & Techniques: molecular dynamics simulation (equilibrium and nonequilibrium), coding (Python, FORTRAN, Bash, MATLAB, some C++), high performance computing, free energy calculations & advanced sampling (e.g. umbrella sampling), membrane & peptide biophysics, multiscale modeling, molecular thermodynamics


Emily Sun
Mukherjee Lab, O'Malley Lab
Chad Wangsanuwat
Dey Lab

Chad hails to sunny California from Bangkok, Thailand. Chad is currently working in the Dey lab focusing on lineage tracing methods and algorithms. Apart from working in the lab, he can be found watching TV shows, listening to k-pop, and complaining about how California is somehow cold. Just to not be too predictable, Chad’s favorite food is Japanese food, although Thai food comes as a close second.

Tools & Techniques: DNA & RNA sequencing, Epigenetic Sequencing, & Lineage Tracing 


St. Elmo Wilken
O'Malley Lab, Petzold Lab
Justin Yoo
O'Malley Lab, Daugherty Lab
Beihang Yu
Segalman Lab

In my research, I am utilizing polypeptoids to study the role of chain shape in block copolymer self-assembly, looking at how chain shape impacts the thermodynamic interacitons and self-assembled structures of diblock copolymers.

I grew up in Hangzhou, China, and graduated from Tsinghua University with a B.Eng. in Polymer Materials and Engineering and a B.A. in English Language (second major). I did my thesis project in Prof. Yanbin Huang's lab on drug–polymer crystalline inclusion complexes, and in the summer of 2015, I worked with Alex Briseño at UMass-Amherst on small molecules and oligomers for semiconductors. I love playing volleyball (looking for volleyball buddies!) and also enjoy cooking in my free time.

Tools & Techniques: Basic polymer synthesis and characterization (GPC, DSC, NMR, LC-MS, MALDI etc.), TEM, and (Cryo) Microtoming.

Mengwen Zhang
Helgeson Lab, Mitragotri Lab
Jiamin Zhang
Helgeson Lab, Leal Lab

My research is in the field of rheology, which studies the physics of complex fluids. More specifically, for my project, the goal is to develop and experimentally test a rheological model for wormlike micelles that is able to reflect their underlying structure. Wormlike micelles are ubiquitous in consumer products, such as shampoo and body wash. We use rheological measurements to study how fluid stress responds to flow and use small angle neutron scattering to probe the microstructures. 

I grew up in Jinan, China and came to the US for junior and senior years of high school as an exchange student in Atlanta, GA. I went to Cornell University for undergraduate program in chemical engineering. Outside of research, I enjoy hiking, cooking, badminton, tennis, and singing. 

Tools & Techniques: rheology, neutron scattering, computational fluid dynamics simulations