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University of California, Davis - 2016

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Research Description

Research Description By Graduate Engineering Department

Applied Science

The Department of Applied Science has been disestablished. Department faculty have been moved to other departments as of July 1, 2011. The Optical Science and Engineering major (B.S.), minor, and Applied Science graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) are in the process of being discontinued. Admission is currently closed to these majors, however current students will continue to be listed until they graduate.

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Biological and agricultural engineers apply engineering principles to solve problems in biological systems and many projects are interdisciplinary. Faculty and students work with colleagues in the life sciences and in other engineering departments addressing problems in the following engineering areas: aquacultural; bioenvironmental; bioinstrumentation; biomass & bioenergy; fiber; forest; biotechnical; ecological systems; ergonomics, health and safety; food; machine systems/precision agriculture; postharvest; and soil and water. URL:

Biomedical Engineering

There is a diversity of skills and facilities available to each student. These facilities include the Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging that offers biological imaging at all scales to the molecular level, including positron emission tomography, micro-CT, MRI, ultrasound and optical methods. TEAM (Translating Engineering Advances in Medicine) combines a traditional machine shop with an advanced prototyping and design laboratory in an effort to augment, and expedite the design and prototyping process. The spaces feature everything needed to take a concept from design (a 3D scanner, CAD workstations coupled with dual wall-mounted displays), through manufacturing/prototyping (via a 3-Axis CNC Mill, multiple 3D printers, a Laser Cutter/Engraver, and Printed Circuit Board Mill). By way of the TEAM facilities and equipment, designs can rapidly become reality with limited financial investment. A broad range of scanning microscopy systems, e.g., SEM and AFM, and an optical biology core lab are available. A core of faculty provide expertise in computational methods, cell and molecular genetic circuits and microsystems. The campus enjoys strong animal care facilities, primate center, veterinary hospital, mouse biology program, and hosts the Mind Institute, Center for Neurological Sciences, and NSF Biophotonics Center. Students have access to many campus resources, such as materials testing and rheological equipment, animal surgery, human performance laboratory, and several machine and electrical shops. URL:

Chemical Engineering

Areas of current research in the Department of Chemical Engineering include biochemical engineering, biomaterials, biomedical engineering, biomolecular engineering, bionanotechnology, biophysics, catalysis,colloids and surface science, drug delivery systems, electrochemical properties and devices, electron microscopy, electronic properties and devices, fluid mechanics and rheology, green engineering and design, hydrogels, interfaces, materials processing, materials under extreme conditions, mathematical/molecular modeling, membrane separations, nanomaterials, polymers, process control, radiation tolerant materials, reaction engineering, renewable energy, thermochemistry, thin films and transport phenomena. URL:

Chemical Engr. and Materials Science

Effective February 29, 2016, the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science was reconstituted into two new departments: the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Research expenditures are reported under the former department name, as expenditures for these departments did not split until the close of the 2016 fiscal year.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

The critical roles of reliable infrastructure for public safety, economic performance, and a healthy environment have led to a significant resurgence of interest in the field, particularly in transportation, air quality, toxic waste, structural reliability, and water management. Areas in which research is being conducted: Environmental engineering, Structural engineering and mechanics and geotechnical engineering, Transportation engineering and transportation planning, and Water resources engineering. URL:

Computer Science

Research in the department covers a broad range of topics, including artificial intelligence, computer architecture, computer systems design, computer graphics and visualization, computer security and cryptography, computational biology, database systems, distributed systems, computer networks, operating systems, parallel algorithms and systems, programming languages and compilers, software engineering, program specification and verification, computer science theory and computer vision. URL:

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is orientated along six main axes. Research in Communication, Control, Networking, and Signal Processing (CCNSP) explores the fundamental limits as well as studies new algorithms and methodologies for the analysis, storage, and transfer of information embedded in digital data and signals. Computer engineering research addresses the design and implementation of computer-based systems (both hardware and software) for various applications. Specific areas of research include: VLSI design, DSP processor architecture, embedded systems, scalar and parallel computer architecture, parallel computing, reconfigurable computing, compiler optimization, networking, algorithms, and validation of digital systems. The research in Electronic Circuits focuses on CMOS analog and mixed analog-digital circuit design for digital communications and data conversion as well as on ultra low power CMOS design. In the area of Optoelectronics, research topics explored include optical communications and computing, nanophotonics, femtosecond pulse shaping for optical communications and arbitrary optical waveform generation, applications of structured supramolecular functional composite materials, plasmonic sensors, biophysics and ultrashort pulse microscopy. The research in RF, Micro- and Millimeter Waves focuses on the efficient generation, propagation, and detection of electromagnetic energy in the frequency range from approximately 100 MHz to greater than 1 THz. The Physical Electronics group focuses on theoretical and experimental research projects involving fabrication of electronic materials and new and advanced devices as well as organic and inorganic micro/nanostructures for device applications. A major focus is creating technologies that enable new levels of performance in devices, circuits, systems, sensors and energy conversion/harvesting. URL:

Materials Science and Engineering

Current research focus areas in materials science and engineering include biomaterials, bionanotechnology, biomedical engineering, catalysts, ceramics, defect structures,drug delivery systems, electronic and electrochemical properties and devices, electron microscopy, glasses, green engineering and design, hydrogels, interfaces, magnetic properties and devices, materials microstructure and/or processing, maaterials under extreme conditions, mathematical modeling, mechanical properties and synthesis, membrane separations, metals, molecular modeling, nanomaterials, optical properties and devices, polymers, porous media, radiation tolerant materials, renewable energy, sintering, structural materials, thermochemistry, and thin films.

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering has teaching and research strengths in a number of core competency and application areas. Its core competency areas are in design and manufacturing, solid mechanics and materials, dynamics and controls, fluid mechanics and aerodynamics, plasma physics, thermodynamics and reacting flows, heat and mass transfer. Areas of applications are in aerospace (including aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, controls, and system design), computational science and engineering, energy systems, environment, biomedical engineering, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), computer-aided engineering, manufacturing, robotics, and mechatronics, and vehicle and transportation engineering (including fuel cell and hybrid vehicle technology, advanced highway and maintenance and construction technology). URL:

Transportation Technology and Policy

Transportation Technology and Policy (TTP) is the interdisciplinary master's and Ph.D.-granting program hosted by ITS-Davis. The TTP Graduate Group provides a modern interdisciplinary education for addressing pressing transportation, environmental, economic, and social problems facing the nation and the world. Students may pursue either a technology track or a planning and policy track. The technology track is for students trained in engineering and physical sciences who are interested in systems-level planning, analysis, management, and design of advanced transportation technologies (especially vehicle propulsion and "intelligent transportation systems"). The planning/policy track is aimed at students from a broader range of disciplines, who are interested in the analysis of public policy and planning issues related to transportation (especially the social and environmental impacts). The curriculum for both tracks includes courses in civil, mechanical, and environmental engineering, economics, policy sciences, statistics, behavioral sciences, management, technology assessment, and environmental studies. URL:

Research Description By Engineering Research Center

Advanced Highway Maintenance & Construction Technology Ctr.

In cooperation with state, federal, and private agencies as well as private industry, the Center for Advanced Highway Maintenance and Construction performs applied and basic research to develop innovative technologies in the areas of highway and civil infrastructure construction, maintenance, and operations. The ultimate goal is the deployment of these technologies. Efforts center on safety, mobility, lean operations, reliability, and the minimization of environmental impacts. To achieve these aims, faculty in the center combine and leverage advanced automation and robotics, information technology, sensing and mechatronics, design and sustainability, life-cycle analysis, and advanced communication and computer technologies.

The Center works directly with California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) also helps them access university and industry research, maintain a leadership position in maintenance and construction technology, access federal and pooled funds for research, test and evaluate new technologies, improve the Caltrans public image as a technology-oriented organization, and train students and professionals in transportation operations and technology. URL:

Advanced Materials Characterization and Testing Lab

The AMCaT labs place their major emphasis on analytical electron microscopy (micro analysis) in the material sciences. The vision and goal of AMCaT is to embrace and support a multi-disciplinary user base of students (undergraduate and graduate), post doctoral fellows, and faculty researchers at UC Davis. The facility also offers its users a variety of sample preparation equipment, a light microscopy lab with image analysis, an x-ray lab, and a materials testing lab. AMCaT supports numerous lab classes in engineering. URL:

Advanced Transportation Infrastructure Research Center Facility

The UC Davis Advanced Transportation Infrastructure Research Center (ATIRC) project provides a facility for two research programs: the UC Pavement Research Center (UCPRC) and the Advanced Highway Maintenance and Construction Technology Research Center (AHMCT). Research at the UCPRC at ATIRC includes accelerated pavement testing of new types of materials and pavement structures using the Heavy Vehicle Simulators, laboratory specimen preparation and testing, and analyses. ATIRC houses the UC Davis staff of the UCPRC.

Air Quality Research Center

The Air Quality Research Center provides support for teams of collaborative researchers to conduct scientific, engineering, health, social and economic research to inform planning and regulations for air quality and climate change. The AQRC educates through conferences, outreach, scholarly publications, and training grants. Researchers at UC Davis employ theoretical approaches, mathematical models, measurements in the field and in laboratories, and policy analysis to tackle state, federal and intercontinental air quality problems. The center is composed of over 60 faculty and research staff members from six schools and colleges across campus. This breadth of expertise allows us to take a broad, interdisciplinary approach to air-quality problem solving. URL:

Center for Advanced Laboratory Fusion Science and Engineering

The purpose of Center for Advanced Laboratory Fusion Science and Engineering (CALFUSE) is to promote interaction between research and educational entities within the University and among the University, the national laboratories, and industrial laboratories. Fusion research is an extremely broad field, encompassing topics that cut across numerous engineering, science, and policy disciplines. The initial set of topics includes plasma accelerators, high-energy particle accelerators, plasma diagnostics (specifically, millimeter wave and Terahertz technology developments), advanced computing, advanced materials, and energy policy. The Center invites participation from all fields that may have relevance to fusion education and research. URL:

Center for Geotechnical Modeling

The center operates 9-m and 1-m radius dynamic geotechnical centrifuges with unique and versatile modeling capabilities for studying the response and performance of soil and soil-structure systems affected by earthquake, wave, wind and storm surge loadings. Our centrifuge facilities enable the building of basic science knowledge; the validation of advanced computational models from the component to holistic system level; the validation of innovative mitigation strategies; and the integration of research, education, and outreach activities in the training of a broad and inclusive STEM workforce. The center provides open and equal access through approved recharge rates and has a broad base of external users. URL:

Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) is one of the California Institutes of Science and Innovations with a mission of investigating information technology solutions for society’s most pressing challenges. The Center involves a partnership among four UC campuses: UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Merced and UC Santa Cruz and operates within the greater ecosystem of the University of California and the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of northern California.

CITRIS was created to “shorten the pipeline” between world-class laboratory research and the creation of start-ups, larger companies, and whole industries.

CITRIS facilitates partnerships and collaborations involving faculty members and students from numerous departments at the four UC campuses with industrial and other collaborators. Current CITRIS initiatives include Sustainable Infrastructures (pursuing research in cyber-infrastructure of a sustainable society); Connected Communities (supporting collaborative discovery, design, and governance through new technologies that enhance education, creative work, and public engagement); People and Robots (addressing approaches and challenges in Cloud Robotics, Deep Learning, Human-Centric Automation, and Bio-Inspired Robotics in the interest of the society); and Health (developing innovative technologies in telehealth, sensors, analytics and mobile devices to improve health outcomes and access to cost-effective healthcare). URL:

Center for Molecular and Genomic Imaging

The Center for Molecular Genomic Imaging (CMGI) offers the research community dedicated, state-of-the-art imaging technologies for in vivo and biospecimen imaging. Imaging modalities include PET, SPECT, CT, MRI, ultrasound, autoradiography, and optical imaging (fluorescence and bioluminescence). CMGI also operates a biomedical cyclotron and radiochemistry facility for synthesis of radiotracers. The CMGI has is a core facility serving a wide range of campus investigators and is integrated into many major centers, programs, and institutes.

Imaging studies can provide new insights in many areas of biomedical research, including oncology, cardiology, neuroscience and pharmacology. Molecular and genomic imaging can play an important role in advancing basic science investigations and in the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for use in the clinical setting. CMGI staff provide services that include consultation, protocol planning and experimental design, animal handling and physiologic monitoring, injection of contrast agents and radiopharmaceuticals, scanning, data reconstruction and visualization, image analysis and data backup. CMGI facilities are open to all researchers at UC Davis, and are also open, on a space-available basis, to external researchers. URL:

Center for Nano and Micromanufacturing

The Center for Nano and Micromanufacturing (CNM2) includes a 10,000 square-foot Class 100 cleanroom, offering a broad line of lithography tools with resolution capabilities down to 50nm, metal and dielectric thin-film deposition, dry etching, as well as numerous characterization tools to support device manufacturing for a variety of industries and applications. The facility has capabilities to accommodate a wide variety of substrate materials including: Si, SiO2, borosilicate glass, InP, GaAS as well as well as biocompatible polymer materials such as PDMS. External to the cleanroom we have an additional 5000+ square feet of research space which houses both a high-resolution SEM and FIB system used for sample characterization and TEM sample preparation. URL:

Center for Water-Energy Efficiency

Around the world, water and energy resources are increasingly stressed by expanding demand, diminished supply, and environmental degradation, all in a broader context of complex economic and regulatory challenges. Historically, public policy and business practice have treated water and energy as separate resources, but they are inextricably linked. Although our water delivery and treatment systems and energy production and distribution infrastructure are intertwined and interdependent, our ability to measure, monitor, and manage this coupled water-energy system is underdeveloped. The Center for Water-Energy Efficiency (CWEE) at UC Davis seeks to address this gap and advance resource use efficiency through integrated water-energy management. Our mission is to research, develop, and disseminate efficient technologies and effective policy for integrated water and energy conservation. URL:

Center for Watershed Sciences

The Center for Watershed Sciences, a unit of the John Muir Institute of the Environment, is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of critical water challenges, particularly in California, focusing on environmentally and economically sustainable solutions for managing rivers, lakes and estuaries. URL:

Computer Security Laboratory

The mission of the UC Davis Computer Security Laboratory is to improve the current state of computer and information security and assurance through research and teaching. The Security Lab investigates security problems in the network infrastructure, in computer security, and in information assurance in general. Current projects include research into data sanitization, vulnerabilities analysis, social links, the provision of a secure programming clinic, forensic logging and auditing, e-voting and the process of holding an election, biology-inspired security techniques, and security of mobile networks and smartphones. The Security Laboratory also researches and detects malicious code (viruses, worms, time bombs, etc.) in programs and detects attempts to penetrate or misuse computer systems. Research projects are supported by corporate and government organizations. URL:

Davis Millimeter Wave Research Center

The Davis Millimeter Wave Research (DMRC) Center was founded in June 2008 by Professors Anh-Vu Pham and Neville Luhmann, Jr. as an industry university cooperative research program. The DMRC is broadly focused on fostering millimeter wave technology for wireless communications, radar, sensing, and imaging systems. The activities in the DMRC range from devices, integrated circuits, components and packaging, sub-systems to system implementation. URL:

Energy Efficiency Center

The mission of the center is to accelerate development and commercialization of energy-efficient technologies and to train the future energy efficiency leaders. Together with a network of technology, university and strategic partners, the Energy Efficiency Center at the University of California, Davis (EEC) identifies promising energy-efficient technologies, develops viable business ventures around those technologies, and connects those ventures to the financial, physical, intellectual and social capital that will be critical to their success. The EEC is preparing tomorrow's energy system leaders through course offerings in energy efficiency, resource management certification and degree programs featuring energy efficiency in design, engineering and business innovation. There are numerous courses taught in various departments at both the undergraduate and graduate level throughout the UC Davis campus that incorporate energy efficiency within their course in concept, theory and in practical application. URL:

Institute of Transportation Studies

The Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis (ITS-Davis) was formally established in 1991. The Institute is now a multi-faceted, internationally recognized program with more than 60 affiliated faculty and researchers and 100+ graduate students. ITS-Davis is a leading center of transportation studies, specializing in sustainable transportation themes. It is unique in its multidisciplinary approach to transportation technology, fuels, basic science, human behavior and policy. The Institute's dedicated faculty, staff and students examine a range of transport topics in three core areas of research and analysis: environmental vehicle technologies and fuels pathways; climate change, air quality, and other environmental impacts; and travel behavior and transport systems modeling. ITS-Davis is the only research institute in the UC system that hosts a perfectly matching graduate education program -- the master's and Ph.D. conferring Transportation Technology and Policy graduate education group. URL:

Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture and Technology

NEAT (Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology) is a multidisciplinary research and education program linking the fundamental physics, chemistry, and engineering of small particles and nanomaterials to several challenging areas of investigation, including applications in ceramic, chemical, electronic, environmental, and agricultural technology; environmental transport and transformation and the resulting factors of environmental pollution and remediation; and interactions with the biosphere, especially microorganisms and the consequential effects on health. URL:

National Center for Sustainable Transportation

The National Center for Sustainable Transportation, part of the federal University Transportation Centers program, aims to enhance the environmental sustainability of the United States’ transportation system through reductions in fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from passenger and freight travel. The research, education, and engagement activities of the National Center address the U.S. Department of Transportation’s strategic goal to advance environmentally sustainable policies and investments by asserting national leadership in reducing carbon emissions from transportation systems while supporting climate adaptation activities and continued mitigation of air pollution and other environmental impacts. Other institutions in the National Center consortium are California State University, Long Beach; University of California at Riverside; University of Southern California; Georgia Tech, and the University of Vermont. URL:

Pavement Research Center

The UC Pavement Research Center (UCPRC) uses innovative research and sound engineering principles to improve pavement structures, materials and technologies. Work at the UCPRC focuses on asphalt and concrete pavements, including design, materials, rehabilitation, life cycle, maintenance and reconstruction; pavement cost analysis and strategy selection; the effects of pavement activities on traffic in urban areas; pavement performance modeling; and environmental life-cycle assessment for pavements. URL:

Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy

The UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy (Policy Institute) leverages world-class university expertise and engages directly with decision-makers to deliver credible, relevant, and timely information and analysis to inform better energy and environmental policy. URL:

Research Core Facilities Program

The mission of the Research Core Facilities Program is to enable researchers at UC Davis to have access to the state-of-the-art technology for their scientific research, to streamline the core facility administration while improving accountability and transparency, and to provide training opportunities for faculty, graduate students and staff.

Tahoe Environmental Research Center

The Tahoe Environmental Research Center is dedicated to research, education and public outreach on lakes and their surrounding watersheds and airsheds. Lake ecosystems include the physical, biogeochemical and human environments, along with the interactions among them. The Center is committed to providing objective scientific information for the restoration and sustainable use of the Lake Tahoe Basin and for freshwater ecosystems worldwide. Two public education centers in the Tahoe basin provide information and organize programs for K-12 and adult audiences throughout the year. URL:

Translating Engineering Advances to Medicine

The TEAM (Translating Engineering Advances to Medicine) facilities provide state-of-the-art instrumentation enabling accelerated prototype development. TEAM speeds up the adoption and commercialization of freshly developed technologies through design aid and inexpensive prototyping. Prior to entering production, the design of products and devices is tested through prototypes and models. Taking a design from concept to a tangible object is frequently where the process of innovation bogs down or stops. TEAM’s facilities help innovative ideas move forward into working prototypes, giving principal investigators, students, and external clientele the opportunity to transform their ideas into reality.

Combined with a traditional metal-working fabrication shop, TEAM’s Design, Prototyping, and Fabrication Facilities allow users to construct functional prototypes with complex, moving parts and electronics. TEAM’s Molecular Prototyping and BioInnovation Lab extends the prototyping capacity available on campus to the molecular scale by creating novel biomolecules (e.g., proteins and nucleic acids), molecular devices, and engineered cellular and cell-free systems (e.g., synthetic biology). With personnel experienced in design, prototyping, technology transfer, and instruction to offer consultation, training, and fabrication services, TEAM’s goal is to take the pain and hassle out of prototyping. Thus, engineers, innovators, and also students can test their conceptual ideas, and move forward toward production and possible commercialization opportunities. The advanced prototyping equipment and wet laboratory make it possible and affordable to create highly intricate prototypes at scales from molecules to machines.


UC Davis Center for Visualization

The Center for Visualization was established in October 2012 under the UC Davis Office of Research’s Research Investments in Science and Engineering (RISE) Program with the mission to:
-- Serve as a central point of access to advanced visualization technology
-- Assemble large-scale cross/interdisciplinary research teams, possibly involving researchers at other institutions, to pursue the most challenging and pioneering research
-- Educate graduate students in advanced data visualization and analysis techniques
-- Develop custom visualization solutions for selected campus research units and convert promising prototype systems and toolkits into products targeting niche market
-- Seek industry partnerships and technology transfer opportunities

UC Davis Energy Institute

The Energy Institute at UC Davis is home to energy research and education programs of the University of California, Davis. It was established to accelerate the global transformation to a sustainable energy future and is structured to coordinate the world-class strengths of UC Davis in energy research, education and outreach to foster new innovations, expand public service and inform decision-making about new energy solutions. The Energy Institute encompasses critical areas of energy research at UC Davis"including renewable and sustainable energy systems, energy efficiency, fuels and transportation, infrastructure, environment, and economics. The Institute actively targets the demand for well-trained energy professionals. URL:

UC Davis J. Amorocho Hydraulics Laboratory (JAHL)

The research areas at the UC Davis J. Amorocho Hydraulics Laboratory include engineering hydraulics, fisheries protection, and ecological and environmental hydraulics. UC Davis JAHL was built to perform hydraulic modeling studies for the California State Water Project and has been conducting hydraulic investigations through scaled physical, prototype and numerical models to provide modeling services to federal, state, and local water agencies and private entities. With the recently constructed large flume, which has a circulation capacity of 200 cfs, it is now possible to perform prototype physical modeling studies at the laboratory, including dam removal and sediment transport studies without scaling the sediment and fluid properties. Recent research projects have included the assessment of hydraulics, fish behavior, and swimming, near unscreened diversions; studies of sturgeon passage; and investigations of the effects of California riparian vegetation on flow, roughness, and erosion. With the help of the state and federal agencies, researchers have actively participated in the development of solutions to fish protection for the Bay Delta river system and are developing a better understanding of the hydraulic and biological issues in the Sacramento River and Bay Delta system. Fish biologists, hydraulic engineers and other UC Davis JAHL researchers have many years of experience in testing Sacramento River and Bay Delta fish species under various hydraulic and environmental conditions and in handling invasive water plant species that occur in the Delta fish facilities. URL:

Western Cooling Efficiency Center

WCEC (Western Cooling Efficiency Center) is key component of the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center (EEC). The mission of the WCEC is to partner with stakeholders to identify technologies, conduct research, disseminate information, and implement programs/initiatives to reduce cooling-system electrical demand and energy consumption in the Western United States. The WCEC, also associated with the Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering departments, uses undergraduate students, graduate students, and research engineers to investigate emerging cooling technologies for hot arid climates, and more recently to investigate heating/ventilation (HVAC) and other building end-uses. It’s activities include technology conceptualization and development, laboratory testing, field testing, development of performance simulation tools, and participation in energy policy and standards development proceedings. Current technologies under investigation by the WCEC include: automated building envelope sealing technologies, radiant cooling, various evaporative cooling technologies, thermal distribution and storage technologies, open-source building automation, human behavior related to HVAC, and alternative heat sinks for cooling. In addition, the WCEC recently started two projects investigating remote sealing of underground natural gas distribution systems. URL: