The Space Between

We all have experience with water turning from solid to liquid to gas and back again. But knowing what happens scientifically during those transitions is an essential, yet unanswered scientific question that Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Jeremy Mason and his research group are pursuing.

How to Persevere

Materials science and engineering Ph.D. candidate Cassondra Brayfield is on track to finish her degree in August, but she is quick to acknowledge that the road to success has been bumpy.

UC Davis Alumna Pays it Forward as Pioneer in Electron Microscopy

Miaofang Chi, Ph.D. '08 is a distinguished scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and electron microscopy pioneer. In many ways, her experiences, training and mentorship at UC Davis set her on this path and continue to help her as she develops new methods to apply materials science concepts to new fields ranging from energy to planetary science.

Innovating for our future

Peifen Lyu ’19, Ph.D. ’25 has created a magnesium-based nanoscale optical device that dissolves in water and changes colors in displays. It creates a color change across several applications, such as a coating for pills or as sensors in environmental science for testing different chemical compositions.

Amir Saeidi: Making Connections to Make a Difference

The first time he learned about the science behind teaching, Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor of Teaching Amir Saeidi knew how he wanted to make a difference. The social sciences and humanities students in his pedagogical fellowship program were all familiar with concepts like active learning, but Saeidi had never seen anything like them in his engineering classes and decided he needed to use and promote that.

Student Spotlight: Ph.D. Candidate Isabella Costa

Meet Isabella Loureiro Muller Costa. Costa is a third year Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering at the University of California, Davis. Isabella is in the Ceramic and Glass Industry Foundation, or CGIF, President's Council of Student Advisors and brought CGIF Mini Kits to Brazil last year to expose students to materials science.

Jack Yao ’96: From Robotics Gameshow Contestant to CEO

In 1994, Jack Yao ’96 was part of a team of 10 UC Davis students that competed in a “techno-soccer challenge” in Osaka, Japan. The competition, which was nationally televised in Japan, challenged teams to build robots to autonomously navigate an obstacle course while dribbling, and eventually shooting, a soccer ball towards a goal. 

Cassondra Brayfield Awarded Cadence Women in Technology Scholarship

Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. candidate Cassondra Brayfield was named a recipient of the Cadence Diversity in Technology Scholarship under its Women in Technology program. Brayfield was selected based on leadership skills, recognition of accomplishments, endorsement from professors, and drive to shape the world of technology. 

Alumni Spotlight: Mingwei Zhang, Ph.D. ’21

Mingwei Zhang, Ph.D. ’21 used his time at UC Davis to grow his research career and plans to pay forward the generosity and mentorship he received from the materials science and engineering department. 

Student Spotlight: Sevag Momjian

The natural curiosity about the world Sevag Momjian '22 has always had led him to materials science and engineering, and he's excited to help the field realize its potential to solve some of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century.

Student Spotlight: Chad Serrao

After completing a bachelor's degree in philosophy, Chad Serrao '22 decided to go back to school to pursue engineering and became hooked on materials science and engineering and looks forward to playing a role in using the field to build a sustainable future.

Student Spotlight: Avery Adams

Avery Adams '22 was drawn to materials science and engineering because of the versatility of the field that allows her to do both experimental and applied work for a wide range of fields.

Student Spotlight: Pooja Rao

Pooja Rao '22 thought she would get her B.S. and immediately leave academia, but she developed a love for research as part of Assistant Professor Roopali Kukreja's group and decided to continue her studies as a master's student.

Faculty Spotlight: Marina Leite

I did my undergrad in chemistry and Ph.D. in physics, both in Brazil. While a Ph.D. student, I was a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart (Germany) and at the Department of Applied Physics at Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands) working with semiconductor materials. I started working with solar cells when I was a post-doctoral scholar at Caltech between 2008 and 2011. After a 2-year appointment at NIST, I moved to the University of Maryland as an assistant professor, and then became an associate professor. I am currently an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and a UC Davis Chancellor's Fellow.

Faculty Spotlight: Yayoi Takamura

I received my B.S. from Cornell University in 1998 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in 2000 and 2004, respectively, all in Materials Science and Engineering. I was a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley with Professor Yuri Suzuki in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering before joining the Materials Science and Engineering Department at UC Davis in July 2006. After serving as Vice-Chair from 2017-2020, I became the first female chair of the department at UC Davis in July 2020.

Student Spotlight: Ethan Suwandi

One of materials science and engineering major Ethan Suwandi’s favorite things to do is “nerd out” about materials with his friends, classmates and professors at UC Davis.

“It’s very cathartic, at least for me,” he said. “Materials is a niche topic that you can’t discuss with many people, so I think all of us would take the chance to say, ‘look at this cool thing I found’ or ‘look at this cool thing I’m researching and let me tell you all about the mechanisms behind it!’”

Student Spotlight: Griffin Hart

Recent materials science and engineering graduate Griffin Hart ’21 used UC Davis to try college a second time and was able to make the most of his experience.

Hart started college at Humboldt State University, but didn’t know what he wanted to do. This made him feel unmotivated and that was reflected in his grades, so he moved home and enrolled in community college. He became interested in sustainability and through his calculus, physics and chemistry classes, he began to see how much he could do with math and science.

Alumni Spotlight: Valerie Gibson ’86, ‘00

Valerie Gibson ’86, ‘00 has forged a successful career in the aerospace industry through her passion and experience with materials science and engineering she acquired at UC Davis.

Gibson is a principal propulsion engineer in the engine group at Blue Origin, a private aerospace manufacturing company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The company is a leader in the private spaceflight industry and made headlines in summer 2021 with its first crewed suborbital flight.

MSE Celebrates the Career of Professor Sangtae Kim

June 2022 Update

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering is deeply saddened to announce the passing of Professor Emeritus Sangtae Kim. He is remembered as a wonderful colleague, an expert in defect chemistry and electrochemistry, an inspiring instructor and an amazing goalie in the department’s student/faculty soccer games.