Women in STEM

Developing Life-Like Synthetic Cells

Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. candidate Pallavi D. Sambre is taking the first steps toward engineering lifelike artificial materials that reconstitute a cell’s ability to change their membrane shape to move from one part of the body to another.

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.

Meghna Srivastava Receives Jeffery C. Gibeling Award for Best Master’s Thesis

Meghna Srivastava is this year’s recipient of the of the College of Engineering’s Jeffery C. Gibeling Master’s Thesis Excellence Award, which recognizes the M.S. student who has submitted the best master's thesis. Srivastava earned her M.S. in materials science and engineering under the mentorship of Associate Professor Marina Leite.

Ph.D. Student Margaret Duncan Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Second-year materials science and engineering Ph.D. student Margaret Duncan, part of Associate Professor Marina Leite’s lab, received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship is the oldest and one of the most prestigious of its kind and it recognizes and supports outstanding STEM graduate students who have the potential to become knowledgeable experts and significantly contribute to research, teaching, and innovation.

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.

Marina Leite Named UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow

Materials science and engineering associate professor Marina Leite has been named a 2022 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow. The fellowship program, now in its 22nd year, recognizes and supports outstanding early-career faculty members at UC Davis. Chancellor’s Fellows receive a one-time award to support research, teaching and service and hold the title for five years.

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.