We innovate across disciplines and industries in order to develop advanced technologies for aerospace, energy, biomedical, nuclear, environmental, defense and advanced manufacturing applications.


Olivia A. Graeve

Director, CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials & Systems
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, UC San Diego

Nanomaterials manufacturing; fundamental principles of materials processing with special focus in aerospace materials (i.e., ultra-high temperature materials) and electromagnetic materials for sensors and energy applications; materials processing using techniques such as combustion synthesis, colloidal techniques, spark plasma sintering, and high-energy milling operations; design of amorphous metal materials.

Graeve’s Nanomaterials Processing Laboratory

Rubén Ortiz-Torres

Co-Director, CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials & Systems
Visual Arts, UC San Diego

Mexican postmodernism; issues of globalization central to the current 'New World Order' and the various, sometimes conflicted, responses to this newest form of Euro-American dominance.

Rafael Vazquez-Duhalt

Co-Director, CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials & Systems
Centro de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología, CNyN-UNAM

Environmental biotechnology, enzymatic transformation of pollutants and recalcitrant compounds, bionanotechnology, chemical modification of enzymes for harsh and non-conventional environments.

Rafael Vazquez-Duhalt website


Prabhakar R. Bandaru

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Control of thermal energy and fluid flow at the nanoscale, applications that include information processing and storage and sensors.

Bandaru’s Electronic, Electrochemical, & Thermal Properties of Materials Research Group

Shengqiang Cai

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Formulation and modeling of large deformation of soft materials. Mechanical instabilities, damage and fracture in soft materials such as hydrogels and electroactive polymers.

Cai’s research group

Veronica Eliasson

Structural Engineering

Research in the area of shock wave dynamics, high strain rate impacts, and fracture mechanics. In particular, she utilizes non-invasive high-speed photography techniques to visualize the dynamic response of various structures and materials subjected to extreme loading conditions.

Veronica Eliasson Research Group

Javier E. Garay

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Design and manufacturing of new materials with novel and advanced properties, including nanomaterials, composites and intermetallics.

Joanna M. McKittrick

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Impact resistance of biological and bioinspired materials; deep-sea biological organisms under high pressure and temperature; synthesis of new materials.

McKittrick Group

Marc A. Meyers

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Ultrafine grained and nanocrystalline metals for high strength and controlled bioresorption applications in the biomedical field.

Meyers Group

Sia Nemat-Nasser

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Integrated computational, analytical and experimental characterization of materials under extreme conditions.

Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials

Vitali F. Nesterenko

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Processing of advanced materials at high static and dynamic pressures and temperatures, behavior of materials at extreme dynamic conditions, design of metamaterials to mitigate extreme conditions caused by impact and explosion.

Nesterenko Research Group

Frank E. Talke

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Wear of diamond-like carbon under extreme conditions of load and speed; behavior of SiN in bio-medical devices (glaucoma sensor); lubricant transfer and hydrocarbon contamination in magnetic hard disk drives.

Frank Talke’s Tribology and Mechanics Lab

George R. Tynan

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Development of novel nanoengineered materials for use in extreme environments of nuclear fusion reactors.

Oscar Vazquez


Novel photovoltaic devices based on nanomaterials, scanning probe analysis of proteins, efficient nanopatterning methods, plasmonic biosensors.

Robert E. Continetti

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Experimental studies of transient species in the gas phase, with interests ranging from isolated small radicals and ions to mass-selected nanoparticles and aerosols; three-dimensional imaging techniques and time-of-flight and charge detection mass spectrometric techniques.
The Continetti Group

Elizabeth Villa

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Macromolecular imaging using transmission electron microscopy at cryogenic temperature. Molecular modeling integrating data from various sources. Multiscale simulations of biomolecules.
The Villa Lab

Joel Yuen-Zhou

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Theoretical descriptions of novel quantum and semi-classical phenomena at the interface of chemical, condensed matter, and materials physics.
Yuen-Zhou Research Group

Julio T. Barreiro Guerrero


Experimental atomic and optical physics, ultra-cold atoms, degenerate quantum gases, quantum information and simulations.
Barreiro Lab

Benjamin Grinstein


Weak sub-atomic interactions, and, in particular, decays of "strange," "charm" and "bottom" quarks.
Grinstein’s Particle Physics Theory Group

Medicine & Environment

Mario J. Molina

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Chemistry of the atmosphere and the various ways in which human society can affect it; key atmospheric chemical processes.
Centro Mario Molina (English) (Spanish)

Vicki H. Grassian

Chemistry and Biochemistry
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Surface chemistry and transformations of metal-based nanomaterials in different biological and environmental milieu.
Grassian Research Group

Mauricio Montal


Molecular basis of neuronal signaling, neurosecretion, neurodegeneration and neurotoxin action. Protein folding, misfolding and design; membrane protein function; design of biosensors based on lipid bilayer membranes.

M. Octavio Aburto-Oropeza

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Marine ecology, conservation biology, fisheries ecology, marine reserves and long-term marine life monitoring programs.
Octavio Aburto website

Social Sciences, Arts & Culture

Francisco J. Villarreal


Cardiac structure and function as well as therapeutic strategies to protect tissues and organs from diseases that adversely impact cellular bioenergetics.
Cardiac Mechanics Research Group

Isabel Trevino


Economic modeling and experiments on strategic interactions under incomplete and asymmetric information with applications to macroeconomics and finance; behavioral economics.

Max Parra


Literature of Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region. Narratives of border conflict and border integration in the San Diego-Tijuana region.

Mariana R. Wardwell

Visual Arts

Art history, postcolonial theory, modernism and nation formation, modernism and globalization, indigenism, intersections of ethnography and the avant-garde, critical theory and marxist deconstruction

International Collaborators

Rubén D. Cadena-Nava

Centro de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México(CNyN-UNAM)

Virus-like particles (VLPs) as nanovehicles for biomedical applications, bionanotechnology, chemical functionalization of VLPs for tissue targeting.

Santiago Camacho López

Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)

Processing of materials using ultrashort pulse laser irradiation.

Victoria Díaz Castañeda

Centro de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (CNyN-UNAM)

Effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms, macrofauna and use of species as environmental indicators, environmental monitoring.

Manuel Herrera Zaldivar

Centro de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (CNyN-UNAM)

Microscopy techniques: Scanning electron microscopy (cathodoluminescence), transmission electron microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, atomic force microscopy.

Alejandro Huerta-Saquero

Centro de Nanociencias y Nanotecnología – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (CNyN-UNAM)

Nanotoxicology, effect of nanoparticles and nanostructured materials on microbial physiology, bionanotechnology.

Asunción Lago Lestón

Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)

Metagenomes and metatranscriptomes of microorganisms in extreme environments for biomedical technologies. Characterization of metagenomes of organisms of deep water and sediments of the Gulf of Mexico.

M. del Pilar Sánchez Saavedra

Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)

Extreme environmental factors on the physiology of aquatic organisms (algae and mollusks) and effects on their exostructures / exoskeletons.

Monica Tentori

Centro de Investigación Científica y de Educación Superior de Ensenada (CICESE)

Human-computer interaction, ubiquitous and pervasive computing, assistive and educational technologies, computer-supported cooperative work and medical informatics.

Roberto Vázquez Meza

Instituto de Astronomía – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Effects of extreme environments (temperature, pressure, pH, radiation) on pollen, fungi, and other microorganisms.