IRG1 Trainees

IRG1 - MRSEC Funded Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

Amer, Lubna

Lubna is a first-year Ph.D. student in the department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC San Diego where she is simultaneously earning an M.S. degree. Advised by Professor Jesse Jokerst, she is currently working on the development of photoacoustic-fluorescent imaging probes for medical applications. Lubna is also investigating alternative uses, recyclability, and colorimetric-based detection methods of fungi microorganisms. Prior to beginning her graduate program, she earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University.

Balto, Krista

Krista is second-year graduate student in the department of Chemistry at UC San Diego. She works with Professor Joshua Figueroa on the synthesis of low valent m-terphenyl isocyanide coordination networks. Her specific project focuses on the synthesis of capping reagents (designer ligands) for the mesoscale assembly of inorganic nanocrystals. As an undergraduate, she worked on the synthesis of porous molecular cages under the guidance of Dr. Eric Bloch at the University of Delaware and graduated with honors B.S. in Chemistry in 2019.

Do, Alexandria (TLAC Representative)

Alexandria is a Ph.D. student in Professor Tod Pascal’s group in the NanoEngineering department. She received her B.S in NanoEngineering from UC San Diego in 2020. Alexandria’s current work involves understanding the entropy-driven structuring of water, and predicting the self-assembly of nanoparticles.


Le, Dong 

Dong is a first-year Ph.D. student in Professor Alex Fraño’s XLab in the Department of Physics at UC San Diego. She received her B.S. in NanoEngineering with a minor in Physics from UC San Diego in 2020. Dong is studying nonequilibrium dynamics in classical systems, such as assembly dynamics of solid-state nanocrystals and of genetically modified proteins in polymer networks. As a part of the Fraño group, she learns about different X-ray characterization techniques including scattering (both elastic and inelastic) and correlation to study dynamics of various material systems at the nano- to mesoscale.

Liang, Kangkai

Kangkai is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Materials Science and Engineering program track at UC San Diego. He received his B.S in Physics at Sichuan University in 2020. He joined Prof. Shaowei Li's lab to develop scanning tunneling microscopy with the femtosecond laser. Kangkai's current research focuses on two-dimensional materials and molecular chirality.

Lin, Po-An

Po-An Lin is a third-year Ph.D. student in Professor Gaurav Arya’s lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. Po-An received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. His current research focus on combining molecular simulations with machine learning to address fundamental problems in self-assembly of nanoparticles, including inverse design problems.

Na, Yui

Yui is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Chemical Biology program track at UC San Diego. Yui received her B.S in Pharmacological Chemistry at UC San Diego in 2019. She joined Professor Akif Tezcan’s lab to learn about protein self-assembly and to develop protein-based functional materials. Her current research focuses on polymer infused protein crystals.

Sasi, Lekshmi

Lekshmi is a PhD student at the Department of Nanoengineering at UC San Diego. Her undergraduate degree was in Biomedical Engineering from Anna University, India. After that she did her master's degree in Chemical Engineering from California State University - Long Beach. There she developed microfluidic devices for bioengineering and chemical engineering research applications, for which she was awarded the 'dean's list of scholar's and artist' award from the university. At Jokerst lab, she is working on creating microfluidic devices for imaging nanoparticles and supporting development of biophantoms.

Stark, Gabriella

Gabriella started as an Ph.D Student in the UC San Diego Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, with a concentration in inorganic chemistry. She received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where her undergraduate research focused on folding-based DNA biosensors. Prior to joining UC San Diego, Gabriella worked in the Drug Delivery Division at 3M. She was a participant and then a mentor in the UC San Diego MRSEC RIMSE summer school on silicon nanotechnology (SSSiN) in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Her thesis interests focus on loading and delivery of nucleic acid-based therapeutics using porous silicon nanoparticles.

Wang, Bin

Bin Wang received his PhD from UC Davis, where he worked with Prof Alexandra Navrotsky on the thermodynamics of halide perovskite systems. As a MRSEC postdoc fellow with Prof Andrea Tao, his current research focuses on designing/programming energy landscape for self-assembling shaped nanocrystals.

Wang, Yufei

Yufei received her BS in Chemistry at Davidson College, North Carolina. Her research focuses on synthesis and self-assembly of inorganic nanocrystals.

Yin, Hang

Hang is a Ph.D. student in Professor Alina Schimpf's lab at UC San Diego, where he works on incorporating ligands onto 2D tungsten dichalcogenide nanocrystal surfaces. Hang received his B.S. in Chemistry and in Physics from UCLA.

IRG1 - MRSEC Affiliate Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers

Basak, Rourav

Rourav is a third-year Ph.D. student in Professor Alex Fraño’s XLab in the Department of Physics at UC San Diego. Rourav is interested in order, defects, and excitations in strongly interacting systems.  Before joining UC San Diego, he earned his M.S. in Applied Physics from New York University, where he pursued such interests in Prof. L. A. Wray’s lab. Presently he is studying strongly interacting quantum systems, such as nickelates and cuprates, and strongly interacting classical systems, such as self-assembled nanoparticles in polymers and macro-molecular crystals in polymer networks. As a member of Xlab, Rourav uses various x-ray spectroscopy, microscopy, scattering (both elastic and inelastic) and correlation techniques to probe nanoscale and mesoscale systems.

Bi, Liya

Liya is a Ph.D. student of the Materials Science and Engineering Program. He currently works with Professor Shaowei Li on the statics and dynamics of single molecules on the metal surface with the Laser-Coupled STM.

Byun, Jiuk

Jiuk is an incoming PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. She is participating in the SSSiN remotely. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in chemistry. Before coming to UC San Diego, she worked as a researcher at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. Her research interests include surface chemistry, bio-inspired materials, and photonic materials for medical and environmental applications.

Buarque, Ricardo

Ricardo is a Materials Science and Engineering PhD student in Prof. Pascal's lab at UC San Diego. His research focuses on properties of metal-oxide frameworks (MOFs) and Li-C battery systems, and developing new Machine-Learned Molecular Dynamics forcefields for such materials and new techniques for measuring dielectric and mechanical properties at varied frequency exposures.

Callioglu, Safak

Safak is a Ph.D. student in Prof. Gaurav Arya’s lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. He received his B.S. degree in Physics and Electrical & Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University in Turkey. His current research focus on the use of computational approaches such as molecular dynamics simulations, machine learning to explore intriguing physics in the self-assembly of nanoparticles.

Chi, Han

Han is an undergraduate Chemistry major at UC San Diego (class of 2024), who was introduced to the lab as a participant in the 2022 Spring Break RIMSE research introduction program, then continued as a participant in the 2022 UCSD MRSEC RIMSE program, "Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology". She is interested in exploring applications of photonic crystals and other optical nanostructures.

Correal Lopez, Sergio

Sergio is a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering, currently working in Professor Tod Pascal's group at UC San Diego. He completed his B.S. in Chemistry in 2019 and B.S. in Physics in 2021 from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia. Sergio's research involves utilizing first-principles calculations to gain insights into excited state phenomena and reaction mechanisms, focusing on applications in energy science and catalysis.
ORCID: 0000-0002-7822-195X

Fan, Ruhan

Ruhan Fan is a PhD student in the UCSD Department of Nanoengineering (NENG) who joined the Sailor lab in March 2018. Prior to joining, she received a BS degree in Pharmacy from Zhengzhou University (ZZU), China, where she studied drug delivery systems. She has been a participant (2018) and a Senior Mentor in the Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology. Ruhan's project focus is on porous nanoparticle drug delivery systems for treatment of bacterial infections and cancer.

Fuqua, Alex

Alex Fuqua is an incoming PhD student at UC San Diego in the Nanoengineering department. He will be in Dr. Andrea Tao's group. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor's Degree in Materials Engineering June 2021. He is interested in self assembly of inorganic nanocrystals.

Grippo, Adam

Infante, Emily

Emily is an undergraduate B.S. Biochemistry major at UC San Diego. She works with ATLAS Labs on computational chemistry projects under Professor Tod Pascal. Emily is interested in the intersection of fundamental research and chemistry. When not researching, Emily dedicates time to her plants and her work as a lab assistant at the Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute.
ORCID: 0000-0003-0315-7436

Lee, Dong Ju

Dong is a Ph.D. student in Nanoengineering at UCSD and received B.S. in Chemical Engineering at UCSD. He is currently working on solid-state batteries, working under Prof. Chen, Zheng. He is interested in learning computer simulations of molecules to predict their behaviors by means of quantum mechanics.

Lu, Yi-Sheng

Yi-Sheng "Eason" Lu is a post-doc who received his PhD in the Materials Science and Engineering program at UC San Diego. He earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, where his undergraduate thesis focused on magnetic-responsive iron oxide nano-spheres for deep tumor therapy. He was a participant in the 2018 Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology (SSSiN) and served as a Senior Mentor in the 2019 - 2023 RIMSE Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology. His interests focus on remote sensing and catalysis with porous silicon photonic crystals.

McClure, Shawn

Shawn is a UC San Diego Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate and furthering his studies by pursuing his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at UC San Diego. He participated in the summer school for predictive assembly as part of the UC San Diego MRSEC RIMSE program. He uses computational chemistry to model complex supramolecular structures.
ORCID: 0000-0003-2433-7786

Monroy-Borrego, Andrea

Andrea is a Ph.D. Student in NanoEngineering, she joined the Steinmetz lab in September 2020 and obtained her B.S. in Biotechnology Engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey, México, the same year. There she collaborated in multiple projects in the Alvarez & Trujillo Lab, specializing in the use of plant viral nanoparticles for bioprinting of dermal tissue. Andrea has collaborated in projects with Rice University and KAUST. Her current research focuses on engineering plant viral nanoparticles for agricultural applications. In addition, she loves rock climbing, hiking and finding the best boba tea. She is passionate about science policy and aims at joining it with her research, as well as outreach programs.

Nivarty, Tejas

Tejas is a PhD student at UC San Diego's Nanoengineering Department, eager to apply computational methods in accelerating the discovery of better catalysts and other energy materials. Prior to UC San Diego, he worked on atomic layer deposition (ALD) to synthesize green hydrogen electrocatalysts as well as low-cost materials for the high-temperature separation of green ammonia. Tejas received his Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering with a minor in computer science from University of Minnesota followed by internships in process engineering (adhesives and medical devices) and passed the FE exam before pivoting towards an academic route.

Palmer, Jack

Jack is a PhD student in the Materials Science and Engineering in Prof. Fenning's lab. Research focus: fabrication and characterization of perovskite solar cells, materials chemistry, especially at interfaces.

Salek, Megan

Megan is an undergraduate student at UC San Diego majoring in Physics with a Specialization in Biophysics (class of 2024). She is interested in the mechanics and biomedical applications of nanotechnology, with emphasis on radiation physics. She participated in the 2022 Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology (SSSiN), one of the UC San Diego MRSEC RIMSE research immersion programs, and participates in the 2023 SSSiN as a Senior Mentor Megan's project focuses on quantum materials and the role of quantum confinement effects in porous silicon nanoparticles.

She, Yutong

Yutong is an undergraduate Chemistry major at UC San Diego (class of 2025), who was introduced to the Sailor lab as a participant in the 2022 SSSiN, and served as a mentor in 2023 SSSiN. She was supported by a prestigious Physical Sciences Dean's Undergraduate Summer Research Award to support her summer 2023 studies.  Her research focus is on photo-oxidation of porous silicon to enhance molecule capture for drug delivery and related therapeutic applications.

Shipley, Wade

Xie, Yu

Yu received his B.S. from ShanghaiTech University. He joined Professor Andrea Tao's research group in the Fall of 2019 as a graduate student in Nanoengineering. With the interest in self-assembly, he now focuses on the interfacial self-assembly of inorganic nanoparticles. He works to design the surface chemistry of nanoparticles, which affects the interaction between nanoparticles and the surrounding environment, to modulate the self-assembly patterns or even to get new materials.

Yang, Qinglin

Qinglin began her PhD studies in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at UCSD in Summer 2017. Her undergraduate research at UIUC with Professor John A. Rogers involved flexible and stretchable structures and electronic devices. She performed graduate research at Stanford with Professor Debbie G. Senesky focused on GaN-based devices that can operate in harsh environments before transferring to UC San Deigo. She began her work in the Sailor labs as a participant in the 2017 Summer School for Silicon Nanotechnology (SSSiN) and she served as a Senior Mentor in the 2018 and 2019 SSSiN. Her thesis focuses on porous silicon nanoparticles for delivery of therapeutics for bacterial infections, opthalmic diseases, and cancer.

Young, James

James is an undergraduate student at UC San Diego (class of 2025) majoring in Mathematics - Computer Science. He was first introduced to the program through the Revelle College's honors seminar and joined 2022 RIMSE Summer School on Predictive Assembly (SSPA). He returned to the 2023 RIMSE SSPA as a mentor.
ORCID: 0000-0002-7250-0966

Zhang, Zhiyin (Iris)

Iris received her B.S. in Chemistry from Zhejiang University, China, in 2018. She is a third-year graduate student in Professor Akif Tezcan’s lab at UC San Diego, and her research is focusing on protein self-assembly at interfaces.