Leadership & Administration

Michael Sailor

Director
Distinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Prof. Sailor is responsible for overseeing and ensuring success of the Center. He coordinates with the Education, Outreach, and Diversity elements of the Center, and he serves as instructor in the RIMSE Summer Schools. He holds Affiliate Appointments in UC San Diego's Bioengineering and  Nanoengineering departments, and he serves on the Executive Committee of the Materials Science and Engineering program. Professor Sailor is also co-Director of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design, which works closely with the UC San Diego MRSEC to engage the academic, industrial, and government sectors in support of materials research.

Andrea Tao

IRG 1: Predictive Assembly
Professor & Vice Chair of Education, Nanoengineering

Prof. Tao is the scientific co-lead for IRG1, and serves as the main point of contact for the MRSEC's "Computational Design of Mesomaterials" User Facility. She is Deputy Director of the San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure, a Founding Faculty member of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design, and a member of the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center.

Jonathan Pokorski

IRG 2: Living Materials
Assoc. Professor, Nanoengineering

Prof. Pokorski is the scientific co-lead for IRG2. He is the main point of contact for the MRSEC's "Engineered Living Materials Foundry" User Facility, and he is a Founding Faculty member of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design. He also serves as instructor in the MRSEC RIMSE Summer School on Engineered Living Materials.

Nicole Steinmetz

IRG2: Living Materials
Professor, Nanoengineering

Prof. Steinmetz is the scientific co-lead for IRG2. She is a Founding Faculty member of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design.

Tod Pascal

IRG1: Predictive Assembly
Asst. Professor, Nanoengineering and Chemical Engineering

Prof. Pascal is the scientific co-lead for IRG1. He is an affiliate faculty in the Materials Science and Engineering program. He is a Founding Faculty member of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design, and a member of the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center. He also serves as a lead instructor in the MRSEC RIMSE Summer School on Predictive Assembly.

Shirley Meng

Shared Research Facilities/External Research Relations Co-Lead
Zable Endowed Professor, Nanoengineering

Prof. Meng has primary responsibility for directing and coordinating activities associated with the MRSEC Shared Research Facilities, including training, new instrument acquisition, and engagement with the NSF Materials Research Facilities Network. She is responsible for coordinating interactions with the external research collaborators, including the industrial, national laboratory, and international affiliate individuals and partner organizations of the center.  She is the founding Director of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design, which provides a direct link between the MRSEC Shared Research Facilities and the advanced materials characterization user community at UC San Diego. This is augmented by her role as the founding Director of the UC San Diego Sustainable Power and Energy Center.

Jesse Jokerst

Shared Research Facilities/External Research Relations Co-Lead
Professor, Nanoengineering

Prof. Jokerst is also responsible for directing and coordinating activities associated with the MRSEC Shared Research Facilities, including training, new instrument acquisition, and engagement with the NSF Materials Research Facilities Network, alongside, Prof. Meng.  Jesse Jokerst completed a B.S. cum laude at Truman State University. After a Ph.D. in Chemistry at UT Austin with John McDevitt, he completed a postdoc with Sam Gambhir in Stanford Radiology. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Nanoengineering at UC San Diego, the Jokerst group is eager to collaborate on projects broadly related to human health and nanotechnology.

Stacey Brydges

Education and Outreach
Teaching Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Prof. Brydges is the main point of contact for all Education, Outreach, and Diversity activities of the MRSEC. She is the main liaison with the Fleet Science Center's MRSEC programs; she coordinates the MRSEC REU program and the RIMSE Summer Schools.  She is also responsible for oversight of the student mentors and the high school teacher-mentors, for developing connections with K-21 (includes K-12, post-secondary, and graduate) community, dissemination of collaborative learning strategies, and she coordinates with the CREATE organization in tracking of participant outcomes. Her function is augmented by her role as Vice Chair of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Climate in the Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and her position as an Adjunct Professor in the San Diego State University/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Mathematics and Science Education.

Sharon Franks

Senior Director, Research Development

Dr. Franks is the founding director of UC San Diego's Research Development (RD) group where she has contributed to the success of multi-investigator research awards totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Her role in the MRSEC is to provide ongoing guidance and support for the development of funding proposals of relevance to MRSEC research themes, inclusive of opportunities focused on research, infrastructure, education, outreach, diversity, and inclusion. She also serves as a key professional development resource for early-career MRSEC faculty, supporting their success in identifying and pursuing funding opportunities.

Janka Bond

Assistant Director

Bond is responsible for operational, programmatic, and executive-level functioning of the center: engaging with the relevant departments and academic units on campus to ensure smooth operation; coordinating trainee support; grant administration and reporting; donor relations; long-term operational planning; and establishment and maintenance of strategic academic, industrial, and government laboratory partnerships.

Tsol Lkhagvasuren

Executive Assistant

Lkhagvasuren assists MRSEC leadership with key management aspects of the Center: trainee support; event and educational program planning/logistics; support of shared facilities operations and billing; coordination of MRSEC and IRG meetings; participant, faculty, affiliate, partner, donor and industry relations support; travel planning; processing of reimbursements; website maintenance; and center communications.

Debika Datta

IRG2 Trainee Leadership Council Representative

Debika is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Professor Jon Pokorski. Her current research focuses on fabricating biosynthetic materials by integrating genetically engineered cells into polymer composites. The aim is to develop materials that respond to stimuli encoded by genetic manipulation. Prior to joining the lab, she received her Doctoral degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India. During her PhD research she developed biocompatible gelators from short self-assembling peptides for applications in drug delivery and tissue engineering. In her spare time she enjoys photography, traveling, writing and painting.

Alex Do

IRG1 Trainee Leadership Council 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.