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Sayantani Ghosh, PI  


A condensed-matter physicist with a focus on hybrid “smart” devices for sensing and energy. She is part of the leadership of two research and educational centers at UC Merced: NASA-funded Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES) and NSF-funded Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM)


Thomas Harmon  

Environmental Systems

An environmental engineer with experience in measuring and modeling chemical fate and transport in environmental media, including the design, fabrication, packaging, and deployment of microsensors in environmental research. He is the lead investigator for a UC Multicampus Research Initiative program on Labor and Automation in California Agriculture.


Mehmet Baykara  

Mechanical Engineering

An expert in nanoscale mechanics and metrology, focusing on two-dimensional materials and atomic force microscopy, and part of the MACES leadership team.    


Michael Scheibner  


A condensed-matter physicist whose research interests broadly encompass nanostructured materials, focusing on the control, scalability, and technological applications of interactions between quantum systems.    


Ryan Baxter  

Chemistry and Biochemistry

A physical organic chemist with a focus on studying single-electron transfers in organic systems. STEM outreach specialist for promoting scientific communication in K-12 students. Current Chair of the department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Member of the NASA-funded Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES) and NSF-funded Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM) research centers at UC Merced.    


Teamrat Ghezzehei  

Environmental Systems

Soil and environmental physicist with expertise in measuring and modeling water, gas, and heat fluxes in soil and their role in the soil environment’s habitability for plant roots and microbes. He is the co-chair of the International Soil Modeling Consortium.    


David Strubbe  


A computational condensed-matter physicist, studying atomic-scale structures, vibrations, and interactions with light in photovoltaic and 2D materials. He is part of the leadership teams of MACES and a minority-serving institution (MSI) collaboration with LLNL.


Marc Beutel  

Environmental Systems

Dr. Beutel is a professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at UC Merced. His research focuses on sustainable control of dilute pollutants in managed surface waters including nutrients, pesticides, pathogens, and mercury, with a focus on redox-mediated transformations in the environment. His research interests include: reservoir oxygen addition to repress internal loading of nutrients and metals; enhanced nitrogen removal in constructed treatment wetlands; use of tree bark as a biomonitor of atmospheric mercury contamination; co-digestion for sustainable management of organic solid waste; and assessing the presence of cigarette-related pollutants in the environment. He has published over 50 research papers on a range of environmental pollution topics. He also teaches undergraduate courses in biological wastewater treatment and water quality monitoring and a graduate course in natural treatment systems.


Peggy O'Day  

Environmental Systems

An environmental geochemist who studies the chemistry, reaction, and transport of inorganic contaminants and species in surface and subsurface environments. She uses a variety of approaches, including laboratory and field studies, synchrotron X-ray techniques, and geochemical modeling, to understand element speciation and molecular-scale mechanisms of environmental and biogeochemical reactions. She teaches courses in environmental chemistry, geochemistry, and analytical and instrumental methods.    


Tao Ye  

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Ye and his lab members use biophysical and surface science techniques to understand how biomolecules interact with the surfaces of materials. They also use this knowledge to engineer biosensors and biomaterials with novel properties.


Jennifer Lu  

Materials and Biomaterials Science and Engineering

Dr. Lu’s lab focuses on creating new material platforms that integrate submolecular entities with complementary properties. The potential applications include energy storage and conversion, sensing, low-energy driven soft robotics, and novel membrane filtration systems. She currently serves as a Center Director for NASA-funded Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES).


Son Nguyen  

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Nguyen is a physical chemist with a focus on nanomaterials and their working mechanism for catalysis.


Asmeret Asefaw Berhe   

Environmental Systems

A soil biogeochemist, using field, wet-chemistry, and spectroscopic tools to study the cycling of essential elements in the soil system. She is the former Interim Associate Dean for the Graduate Division and formerly a part of the leadership team of the NSF-funded ADVANCEGeo project at UC Merced.

Please note: Dr. Berhe is currently away from UC Merced's campus serving as the Director of the Office of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy, the position for which she was nominated by President Biden. Congratulations on this impactful position!


Samuel Traina  

Environmental Systems

Dr. Traina is a founding faculty member, emeritus vice chancellor for research, and professor of life and environmental sciences, as well as professor of civil and environmental engineering. Dr. Traina uses a wide range of analytical methods (including infra-red spectroscopy, electron microscopy, x-ray absorption spectroscopy, XPS and mass spectroscopy). Such methods are used to study (1) chemical transformations of pollutants in soils, surface and ground water, (2) linkages between chemical form or speciation of particular pollutants and their relative toxicities in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, (3) roles of geoparticle surfaces and bacteria in pollutant fate, (4) crystal chemistry and structure of naturally occurring nanoparticles in soil. Currently, he is studying the use of engineered MnOx nanoparticles to remediate Hg-contaminated soils and sediments.

Please note: Dr. Traina retired over the 2022 summer. Congratulations on your retirement!