University of California, Riverside

Materials Science and Engineering



Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is concerned with the creation of materials with novel properties and their use in a variety of fields ranging from ultra-fast computer chips and high-efficiency solar cells to high-powered jets, and even beauty products. Today, engineering innovations are increasingly dependent on breakthroughs in materials at the micro- and nanometer scale. Students in MSE acquire a solid background in the basic sciences and in the engineering of materials, with hands-on laboratory experience in nano-scale materials characterization and processing. This program prepares graduates for a variety of careers in fields such as nanotechnology, electronics, computing, the biomedical, automotive and aerospace industries, as well as government agencies and research laboratories.

Multiple fellowships are available for new MSE graduate student applicants!

 MSE News


More Than $1 Million in Grants for

Computational Chemistry and Materials Science

The research will improve understanding of catalysis and develop new photodetection technologies

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Bryan Wong



Graduate Research Mentoring Program and Dissertation Year Program Awards 2018-2019

GRMP Award Winner: Pranee Pairs

The Graduate Research Mentoring Program (GRMP) award is intended to enhance the mentoring of domestic PhD students
entering their 3rd, 4th, or 5th years of graduate school who are actively engaged in research.



Dyp Award Winner: Ece Aytan

The Dissertation Year Program (DYP) Award is intended for MFA or PhD students who expect to complete their degree
program the year in which the award is received.




Prototype Shows How Tiny Photodetectors Can Double Their Efficiency

Nathan Gabor received his Ph.D. from Cornell University under Paul McEuen, where he studied the ultrafast electronic properties of carbon nanotubes. Following his Ph.D. he moved to MIT to became a postdoc working with Pablo Jarillo-Herrero. During his time at MIT, Nathan published research on how 'hot' electrons move in graphene and their applications to efficient solar energy harvesting. In 2013 he became an assistant professor at UC Riverside, where he heads the Quantum Materials Optoelectronics Lab and mentors six graduate students, including the two co-first authors of the Nature Nanotechnology paper. Since joining UCR, he has been an active member of the Spins and Heat in Nanoscale Electronic Systems Center and has won several research awards, including an NSF CAREER Award and appointment as a 2017 CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar.

 Nathan Gabor




2017-2018 Graduate Research and Dissertation Year Fellows

The MSE program is proud the Academic Year 2017-18 Graduate Research and Dissertation Year Fellows. They have been selected by UCR's Graduate Council for demonstrated excellence in research and engagement. They are (left to right) Cindy S. Merida, Xiaojing Wang, Melina Fuentes-Garcia, Steven Herrera & Fabian Villalobos.



Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles

UCR Professors, Cengiz Ozkan and Mihri Ozkan, are turning glass bottles into high performance lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and personal electronics

Ozkan lab

For full details you can read the full story here:



A Wolverine Inspired Material:

MSE professors Prof. Chao Wang and Prof. Bryan M. Wong create a self-healing, transparent, highly stretchable material that can be electrically activated and used to improve batteries, electronic devices, and robots

 B. WongRobots

For full details, see:



Professor Yadong Yin receives 2016 NML Researcher Award


Professor Yadong Yin was chosen as one of the recipients of the NML Researcher Award 2016 by the journal of Nano-Micro Letters in partnership with the Nature Research Society.  The NML Researcher Award is established to recognize research excellence in the field of nano and micro science, with special consideration to those who have continuously made outstanding contributions to the development of science in last three years.  Details about this award are available here:



MSE Faculty Member Dr. Reza Abbaschian received highest honor as AIME  Honorary Member


Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Dr. Reza Abbaschian has been selected by The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) and approval by The American Institute of Mining, Matallurgical & Petroleum Engineers (AIME) Board as an Honorary Member. The AIME Honorary Membership is one of the highest honors that the Institute can bestow on an individual. It is awarded in appreciation of outstanding service to the Institute or in recognition of distinguished scientific or engineering achievement in the fields embracing the activities of AIME and its Member Societies.

Dr. Abbaschian’s citation for “Pioneering contributions in solidification processing, materials education, and leadership in materials science and engineering worldwide” is what captured the attention of the AIME to bestow such an honorable award. He will be presented with this honor along with a ceremonial medallion, shadow box, and pin at the TMS’s awards reception and dinner.


Integrated Trio of 2D Nanomaterials Unlocks Graphene Electronics Applications


Alexander Balandin (left) and Guanxiong Liu fabricated the voltage-controlled oscillator device in a cleanroom at the UCR's Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE).

MSE Professor Alexander Balandin and research group have published a widely covered paper in Nature Nanotechnology "titled “An integrated Tantalum Sulfide—Boron Nitride—Graphene Oscillator: A Charge-Density-Wave Device Operating at Room Temperature,” the paper describes the development of the first useful device that exploits the potential of charge-density waves to modulate an electrical current through a 2D material. The new technology could become an ultralow power alternative to conventional silicon-based devices, which are used in thousands of applications from computers to clocks to radios."

For full details you can read the full story here: 

Student Spotlight

MSE Ph.D. Student, Thomas Dugger, was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship


Project title: Uncovering the Secrets of Spider Silk Spinning  

Thomas Dugger, a second year MSE Ph.D. student in the Kisailus Biomimetics and Nanostructured Materials Lab, is investigating how spiders’ make their silk. Specifically, he is studying the factors which control the assembly of crystalline domains within the silk proteins. Revealing the mechanisms responsible for bio-manufactured silk will be used to develop new polymer fiber manufacturing processes and even design biomimetic polymer fibers. These biomimetic fibers will be utilized in strong fiber-reinforced composites for aircraft or automobile frames, armor and sports equipment.

student image

MSE Ph.D. Student, Melina Fuentes-Garcia, was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Project Title: Precision spectroscopy of positronium 1S-2S interval as a stringent test of QED

Melina is a second year MSE Ph.D. student working in professor Allen Mills’ positronium lab. Her research includes aspects of atomic, molecular, optical, and condensed matter physics. Positronium is a hydrogen-like atom composed of an electron and its antiparticle, the positron. Melina’s studies include making a precise measurement of the positronium 1S-2S energy interval to shed light on the proton radius puzzle – the name given to the apparent disparity in the size of the proton measured using 1S-2S spectroscopy of hydrogen and muonic hydrogen. These experiments will also provide a precision test of bound-state quantum electrodynamics theory, fundamental to our understanding of modern physics.



MSE Graduate Student, Sarah Allec, wins


Sarah Allec


Funded by the NASA MUREP Institutions Research Opportunity (MIRO) program and partnering with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the FIELDS Graduate Student Fellowship funds graduate students, particularly underrepresented minorities, performing data intensive research. Graduate fellows receive financial support for up to two years, as well as opportunities to collaborate with a JPL science staff member.

            Sarah Allec, a second-year graduate student in the MSE PhD program under Dr. Bryan Wong, works on quantum dynamics calculations of the electronic properties of massive light-harvesting systems. During her first year, she applied large-scale quantum calculations to predict the properties of phosphorene nanotubes and porphyrin nanotubes. Her work on the latter system resulted in a first-author publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

 Moving forward, Sarah hopes to focus on improving current computational models for the study of larger, more complex systems. Her project to be funded by the FIELDS fellowship is on the development of a multiscale computational model for lightweight multifunctional materials. This model will accelerate the guided synthesis and implementation of carbon nanotubes and graphene for such materials via high-throughput screening and machine learning techniques.

Sarah was also one of 10 recipients awarded the Eli Lilly/WCC Travel Award by the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS). This award provided funding for her to travel to and present her research at the 253rd ACS National Meeting in San Francisco during April 2017.


MSE Graduate Student, Nicholas Yaraghi, wins big at the Battle of the Labs by Battery Powered


Battery Powered, is a philanthropic group/giving program and subset of The Battery, a social club based in San Francisco. Battery Powered holds quarterly themes, which focus on local and global issues for members to learn about and eventually fund. The theme for Spring 2016 was "Resource Revolution," focusing on the question "What will it take to accelerate a resource revolution in California's food, water, and energy systems?" 

Dr. David Kisailus was invited to participate in the "Battle of the Labs" along with six other top university laboratories in California to present their research related to this theme. Nicholas Yaraghi gave a talk on behalf of Dr. Kisailus titled "From Nature to Engineering, and Back!" discussing lightweight bio-inspired composite materials for fuel-efficient vehicles. After a final vote at the end of the night  Nicholas Yaraghi's presentation was the chosen finalist  the theme. The UC Riverside Biomimetics and Nanostructured Materials Lab has now been invited to join the Resource Revolution finalist organizations, each of which is eligible for Battery Powered funding of up to $300,000.

For full details you can read the full story here:

More information on the organization and theme can be found here:


Fall 2017 New Graduate Student Cohort

MSE Welcomes Our New Graduate Students!

First year 2017

MSE Faculty and Students for 2017 

Current MSE Faculty and Students 

MSE Cohort1 2017 All

News Highlights 

US & New World Report ranks UCR's MSE Program in Top 50 Best Materials Engineering Graduate Programs!


Every year, US News & World Report publishes its annual ranking of the best graduate schools and programs.  For the materials engineering programs, what are the changes between the 2016 and 2017 rankings? MSE Supplies ( has compiled the ranking data and found some interesting movement of ranking spots of some schools.  

Ozkans’ Two Papers Are in The TOP 100!


Nature-Scientific Reports published almost 11,000 papers in 2015,

and two of Ozkans’ published papers are positioned in the top 100

most highly read articles. Nature-Scientific Reports executive director,

Suzanne Farley, and editorial manager, Richard White called Ozkans’

papers as “extraordinary achievements – your science is a credit to you,

 and of real value to the research community.”

The titles of their two articles are: “Towards Scalable Binderless Electrodes:

Carbon Coated Silicon Nanofiber Paper via Mg Reduction of Electrospun SiO2”,

and “Bio-Derived, Binderless, Hierarchically Porous Carbon Anodes for Li-ion Batteries”.

Congratulations to all authors:  Brennan Campbell, Zachary Favors, Robert Ionescu,

Hamed Bay, Zafer Mutlu, Kazi Ahmed, Rachel Ye, Cengiz S. Ozkan and Mihri Ozkan.

Authors received the official top 100 badge for each article from the publisher.


Prof. Mihri Ozkan:Faculty Action Climate Champion 2015-2016


Prof. Mihri Ozkan is recognized for her outstanding educational research in the field of sustainability. 


Pressure Cooking to Improve Electric Car Batteries

By creating nanoparticles with controlled shape, engineers believe smaller, more powerful and energy efficient batteries can be built.  

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering have redesigned the component materials of the battery in an environmentally friendly way to solve some of these problems. By creating nanoparticles with a controlled shape, they believe smaller, more powerful and energy efficient batteries can be built. By modifying the size and shape of battery components, they aim to reduce charge times as well.

“This is a critical, fundamental step in improving the efficiency of these batteries,” said David Kisailus, an associate professor of Materials Science and Engineering and lead researcher on the project.  Link to UCR News


The annual rankings by Leiden University in the Netherlands ranked UC Riverside's programs in engineering and natural sciences 10th in the world, ahead of institutions such as Princeton, Yale, and Caltech. The Leiden rankings objectively measure scientific impact based on research citations and collaboration worldwide.Link to UCR News


Professor Co-edits Book on Graphene

Alexander Balandin co-edits and co-authors a chapter in the book about the novel synthetic material

A University of California, Riverside professor of Materials Science and Engineering has co-edited a book about innovative technologies using graphene.

Alexander A. Balandin, who is also the founding chair of the materials science and engineering program at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering, co-edited the book “Innovative Graphene Technologies: Evaluation and Applications, Volume 2,” with Atul Tiwari, a research faculty member at the University of Hawaii. It was published bySmithers Rapra Publishing.

Balandin has also contributed a chapter on thermal properties and applications of graphene, which was co-authored with Denis Nika, an associate professor and chair of the physics department in Moldova State University. The unique heat conduction properties of graphene were discovered at UCR. This year, professor Balandin will receive the MRS Medal for his experimental and theoretical work on thermal properties of graphene. Link to UCR News Release


Dean Reza Abbaschian Honored at Materials Science and Technology Conference
Link to UCR News Release

Five UC Riverside researchers are part of $40 million project to develop materials and structures to enable more energy efficient computers and cell phones


News Archive

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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Bourns College of Engineering
313 Materials Science & Engineering Building

Tel: (951) 827-3383
Fax: (951) 827-3188x

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