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Research Centers

Center for Energy Research

The Center for Energy Research creates solutions to society’s growing energy supply challenges and utilization by fostering interdisciplinary research in fusion, renewables, etc.

Center for Extreme Events Engineering 

The mission of the Center for Extreme Events Engineering is to protect the nation’s built infrastructure; perform extreme event mitigation and recovery and protect the body’s systems from injury. The center is housed in the Department of Structural Engineering.

Center for Wearable Sensors

UC San Diego is a world leader in developing ultralow-power, unobtrusive, highly adaptive wearable sensor systems that drastically reduce energy consumption while revolutionizing health, fitness and security. In addition, the center develops and improves technologies that are critical for deeply cutting energy and carbon footprints in many areas of industry and society.

Sustainable Power and Energy Center

UC San Diego battery researchers, solar cell researchers, materials scientists and industry partners are developing higher performance and lower cost technology for energy generation, storage and conversion.

Labs, Projects, Programs and Collaborations


ALERTWildfire is a network of high-definition cameras in fire-prone regions, built by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Nevada-Reno and the University of Oregon. The network has become a vital firefighting tool helping first responders confirm and monitor wildfires from ignition through containment.

Applied Ocean Sciences

Applied Ocean Science focuses on applying advanced technology to ocean research, exploration and observation. It emphasizes the resolution of critical scientific issues through novel technical development. Research areas include marine acoustics, optics, electromagnetics, geophysics, marine ecology, sediment transport, coastal processes, physical oceanography and air-sea interaction. AOS is an interdisciplinary program between the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

C3 Lab: Decarbonizing Datacenters

The internet data centers that power more and more aspects of our lives are responsible for a large and rapidly increasing share of US carbon emissions. The integrated research vision of the C3-Lab is to develop a foundation for technological innovations encompassing hardware, software, algorithms and curricula to enable a realistic, achievable path to a zero-carbon cloud infrastructure.

Deep Decarbonization Initiative

The mission of the UC San Diego Deep Decarbonization Initiative is to help understand and guide the global economy as it moves toward net-zero carbon emissions. The aim is to understand how policymakers and investors shift from existing to new energy systems in the real world and the pace at which such transitions occur. It also explores how such shifts could be accelerated so that global carbon emissions tumble even as energy systems meet the needs of humanity.

Lagrangian Drifter Lab

The Lagrangian Drifter Laboratory (LDL) provides a critical service to the oceanographic community by innovating new drifter designs and sensors as demanded/needed by science applications and evolving observing system requirements. Implementing new drifter varieties is more than simply the construction and launch of new instruments. The LDL evaluates each sensor's motion physics, performance and stability and performs a cross-sensor evaluation to allow new drifters to contribute consistent data to the global drifter data set.

Multiscale Ocean Dynamics (MOD)

Multiscale Ocean Dynamics (MOD) is a specialized team of oceanographers, engineers and graduate students solving vexing problems in ocean physics and biology. They develop, build and deploy novel scientific instrumentation to observe the ocean in new ways. This diverse team collectively spends several months a year at sea making fresh discoveries across the world's oceans.


The Smartfin project is a community science initiative focused on collecting coastal water quality data and communicating critical ocean health issues. To collect data, surfers and other water sports enthusiasts use the cellular-enabled ocean sensor package integrated into high-performance fins developed by Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers.

Featured Researchers and Professors

Dinesh Bharadia

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Faculty Member, Center for Wireless Communications

Reducing the energy footprint of technology is critical for deep decarbonization. Bharadia builds wireless technologies that are low cost and operate at super low power levels -- low enough power that they could last for years on a small battery. His work has led to the development of ultralow-power Wi-Fi radios, "smart surfaces" that can boost Wi-Fi connectivity in the home or office and indoor tracking systems for autonomous robots.

Drew Lucas

Assistant Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Drew Lucas works with engineers and technicians in the Multiscale Ocean Dynamics group to design and build in situ platforms that gather physical and biogeochemical observations of high spatial and temporal resolution. These data allow for quantitative assessment of budgets of physical dynamics (energy, heat, buoyancy fluxes and turbulent dissipation rates) and biogeochemically relevant processes (nutrient and carbon fluxes, transport and mixing). In addition, he aims to study upper ocean physical dynamics and air-sea interactions and elucidate the imprint of the physical nature of the sea on primary producers at the temporal and spatial scales relevant to the organisms.

Sonia Martinez

Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Co-Principal Investigator DER-Connect

Sonia Martinez and her research team develop distributed control systems for integrating different kinds of energy sources into power grids. This work is necessary for moving to power grids run on renewable energy sources.

Patrick Mercier

Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Associate Director, Center for Wearable Sensors; Faculty Member, Center for Wireless Communications

Increasing the energy efficiency of technology is critical for cutting carbon emissions. Mercier creates ultralow power, miniaturized integrated circuits for sensors, wearables and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. His work focuses on boosting the energy efficiencies of individual parts of an integrated circuit to reduce the system's power requirement. The goal is to build systems that could significantly reduce or eliminate the need to replace or constantly recharge batteries in small electronic devices.

Jon Pokorksi

Professor, NanoEngineering; Founding Faculty Member of the Institute for Materials Discovery and Design

Jon Pokorski is leading a project to develop a biodegradable plastic filled with bacterial spores that can be activated to break down the material at the end of its life cycle.

Yuanyuan Shi

Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; Center for Machine Intelligence, Computing and Security; Center for Energy Research

Yuanyuan Shi's work includes creating intelligent systems, emphasizing principled learning and control algorithms for sustainable energy and power systems and autonomous systems.

George R. Tynan

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Deep Decarbonization Initiative

George Tynan's current research focuses on the plasma physics of controlled nuclear fusion as an energy source. He is also interested in the more significant issue of transitioning to a sustainable energy economy based upon a mixture of efficient end-use technologies, large-scale deployment of renewable energy sources, and incorporation of a new generation of nuclear technologies such as advanced fission and fusion reactor systems.


Academic Degree Programs


Undergraduate Minor

Featured Courses

MAE 148. Introduction to Autonomous Vehicles

Fundamentals of autonomous vehicles. Working in small teams, students will develop 1/8-scale autonomous cars that must perform on a simulated city track. Topics include robotics system integration, computer vision, algorithms for navigation, on-vehicle vs. off-vehicle computation, computer learning systems such as neural networks, locomotion systems, vehicle steering, dead reckoning, odometry, sensor fusion, GPS autopilot limitations, wiring, and power distribution and management.

MAE 121. Air Pollution Transport and Dispersion Modeling

Overview of air pollution and wastes and their impact. Characteristics of air pollutants. Air pollution transport. Atmospheric stability. Plume rise and dispersion. Meteorological data. Selecting the appropriate air quality model and case studies. Modeling complex terrain situations. Current air quality modeling issues. Laws and regulations to control air pollution.