University of California, Riverside

Department of Mechanical Engineering

News 2013-2014

2013-2014 News
2012-2013 News
2010-2011 News
2009-2010 News
2008-2009 News


Silly Putty Material Inspires Better Batteriesozkan lab

Engineers use silicon dioxide to make lithium-ion batteries that last three times longer between charges compared to current standard.

Please see the UCR news story here.



elisa franco
Assistant Professor, Elisa Franco and Colleagues make the cover of Nature Chemistry

Assistant Professor, Elisa Franco, is among a group of researchers that have made important discoveries regarding the behavior of a synthetic molecular oscillator, which could serve as a timekeeping device to control artificial cells.

For more information, please see the published paper at Nature Chemistry and see the cover.



ME Graduate Student, Omid Khandan, Wins Audience Choice Poster at ASME NEMB 2014 Conferenceomid khandan

The poster detailed results from ongoing studies focused on developing heterogeneous integration techniques for titanium-based microfluidic devices via anodic bonding of titanium and glass substrates.  Omid's advisor is Assistant Professor, Masaru P. Rao.

Poster & author details: "Wafer-scale titanium anodic bonding for microfludic applications"
O. Khandan, DT. Stark, A. Chang, and MP. Rao. 2014 ASME 3rd Global Congress on Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB 2014), San Francisco, CA, Feb. 2-5, 2014.

ASME News Link


 CICESE Award for Prof. Aguilar and Garay

Through the support of AFOSR via the Centro de Investigacion Cientifica y de Educacion gandjSuperior de Ensenada (CICESE) a subcontract was granted in the amount of $24K to support a project entitled: “Laser-induced patterning of transparent ceramics and metallic thin films for photonic and sensing applications” to Profs. Aguilar (PI) and Garay (co-PI). The aim was to continue ongoing studies to further understand the mechanisms by which femtosecond lasers pulses (200 fs) of ~5 nJ/pulse at 54MHz were sufficient to write waveguides on diverse YSZ samples. This subcontract entailed the elaboration of a thermal model to simulate the temperature evolution at the surface and within the YSZ samples under laser radiation. This model served to show that it is not a thermal mechanism but rather a photon-electron interaction that is responsible for the remarkably low energy needed for writing.


Prof. Franco Receives $411K Grant from the Department of Energyelisa franco

This three-year grant is for "Programmable Dynamic Self-Assembly of DNA Nanostructures"




Prof. Princevac receives a gift and a contract from Solar Turbinesprincevac

The gift and contract is for research related to improved turbine blade cooling.



Omid Khandan wins best poster award at ASME IMECEposter omid khandan

Omid received a best poster award, November 19, 2013, in the Micro and Nanotechnology Society-Wide Forum, 2013 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE 2013), San Diego, CA, Nov. 15-21, 2013. Poster details: Characterization of fenestrated titanium microneedles for passive ocular drug delivery. Omid is advised by Assistant Professor Masaru P. Rao.

 ASME News Link:


Carlos Castro, Thomas Lopez and Shannon Gott Receive the 2013 Tsai Awardtsai 2013

Lung-Wen Tsai, was a professor of mechanical engineering, who died at his home in Riverside in November 2004. Tsai's research interests were in robotics, mechanisms and machine theory, design methodology, automotive engineering and microelectromechanical systems. The Tsai Memorial Award was established in his honor to support graduate students in mechanical engineering who make important contributions to their work using mechanical engineering design principles.


Natalie Berner Wins the Roberta Nichols Yakel Award - 2013yakel award 2013

The Roberta Nichols Yakel Scholarship Fund was established in 2004 by Dr. Roberta Nichols Yakel, who was the first woman to be elected as a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the Society of Women Engineers, and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dr. Nichols-Yakel passed away in April 2005 at the age of 73. It was Dr. Nichols-Yakel wish to establish this fund to provide scholarship assistance for undergraduate students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCR, who are interested in pursuing a career in mechanical/automotive engineering. Every year the department chair and the undergraduate committee nominate a distinguished student who meets this criteria, and a personal plaque and a $500 gift are awarded.


Claire Tran Wins 1st Prize at a National Nanotechnology Competition at Notre Dame

Claire won a $3000 prize, on top of the $500 initiation grand she received in July. Claire is advised by Assistant Professor Elisa Franco (ME).Elisa Franco

 One of the current frontiers of biology is the creation of novel functions using molecular parts as if they were components of electrical or mechanical systems. This project focuses on building a molecular bistable circuit in vitro using synthetic RNA species. Bistable circuits are a fundamental component in electronic systems as well as in biological networks. Bistability is often observed in natural biological pathways, particularly in signal transduction and developmental networks. Artificial, simplified alternatives to natural bistable circuits may yield in the future tools to improve our ability to control signaling and development in cells.


UCR Researchers Develop "Windows to the Brain"

A team of UCR researchers, led by Prof. Guillermo Aguilar, have recently reported the development of novel, ceramic-based transparent cranial implants in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Medicine, and Biology, a leading journal in the field of nanomedicine. By providing a permanent window through which doctors can perform laser-based procedures, the team envisions potential for their implants to open new treatment options for patients with life-threatening neurological disorders, such as brain cancer and traumatic brain injury.

Windows to the Brain team members, from left to right: Prof. Javier WindowsGaray (ME & MSE), Dr. Yasuhiro Kodera (ME), Ms. Carissa Reynolds (BIEN), Ms. Yasaman Damestani (BIEN), Prof. Guillermo Aguilar (ME), Prof. Masaru Rao (ME & MSE), and Prof. Hyle Park (BIEN). Not shown: Prof. Devin Binder (SoM), Ms. Jenny Szu (SoM), and Mr. Mike Hsu (SoM). Photo credit: Sean Nealon, UCR Media Relations.

Link to abstract on Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine website.

Link to proofs of paper.

Link to UCR Today Article: 

Link to The Press-Enterprise (PE) Article and Video:

 Link to The LA Times Article:,0,6788242.story


 Professor Venkatram Part of $360,000 Air Resources Board Research Project

The California Air Resources Board has awarded UCLA and UCR a $360,000 grant for the Venkatramresearch project “Identifying Urban Designs and Traffic Management Strategies for Southern California that Reduce Air Pollution Exposure.” Akula Venkatram of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UCR is one of three co-principal investigators. The project, which includes field studies and modeling, seeks to understand the factors that govern exposure to pollutants emitted by vehicles traveling on urban roads.   Dr. Venkatram and his students are responsible for developing a dispersion model that can be used by urban and transportation planners to develop strategies to mitigate exposure to roadway emissions. The strategies include traffic management to reduce emissions and design of streets and buildings to reduce exposure to emissions.  


Professor Elisa Franco is awarded a $350,000 grant from The National Science Foundation to fund research on robust artificial clocks made with molecules


The project, titled "Design and Synthesis of Robust and Tunable Nucleic Acid-Based Oscillators for Bionanotechnology", is a combination of computational and experimental efforts to generate tunable molecular clocks made with nucleic acids and proteins. These oscillators will potentially operate as timing devices for controlled large scale assembly or nanostructures, for nanofabrication, and for molecular computers.

Prof. Elisa Franco is awarded a Hellman Fellowship grads

Prof. Elisa Franco will receive a $30,000 grant to support her research project, “Development of reconfigurable nanoscale materials using nucleic acids,” which will investigate ways to create programmed materials that are able to adapt in response to stimuli much like living cells.

ME and ME-Advised Graduate Students Win National Recognitions and Awards

gradsYasaman Damestani, Bioengineering (Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Prof. Guillermo Aguilar), Shannon Gott, Mechanical Engineering (Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Prof. Masaru P. Rao), Leopold Green, Bioengineering (Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Prof. Elisa Franco), Kendrick Mensink, Mechanical Engineering (Mechanical Engineering Advisor: Prof. Guillermo Aguilar)... Full Story


ME Assistant Professor Hideaki Tsutsui featured in UCR Living the Promise
Professor Cengiz Ozkan

Dr. Hideaki Tsutsui, an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and his research on development of crop leaf biosensor are featured in UCR Living the Promise.



 UC Riverside Nanotechnologists Help Launch New National Center Devoted to MicroelectronicsProfessor Cengiz Ozkan

$28 million grant to fund “Center for Spintronic Materials, Interfaces and Novel Architectures,” aimed at supporting U.S. semiconductor industry... ME Professor Cengiz Ozkan is one of the researchers behind the New National Center devoted to Microelectronics... 

Assistant Professor Masaru P. Rao Awarded NSF CAREER AwardProfessor Masa Rao

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Masaru Rao has been awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award for his research project entitled, "Titanium (Ti) Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS): Strength & Strengthenability" 

UCR Research on Three Journal Covers

jungProf. Mihri Ozkan, Prof. Cengiz S. Ozkan, and co-workers report a new fluorescence quenching microscopy metrology technique that allows the identification of graphene layers and doped/undoped regions across a large graphene landscape by utilizing the fact that undoped regions of graphene quench fluorescence more than the doped regions through resonant energy transfer. Contrast differences in fluorescence across the graphene sheet reveal the complex ring-patterned doping. This metrology technique is well-suited for industrial, large-scale, pristine, and modified graphene sheet surface characterization. Ozkans’ and their co-workers’ related work published as cover articles in high-venue journals: SMALL, NANOSCALE and ADVANCED FUNCTIONAL MATERIALS....

SAE International Presented Eight Awards

jungSAE International presented eight engineering professors with the Ralph R. Teetor Education Award during the SAE 2012 World Congress, April 24-26, 2012, held in Detroit, Michigan. Professor Heejung Jung from the Mechanical Engineering Department, UC Riverside was one of the professors who received this award. SAE International

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