Graduate Programs

For graduate students, the department offers M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.

Graduate students participate in all aspects of the department through the ChEMS Graduate Student Association, which fields representatives for bi-weekly faculty meetings and plays an active role in the faculty hiring process.  The ChEMS GSA is also a forum for organizing social events and mixers for the faculty and students.

Scholarship in the department is focused around the application of chemical engineering and materials science to five primary application domains:  biotechnology, energy, environment, microstructured materials, and nanotechnology.  The department has 31 affiliated research active faculty, 16 with primary appointments in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and 15 with primary appointments in other units on campus.

For general information about graduate programs in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, please visit the Graduate Student Affairs website.

Iris Fu (NSF Graduate Research Felllow, 2012) is working on elucidating detailed molecular-level mechanisms by which peptide-based conjugates are self-assembled into nanostructures as hydrogel for tissue engineering or encapsulating nanoparticles for gene delivery via molecular dynamics simulations

Advisor:  Prof. Hung Nguyen

Julius Edson (NSF Graduate Research Felllow, 2013) is working on the synthesis and characterization of natural materials that can be used as antimicrobial materials. These materials can also be used as non-viral vectors for applications in gene therapy

Advisor:  Prof. Young Jik Kwon


Dominique Ingato (NSF Graduate Research Felllow, 2013) is working on developing safe and efficient non-viral gene delivery vehicles. She focuses on nanotheranostics – the integration of diagnostic and therapeutic function in one system using nanotechnology

Advisor:  Prof. Young Jik Kwon

Nicole Ing (NSF Graduate Research Felllow, 2013) is studing bacterial communities that control the flow of electricity through nanoscale protein-based wires. These bacteria and their conductive appendages are key to understanding the role microbes in geochemical cycles and are promising as active materials in hybrid bio-inorganic renewable energy technologies, from fuel cells to solar power.

AdvisorProf. Allon Hochbaum

Quynh Vo (NSF Graduate Research Felllow, 2014) is working in the labs of Prof. Hung Nguyen and Prof. Mikael Nilsson. Vo’s research uses molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with experimental work to clarify the processes involved in solvent extraction systems. This could improve extraction efficiency of radioactive materials from spent nuclear fuel.

AdvisorsProf. Hung NguyenProf. Mikael Nilsson


Adrian Garcia (NSF Graduate Research Felllow, 2014) is working with Prof. Regina Ragan on the control of graphene layers through metal alloys onto interesting substrates. This is an integral component of the next generation of high-energy density super-capacitors, carbon micro-electromechanical devices, and graphene applications in general.

Advisor: Prof. Regina Ragan