Research & Thesis Work

UCSB Mechanical Engineering Thesis Research Areas

Affiliated UCSB Research Centers


Thesis Work

Best PhD Thesis Award

  • 2004-05: Hana El-Samad, (advisor: Mustafa Khammash), Mechanisms of noise exploitation in gene regulatory networks: Biological design principles for robustness, performance, and selective interactions with noise
  • 2005-06: Emily Parker, (advisor: Noel McDonald), Bulk Micromachined Titanium Microneedles for Minimally Invasive Drug Delivery
  • 2006-07: Vineet Birman, (advisor: Eckart Meiburg), Topics in Gravity an Turbidity Current Research
  • 2007-08: Brian Munsky, (advisor: Mustafa Khammash), The Finite State Projection for the Solution of the Master Equation and its Applications to Stochastic Gene Regulatory Networks
  • 2008-09: Brian Piorek, (advisor: Carl Meinhart), Transport Properties in Free Surface Fluidics
  • 2009-10: Per Danzl, (advisor: Jeff Moehlis), Dynamical Characterization and Feedback Control of Oscillatory Neural Systems
  • 2010-11: Brian Ferguson, (advisor: Tom Soh), Development of Novel Integrated Microfluidic Electrochemical Point-of-Care Sensors for Pathogen Detection and Continuous Drug Monitoring
  • 2011-12: Fabio Pasqualetti, (advisor: Francesco Bullo), Secure Control Systems: A Control-Theoretic Approach to Cyber-Physical Security
  • 2013-14: Seyed Mohammad Mirzadeh, (advisor: Frederic Gibou), Discretization of Poisson-Boltzmann and Poisson-Nernst-Planck Equations with Applications to Electrochemical Systems
  • 2015: Florian Doefler, (advisor: Francesco Bullo), Dynamics and Control in Power Grids and Complex Oscillator Network
  • 2016Dan Wilson, (advisor: Jeff Moehlis), Model Reduction for Treatment of Neurological Diseases and Cardiac Arrhythmias
  • 2017: Jackson Travis Del Bonis-O'Donnell, (advisor: Sumita Pennathur), DNA-Stabilized Flourescent Silver Nanoclusters: A Versatile Nanomaterial for the Specific Detection of DNA
  • 2018: Hassan Arbabi (advisor: Igor Mezic), Koopman Spectral Analysis and Study of Mixing in Incompressible Flows
  • 2019: Alexander Eden (advisor: Carl Meinhart), Investigating Electrokinetic and Electrochemical Phenomena in Confined Geometries through Multiphyscial Modeling
  • 2020: Raphael Ouillon (advisor: Eckart Meiburg), Direct Numerical Simulations of Multiphase, Stratified, Environmental Fluid Flows 
  • 2021: Fernando Temprano-Coleto (advisor: Frederic Gibou), Slip in the Presence of Surfactants: Applications to Superhydrophobic Drag Reduction

Featured Thesis Titles

Faculty Advisor: Bassam Bamieh

  • PhD, The Analysis of Distributed Spatially Periodic Systems
  • PhD, Distributed Control of Systems of Lattices
  • PhD, Investigations with Optical Tweezers: Construction, Identification, and Control

Faculty Advisor: Matthew Begley

  • MS, Peeling of a Tape Adhered to a Substrate by Uniform Cohesive Traction

Faculty Advisor: Glenn Beltz

  • MS, Cracking in thin films with stress graidnets grown on substrates
  • MS, PhD, Multi-Scale Multi-Plane Model for Stacking Fault abd Twinning Formation in BCC Iron
  • MS, Strain Fields in Self-Assembled Quantum-Dot Lattices: A Finite-Element Study
  • MS, PhD, The Mechanics of Crack Blunting at the Atomic Scale

Faculty Advisor: Ted Bennett

  • MS, Thermally Induced Refractive Index Change in Fused Silicon due to CO2 Laser Processing
  • MS, Coating Thermal Diffusivity and Effusivity Measurement Optimization Using a Regression-Based Sensitivity Approach
  • PhD, Laser Surface Modification of Silicate Glass
  • PhD, The Nondestructive Evaluation of Thermal Barrier Coatings: Measurements of Thermal Properties and Associated Defects
  • PhD, Thermophysical and Optical Investigations of CO2 Laser Beam Interaction with Silica Glass and PMMA

Faculty Advisor: Francesco Bullo

  • PhD, Distributed Decsion Making
  • PhD, Secure Control Systems: A Control-Theoretic Approach to Cyber-Physical Security
  • PhD, Stochastic Search and Surveillance Strategies for Mixed Human-Robot Teams
  • PhD, Opinion Dynamics with Bounded Confidence and Exogenous Inputs
  • PhD, Dynamics and Control in Power Grids and Complex Oscillator Networks

Faculty Advisor: Frederic Gibou

  • PhD, Simulation Tools for Three Dimenstional Fluid Flow with Electrostatic Forcing Term on Arbitrary Geometry Using Octree Grids
  • PhD, A Level Set Approach for Epitaxial Growth of Quantum Dots with a Step Edge Barrier
  • PhD, Sharp Numerical Methods for Interfacial Physics
  • PhD, Discretization of Poisson-Boltzman and Poisson-Nernst-Planck Equations with Applications to Electrochemical Systems

Faculty Advisor: Patricia Holden

  • MS, A Novel Method of Imaging Flow Tracers for an Air-Water Interface
  • MS, Effects of Hexavalent uranium and nanoparticulate TIO2 on pseudomonas Putida
  • MS, Ruthenium Red Based Staining Enhancement of Pseudomonas Aeruginesa Biofilms Examined with Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy

Faculty Advisor: Keith Kedward (Emeritus)

  • PhD, A New Composite Structure Impact Performance Assessment Program
  • PhD, Characterization of the Properties of a Stitched Hybrid Composite Laminate
  • PhD, Crack Propagation and Arrest in CFRP Materials with Strain Softening Regions
  • PhD, Nonlinear Modeling of Tubular Adhesive Scarf Joints Loaded in Tension
  • PhD, Stress Analysis and Failure Prediction for Adhesively Bonded Joints

Faculty Advisor: Paolo Luzzatto-Fegiz

  • PhD, Energy Fluxes in Natural and Artificial Arrays of Obstacles

Faculty Advisor: Noel MacDonald (Emeritus)

  • PhD, Active Suppression of Panel Flutter Using Feedback Control
  • PhD, Bulk Micromachined Titanium Microneedles for Minamally Invasive Drug Delivery
  • PhD, Bulk Titanium for MEMS Switches
  • PhD, Design, Fabrication, and Characterization of Beam- Supported Aluminum Nitride Thin Film Bulk Acoustic Resonators

Faculty Advisor: Eric Matthys

  • MS, Characterization of Mechanical Degradation effects on the drag-reducing behavior of polymer solutions
  • MS, The Applicability of Marine Algal Biopolymers as Drag-Reducing Activities
  • MS, High Temperature Effecgts on Algae Production for Biofuel: Numerical Simulation and Growth Experiments

Faculty Advisor: Robert McMeeking

  • PhD, Computational Models for the Bio-Chemo-Mechanical Behavior of Cells in Diverse Extra-Cellular Settings
  • PhD, Designing Pydramidal Lattice Structures for Energy Absorption
  • PhD, Modeling and Finite Element Simulation of Dielectric Elastomer Materials and Actuators

Faculty Advisor: Eckart Meiburg

  • PhD, Gravity Current - Submarine Structure Interaction: Hazard Analysis via High-Resolution Simulations
  • PhD, Three-Dimensional Navier-Stokes Simulations of Miscible Displacements in Hele-Shaw Cells
  • PhD, On Two-Layer Analytical Models for Gravity Currents and Internal Bores
  • PhD, Double-Diffusive Instabilities in Sediment-Laden Flows
  • PhD, Understanding Turbidity Currents Interacting with Complex Seafloor Topographies: A Depth-Resolved Numerical Investigation

Faculty Advisor: Carl Meinhart

  • PhD, Nonlinear Phenomena in Induced Charge Electroosmosis
  • PhD, Transport Properties in Free Surface Fluidics
  • PhD, Electrothermal and Buoyancy Driven Microstirring to Enhance Scalar Transport
  • PhD, Transport Processes at the Air/Liquid Interface in Microfluidic Systems

Faculty Advisor: Igor Mezic

  • PhD, Globally Optimal Trajectories for Underpowered Vehicles in Strong, Time-Varying Flow Fields
  • PhD, Encoding Information in Coarse Grain Models for Self-Assembling Systems
  • PhD,Targeted Escape in Large Oscillator Networks
  • PhD, Spectral Properties of the Koopman OPerator in the Analysis of Nonstationary Dynamical Systems
  • PhD, Analysis of Systems in Buildings using Spectral Koopman Operator Methods

Faculty Advisor: Jeff Moehlis

  • PhD, Characterizing the Edge of Chaos for Shear Flows
  • PhD, Dynamical Characterization and Feedback Control of Oscillatory Neural Systems
  • PhD, Group Decision-Making Models for Cybernetic Systems
  • PhD, Event-based Optimal Control of Neurons
  • PhD, Information Propagation on Social Networks

Faculty Advisor: Robert Odette (Emeritus)

  • MS, Determining Processing Variable Effects on Nano-Particle Distribution in Nanostructured Ferritic Alloys
  • PhD, Size Effects on Fracture Toughness for Cleavage Initiation in the Ductile to Brittle Transition
  • PhD, Study of the Structure, Composition, and Stability of Y-Ti-O nm-Scale Features in Nano-Structured Ferritic Alloys

Faculty Advisor: Brad Paden

  • MS, Chaos Experiment - Simulation of the Bouncing Ball Apparatus
  • MS, A Maglev Apparatus for Power Minimization and Control of Artificial Hearts
  • MS, Neural Oscillator Identification via Phase-Locking Behavior
  • PhD, Tracking of Periodic Trajectories in Nonlinear Plants

Faculty Advisor: Sumita Pennathur

  • MS, Field-Amplified Sample Stacking and Focusing in Nanofluidic Channels
  • MS, Nanofluidic Energy Conversion using PNC-SI Membranes
  • MS, Micro and Nanofluidic Investigation Revealing: Kinetic, Confinement, and EDL Effects of 10 to 50 Base Pair ssDNA and dsDNA
  • PhD, Transport of Nanoparticles and Reacting Biomolecules in Micro- and Nanofluidic Electrokinetic Systems

Faculty Advisor: Linda Petzold

  • PhD,  Control of Mixing in Fluid Flows and Applications to Microfluidic Mixing
  • PhD, Mutliscale Modeling and Simulation Methods: Accelerated Kinetic Monte Carlo Methods and Adaptive Stabilized Explicit Integrator
  • PhD, Multiscale Modeling and Simulation of Copper Electrodeposition
  • PhD, Identifying Learing and Performance in a Visuomotor Task
  • PhD, Numerical Scaling Studies of Kinetically-Limited Electrochemical Nucleation and Growth and the Exact-Lattice-First-Passage-Time Algorithm

Faculty Advisor: Kimberly Foster

  • PhD, Exploiting Parametic Resonance and Amplification in Microcantilever-based Mass Sensing
  • PhD, Linear and Nonlinear Sensing Techniques in a SISO MEMS Oscillator
  • PhD, Noise in Nonlinear MEMS as it Applies to Sensing
  • PhD, Microfabrication of Bio-Inspired Adhesive Systems
  • PhD, Design and Characterization of Fibrillar Adhesives

Faculty Advisor: Megan Valentine

  • MS, Design of a High Force NdFeB Based Magnetic Tweezers Device Using Iterative Finite Element Analysis with Emphasis on Portability
  • MS, Understanding the Role of Stoichiometry in the Mechanics of Self-Healing Behavior of Thiol-ene Polymer Networks

Faculty Advisor: Henry Yang

  • PhD, A Finite Element Approach to Predicting Deformation Field Parameters in Plane Strain Machining
  • PhD, Monitoring and Restabilizing Structures under External Excitations through Detection and Prediction of Changes in Structural Properties
  • PhD, Active Control of Frame Structures: A Decentralized Approach