Jonathon Schofield Receives NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Jonathon Schofield has been recognized with a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development, or NSF CAREER, Award for his research on engineering effective prosthetics for children born without fully formed limbs.

Outstanding Senior Spotlight: Angel Daniel Rodas Garcia

From playing with building blocks as a toddler to being a first-generation college student to working on a deep space habitat in the HRVIP Lab at UC Davis, Angel Daniel Rodas Garcia looks back on his engineering journey.

Outstanding Senior Spotlight: Lovleen Kaur

Aerospace science and engineering graduating senior Lovleen Kaur shoots for the stars, armed with a deep-rooted passion for spaceflight, as well as inspiration from expert professors and engineering skills she acquired as a UC Davis undergraduate.

Q&A with Aggie Space Initiative

Last month, a team of undergraduate engineering students from the University of California, Davis, pitched at the NASA Minority University Research and Education Project Innovation and Tech Transfer Idea Competition, or MITTIC. The team took second place and a prize of $10,000.

Moonshots: Inside the UC Davis Center for Spaceflight Research

Robots. Laundry. Emergency care. At the University of California, Davis, Center for Spaceflight Research, these topics and more are investigated as they relate to human spaceflight. The multidisciplinary research center is poised to become the preeminent resource for human spaceflight engineering research in the U.S.

Rowan Glenn Takes Flight with Undergraduate Research

Mechanical engineering student Rowan Glenn has been recognized for their research with the AIAA Jefferson Goblet Student Paper Award. They share how getting involved in research as an undergraduate has shaped their engineering experiences.

International Women’s Day Spotlight on UC Davis Women in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, the University of California, Davis, College of Engineering recognizes women in engineering, their journey to and in the field, and how they promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive world.

Meet some remarkable women in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and learn how they inspire inclusion in engineering.

Master's Program Opens Doors for Alum's Rocket-Focused Career

Kellen Ochi '22 cites his master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering from UC Davis as the reason he now gets to shoot rockets into space as an engineer at The Aerospace Corporation, and how an early interest in planes, trains and automobiles fueled his passion for engineering.

Engineering Alumni Part of NASA's 2023 Commercial Invention of the Year

During NASA internships, three graduates of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department at UC Davis contributed their knowledge and skills to the development of a new tool that quantifies battery failure and won the organization's 2023 Commercial Invention of the Year award.

A Second Wind

UC Davis' first wind tunnel was built in 1975 in Bainer Hall by then-new faculty member Bruce with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Today, assistant professors Camli Badrya and Christina Harvey are taking the wind tunnels to the next level.

From the Field to the Launchpad

Field hockey and aerospace engineering wouldn't seem to go hand in hand, but Shannon Lackey has managed her love for both interests seamlessly. While she finishes up her master's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering, she's also playing field hockey on UC Davis' Division I team.

Engineer Studying Bird Flight Awarded Packard Fellowship

Christina Harvey, a University of California, Davis, researcher studying how bird flight can be used to improve aircraft design, has been awarded a 2023 Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Plug-in Electric Vehicles Archive to Be Housed at UC Davis Library

During National Drive Electric Week, the University of California, Davis, today (Sept. 27) announced that it has begun to build a Plug-in Electric Vehicles Archive. It will be housed at the UC Davis Library’s Archives and Special Collections with support from the UC Davis Electric Vehicle Research Center.

Parasitic Weeds Threaten Tomato Plants on California Farms

At first glance, Orobanche ramosa looks like an interesting blossoming plant, one that could add a unique flair to flower arrangements. But it’s a parasitic weed that attaches to roots, sucks out nutrients and is threatening California’s lucrative $1.5 billion processing tomato industry.

Matter at Extremes: A Question of Scale

In a paper published last week by Physical Review Letters, Jean-Pierre Delplanque, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the dean of graduate studies at the University of California, Davis, and a team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Sandia National Laboratories, have developed a scaling law to analyze the kinetics of high-pressure, rapid solidification of metastable liquids observed in national laboratory and academic experiments over the past few decades.

Ph.D. Candidate Wins Outstanding Presentation from Society for Experimental Mechanics

Nicholas Bachus, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was awarded Outstanding Presentation in the Residual Stress Technical Division from the Society for Experimental Mechanics, or SEM, Annual Conference and Exposition, for his research paper on the Cold Expansion process as it relates to residual stress in materials.  

New Drone Research Advances Wildfire Monitoring

Typically, the primary indicator of a burgeoning wildfire in California is a plume of hazy, gray smoke wafting through the air, seen by satellites or cameras. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CalFire, is alerted, and mitigation and containment efforts ensue.

Opportunity: Combustion in Urban and Wildland Fires Assistant Professor

The Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering seeks candidates for a tenure-track Assistant Professor faculty position with expertise in research related to Combustion in Urban and Wildland Fires, e.g., fire prevention, fire extinguishment, material flammability, fire propagation, pollutant formation and transport, and modeling of phenomena such as fire whirls and effects of turbulence on fires.

Robert Caligiuri ’73 Builds a Legacy of Support

Robert Caligiuri '73, who has been named a 2023 Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal winner, would not be where he is today without the late Distinguished Professor of the University of California, Davis, Department of Materials Science and Engineering Amiya Mukherjee.

As New Paths to Spaceflight Emerge, Rich Whittle Explores a Vast Unknown: The Human Body

With the recent uptick in private spaceflight companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic launching commercial flights into suborbital space, and NASA's ambitious Artemis program that aims to land people on the Moon in 2024 as a first step toward voyages to Mars, new assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Rich Whittle believes we are on the cusp of a new era of human spaceflight.

Aggie Propulsion Lab Set Up for Long Term Success

Ali J. Gangeh is pioneering UC Davis to the stars by leading the team building the university’s first liquid rocket engine. Gangeh is a sophomore undergraduate student studying mechanical engineering. Arriving at Davis, Gangeh expressed an interest in a variety of campus clubs but couldn’t find the perfect fit for his passions.

UC Davis C-STEM Brings Computer Science into Redlands Classrooms

Since 2010, the University of California, Davis, Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education, or C-STEM, has aimed to transform K-12 math, computer science and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) education through integrated learning.

A Partnership for Better Pediatric Prosthetics

Initial results of a unique, multi-disciplinary public scholarship partnership between UC Davis researchers and Shriners Children's Northern California to create better prosthetic options for children are "unexpected and amazing."

Sexing Chicken Eggs by Scent

Fertilized chicken eggs can be sexed by “sniffing” volatile chemicals emitted through the shell, according to new work by researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Sensit Ventures Inc., a startup company in Davis. The work is published May 22 in PLOS ONE.

STEM Outreach Program Helps Middle School Students SOAR

Student mentors from SOAR visit classrooms in-person once a month, host virtual events, coordinate field trips to the museum, and serve as role models for students throughout the academic year. They also partner with teachers from COA to reinforce their current curriculum and engage students with activities that encourage scientific problem-solving and exploration. 

Student Spotlight: Allison Riley '24

Third-year undergraduate Allison Riley wasn’t always sure she’d be able to find an environmental-based job as a mechanical engineering major but her work with Facilities Management changed her outlook.  

Thriving with support

Behind every student at UC Davis is an untold story of personal growth—and for many, struggle. This is where donors make the difference by funding scholarships and other student success programs offered through the Division of Student Affairs.

UC Davis Student Team Selected as Finalist for New NASA Balloon Challenge

A team of UC Davis students is one of six university teams that has been selected as finalists to advance to the next phase of NASA’s Formulate, Lift, Observe, And Testing; Data Recovery And Guided On-board Node (FLOATing DRAGON) Balloon Challenge. The UC Davis team, which is comprised of undergraduate students from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is called HERMES, or High-altitude Experimental Rogallo Mission to Escort Safely. 

Christina Harvey: Aerodynamics from Birds to Aircraft

Before aircraft, birds ruled the skies and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Assistant Professor Christina Harvey thinks there’s still a lot to be learned from them. Harvey’s Biologically-Informed Research and Design (BIRD) Lab sits at the intersection of aerospace engineering and biology and looks to combine disciplines to make an impact in both fields. 

Student Spotlight: Jacqueline Arroyo Donjuan '23

“I have gained so much support from AvenueE, and I would not be in the academic and professional position that I am in today without them,” Arroyo Donjuan said. “AvenueE has facilitated my access to multiple resources such as tutoring, success coaching, counseling, guest speakers, internship, and, scholarship opportunities.”

Four College of Engineering Projects Receive CITRIS Seed Awards

Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS) at the University of California (UC) recently announced the 2022 CITRIS Seed Awards recipients. The eight selected proposals, submitted by multicampus teams from Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Cruz, will receive up to $60,000 for their work, thanks in part to external philanthropic support. 

Camli Badrya: Efficiency Through Aerodynamics

Aircraft are a crucial part of a modern, connected world, but they take a heavy toll on the environment. Even short flights can release hundreds of kilograms of CO2 into the atmosphere and create a massive amount of noise wherever they fly. Camli Badrya, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis, is looking to aerodynamics to help make all types of flying more efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Space and Satellite Systems Club at UC Davis Reaches for the Stars

After nearly six years and the contributions of more than 300 undergraduate students in the Space and Satellite Systems (SSS) Club at UC Davis, the university’s first student-built satellite will be going to space for proof-of-concept experiments as part of NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative.

Xinfan Lin Elected IEEE Senior Member

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Associate Professor Xinfan Lin was recently elected a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Senior membership is the highest grade that IEEE candidates can apply for. Achieving this honor requires ten years as an engineer, scientist, educator or originator in IEEE-designated fields with five years of significant performance.

UC Davis Hosts Inaugural Ujima Day

On September 2, 40 Black/African American middle and high school students and 10 staff from across Northern California visited UC Davis for Ujima Day—the culmination of the first year of the Ujima Girls in Robotics Leadership (GIRL) Project.

Eye on the Sky: Sarahi Granados '21

The path from passionate second-grader to James Webb Telescope engineer wasn’t an easy one for Sarahi Granados '21, especially as a first-generation Latina woman in engineering, but she’s incredibly grateful for the education, resources and connections at UC Davis that helped her get there.

Engineers Study Bird Flight

A new study from Assistant Professor Christina Harvey uses modeling and aerodynamics to describe how gulls can change the shape of their wings to control their response to gusts or other disturbances. The lessons could one day apply to uncrewed aerial vehicles or other flying machines.

Interdisciplinary team receives grant to improve rapid diagnostics

An interdisciplinary team at UC Davis led by Professor Cristina Davis has been awarded a five-year, $5.9M grant from the National Institutes of Health for its work on innovative, non-intrusive diagnostic technology that aims to shorten the time it takes to diagnose a range of conditions from asthma to autism.

MAE Graduate Students Receive Prestigious Fellowships, Awards for Research in CFD, Heat Transfer and Human-Computer Interaction

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is excited to highlight the recent success of its graduate students, who have received numerous awards and fellowships in recognition of their outstanding research in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), AI and human-computer interaction and heat transfer and solar-thermal energy, respectively.

More information about each award and its recipients are below:

Geometric Analysis Reveals How Birds Mastered Flight

For her doctoral research at the University of Michigan, Assistant Professor Christina Harvey and her colleagues found that most birds can morph their wings mid-flight to flip back and forth between flying smoothly like a passenger plane and flying acrobatically like a fighter jet.

Fencing Work

Paul Erickson, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis, decided to try out fencing classes when his 10-year-old son expressed interest in the sport. 

Even though his son found it to be only mildly interesting, fencing turned into an entertaining hobby for Erickson. The COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have hindered the amount of time that he can dedicate to fencing, but Erickson said he continues to have a great deal of respect for the sport. 

Vinod Narayanan Selected for $4.6M Department of Energy Grant

With a new grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office, Narayanan and his team of collaborators will develop 3D-printed high-temperature, high-pressure receivers for solar-thermal energy that can be used to generate power or produce renewable industrial process heat.

UC Davis Wins Moon Challenge at First Nations Rocketry Competition

On a wet and windy Sunday in Kansasville, Wisconsin this April, the First Nations Rocketry team at UC Davis launched and recovered a high-powered rocket and won the First Nations Launch High-Powered Rocket Competition moon challenge for the second year in a row.

Now Hiring: Industry Jobs for the New Space Age

As businesses send up more space missions, build their own space stations and even think about mining the moon, they will need to find and train new types of workers. Professor Stephen K. Robinson weighs in on the first episode of Tech News Briefing’s special series about the developing space economy.

The Might of Mycelium

A few miles away from West Sacramento at UC Davis, a team of engineers, scientists and designers led by MAE Professor Valeria La Saponara is researching ways to apply mycelium to other human problems.

EcoCAR EV Challenge Marks a New Era for UC Davis Engineering

Over the next four years, UC Davis students will be designing the car of the future as part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s EcoCAR Electric Vehicle (EV) Challenge. The competition challenges students to convert a Cadillac LYRIQ EV into an autonomous, next-generation battery-electric vehicle with vehicle-to-everything connectivity so it can interact with devices and the environment.

Aerospace Engineering Major Patricia Paje Named VFS 2022 DiversiFlite Scholar

Paje is an inaugural recipient of the Vertical Flight Society scholarship, which supports promising engineering students interested in vertical flight at U.S.-recognized minority-serving institutions and sends them to the VFS annual forum. Paje is a first-generation college student and recently participated in an internship with electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft pioneer Wisk Aero, LLC.

Developing a Fleet of Quiet Rotorcraft

With a new two-year grant, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Associate Professor Seongkyu Lee and his team have an opportunity to make a direct industry impact with their groundbreaking rotorcraft noise prediction tools. Lee’s group will apply their expertise in predicting rotorcraft noise to help industry leader Supernal identify noise sources in their aircraft designs and recommend strategies to reduce it.

The Power of the Breath

One new trick a dog can learn is how to smell COVID-19. But although studies show they can accurately detect coronavirus infections, training enough canines to recognize the scent will take a long time to scale up. Cristina Davis, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate dean of research for the UC Davis College of Engineering, has a faster tool set to enter the industry by the end of 2022: a breathalyzer-like device to detect COVID-19 and its severity in individuals.

Space Research Takes the Stage

The Main Theatre at Wright Hall this month became the unlikely site of an experiment on technology that could eventually go into space.

Students in the Center for Spaceflight Research at UC Davis are working on technologies for a class of satellites that could inspect other spacecraft, such as the International Space Station, in collaboration with NASA. But up in space, the light is harshly bright with no atmosphere to attenuate the sunshine, and the technology must be configured for that environment.

Morgan Harris: Building a Healthier World with Prosthetics

Second-year Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering M.S. student Morgan Harris wants to be on the front lines of building a healthier community. Through her research on prosthetic devices and her dream of opening her own prosthetics and orthotics clinic, she wants to improve people’s lives while offering the same type of mentorship and outreach experiences that inspired her.

Simulating the Impact of Air Taxis in California

With a new grant from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Associate Professor Seongkyu Lee and his collaborators at UC Berkeley and UC Merced will develop software that will help pave the way for air taxis, also known as advanced air mobility (AAM), to fly in California. AAM promises a new method of transportation through small electric aircraft that can fly passengers and cargo over short distances.

Barbara Linke Named UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) associate professor Barbara Linke was named a 2022 UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow. The fellowship program, now in its 22nd year, recognizes and supports outstanding early-career faculty members at UC Davis. Chancellor’s Fellows receive a one-time award to support research, teaching and service and hold the title for five years.

Faculty Focus: Case van Dam

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) professor emeritus C.P. “Case” van Dam emphasizes the importance of going with the flow. He has pursued a lifelong interest in aviation while staying open to new opportunities that have helped him become a beloved teacher, mentor and leader and an impactful researcher in aerospace engineering and wind energy.

Cross-campus collaboration leads to ‘smart prosthetics’ for amputee patients

An interdisciplinary team of UC Davis scientists and plastic and reconstructive surgeons is collaborating to help improve quality of life for patients with upper limb amputations. They are utilizing a novel amputation surgical procedure and smart prosthetics to help patients better control their residual muscles, receive sensory feedback and reduce limb pain.

David Horsley elected IEEE Fellow

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor David Horsley was recently elected a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Fellowship is the highest level of IEEE membership, and it recognizes a high level of extraordinary accomplishment in an IEEE field. Fellowship is considered a prestigious honor and important career achievement.

M.S. student Emily Jonsson wins MSEC Best Poster Award

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) M.S. student Emily Jonsson won the Organizing Committee Best Poster award this summer at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference (MSEC). Her winning poster, “Wafer Experiments to Assess Machining Distortion in Aluminum,” outlined her research on understanding and predicting stresses in aluminum with her advisors, Barbara Linke and Mike Hill.

Daniela Barajas Ivey: A chemical engineer in aerospace

The best piece of advice M.S. student Daniela Barajas Ivey received as she earned her B.S. in chemical engineering at UC Davis was, “chemical engineering can be found in all disciplines.” She took this to heart and after joining the aerospace industry, she returned to UC Davis as a master’s student to study environmental control and life support systems (ECLSS) for human habitats in deep space.

“Fungi to save the world”

Mycelium, the white filament-like root structure of mushrooms, might be an important building block of a more sustainable world. By growing mycelium with a biomass—anything from coffee grounds to leftover agricultural waste—researchers at UC Davis are creating sustainable structures that can be turned into everything from biodegradable plastics and circuit boards to filters that remove harmful antibiotic and pesticide residues from water.

Simulations for a new generation of aircraft

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) associate professor Seongkyu Lee will join the renewed multi-institutional Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE) at Pennsylvania State University, a $7.5M project funded by the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and NASA. This is Lee’s second time participating in VLRCOE at UC Davis.

Your Flying Taxi is Almost Here

In less than a decade, your taxi might come from the sky instead of the street. Once a hallmark of science fiction, flying taxis have become the cutting edge of aerospace engineering thanks to researchers like UC Davis’ Seongkyu Lee, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE). Lee’s group is conducting groundbreaking aeroacoustics research to lay the computational groundwork to make air taxis a reality.

Student Spotlight: Sicheng (Kevin) Li

Fourth-year mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) Ph.D. student Sicheng (Kevin) Li is making a major impact on aerospace engineering and in the UC Davis community through his cutting-edge research on rotorcraft noise and his leadership and mentorship on campus.

Valeria La Saponara’s Lab wins UC Davis Lab Safety Award

Professor Valeria La Saponara’s lab recently received the College of Engineering Lab Safety Award from UC Davis Safety Services, naming it the best lab in the College of Engineering in terms of safety. The awards recognize labs with a strong safety emphasis who are doing their part to think safe, act safe and be safe.

C-STEM Center receives $2.4M to introduce African American girls to engineering and robotics

With a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) will establish a new initiative to introduce Black/African American girls to engineering and robotics and provide them with resources to be leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their schools, communities and careers.

Seongkyu Lee recognized for excellence in graduate advising and mentorship

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) associate professor Seongkyu Lee has been named one of this year’s recipients of the UC Davis Graduate Program Advising and Mentorship Award. Recipients are nominated by their graduate programs in recognition of service to the program, commitment to advising and mentoring and the positive impact they have on their students and colleagues.

Ph.D. students Sicheng (Kevin) Li and Jared Sagaga win VFF Fellowships for rotorcraft noise research

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) Ph.D. students Kevin Li and Jared Sagaga were awarded Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) Fellowships in recognition of their experience, academics and research motivation. Every year, the fellowship recognizes and supports top M.S. and Ph.D. students around the world who are working on rotorcraft and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft technology.

Harry Cheng Wins Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Community

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) professor Harry Cheng received a UC Davis Chancellor’s Award for Diversity and Community. The annual awards highlight and uplift UC Davis students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, community members and departments who have made significant contributions to fostering “an environment that fosters a sense of inclusiveness and community for all.”

Connecting humans and machines

Through the new UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine and projects funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF), mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) faculty members Sanjay Joshi, Jonathon Schofield and Steve Robinson are pushing the boundaries of the developing field of neuroengineering and finding new ways for humans and machines to work together.

Aggie Engineers Design a Pathway to Mars

When NASA's Perseverence rover approached Mars on February 18, 2021, UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) alumna Jessica Samuels ’99 and Sara Langberg ’16 watched particularly closely to see their hard work pay off. Perseverance, the largest and most advanced Mars rover to date, will explore the existence of water, launch history’s first extraterrestrial helicopter and serve as the first leg of a mission to collect Martian rock and soil samples and bring them to Earth.

MAE Alumni Challenge Donors for Give Day 2021

UC Davis Give Day 2021, campus’ fifth annual fundraising event is this weekend, from Friday April 16 at 12 p.m. to Saturday April 17 at 5 p.m. and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) is looking for support.

Alumni Spotlight: Sara Langberg ’16

Sara Langberg ’16 used the curiosity and passion for learning things she developed at UC Davis to help NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter, part of the Perseverance mission, come to life.

Langberg is an aeromechanical engineer at AeroVironment, a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems with a long history of breakthrough innovation. Since joining the company in 2016, her team has been working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on the small robotic helicopter that will attempt the first powered flight on another planet.

Repurposing Used Electric Vehicle Batteries for Solar Power Storage

The University of California, Davis and RePurpose Energy, a clean energy startup co-founded by professor Jae Wan Park, have executed a licensing agreement for an innovative system that repurposes batteries from electric cars to use as energy storage systems with various applications, like solar power.

Xinfan Lin wins NSF CAREER Award

Mechanical and aerospace engineering assistant professor Xinfan Lin has received the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award. The CAREER Award recognizes young faculty members across the country who have the potential to be leaders in their fields. He is one of 500 researchers from across the country and one of eight College of Engineering faculty to receive the honor this year.

Perseverance Lands on Mars, With Help From UC Davis

“Perseverance will get you anywhere” — and after a journey of seven months, 300 million miles and a nerve-racking seven minute plunge through the Martian atmosphere, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed safely in Jezero Crater Feb. 18. Many scientists, engineers and facilities — especially at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena — contributed to the mission, and UC Davis played a crucial role as well.

Ralph Aldredge: Uplifting Voices in Engineering

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Ralph Aldredge has been a leader in the college for years in an effort to lift up student voices and ensure prospective and current students with disadvantaged backgrounds can find a pathway to excel at UC Davis.

Cristina Davis’ lab to lead one of the largest studies of vaping to date

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) professor Cristina Davis’ group will lead one of the largest studies to-date on the health effects of e-cigarette use, or vaping. In the three-year, $1 million study funded by the UC Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), the team will collect samples from over 600 volunteers to understand how vaping affects the pulmonary system, especially in comparison to smoking cigarettes.

J.P. Delplanque Named ASME Fellow

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Committee of Past Presidents recently recognized the outstanding engineering achievements of mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Jean-Pierre Delplanque and promoted him to the grade of Fellow.

Ralph Aldredge wins NSBE Lifetime Achievement Award

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) has honored Ralph C. Aldredge, associate dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Engineering and professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, with the 2021 NSBE Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Academia.

Graduate student team develops COVID-19 vaccine distribution plans for Northern California

As the FDA approves COVID-19 vaccines for use, distribution to hospitals and vaccination sites will become the next challenge in fighting the pandemic. As part of their “Optimization-Based Control” (MAE 298) course, a group of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) graduate students were inspired to help and developed efficient vaccine distribution plans for the Bay Area and Sacramento using three different types of delivery vehicles.

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Fidelis Eke

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and the College of Engineering mourn the passing of their friend and colleague, Professor Emeritus Fidelis Eke. Eke is remembered as a brilliant researcher, gifted educator and a kind, gentle and welcoming person who leaves lasting impact on the MAE department and UC Davis.

“He was a great teacher, a gentle soul and one of the kindest people I have come across,” said Professor Francis Assadian. “This is truly a big loss.”

UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering & Medicine Aims to Improve Quality of Life for All

With an increase in cognitive and neurological disorders such as dementia, stroke and Alzheimer’s, researchers worldwide are actively seeking pathways to help people restore neural function and improve their quality of life. The UC Davis College of Engineering announces the launch of the UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering & Medicine (NE&M), an integrated, multi-disciplinary effort that seeks to repair, restore and augment human capacity to benefit society.

David Horsley Elected National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor David Horsley has been elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). NAI Fellowship highlights inventors in academia for creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made an impact on quality of life, economic development and societal welfare, as well as a “prolific spirit of innovation.”

Felipe Valdez: Shooting for the Stars

Felipe Valdez received his master’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) at UC Davis this past summer. Without skipping a beat, he’s off to his next journey as an aerospace engineer at the NASA Armstrong Research Center in Edwards, California.

Per Aggies Ad Astra

As companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin launch a new era of commercial spaceflight, astronaut-turned-engineering-professor Stephen Robinson ’78 aims to make UC Davis a key player by establishing a new Center for Spaceflight Research this fall.

Fighting Fire with Engineering

On September 9, Northern California residents woke up to a dark orange smoky sky that rained down ash and made it hard to breathe. Sadly, days like this are becoming our “new normal.” As climate change makes wildfires burn faster, hotter and more often, humans need to understand the effects of these disasters and how to live with them.

Iman Soltani: Automation Renaissance Man

For mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) assistant professor Iman Soltani, automation is vital to the present and a key to the future. With experience automating everything from microscopes to assembly lines and vehicles and a desire to collaborate across campus, Soltani plans to help make UC Davis a leader in the field as the world becomes more automated.

Though automation is important, Soltani feels the field is largely misunderstood.

Steve Robinson wins UC Davis Graduate Advising and Mentoring Award

Professor Steve Robinson has been named one of the inaugural recipients of the UC Davis Graduate Advising and Mentoring Award for his outstanding work in the mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) graduate program.

These new awards, administered by UC Davis Graduate Studies, honor outstanding excellence in advising and mentoring of graduate students. Winners are nominated by their graduate program to highlight a faculty member’s positive impact on both graduate students and colleagues.

Ralph Aldredge and Vinod Narayanan Elected ASME Fellows

Mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE) professors Ralph Aldredge and Vinod Narayanan are two of the newest American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellows. Fellowship recognizes ASME members with over 10 years of experience and with significant achievements in engineering teaching, research and service in mechanical engineering or a related field.

Faculty Spotlight: Mohamed Hafez

As he approaches his 35th year on campus, mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Mohamed Hafez continues to leave an indelible mark on the department and his students. He has taught and mentored undergraduate, graduate and high school students and postdoctoral scholars alike while introducing several courses and being a driving force behind aerospace engineering at UC Davis.

Alumni Spotlight: Brian Peters '88

Engineering alumnus and Inneos CEO Brian Peters ‘88 is a successful leader, businessman and entrepreneur in the optics industry, but he wouldn’t lead with that. In his 25 years in business, Peters takes the most pride in leading companies with an inspired community of colleagues who have helped him carve out his place in Silicon Valley.

Student Spotlight: Midori Huapaya-Renbarger

Fourth-year mechanical engineering major Midori Huapaya-Renbarger has made research a key part of her college experience. As a member of a lab that combines healthcare and robotics, she’s worked to help people using technology, while developing her technical skills and building a strong foundation for a career in industry.

MAE welcomes three new faculty members

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering is excited to welcome Kelly Kissock, Shima Nazari and Iman Soltani to its faculty for the 2020-21 academic year. Together, they bring expertise in energy efficiency, control and automation to UC Davis and strengthen and diversify the department’s teaching and research. Kissock and Soltani start July 1 and Nazari starts November 1.

Putting air in airfoils

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Case van Dam and his team are developing new ways to generate lift in aircraft using microjets to blow air out at the trailing edge of an airfoil. With new funding from NASA Ames and interest from Boeing, the team, including recent Ph.D. graduate Seyedeh Sheida Hosseini, will prototype and refine their design and conduct wind tunnel tests at Texas A&M university to bring their technology closer to use in the field.

Decoding battery health

With the advent of autonomous vehicles, smartphones and drones, lithium-ion batteries have become the device of choice for powerful and long-lasting energy. However, to ensure that the batteries are safe and effective, researchers need to find out what’s happening on the inside to make sure they’re healthy.

UC Davis engineering projects fight COVID-19

With new seed grants from the UC Davis Office of Research’s COVID-19 Research Accelerator Funding Track (CRAFT), three teams of UC Davis engineers are applying their expertise toward the pandemic response to help people become safer, healthier and better-tested.

Kelly Kissock Appointed as New Energy and Efficiency Institute Faculty Director

The UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Kelly Kissock as its new Faculty Director. Kissock’s faculty appointment is in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, where he will serve as a professor. He will start his new positions in July. Kissock will also hold the Chevron Endowed Chair in Energy Efficiency.

Ph.D. student Leslie Simms receives NSF Fellowship

Second-year mechanical and aerospace engineering Ph.D. student Leslie Simms has received a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship program recognizes and supports 2000 outstanding graduate students across the U.S. every year. The award covers three years of tuition and researcher salary.

The program, which was founded in 1951, is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind. In almost 70 years, the fellowship has supported 42 future Nobel laureates and over 450 members of the National Academy of Sciences.

Alumni Spotlight: Matt Sorgenfrei ‘13

From space to the streets of San Francisco, mechanical and aerospace engineering alumnus Matt Sorgenfrei is using his control systems engineering expertise to change the way machines interact with the world.

Student Spotlight: Ruby Zoom Houchens

Second-year mechanical engineering major Ruby Zoom Houchens takes every opportunity in stride. From working in professor Stephen Robinson’s lab, to serving as a shop tech and photographer, to being involved with multiple campus organizations, she brings a unique and well-rounded approach to engineering that’s already made her a staple of the College of Engineering.

A computer cursor that moves without being touched

Imagine turning on your computer and moving the cursor without ever touching it. Sanjay Joshi, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis, and his lab are working with people in the medical, engineering, and disability communities to improve the capabilities of machines to assist people with physical limitations.

Wolfgang Kollmann publishes new book on turbulent flow

The culmination of over 20 years of teaching and research, mechanical and aerospace engineering professor emeritus Wolfgang Kollmann’s new book lays out different mathematical approaches to analyzing and solving the problem of turbulent flows for graduate students in engineering and applied science. The book, Navier-Stokes Turbulence: Theory and Analysis, was published this December by Springer International Publishing.

Giving humanity a hand with supernumerary robotics

A team of UC Davis researchers look to give humanity an extra hand—literally. A new, NSF-funded collaboration between the Departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior (NPB) plans to develop and test a robotic fifth limb to give humans extra capabilities in extreme environments.

In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Hector Baldis

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) mourns the loss of professor emeritus Hector Baldis, who passed away on January 1. He is known for his distinguished research career in plasma physics, high-energy density science and inertial confinement fusion and his enthusiastic mentorship as a faculty member at UC Davis.

Seongkyu Lee partners with Hyundai to develop low-noise air taxis

Urban air mobility (UAM), or the use of air taxis, is poised to be the next big thing in transportation. Companies are already promising fleets in traffic-congested cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas as early as 2023, and Morgan Stanley estimates that the UAM business will create a $1.5 trillion market in the coming decades.

Why Drones Are Important in Sustainable Agriculture in the 21st Century

The work of a four-member international team of scientists including UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineer Zhaodan Kong, a newly-published review paper in the Journal of Economic Entomology is one of the first of its kind to summarize scientific literature on the use of agricultural drones for pest management.

Alumni Spotlight: Class of 1969

By Rachel Steere

The UC Davis College of Engineering Class of 1969 was a dynamic class of tight-knit engineers and several of them have stayed in contact since graduating nearly 50 years ago.

Cristina Davis named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and chair Cristina Davis was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). Being named a fellow recognizes academic inventors with a “highly prolific spirit of innovation” who have created or facilitating inventions that have had a major impact on society, says the NAI website.

Cristina Davis elected AAAS Fellow

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor and chair Cristina Davis was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was cited for, “distinguished contributions to non-invasive chemical and biological sensing tools, algorithms, and applications for human and agriculture diagnostics and monitoring.”

AAAS fellows are recognized for outstanding achievements in advancing science through research, teaching, service, administration and/or science communication.

Ph.D student Dane Sterbentz receives prestigious Department of Energy fellowship

Third-year mechanical and aerospace engineering Ph.D. student Dane Sterbentz is a recipient of the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration’s Laboratory Residency Graduate Fellowship (DOE NNSA LRGF). Sterbentz, part of professor J.P. Delplanque’s research group, is one of just four doctoral students across the country to receive the fellowship.

Mohamed Hafez’s new book introduces first-year students to computer simulations

Professor Mohamed Hafez’s latest book, Introduction to Computer Simulations for Integrated STEM College Education, was published by World Scientific Publishing Co. in October 2019.

The book, aimed at high school senior students and first-year undergraduate students, gives a background in basic physics and basic mathematics—including differential equations and numerical methods, among other areas—while showing the students how to use computers to solve problems in STEM fields.

Space Engineering at UC Davis

If space is the final frontier, UC Davis is taking giant leaps to reach it. With expertise in human-machine cooperation, control systems and materials under extreme conditions, the university aims to make itself a rising star in space engineering and play a crucial role in the next generation of space exploration.

Francis Assadian brings vehicle dynamics expertise to new $7M Department of Transportation project

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering professor Francis Assadian is a co-PI on a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to study cooperative automated vehicles (CAVs) in rural and multimodal environments. Led by at Texas A&M University, the four-year project titled, “AVA: Automated Vehicles for All” involves collaborators at George Washington University, General Motors, NVIDIA and National Instruments.

Modeling small cigar smoke in the lungs

Young people are adopting new nicotine products faster than they can be researched or regulated, though the health effects are still unknown. MAE distinguished Professor Tony Wexler looks to change this by studying smoke deposition in the lungs through a three-year grant from the UC Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).

A Breath Test for Opioids

By Andy Fell, originally posted on UC Davis News.

A test to detect opioid drugs in exhaled breath has been developed by engineers and physicians at the University of California, Davis. A breath test could be useful in caring for chronic pain patients as well as for checking for illegal drug use. 

Bahram Ravani and Stephen Robinson receive College of Engineering Outstanding Faculty Awards

Distinguished Professor Bahram Ravani and Professor Stephen Robinson received Outstanding Faculty Awards from the UC Davis College of Engineering for their outstanding work during the 2018-19 academic year. Ravani received the Outstanding Senior Faculty Research Award and Robinson received the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award. These awards are the college's highest honors given to faculty.

Giving Electric Car Batteries a Second Life

Though electric cars are great for the environment, the batteries they use are not. Because recycling is extremely expensive, they end up thrown into storage at car dealerships or buried in landfills. As electric cars become an increasingly large part of the market, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Jae Wan Park and his lab have found an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly solution to this problem by giving these batteries a second life in electrical energy storage systems for renewable energy power grids.

Microbes Make Chemicals for Scent Marking in a Cat

Domestic cats, like many other mammals, use smelly secretions from anal sacs to mark territory and communicate with other animals. A new study from the University of California, Davis, shows that many odiferous compounds from a male cat are actually made not by the cat, but by a community of bacteria living in the anal sacs.

Becoming a community leader by philanthropy

By Trevor Stewart

Hope is a powerful emotion –– it can get us through tough times, it can help us persevere trials and tribulations until we reach our goal. Third-year mechanical engineering student Martin Vega-Martinez ‘20 is the perfect embodiment of what hope, combined with hard work, looks like.

Can Science Save Citrus?

Farmers and researchers, including MAE Professor Cristina Davis, try to hold off deadly citrus greening long enough to find a cure

Ph.D. student Peng Wei wins 2019 N&M Sarigul-Klijn Flight Research/Space Engineering Award

Ph.D. student Peng Wei has been named the recipient of the 2019 N&M Sarigul-Klijn Flight Research/Space Engineering Award. The award is given every other year to top graduate students in the UC Davis Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering pursuing flight-related research.

Wei, a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Assistant Professor Zhaodan Kong’s lab, studies aerodynamic effects on multirotor unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), colloquially known as drones.

Ralph Aldredge: Engineering success for all students

By Brady Oppenheim

When Dr. Ralph Aldredge begins his new position as the UC Davis College of Engineering’s Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in summer 2019, he will bring a long history of student advocacy to his latest role.

Student Spotlight: Shail Trivedi

Originally posted on the UC Davis Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship website.

Making electric vehicles, autonomous fleets ubiquitous

Shail Trivedi is a third-year mechanical engineering student who hopes to work with mechatronics/robotic systems or mechanical design of devices. “I love to learn,” he says, “and I find myself curious to learn more about the types of roles mechanical engineers play in today’s world and where I can best find my fit.”

MAE Energy Startup Wins Big at 2019 Big Ideas Contest

UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineering startup, RePurpose Energy, won big at the 2019 Big Ideas contest, taking home first place in the Energy and Resources category and winning grand prize at the competition’s Pitch Day.

Students Design Greenhouse for Mars

A student team from the UC Davis Space and Satellite Systems Club was one of five university teams invited to present their plans for a Mars greenhouse at the NASA Langley Research Center.

COSMOS Aims to Inspire Future Scientists, Engineers

The California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) is a four-week statewide program for the most talented high-school students in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

MAE Alumnus Adam Davis: Building an Engineering Career

Adam Davis graduated from UC Davis in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is a Principal Engineer at Weston & Associates Mechanical Engineers, Inc., a full-service design engineering firm providing mechanical engineering services to architects and owners for projects throughout California.

Aerospace Engineers Explore Infinity and Beyond

As a UC Davis aerospace science and engineering major, you will learn core mechanical engineering concepts and applications, and practice computational analysis. You’ll also learn the fundamentals of design, propulsion and aerodynamics.

Vinod Narayanan Receives $2.2M Department of Energy Grant

Narayanan’s project, “Additively-Manufactured Molten Salt-to-Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Heat Exchanger,” received $2.2 Million from the Department of Energy to create a high-pressure heat exchanger for concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) systems.

MAE Senior Design Teams Win NASA’s Aeronautics University Design Challenge

Three UC Davis mechanical and aerospace engineering senior design teams received top honors in NASA’s 2017-18 Aeronautics University Design Challenge. One MAE team tied for first, another placed second and another tied for third. The fifteen undergraduates involved presented their designs at a symposium on September 20 at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and were treated to a private tour of the facilities and the Capitol building.