Research

Our Research

Within the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science (MFD), faculty pursue research in diverse fields, including: energy, structural and functional materials, reaction engineering, nanotechnology, polymers, bioengineering, and advanced computing. Our faculty play important roles–among these are harnessing energy for the 21st century, synthesizing novel cell phone phosphors, implantable biomimetics and synthetic cells, and constructing new human therapies.

We encourage you to explore Mork’s rich, diverse and state-of-the-art research portfolio in the laboratory websites listed below. You may even find a research group that is the perfect future fit for you.

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USC Mork Family Department Labs

The over-arching mission of the research group is to develop novel nonlinear materials and integrated optical devices that can be used in portable disease diagnostics and telecommunications.  Our research efforts include a wide range of topics including materials synthesis, integrated optics and instrumentation development, cell/bacteria growth, and computational modeling.

To enable this research breadth, our group includes researchers with diverse academic and research backgrounds, and we have numerous ongoing collaborations, both at USC and at other institutions around the world.  Financial support comes from several different agencies, industries, and foundations.

To learn more, visit the Armani Research Lab website.

In the Branicio Lab, our vision is to be a leader on translating advances in hardware and software into opportunities to create efficient modeling techniques that make possible simulations of realistic materials models and phenomena.

Our mission is to develop innovative research at the interface of materials science, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry and computer science. We focus on using atomistic simulations, both at large scale using empirical methods and small scale using first principles methods, to understand the dynamic behavior of materials in order to design new materials with improved properties.

To learn more, please visit the Branicio Research Lab website.

CiSoft is a USC-Chevron Center of Excellence for Research and Academic Training on Interactive Smart Oilfield Technologies. Established in December 2003, the Center includes participating research scientists from various departments in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California and from Chevron. Two important entities associated with the Viterbi School of Engineering, IMSC (Integrated Media Systems Center) and ISI (Information Sciences Institute) are closely associated with CiSoft. Expertise of participating USC faculty includes Petroleum and Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Industrial and Systems Engineering. Research areas include:

Integrated Asset Management
Well Productivity Improvement
Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Embedded and Networked Systems
Reservoir Management
Data Management Tools
Immersive Visualization

To learn more, please visit the CiSoft website.

The Collaboratory for Advanced Computing and Simulations is led by Dr. Priya Vashishta, Dr. Rajiv Kalia, and Dr. Aiichiro Nakano.

Computing technology will grow by a factor of more than a thousand in the next ten to fifteen years. Our goal is to follow this computing revolution from teraflops (1012 flops) to petaflops (1015 flops). Using this unprecedented computing power, available for the first time in the history of science and engineering, it will be possible to carry out realistic simulations of complex systems and processes in the areas of materials, nanotechnology, and bioengineered systems. Coupled with immersive and interactive visualization, this will offer unprecedented opportunity for research as well as modifying graduate and undergraduate education in science and engineering.

To learn more, please visit the CACS website.

Dr. Daniel Dapkus leads the research for the Compound Semi-Conductor Laboratory.  

To learn more, please visit the website: www.csl.usc.edu.

Led by Dr. Birendra Jha, we study the physics and mathematics of geophysical fluid flows in subsurface environments. We create theoretical and computational tools to investigate these multi-physics processes and address engineering challenges related to energy and the environment. Our work is at the intersection of petroleum engineering, geophysics, hydrogeology, and computational mechanics.

To learn more, please visit the GEM website.

In the Graham Research Lab, we focus on using system biology approaches to understand cancer and other human diseases. We integrate proteomic, metabolomic and genomic data to create data-driven computational models that predict biological phenotypes across multiple components and time scales. Drawing on engineering, biology and statistics, we iterate between experimental and computational systems to formulate predictive models of cancer phenotypes. To enable translation of these models into the clinic, we actively collaborate with physician scientists and oncologists.

To learn more, please visit the Graham Research Lab website. 

In the Gupta Research Group, we are interested in studying the mechanism and kinetics associated with initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) of functional polymers onto structured materials and liquid surfaces. The iCVD process eliminates the need for organic solvents and thereby offers a safer and cleaner alternative to liquid phase polymer processing.

To learn more, please visit the Gupta Research Group website.

The Materials Nanotechnology research group, supervised by Prof. Andrea Hodge, focuses on the processing and mechanical behavior at the nano and micro scale of engineered materials for advanced applications.

To learn more, please visit the Hodge Research Group website.

Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) and the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering (USC) have agreed to enter into a strategic partnership to establish jointly UKC (USC-KOC Center) for Research and Graduate Studies. This is a center of excellence for research focusing on areas of interest to KOC, while educating KOC professionals at the MS, PhD and Certificate levels.
The Center will be headquartered at KOC premises in Ahmadi and shall have an extension at Viterbi School of Engineering, USC.
The Center will provide educational training for KOC engineers and research collaboration with scientists at KOC.

To learn more, please visit the USC-KOC Center website.

To learn more about the Kassner Materials Research Group, please visit our website.
Led by Dr. Noah Malmstadt, the Laboratory for Biomimetic Phase Interfaces aims to engineer systems to replicate and take advantage of phase coexistence phenomena seen in biological systems and elsewhere in nature. Our research ranges from studies of nanoscale phase separation processes in the membranes of artificial cells to multiphase microfluidic reaction systems controlled by material properties and interactions.

To learn more, please visit our website.

Led by Dr. Jayakanth Ravichandran, our research focuses on the rational design and synthesis of novel complex materials such as oxides, chalcogenides etc. Typically, the materials of interest tend to be either ternary or quarternary in composition. Our research interests also encompass studying artificial materials structures such as heterostructures, superlattices, and devices made from such materials for applications in energy and electronics. 

        Our research program has thematic relevance to the ancient research area of “alchemy”. According to wikipedia: “Alchemy is a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practiced throughout Egypt and Eurasia which aimed to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects.” In the same spirit, but not in the process, we pursue rational strategies to develop novel thermodynamically stable natural materials and metastable artificial materials to realize interesting (physical, and chemical) phenomena and technologically useful devices.

To learn more, please visit our website.

Led by Dr. Jonseung Yoon, our group’s research aims to tailor and understand novel optical, electrical, thermal, and mechanical properties of inorganic single-crystalline semiconductor materials configured with top-down fabricated, programmable nano- or microscale features in ways that can maximize the performance and cost-effectiveness in applications using these materials. We also pursue to explore unconventional pathways to heterogeneously integrate them as synergistic building blocks into device- and circuit-level implementation on various substrates of interest including a thin sheet of plastics for constructing flexible and stretchable systems. Specific technological areas of interest include high performance, low cost photovoltaic and photoelectrochemical water splitting systems based on printed assemblies of nanostructured silicon and III-V materials, and skin-mountable or implantable microlasers based on released vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) for biointegrated optoelectronic sensors and actuators.

To learn more, please visit our website.

The Lee group uses photoresponsive surfactants to control a variety of biological and nanoscale processes. Click below for more info.

To learn more about our research, please visit our website.

Established in 1995 and endowed with a generous gift from M.C. Gill in 2002, the mission of the Center is to address problems associated with the design, manufacture, and behavior of composites and composite structures. The scope includes the training of graduate and undergraduate students through sponsored research projects and through course instruction. Personnel within the Center provide a range of expertise that includes Postdoctoral Associates, outstanding scholars with specialized skills in mechanics, polymer science, and manufacturing technology. Center personnel work closely with industrial sponsors, and recent industrial collaborations have involved the M.C. Gill Corporation, Airbus, General Electric, Composite Technology Corporation, HRL Laboratories, Raytheon, Cytec Engineered Materials, L’Garde Corporation, Bell Helicopter, NewBasis, HyperTherm Composites, and Northrop-Grumman. The center is currently led by Dr. Steven Nutt.

To learn more, please visit our website.

Led by Dr. Anupam Madhukar, we are an interdisciplinary group of curious people exploring the synthesis, properties, and applications of novel quantum nanostructures (wells, wires, & dots). Our current focus is on (1) a new paradigm that we proposed for solar energy conversion utilizing integrated hybrid quantum dot and nanowire systems, (2) synthesis and properties of new and novel nanostructures that arise from the integration of highly dissimilar materials hitherto unexplored, (3) nano-scale spatially-resolved optical imaging of multiple biomarker expression in live cells under controlled external stress (mechanical, electrical, chemical) over prolonged periods of time (days) to understand intra-cellular signalling pathways in the apoptosis of neuronal cells, and (4) the use of the tools of nanoscience and specially designed and synthesized functional active nanosystems for probing, manipulating, and potentially endowing new functions in live cells.

To learn more, please visit our website.

Led by Dr. Behnam Jafarpour, the Subsurface Energy and Environmental Systems (SEES) lab at USC focuses on integrating advanced computational and mathematical tools with insights from geosciences and the physics of multiphase fluid flow and transport processes in porous media to enable efficient development of subsurface energy, water, and environmental resources.

To learn more, please visit the SEES website.

Our research involves engineering new peptides and proteins for biology, diagnosis, and therapy using mRNA display (invented by Rich Roberts). This method enables us to generate trillion-member libraries for in vitro selection and directed evolution experiments to discover ligands targeting proteins, nucleic acids, and small molecules. We want to make the world a little better and more understandable. We are grateful for  Financial Support provided by federal agencies, corporations, private foundations, and charitable giving.

To learn more, please visit our website.

Led by Dr. Pin Wang, our lab’s overarching research theme is to develop design principles and create synthetic biology tools for modulating immune response and for targeted delivery of genes and drugs. We primarily engineer viral vectors derived from lentiviruses and adeno-associated viruses and explore them for immunobioengineering applications and gene therapy. With respect to synthetic nanovectors, our work is aimed at creating nanoparticles capable of controlled delivery of multiple drugs.

To learn more, please visit our website.