Other Environmental Research

Individuals

Jim Boles
Earth Science

One of Professor Boles’ current research projects is studying the effect of rapid carbonate crystallization on isotopic signatures of carbonate. As part of this project, he is investigating the fractionation of stable isotopes between CO2 gas, aqueous CO2 species, and carbonate. This research is relevant to interpreting isotopic signatures from carbonate precipitates associated with CO2 sequestration, as well as leakage and degassing associated with hydrocarbon systems when the isotopic systems of CO2 may be out of equilibrium due to rapid crystallization.

Doug Burbank
Earth Science

Professor Burbank studies tectonic geomorphology and surface processes. Working with the Earth Research Institute, Burbank’s research areas include earth evolution, earth systems science, and natural hazards. His current research projects include analyzing the climate and tectonic controls on growth of the Puna Plateau, NW Argentina, and the interactions of tectonics, erosion, and climate in shaping the Himalayas.

Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Fluids

Robert McMeeking
Mechanical Engineering/ Materials

Dr. McMeeking undertakes research on lithium-ion batteries and solid oxide fuel cells with the aim of improving their energy capacity, increasing their ability to deliver high power, and, in the case of batteries, enabling them to be recharged rapidly. Both lithium-ion batteries and solid oxide fuel cells are important elements in the strategy to reduce carbon emissions, as energy generated by low carbon emission methods can be stored and transported in the batteries, and solid oxide fuel cells can use hydrogen as the fuel, thereby avoiding the production of carbon dioxide. McMeeking uses computational modeling of both system to identify improved microstructures and designs.

Institute for Energy Efficiency
Institute for Multi-scale Materials Studies
Center for Multifunctional Materials & Structures (CeMMaS)
California NanoSystems Institute

Daniel Morse
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Professor Morse does research involving nanofabrication of semiconductors to improve solar energy, lightweight batteries, infrared detectors, and information storage. The method used to accomplish this is bio-inspired, based on advantageous mechanisms he and his team discover in biological systems and translate into practical new materials and engineering.

Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies
Center for Nanomedicine
California NanoSystems Institute

Kevin W. Plaxco
Chemistry & Biochemistry

Professor Plaxco’s research primarily involves the study of biomolecular recognition. In recent years, researchers have developed folding-based sensors that are selective enough to be employed directly in blood, soil, cell lysates, and other grossly contaminated clinical and environmental samples. Because of their sensitivity, substantial background suppression, and operational convenience, these folding-based biosensors appear potentially well-suited for electronic, on-chip applications in pathogen detection, proteomics, metabolomics, and drug discovery.

Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies
Center for Bioengineering

Mary E. Brenner
Education

Professor Brenner has recently applied for an NSF grant to bring climate and marine science classes to Santa Barbara County schools. For seven years, she was previously involved in running and researching a summer educational program for local students that taught environmental stewardship.

Matthew Jones
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Matthew Jones’ research focuses on environmental informatics, including the management, integration, analysis, and modeling of heterogeneous environmental data. Recent projects have produced effective new techniques for information management and analysis, including metadata standards, data management software, and data analysis software, such as scientific workflow systems. Recent projects focus on Kepler, an open-source scientific workflow system that Jones co-founded with other researchers; DataONE, a global data repository aimed to promote access to data about life on earth and the environment; and SONet, an effort to achieve environmental data interoperability through semantic modeling of scientific observations.

James Donelan
Writing Program/College of Creative Studies English Department

Dr. Donelan conducts research into pedagogical issues related to sustainability, including remote teaching.