Overview of Our Research
Our research lies at the intersection of electronics, photonics, soft-matter and biology. Our group consists of a diverse mix of disciplines such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Electrical Engineering. Our fundamental goal is to help people by using cutting edge research. Our lab has three focus areas: Soft Matter, Electronics, and Neuroscience.
Our group explores the interaction between self-assembling polymer membranes and proteins. We perform polymer synthesis and characterization, physics of bilayers and protein insertion studies. Our goal is to design and develop novel polymers for stabilizing proteins for biosensing applications.
We have two complementary thrusts in electronics
1) Ultra low-power mixed signal circuit design for biosensors and 2) High performance mixed signal for control and stabilization of photonic ICs. We specialize in PLLs, DLLs, low-noise analog front-end amplifiers, sigma-delta ADCs and mixed-signal control loops.
We approach neuroscience from two perspectives: neural prostheses and neural computation. We develop new methods to sense and record neural signals. We also study neural cultures in vitro to understand how neural computations are performed. Another facet of research is to develop in silico models of neural computation and design neuromorphic computing ICs based on these models.
NEW LAB SPACE
The group has moved into the new BioEngineering Building!
OPTICS EXPRESS PAPER
Congratulations to Aaron Bluestone and Akshar Jain on their paper, “Heterodyne-based hybrid controller for wide dynamic range optoelectronic frequency synthesis,” which was published in the Optics Express. Read their paper here.
OPTICAL BRAIN IMAGING
Professors Luke Theogarajan, John Bowers, and Michael Goard receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for $9 million as part of an interdisciplinary initiative to develop new optical brain imaging techniques. Read more here.
NEW GROUP MEMBER
July 1, 2017
We are happy to welcome Eric Sandouk to the group. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics
END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR
June 18, 2017
Congratulations to all of the group members that walked this weekend to commemorate their degrees: Akshar Jain (M.S.), Ryan Kaveh (B.S.), Alex Nguyen-Le (B.S.), Justin Rofeh (Ph.D.), and Avantika Sodhi (Ph.D).
Special Recognition as well for Prof. Theogarajan receiving 2017 Outstanding Faculty Member and Ryan's Capstone Project winning Best CE Project / EE Faculty Choice award!
PROF. LUKE THEOGARAJAN
Luke Theogarajan is currently a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2007. His research interests include combining the processing power of electronics with the versatility of synthetic chemistry to develop neural prosthetic devices, integrating CMOS circuits with nanoscale sensors to develop novel biosensors and developing simple synthetic mimics of biological function to gain a deeper physical understanding of biological phenomena. Before starting his Ph.D, he worked for intel for 5 years where he was part of the Pentium 4 design team. He has published both in the field of electrical engineering and polymer chemistry and holds 4 patents. Professor Theogarajan is also a 2010 NIH New Innovator Award recipient and a 2011 NSF Career Award recipient. He has been awarded the Northrupp Grumman Excellence in teaching award in 2011 and the outstanding faculty member in EE for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2017.
Post Doctoral Researchers
Mitra Saeidi received her M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), Tehran, Iran in 2014 . She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara, under the supervision of Professor Luke Theogarajan. Her current research focus is on Electronics/Mixed-Signal Integrated Circuit (IC) Design.
Sean received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara in 2018, and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Electrical Engineering at UC Santa Barbara. He joined the Biomimetic Circuits and Nanosystems Group in Spring, 2018. His research work is focused on Mixed Signal Integrated Circuit design with an emphasis on data converters.
Alex received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from UCSB in 2017, and joined the Prof. Theogarajan’s research group after taking a class taught by him in 2015. Alex usually works on smaller scale projects directed by Prof. Theogarajan and his collaborators, using his engineering skills
to develop tools for use in molecular
Michelle is a second-year Biology major in the College of Creative Studies. She started working in the lab in January 2018, investigating protein stability with Dr. Kulkarni, but has since embarked on projects related to microfluidics and protein immobilization for biosensor applications.
Aaron is pursuing a Physics B.S. in the College of Creative Studies. He approached the lab in spring of 2017 as a sophomore and began working there as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, designing more cell-friendly microfluidic chambers to be used with the lab’s surface acoustic wave (SAW) chips, which may provide a means to dynamically create and control neural networks.
DR. PRAJAKTA KULKARNI
Prajakta received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is currently exploring the approaches to stabilize proteins in their non-native environment for therapeutic and biosensing applications.
DR. PRASANNA SRINIVASAN
Prasanna has diverse interdisciplinary research interests in manipulating light-matter interaction to address major challenges in biological sciences. Subsequent to his PhD in Engineering in 2008, he took a big risk in treading a completely different direction in his subsequent research pursuits by working with Physicists and Biologists on optical properties of materials over the last decade. He is currently working to develop a genetically engineered molecular light switch for voltage sensing in cells.
Graduate Student Researchers
Aaron received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC Santa Barbara in 2012 and 2016 respectively, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received the outstanding teaching assistant award in Electrical Engineering for 2013 and 2015. His current research focuses on mixed-signal IC design for stability and improvement of heterogeneously integrated electronic and photonic systems.
Akshar Jain received his B. Tech. degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering at the National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India in 2015. He joined the group in the summer of 2016 and is currently pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His current research focuses on optoelectronic integration for frequency synthesis and stabilization of low power and low noise lasers.
Undergraduate Student Researchers
Sarah Grundeen received her B.S. degree in Bioengineering from UCLA in 2012. She joined the Biomimetic Circuits and Nanosystems Group in Fall 2012.