2015-2016 Fellows

Pieter Abbeel


Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

A Robot in Every Home: Artificial Intelligence to Power Home Robots

Today, robots exist that, mechanically, are capable of performing many household chores. Equipping these robots with the artificial intelligence to perform such chores autonomously, however, has proven difficult.  This effort will pursue the development of machine learning algorithms that will enable robots to learn to perform chores from watching human demonstrations and through their own trial and error.  The practical benefits to society include enabling elderly and disabled to live independently well beyond what is possible now, as well as enable all of us to live more productive lives.

Pieter Abbeel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science studying artificial intelligence (AI), control, intelligent systems and robotics (CIR), and machine learning. He received a BS/MS in electrical engineering from KU Leuven in Belgium and PhD in computer science from Stanford University.

Michael Lustig


Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Clinical Dissemination of Compressive Sensing Methods for Robust Rapid MRI: Making MRI Safer, Cheaper, and more Available

MRI is an excellent tool for disease diagnosis and monitoring, yet MRI scans are inherently slow, which reduces throughput, increases cost, and limits applications such as cardiovascular and fetal/pediatric imaging. By enabling faster scans with improved image quality, our work in compressed scanning, motion sensing, and reconstruction algorithms can provide clear benefits to patients and their doctors. This technology could translate into fast, robust, broadly applicable pediatric MRI protocols with less anesthesia, making MRI safer, cheaper, and more available. We also envision new MRI applications for in both pediatric and adult disease diagnosis. We are currently working with radiologists at Lucille Packard Children’s hospital and will soon expand to other bay area facilities.

Michael (Miki) Lustig is an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His research focuses on medical imaging, particularly Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), signal processing, and  scientific computing. He received a BSc from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology and a MSc and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Holger Muller



Pyramidal Atom Inferometric Inertial Sensor: Unlocking New Applications in Navigation

Atom interferometry is a powerful tool for the precision measurements of gravity, acceleration, and rotation. It has already been applied for geophysics and geology, mineral exploration and inertial navigation. However, currently used systems are large, heavy and very expensive. Our breakthrough in miniaturization of these devices will unlock new applications in commercial and military aviation, robotic aircraft (drones), and other emerging technologies.

Holger Müller is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics. He received a BS from the University of Konstanz, Germany, a PhD from Homboldt-University, Berlin, and conducted post-doctoral research at Stanford University. He successfully applied for his first patent at age 14.

Ronald Rael

Additive Manufacturing


Developing Advanced Building Material Applications Using Additive Manufacturing: Transforming the Built Environment

In the US alone, the construction industry produced 143.5 million tons of building-related construction and demolition debris in 2008 and buildings, in their consumption of energy, produce more greenhouse gases than automobiles or industry. Our research combines exploration of waste materials in additive manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing) – a viable and transformative tool to create sustainable, intelligent building materials that are responsive and reparable to the environment – and novel assemblies to create efficient architectural systems for building construction. Our technology could transform current building manufacturing and delivery systems. Warehousing material would no longer be necessary because material manufacturing could be on-site and on-demand, using locally derived and recycled materials. We can also add new design features such as recycled ceramic bricks that can act as passive air-conditioning and seismically stable structures. See some of the possibilities at http://www.emergingobjects.com/

Ronald Rael is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Architecture and Art Practice. His research and creative work relies upon a deep understanding of place, and its inherent resources, and makes careful links between a broad spectrum of tools that come from manual, industrial and digital approaches to making architecture. Rael received a BED from the University of Colorado and an MA at Columbia University. Based in San Francisco, his creative practice, Rael San Fratello, established in 2002 with Virginia San Fratello, is an internationally recognized award-winning studio whose work lies at the intersection of architecture, art, culture, and the environment.

Ke Xu



Spectrally-Resolved Super-Resolution Microscopy: Redefining the Way We See the World

Microscopy, in particular light (optical) microscopy, is an indispensable tool for modern research, medical diagnosis, and quality control. The resolution of conventional optical microscopy is limited by the diffraction of light to about 300 nanometers. Emerging super-resolution microscopy methods, including our recent developments, have overcome this limit by reinventing how a light signal is generated and processed. In recent years, achieve optical resolutions of better than 10 nanometers. Beyond pursuing high spatial resolution, we are developing next-generation methods to integrate super-resolution microscopy with spectroscopy to achieve spectrally-resolved super-resolution microscopy. By exploiting the largely unexplored spectral dimension of fluorophores, our research could enable super-resolution microscopy for infinite color channels with minimal crosstalk between different channels. That could give scientists unprecedented information about the interactions between different molecular components in biological and other complex systems, thus opening up exciting new possibilities for future research and diagnostics. We also plan to make our technology work with conventional commercial microscope systems so it can be readily adapted by researchers in different fields.

Ke Xu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and holds the Chevron Chair in Chemistry. His lab works on the development of microscopy, spectroscopy, and other physiochemical tools to visualize biological structures and nanomaterials at the nanoscale. He obtained his B.S. from Tsinghua University, Ph.D. from Caltech, and performed postdoctoral research at Harvard University before joining UC Berkeley.