Bakar Fellows at a Glance

Pieter Abbeel


Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Pieter Abbeel is teaching robots to learn with the vision that someday every home will have a robotic helper. Abbeel’s approach could help robots deal with three big challenges in navigating complex tasks: translatable perception, environmental variability and uncertainty, which will make robots much more adaptable and useful.


Ana Arias

MRI Technology

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Ana Claudia Arias is working on a new, customized hardware to allows Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) with screen-printed receiver coils arrays.  She is working with partners at UCSF and Stanford Children’s Hospital to test the devices in a clinical setting.


Jose Carmena

Brain-Machine Interface

Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences/H. Wills Neuroscience Inst.

Jose Carmena is developing new technology — known as brain-machine interface, or BMI — that enables people with spinal cord injuries, stroke or other motor disabilities to control prostheses simply by thought. His team studies how to exploit brain plasticity and machine learning to accelerate learning and boost performance of the prosthesis.



Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology

Jamie Cate is engineering the yeast Kluyveromyces marxianus as a new host for industrial scale green chemistry applications. His goal is to employ K. marxianus as a highly efficient producer of lipids for use in cosmetics, soaps and detergents. 


Kathy Collins

Biotechnology and Health

Molecular and Cell Biology

Kathy Collins is working to see that RNA sequence fulfill's its promise as an informative and affordable read-out of health status. Cells secrete packets of RNA into the bloodstream. Her startup, KarnaTeq, has developed new tools for RNA sequencing that can be used by scientists now, and health providers in the future, to detect disease independent of the type of tumor type or tissue dysfunction with a simple blood draw.  


Tanja Cuk

Energy Storage


Tanja Cuk received a Bakar fellowship to advance her research on “supercapacitors” — devices that can deliver more power than batteries, and more quickly, but as yet don’t store energy as well. Cuk’s goal is a new generation of supercapacitors optimized for energy delivery and storage. 


Nicholas de MonchauxNICHOLAS DE MONCHAUX 

Architecture, Urban Design and Berkeley Center for New Media

Nicholas de Monchaux’s Local Code integrates Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Computer Aided Design (CAD) software systems to enable designers to plan optimally distributed small infrastructure projects such as solar arrays, open space and housing.  The resulting projects will accomplish the goals of large infrastructure proposals, but with reduced cost, greater resilience and shared community benefits.


John Dueber

Green Dyes


John Dueber is working to employ metabolite protecting groups for a sustainable indigo dyeing process. The new technology has the potential to transform the Jeans (and related textile) dyeing industry – currently a polluting industry with most of its manufacturing located outside of the United States – into a “green business” using dye processes that would comply with modern regulations ensuring environmental safeguards.


Felix Fischer

Graphene Nanoribbons


Felix Fischer plans to develop electronic devices and sensors based on a hot new material: graphene nanoribbons. These are narrow strips of graphene – a sheet of carbon atoms – that are small enough to exhibit quantum weirdness.


Daniel FletcherDANIEL FLETCHER  
Digital Health


Daniel Fletcher is engineering a mobile phone-based ophthalmoscope, the RetinaScope, capable of capturing diagnostic quality wide-field retinal images in general practice and clinical settings.   Readily available screening with the RetinaScope will promote early detection of treatable causes of vision loss. 


Genome Editing

Molecular and Cell Biology

Lin He is perfecting a new method to facilitate genome engineering of research and agricultural animals, by rapidly and efficiently introducing CRISPR/Cas9 ribonucleoproteins into fertilized oocytes.


Amy Herr

Cancer Screening


Amy Herr is introducing screening strategies that isolate, characterize and measure dozens of proteins in thousands cells, with single-cell resolution. The tool harnesses microarray and microfluidic design to link the burgeoning field of proteomics - the analysis of protein abundance and function - with development of new diagnostics and pharmaceutical compounds.


James Hurley

Neurodegenerative Disease

Molecular and Cell Biology

James Hurley is developing therapies to regulate autophagy, the cell’s major mechanism for clearing out intracellular debris, to combat neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's Disease. Neurons are the cells most vulnerable to damage when autophagy slows down with aging and disease. His insights will be used to develop therapies that will promote healthy autophagic function.


Ali Javey

Health Monitoring

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Wearable sensor technologies play a significant role in realizing personalized medicine. Sweat contains metabolites that indicate physiological information and is an excellent candidate for non-invasive, continuous monitoring of health status. Our flexible sensors and integrated circuits bridge the technology gap in wearable sensors, enabling a wide range of personalized real-time diagnostics.


Daniela Kaufer

Preventing Epilepsy

Integrative Biology

Daniela Kaufer is focused on a way to prevent the development of epilepsy in people who have had brain injuries, such as from trauma, stroke, infection or cancer. Her studies have shown that disruption of the blood-brain barrier that normally protects the brain may follow such injuries, and is followed by activation of a pathological signaling cascade, that leads to the development of epilepsy. Kaufer identified pharmacological means to target this signaling cascade, and protect the brain.


Jeffrey Long

Carbon Capture


Jeffrey Long is designing innovative solid adsorbents to revolutionize carbon capture. His startup Mosaic Materials will pursue the development, optimization and large-scale commercial production of diamine-appended metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), that exhibit an unprecedented cooperative mechanism for CO2 binding and low-temperature regeneration, which uniquely positions them to revolutionize carbon capture in coal- and natural gas-fired power plants.


Micheal Lustig

MRI Technology

Electrical Engineering & Computer Science

Michael Lustig wants to make MRI scanning better, stronger, faster. Using compression scanning, he can reduce time in the machine and create smaller, better resolution images. He is working with radiologists at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital to refine his technology.


Michael Maharbiz

Smart Prosthesis

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences      

Michel Maharbiz focuses on building interfaces between the biotic and the abiotic. He is currently focused on developing next-generation neural interface technology. He is the co-inventor of Neural Dust, a method for tetherless electrical recording of neural activity, and is a co-founder of Cortera Neurotechnologies. 


Andreas Martin

Drug Development

Molecular and Cell Biology

Andreas Martin has developed novel systems and strategies to screen for compounds that selectively inhibit protein turnover in the cell and may lead to new drugs against cancer. His research elucidates important mechanisms of protein degradation and makes the involved enzymes amenable for in-vitro biochemistry, high-throughput screening, and structure-based drug design.


Holger Muller



Holger Müller is making "finding yourself" a lot easier. His miniaturized multi-axial interferometric inertial sensor can determine its own location without any external cues. By simultaneously measuring four independent combinations of acceleration and rotation, the device can even find materials underground, without the help of a satellite.


Ronald Rael

Additive Manufacturing


Ronald Rael wants to change building construction forever. Rael has been expanding 3-D printing to use materials from sawdust to tire to salt. His designs and use local, sustainable materials to explore new architectural applications that can be beautiful, functional and made on-site.


Michael Rape

Cancer Drugs

Molecular and Cell Biology

Michael Rape has developed the first systematic strategy to screen for compounds that could yield potent drugs against a group or class of human enzymes with links to cancer. Rape‘s company, Nurix,  provides not only a complete new approach to drug discovery, but now also a source of jobs in California. 


Shawn Shadden

Diagnostic Tools

Mechanical Engineering

Shawn Shadden integrates diagnostic imaging with computational modeling to better diagnose stroke severity in patients. Using standard CT or MR angiography, a vascular flow model is used to quantify blood flow pre- and post-stroke. This enables estimation of how much disruption of flow has occurred, and improves the ability to risk-stratify patients for their eventual clinical outcome. He will work with a UC Berkeley start-up, O.N. Diagnostics (founded by Tony Keaveny) to bring his technology to market.


Lydia Sohn

Cancer Screening

Mechanical Engineering

Lydia Sohn  looks for ways to screen for metastatic cancer cells that have been shed from breast tumors and are circulating in the blood threatening to establish satellite tumors. Sohn’s label-free method of screening cells, Node-Pore Sensing (NPS) was named one of five “Revolutionary Platform Technologies for Advancing Life Sciences Research” at a recent White House event. Sohn established her start-up company Nodexus in February 2014.


Neil Tsutsui

Agricultural Pests

Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Neil Tsutsui develops environmentally safe ways to control populations of Argentine ants — the no. 1 pest problem in homes and businesses, and a serious threat to California’s vitally important agriculture industry. Tsutsui leads efforts to reduce population growth by turning the ants’ own communication pheromones against them. 


Laura Waller


Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Laura Waller is working on computational imaging methods for quantitative phase microscopy, which enables one to map the shape and/or density of invisible samples in a non-invasive way. Her group is developing simple experimental architectures and efficient post-processing algorithms for phase recovery, applied in a variety of scientific and industrial settings.


Feng Wang

Optoelectronic Devices


Feng Wang focuses on graphene, which has remarkable electrical, optical and nanofabrication properties that make it an exciting platform for new optoelectronic devices integrated on a single silicon chip. 


Mary Wildermuth

Plant Defense

Plant and Microbial Biology

Mary Wildermuth is looking for ways to help plants resist a common pathogen, powdery mildews, that have a devastating impact on California agriculture. This could obviate the need for extensive chemical treatments used to limit damage from the fungus. The Bakar Fellowship has enabled initial translation of this research to relevant agronomic species and allows for prioritization and formulation of strategies for commercialization. 


Jungqiao WuJUNQIAO WU 
Energy Efficiency

Materials Science and Engineering

Junqiao Wu is developing a new class of phase transition material-based coatings to improve the efficiency of thermal energy utilization. These materials may revolutionize energy handling in buildings and automobiles by automatically reflecting heat to the environment when cooling is required, but allowing it to enter to contribute to heating. 


Ke Xu



Ke Xu is extending the resolution of fluorescence microscopy to achieve optical resolution of better than 10 nm, a range previously accessible only through electron microscopy. His super-resolved microscopy with infinite color channels could give scientists unprecedented information about the interactions between different molecules in complex systems.


Jie Yao


Material Science and Engineering

Jie Yao wants to improve your cell phone. He is developing a "smart lens" or reconfigurable photonic devices with multiple functionalities that are much more compact than a conventional lens. His tunable optics can be used in other devices as well including microscopes, other cameras, scanners, detectors and scopes.