Basic research translated to solving medical problems one device at a time

Our group employs and creates novel engineering and fabrication approaches to overcome longstanding problems in medicine. We employ acoustofluidics, micro/nanofabrication methods, and new fundamental physical phenomena along the way to applications. We're happy to collaborate with academic and industrial colleagues, and are fortunate to have among the best medical, fabrication, and testing facilities in the world.

We often have openings for capable post-doctorates and PhD students; contact us for more information. We also host faculty, students, and industry employees. 


Helping train the next generation of engineering and scientific leaders

The group serves UCSD by teaching engineering design, dynamics, structural and fluid mechanics, acoustofluidics, micro to nano-scale fabrication, and medical device engineering courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.


Our research group

Current members and former members

Gopesh Tilvawala

Gopesh is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego. He is working on hydraulic and acoustic driven micro devices with direct application in solving medical problems. He obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. Creatively applying fundamental science to develop medical devices which can bring positive change and impact the lives of people is his key motivation. He is presently working on soft robotic micro-devices for use in neurosurgery and ophthalmology. By virtue of interest in low-cost medical devices for developing countries, he is also involved in the development of novel technology for drug delivery and rapid diagnostics.

An Huang

An is a PhD student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. Her current research is focused on design, study, and analysis on the effect of microacoustic wave to the rechargeable batteries. Coming with her background in battery field, she links it with microacoustic wave generation devices to improve the capability of a battery and try to understand the physical phenomena behind it. Her research interests are microacoustic devices, microfluidics systems, and clean energy storage and conversion technologies. Her dream is to develop a new solution to enable a high capacity, safe, and affordable battery be practically used in people’s daily life. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, discovering new food recipes, and spending time with her family and friends.

Jiyang Mei

Jiyang is a graduate student from the Department of Material Science and Engineering. He received his Bachelor's degree from University of Science and Technology of China. And he obtained his Master's degree in physics before switching to the current department at UC, San Diego. Working on the surface acoustic wave devices with waveguide structures, which is a conduction metal film that can confine the propagation of waves on the substrate, he tries to integrate his research with interdisciplinary fields, such as biology and medical devices. Also, he enjoys and plays basketball.

Shuai Zhang

Shuai is a graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at UC San Diego
Undergraduate school: Beijing institute of Technology, Material Science and Engineering
Master: UCSD, Material Science and Engineering
Research interests: Mechanical properties of cell membrane and droplet atomization
Hobbies: Calligraphy, Clarinet, Reading

Naiqing Zhang

Naiqing is a PhD student in Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego. His research interests focus on using surface acoustic wave (SAW) to manipulate particles and fluids in micro/nanofluidic systems. He received his B.S. in Mechanics and Engineering Science in Peking University in 2016. On his way to the PhD degree, he is always passionate and eager to explore and understand interesting phenomena in natural science. His hobbies are playing chess, playing basketball, and swimming.

Bill Connacher

Bill is a Ph.D. student from the San Francisco Bay Area. He majored in Engineering Physics at UC Berkeley and did research in Professor Albert Pisano's former MEMS lab at Berkeley. Following graduation he took a research position in the tribology section at Argonne National Lab working under Dr. Ali Erdemir on wear resistant coatings for metal surfaces. At this point he decided he needed to pursue a Ph.D. in order to increase his impact on science and technology. In the interim he worked for a small startup in Silicon Valley, Glint Photonics, where he primarily worked on electrowettting based micro-opto-fluidic devices. As a graduate student he is excited to pursue research that couples engineering expertise with the strong biomedical community here at UCSD. He is currently working on microfluidic devices actuated by surface acoustic waves (SAWs) motivated by medical needs.

Aditya Vasan

Aditya is a PhD student in the department of mechanical engineering at UC San Diego. He graduated with a masters in mechanical engineering from UCLA in 2015, after which he worked at Abbott’s (formerly St. Jude Medical) cardiovascular division in Sylmar, California. His work at UCLA involved the development of a ventricular shunt to treat patients with hydrocephalus. At Abbott, he developed novel processes for the manufacture of the worlds first smartphone compatible implantable cardiac monitor, Confirm Rx, as well as helped design a delivery tool to facilitate the implant. The device received FDA approval in May 2017. 
His research interests lie in the field of medical devices and diagnostics. Specifically, he is interested in clinical applications of MEMS and surface acoustic wave devices and the potential of using soft robotic technologies to provide minimally invasive therapy.

James Friend

Professor Friend leads the Medically Advanced Devices Laboratory at the University of California-San Diego in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He has over 270 peer-reviewed research publications, including 140 journal papers and eight book chapters, and 27 patents in process or granted, completed 34 postgraduate students and supervised 19 postdoctoral staff, and been awarded over $25 million in competitive grant-based research funding over his career. He is a fellow of the IEEE.

Former members

Sean Collignon

Morteza Miansari

Yuta Kurashina

Edward Aminov


Medically Advanced Devices Laboratory

Principal Investigator: Professor James Friend 
Phone/Zoom: +1-858-534-3781 •
Personal Assistant: Lusia Veksler +1-858-822-1269
to parking, laboratories and offices.

Private Lab Group Web Page HERE.