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 have openings for capable PhD students; contact us for more information.

We also host faculty, students, and industry employees. 

More information


Funding Organizations

COVID-19 Research

AVERT Taskforce

We have formed a taskforce of over fifty people spanning engineering, medicine, clinical practice, biology, commercialization, and legal disciplines to rapidly provide novel solutions to treat patients suffering from COVID-19. With the remarkable support of UC San Diego and partner institutions in San Diego and beyond, we have devised new low-cost ventilators, patient care systems, rapid diagnostics, and disinfection technology for immediate use.

The information below highlights our activity.

We welcome gifts in support of our research effort here. We would be pleased to acknowledge your support.

logo AVERT

MADVent Inexpensive Ventilator System

The COVID-19 pandemic has produced critical shortages of ventilators worldwide. There is an unmet need for rapidly deployable, emergency-use ventilators with sufficient functionality to manage COVID-19 patients with severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

Here we show the development and validation of a simple, portable, and low-cost ventilator that may be rapidly manufactured with minimal susceptibility to supply chain disruptions. This single-mode continuous, mandatory, closed-loop, pressure-controlled, time-terminated emergency ventilator offers robust safety and functionality absent in existing solutions to the ventilator shortage.

Validated using certified test lungs over a wide range of compliances, pressures, volumes and resistances to meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards of safety and efficacy, an Emergency Use Authorization is in review for this system. This emergency ventilator could eliminate controversial ventilator rationing or splitting to serve multiple patients. All design and validation information will be provided here to facilitate ventilator production even in resource-limited settings. 


When clinicians must intubate COVID-19 patients, they rely on inadequate personal protection equipment (PPE) and direct exposure to the coughing patient. The COSIE system encloses the patient's upper body during intubation and other procedures to provide an additional barrier to viral exposure, and offers several particular advantages over earlier approaches. With over 50 boxes in current clinical use and a recent publication, the system has proven beneficial.
Clinicians are furthermore reluctant to use non-intubated treatment options for patients because they risk exposure to COVID-19 with BiPAP and mask treatments as the patient coughs and exhales viral particles. The VEIL provides an effective barrier to droplets and aerosols. Already in clinical use, the VEIL is believed responsible for saving the life of at least one patient suffering from COVID-19 in the first month of the pandemic. It is suitable for long-term therapies such as NHF and BiPAP since negative pressure is maintained in the box despite gas inflows, and because patients may maintain mobility within it. We hope that the properties ofthe VEIL will increase the number of options for non-invasiverespiratory support for COVID19 patients without increasing the risk of viral contagion.

Our research group

Current members and former members

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jeremy Orosco

Jeremy is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at University of California San Diego (UCSD). Being a southern California native and avid waterman, he settled on UCSD's excellent MAE program for his B.S. (2014), M.S. (2016), and Ph.D. (2019). The latter two of these were funded by the San Diego Fellowship and President's Dissertation Fellowship, and his doctoral thesis "Optical and Radiative Properties of Solid Media: Analysis and Modeling with Nonlocal Differential Operators" was developed under the excellent tutelage of Professor Carlos F. M. Coimbra. At MADLab, he applies his knowledge of nonlocal calculus toward a theory of microscale capillary phenomenon and a revision to the classical description of atomization. More information on his research can be found at his personal website.

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Amihai Horesh

Amihai, a graduate of the Chemical Engineering department, received his PhD in 2019 from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. His research focused on acoustic streaming in microfluidic systems. The purpose of his study was to characterize the dynamics that occur as a result of a confluence between surface acoustic waves (SAW) and micron-sized liquid films, trapped between air bubbles and microchannel walls. In the MAD lab, he will use his experience to characterize acoustic streaming phenomena within lithium-ion batteries, as well as expand his research from the Ph.D. to study acoustic streaming phenomena in nanofluidic systems. In addition to research, Amihai loves spending time with his family and traveling whenever possible.

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Cécile Floer

Cécile is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at University of California San Diego (UCSD).
Cécile received an Engineering degree in Electricity and Mechanics in 2016. She defended her Ph.D. in November 2019 at Université de Lorraine in France on wireless, stretchable and packageless acoustic wave sensors. The goal of her project was to develop a wireless temperature sensor that combines an ultrathin device based on the acoustic wave technology with stretchable antennas in order to "tattooed" it on the skin. She received a Fulbright fellowship to continue her research in this field and is now working on SAW devices for microfluidic applications.
Besides her interest in sciences for health applications, Cécile enjoys baking and discovering new culture or lifestyle through travels.

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Lonnie Petersen

Lonnie G Petersen (MD,PhD) completed her MD from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark in 2007 and has worked in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care. Dr. Petersen received her PhD in Gravitational Physiology and Space Medicine in 2016. Currently an assistant Professor the University of California, San Diego and supported by NASA, DoD, and the Novo Nordic Foundation as well as being a Sapera Aude Fellow (National Research Council). Her research is rooted in cardiovascular, cerebral and exercise physiology always with an integrative physiology approach.

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James Friend

James leads the Medically Advanced Devices Laboratory in the Center for Medical Devices at the University of California-San Diego. He is a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He has over 270 peer-reviewed research publications, including 155 journal papers and eight book chapters, and 32 patents in process or granted, completed 34 postgraduate students and supervised 20 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

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Sean Collignon

people morteza

Morteza Miansari

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Yuta Kurashina

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Edward Aminov

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Kenjiro Takemura (Keio Prof.)



The 100 sqm (1050 sqft) MADLab laboratory includes fabrication, prototyping, metrology, and testing facilities. We make daily use of the extraordinary NANO3Qualcomm Institute, and ACTRI core facilities.

  Fabrication facilities: laser machining

We have a customized Optec Lightshot excimer (193nm, 25 J/cm^2) + femtosecond (1030nm, 20W) five-axis CNC, arbitrary mask laser machining station. The system is on loan from Optec, and is capable of machining lithium niobate, glass, all polymers, and metals. It is capable of achieving feature sizes smaller than 750nm. John Roy, an experienced local representative is often on site for training and advice. cleanroom equipment for polymer microfabrication, including a large fume hood, argon-purged glove box, class 1000 laminar flow cabinet with UV shielding for photoresist work, vacuum and dessicator stations for polymer microfabrication, extrusion, plasma etching, spin coating, casting, and integration.

  Fabrication facilities: microfluidics, microscale soft robotics, and integrated microelectromechanics devices

The lab has four microassembly/microscopy stations complete with pantograph micromanipulators and custom ultrasound-based pick-and-place manipulators. We also have two microsoldering stations with wave and SMD device soldering systems., and a microassembly and testing station with pantograph micromanipulators. The lab also has a DC-2.4GHz four-port network analyzer and numerous oscilloscopes, signal generators, and amplifiers.

  Metrology: high-speed videography, vibration and velocity measurement, and pressure and acoustic field measurement

The lab has a 9 kHz–2.4 GHz scanning laser Doppler vibrometer, Polytec UHF-120SV, able to measure 9 kHz to 2.4 GHz acoustic wave propagation upon micro to submicron devices and a laser Doppler tachometer, Canon LV-100Z, able to measure in-plane motion to 10 m/s and 2 kHz. Due to excellent support by Polytec Irvine, the laboratory has regular access to other vibrometer and surface metrology capabilities as needed.

Wel also have a Malvern Spraytec atomized mist sizer with fixturing for nebulizers and fuel injectors.

We have fluorescent and bright-field high-speed (Photron UX100+Infinity TS) video microscopes; and microfluidics control and operation equipment (ELVEFLOW); an inverted phase contrast, epifluorescence and TIRF microscope (AmScope).

Our lab also has extensive electrical test gear, from network analyzers to lock-in amplifiers, RF arbitrary signal generators, and amplifiers.

From August 2019, the lab will have a customized transmission digital holographic high-speed (1.2 million fps, Photron NOVA) microscope system from Lyncee-tec capable of providing real-time (not stroboscopic) processed data on surface deformation to 3 µm lateral resolution and 10 nm vibration displacement resolution over the entire field of view of the microscope.

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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.


Principal Investigator: Professor James Friend 
Phone/Zoom: +1-858-26o-95o8 • 
Personal Assistant: Lusia Veksler 
Center for Medical Devices
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering • Jacobs School of Engineering
Department of Surgery • School of Medicine 
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive MC0411
La Jolla, CA 92093-0411

Offices: 344K/345C&F Structural and Materials Engineering Building 
Lab: 320 Structural and Materials Engineering Building 
Maps to parking, laboratories and offices.

Shipping address:
University of California, San Diego
Attn: Prof James Friend, (858) 260-9508
320 SME MC0411
7835 Trade Street
San Diego CA 92121-2460

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