Skip to content



Dr. Nitul Kakati

Year joined the laboratory : 2018-2024, Assistant Specialist 

Major: Materials Science & Engineering

Hometown: Assam, India

Why I joined : Energy conversion and storage have been the focus of my research. At UC Merced, TEEL is an active fuel cell and electrolysis research group. Working with an experienced researcher like Prof. Chuang would be an excellent addition to my research portfolio. During my time at TEEL, I believe I would be able to further develop my skills in materials research forelectrochemical applications.

Title: Principal Electrochemical Engineer

Company: OCOchem


Dr. Chika Eze

Year joined the laboratory: Spring - December 2023 Postdoc Scholar

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Obollo-Eke, Enugu State, Nigeria.

Why I joined: I have had a long-standing interest in clean energy generation, conversion, and storage. Following my undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria in 2011. I completed my master's degree in 2014 from the University of Birmingham in the UK, where I majored in Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors—one of the world's primary generators of low-carbon electricity. Subsequently, I received my PhD from the City University of Hong Kong in 2020, with a focus on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and heat transfer for supercritical fluids systems applications. As part of my PhD program, I spent several months working as a visiting scholar at the Institute for Energy Systems within the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Following my PhD program, I spent two years as a Postdoc Fellow in Hong Kong Quantum AI Lab, developing novel strategies for battery thermal management systems. Joining TEEL at UC Merced to work with Prof. Chuang on Fuel Cell technologies is undoubtedly a wonderful opportunity, and a perfect fit for my future career goals. Fuel cells are one of the most energy efficient devices for extracting power from fuels, with potential to become an essential technology for decarbonizing energy systems. I look forward to honing my skills and collaborating with colleagues to make significant contributions to the efficiency, safety, and reliability of fuel cell technologies.

Research interests: Fuel Cells design and Optimization, Battery Thermal Management Systems, Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors Systems, CFD and Machine Learning.

Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate

Organization: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Google scholar link

Guangfu Li

Year joined the laboratory : 2015-2021, Post-Doctorate

Major : Chemical Engineering

Hometown : Shaoyang, China

Why I joined : I really want to join TEEL group and take it as a lifetime opportunity to pursue the career development and personal ambition. I am very, very grateful to everyone who helped me to come here. It is time to give something back.

Title: Professor

Company: Foshan Xianhu Laboratory, Guangdong China


Dr. Yvonne Ligaya F. Musico

Year joined the laboratory: 2/2018-10/2018, Post-Doctorate

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Banton, Romblon, Philippines

Why I joined: As a chemical and environmental engineer who has better understanding about the link between environment, climate change and energy, I feel that I must take part in bridging the gap between them. This has greatly influenced me in my research interest on fuel cells as an alternative clean energy conversion over the conventional fossil fuels technology. With my research background and interest on graphene chemistry, I have discovered the amazing properties and structure of this nanomaterial which can be tailored and fine-tuned to develop and design new cost-effective electrocatalysts for fuel cells. I joined TEEL lab because I believe that this is the perfect platform for me to pursue my research on graphene and graphene oxide for green energy development. I am so glad and grateful to be part of the research group with wonderful and brilliant people under the supervision of great minds like Dr. Joey D. Ocon and Dr. Abel Chuang.

Future goals: Once I am done with my research, I will go back to my home country, the Philippines, and impart my knowledge about clean energy and fuel cells technology to my students, researchers, engineers and scientists. It is my hope that my study will contribute to the fund of knowledge in designing cost-effective processes and materials that can be used for clean energy technology. I will continually upgrade myself with the new knowledge/technology and do considerable researches that will be significant to the sustainable development. I am looking forward to handle projects where I can share my expertise in nanoscience, nanotechnology and engineering.


Dr. Rose Mendoza

Year active in the laboratory: 4/2017-10/2017, Post-Doctorate

Major : Chemical Engineering

Hometown : Quezon City, Philippines

Why I joined : I feel that TEEL will give me much of the knowledge, learnings and skills I need to be able to contribute to the community and to the society. I do believe that the road to harnessing sustainable energy is not that far and TEEL will help me understand better how it will be achieved. With its state-of-the art Electrochemical Energy Laboratory and facilities, TEEL is absolutely a place where I can understand fully the concept of sustainable and stable fuel technology. 

Future Goals : The research area covered by TEEL will help me understand how will I be instrumental in opening new perspectives of harnessing energy in the most sustainable manner and maintain diversity by collaborating researches which will hopefully explore other research possibilities not just in engineering but in all fields of science. Deeply honored by the support of my country on these aspirations, my ultimate goal is to collaborate with other scientist in providing my country sustainable energy and stable fuel technology that it needs to progress and provide energy requirements down to the smallest community.

Visiting Scholars

Julie Anne D. del Rosario

Year joined the laboratory: 2017-2019, Ph.D. Student

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Bulacan, Philippines

Why I joined: I joined TEEL as part of my Sandwich Program under the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institute (PCARI) Scholarships Project. The program offers Ph. D. students like me opportunities to continue or finish our dissertation in one of the University of California campuses. I chose to go to TEEL to be trained by top specialists who are active in my research field.

Future goals: After finishing my Ph.D., I would return as a faculty member in the University of the Philippines Diliman to train more students and scholars as researchers, and to head projects solving societal problems using electrochemical engineering. Hopefully, I can drive my own fuel cell car in the future.

Desiree Mae Sua-an

Year joined the laboratory: 8/2017-12/2017, Master student (from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Koronadal City, Philippines

Why I joined: TEEL provides an avenue to learn more about the recent developments and innovation in fuel cell research and in the field of electrochemistry. It also offers a constructive environment to hone my research skills.

Future goals: My goals are to give back to my country through the knowledge and skills that I gained during my stay in UC Merced, and to pursue my master’s degree and eventually a doctorate.

Reynaldo Geronia II

Year joined the laboratory: 8/2017-12/2017, Master student (from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Bataan, Philippines

Why I joined: Being a computational researcher, my experience with wet lab work is limited. I believe that by joining TEEL I will further my hands-on skills in fuel cell research, thus enabling me to become a more well-rounded researcher in electrochemical systems.

Future goals: I enjoy learning new things and sharing them with others. Hopefully, I get to use my skills to give back to my home country after I leave TEEL. Pursuing a PhD is not that far, too.

JM Mora

Year joined the laboratory: 2017-2019, Ph.D. Student (from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Bulacan, Philippines

Why I joined: TEEL offers a great opportunity to expand my research experience as well as improve my professional conduct. With access to TEEL's research facilities and related equipment with guidance from professor Chuang and help from my lab mates, I am able to realize the vast potential of fuel cell research areas. The work that they do is important and equally exciting. It is a privilege to be part of this group.

Future goals: My goal is to make a contribution towards building an energy-secured future for my country. I am hoping that my research on fuel cell technology will play a part on advancing the energy storage systems and other related clean energy technologies.

Yanan Chen

Years joined the laboratory: 2015-2016, Ph.D. Student (visited from WHUT)

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Jingzhou, China

Why I joined: One of the major reasons that I chose my major as MSE is because I think material is the key point to design the device that we want. TEEL group is really a team full of wisdom and vitality. I believe that joining TEEL will make me grow a lot.

Future Goals: My goals are to get a doctorate degree and build low cost and commercial PEM stacks.

Maricor Divinagracia

Year joined the laboratory: 2017-2018, Ph.D. Student (visited from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Quezon City, Philippines

Why I joined: I am a part of the PCARI Green Power Project on PEMFCs, which is a collaboration between UP and UC. Since our laboratory is still in its inception stage, it would be helpful for me to be trained in an established one, complete with facilities and experienced teammates. TEEL will help me grow into a well-rounded researcher.

Future goals: My goals include writing a dissertation that will be valuable in the advancement of fuel cell research and finishing my doctorate degree.

Graduate Students

Mrittunjoy Sarker (Joy) 

Year joined the laboratory : August/2017- June/ 2023, as a 1st year Ph.D. student

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Why I joined : I experienced working on modern diesel engine power plantsback in Bangladesh. The reason behind joining TEEL was because I wanted to do research on something that can create power like the diesel engines do but without any harm to the environment at all. Fuel cells are of great interest by the researchers now since it generates power with only byproduct of heat and pure water. My ultimate goalby being in TEEL is to generate impactful patents, publications, and products by performing cutting edge research in fuel cell technology.My current expertise lies in fuel cell testing and diagnostics.

Research interests: Renewable energy, hydrogen fuel cells(PEMFC, AEMFC), electrochemical characterization.

Position: Research Scientist at Honda Research Institute USA, Inc

Google Scholar Link

Pulkit Sagar

Year Joined: 2020, 2nd Year Ph.D. Student

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Why I joined: During my master’s study, I have worked on renewable energy and want to explore more in the field. Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell is one of the promising technologies which can change the perspective of energy consumption and generation. The TEEL lab has provided me the opportunity and the resources to make subtle changes for the future. Under the guidance of Prof.Chuang, I can achieve the goal. Being part of the TEEL group opens a plethora of opportunities to make a change for the future.

Future Goal: To become an academician and pass my knowledge to the future generation.

Shirin Mehrazi

Year joined the laboratory : 2018-12/2022, PhD student

Major: Environmental Systems (ES)

Hometown:Shiraz, Iran

Why I joined: I am a MaterialsEngineer with specialty in electrochemistry. During my master’s degree I focused on the fundamentals of corrosion electrochemistry. I always wanted to turn the knowledge of materials and electrochemistry into green energy applications, and I found TEEL as a right platform to help me grow. TEEL’s diverse research on the fuel cell fundamentals, components, application,and durability exposed me to very interesting research problems and helpedme build up my future career toget closer to my goals as a researcher.

Future Goals: To have a role in pushing fuel cell research more toward commercialization and saving our planet earth by clean energy careers like hydrogen.

Position: Postdoctoral Research Engineer at Bosch in the USA 

Marc Francis Labata

Year joined the laboratory : 8/2017-5/2022, Ph.D. Student

Major : Environmental Systems

Hometown : Tagum City, Davao del Norte, Philippines

Why I joined : With the lack of available resources back in my home country, it is a privilege to be a member of TEEL believing that it can provide me the necessary training and skill set as an aspiring researcher. I am also positive that TEEL will not only bring me advancement in doing scientific inquiries but will also prepare me to be a critical thinker in major personal life decisions. The professor is also committed in his role as an advisor who inspires his students to do well in the vast field of fuel cell research.

Future Goals : It is my responsibility as a scholar of my home country to participate in efforts aimed at developing technology for sustainable energy. I hope that I would be able to supervise research projects in the future and would have collaborations with seasoned researchers from across the world as well as mentor the younger generations interested in fuel cell research.

Position: Researcher at University of the Philippines Diliman

M. Azimur Rahman

Year joined the laboratory: 2016-2021, Ph.D. 

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Dhaka, Bangladesh

Why I joined : TEEL has an extremely organized environment which I feel is very important for doing high-quality research. I joined here because I want to do research in the thermal management section of Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel cell and I believe Professor Chuang will be an excellent guide for me to achieve the experimental and computational skills in heat transfer that I wish to obtain. I consider myself very lucky to be a part of this brilliant group and I want to make the best use of this opportunity.

Title: Fuel Cell Stack System Modeling Engineer

CompanyGeneral Motors

Donglei Yang

Year joined the laboratory: 2015-2021, Ph.D.

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Xinbin, China

Why I joined : I have been working on fuel cells for 4 years and got my master's degree in China. To develop highly efficient fuel cell products is always my career goal. With advanced experiments, excellent group and professor, TEEL lab is a great place to further promote my professional knowledge and skills to shape my mind to get closer to this goal.

Title: Freelancer

Felipe Mojica

Year joined the laboratory: 2015, 2016-2019 Master Student, 2019-2020 Researcher

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Bakersfield, CA

Why I joined: I am fascinated with the automotive industry and with fuel cells being a powerful zero emission candidate to replace the standard internal combustion engine in automobiles it was only a matter of time before I became drawn to fuel cells. At first glance, a fuel cell appears to be a simple device but upon closer inspection it requires a wealth of knowledge to understand the science that turns hydrogen and oxygen into water, electricity, and heat. It is a very exciting field of ongoing research.

Title: Mechanical Engineer

Company: Versogen

Shuo Huang

Year active in the laboratory: 1/2016-6/2016, Ph.D. Student

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Xinjiang, China

Why I joined: 1) I want to do the best research in the energy field. 2) The bright future of fuel cells and many opportunities and challenges in this area attract me. 3) Professor Chuang is a very diligent and determined scholar whom I admire very much.

Future Goals: To obtain the PhD degree. To become an excellent woman engineer.



Yogesh Bhusal

Year active the laboratory: 9/2016-12/2016, 1st year Ph.D. student

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Butwal, Nepal

Why I joined: I wanted to focus my graduate studies in learning as well as doing researches in renewable/clean energy systems design and energy management. The research activities in the TEEL lab squarely matched my interests. Moreover, the research in fuel cell technology, hydrogen fuel, and the challenges associated with hydrogen economy are very interesting to work upon and I would like to be the part of this game changer technology which, if successful, would bring revolution in the energy market; From running the industries and vehicles, to power for the buildings.

Future Goals: I come from a country being ravaged by the energy crisis. Introducing and implementing the renewable and clean energy technologies like fuel cell and solar energy is the need of the hour for my country. My goal here is to learn, research, and find out the economically most-viable and technically-feasible energy alternatives. I intend to be an expert in renewable energy system design, energy modeling, and implement those ideas in my home country after I graduate and go back.

Undergraduate Students

Kathryn Bibas

Year joined the laboratory : 1/2018- 5/2019 

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Irvine, California

Why you joined: : I joined TEEL because I enjoyed not only the content of Professor Chuang’s Thermodynamics class, but also how he approached teaching. I wanted to continue learning from him and expand my knowledge of renewable energy.

Future : Upon finishing my undergraduate education, I plan to either go to graduate school or pursue a career in a field I feel is making a positive impact on the world.

Ilian Mondragon

Year joined the laboratory : 1/2018- 5/2019 

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Santa Clarita, California

Why you joined: :I joined TEEL to learn how to be part of a team, and to learn how to apply my taught knowledge in a project based setting. I really like that TEEL works on economically friendly and sustainable energy; and that it has many on going projects.

Future : I would like to continue to develop clean energy technologies and implement them in the automotive or medical fields. I plan to pursue a master's degree after working in one of these fields for about a year.


Amiel Ray Cristobal

Year joined the laboratory : 6/2017-5/2019

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Philippines, Bulacan

Why you joined: I joined TEEL because it provides me an opportunity to develop my engineering skills while enjoying my passion of learning about renewable and zero-emission energy. After taking Professor Chuang's Thermodynamics class, I have grown interest in fuel cells. His class also expressed to me how he truly cares about all of his students.

Future : After my undergraduate , I plan to go to graduate school or continue pursuing a career in the energy field to create a positive impact in the world and technology.


Sonia Desaidamle

Year joined the laboratory : 9/2017-5/2019 

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Why you joined: I joined TEEL because I am fascinated by different methods of energy transfer, storage, and improved efficiency. I love that TEEL incorporates my favorite subjects, such as Thermodynamics, Chemistry, Materials Science, and even advanced Mathematics, into creating new technologies that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Future : I want to continue to develop clean energy technologies and implement them in the automotive and aerospace fields. I hope to make these technologies competitive enough to render non-renewable energy sources obsolete. I also plan to pursue a master's degree and possibly a Ph.D related to clean energy technologies.


Lawrence Anderson

Year joined the laboratory: 5/2016-8/2016

Major: Material Science & Engineering

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

Why you joined: After taking a course with Professor Chuang, I realized that he is the type of person that takes an interest in his students and genuinely wants to see them succeed, and I knew that he was somebody that I wanted to learn from. I didn't know much about fuel cells before joining this lab, but I was immediately intrigued by the concept and potential applications of these efficient, zero-emission devices, and I want to have an impact on their development.

Future : Upon finishing my undergraduate degree here at UC Merced, I hope to obtain a masters degree related to nanoscience or energy storage. I hope to make a positive impact on the people and technology with which I work. I want to develop and patent a new super material that makes me enough money to buy a personal space shuttle.

Eliezar Vigdorchik

Year joined the laboratory: 1/2017-5/2018 

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Redwood City, CA

Why you joined: I joined TEEL because I enjoy working with mechatronics systems and it afforded me the opportunity of working in a group environment and with support on improving efficient integration of alternate energy systems.

Future: I hope to get more involved with medical devices and medical equipment implementing mechatronics based solutions for medical problems and abnormalities.

Jeffrey Ali

Year joined the laboratory: 9/2016-12/2017

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Vallejo, CA

Why you joined: I Joined TEEL after taking thermodynamics with Professor Chuang. I enjoyed the concepts discussed during the course, especially dealing with energy, and wanted to learn more about the field.

Future: After graduation I would like to work in the energy industry on renewable forms of energy.


Zachary Zisser

Year joined the laboratory: 9/2016-8/2017

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Future: My goals in life are to strive to learn as much as I can, so that I may help the world develop and grow.

Ashley Johnson

Years active in the laboratory: 2015-2016

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Born in Chicago, IL; raised in San Francisco, CA

Why I joined: I joined the TEEL lab because I saw an opportunity to learn, to experience the work done in a lab first hand, and to create something the world needs.

Future Goals: To explore the different branches of engineering in order to find my true passion. I hope to improve technology in a way that will benefit everyone someday.

Karen Turcios

Years active in the laboratory: 2015-2016

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Born in Guatemala; raised in Northridge, CA

Why I joined: I decided to join the TEEL lab team primarily to enlarge my knowledge and skills set by getting hands on experience inside the lab. I saw it as a great opportunity to challenge myself to learn something outside of the school curriculum, and wanted to broaden the opportunities that may become available to me in the near future.

Future Goals: After graduation I hope to go into industry in a field I truly enjoy working in, and then later obtain my Masters.

Derek Brigham

Years active in the laboratory: 6/2015-12/2016

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Ventura, CA

Why I joined : One of the major reasons that I changed majors from CSE to ME is because of the hands-on work. When I was little, I spent a lot of time around men in my family who worked with cars and carpentry and other similar things. Although I was too young to help back then, now I see TEEL as an opportunity to do some of my own hands-on work.

Future Goals : My goals are to get my undergraduate degree and then pursue a master's/PhD.

Marek Abarca

Year joined the laboratory: 6/2015-12/2016 

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Why you joined : I joined because I wanted to be part of something innovative and develop and contribute my skills.

Future : I plan on graduating with my degree in mechanical engineering and either getting a job/internship at Tesla Motors or continue my education for my Masters.

Jacob Clark

Year joined the laboratory: 9/2015-9/2017 

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Why I joined: I joined TEEL lab because I was fascinated with the thermodynamics course material and with energy storage and production. I hope that in the process of working in this lab, I will further improve my understanding of hydrogen fuel cells and be able to apply these skills in the future.

Future Goals: I wish to work in the automotive industry. Automotive subjects have been a lifetime fascination for me.


Hai Yanfeng

Year joined the laboratory: 9/2016-5/2017

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Zhengzhou, China

Why you joined: My interest in research related to clean energy, renewable energy, and energy storage made me join TEEL. Joining the lab has offered me real life applications from the courses I have taken. Along with that, I believe this lab is preparing me for graduate school.

Future: After I finished my undergraduate program at UC Merced, I am planning to apply for graduate programs and keep doing researches on renewable energy.