Research Highlights

At SDSU's College of Engineering, research is an important compliment to undergraduate and graduate education. Below you will find our most recent research projects that have been in the news, along with SDSU’s annual research highlight booklets. To view the most recently awarded grants and contracts, please visit the SDSU Research Foundation website.


2020-2021 Research Highlights Magazine Cover

2020-2021 San Diego State University Research Highlights Magazine

Engineering professors' work on renewable batteries and solar lighting showcased in the University's Research Highlights Magazine, starting on page 20. 


Graphic showing renewable batteries with the uses of the batteries

Tomorrow’s Energy Grid Could Use Yesterday’s Spent Batteries

College of Engineering professors Dr. Chris Mi and Dr. Kevin Wood are developing a commercial scale power grid system out of spent EV batteries:


 Hassan Davani, Ph.D., leads a joint study looks to see what IB needs to do to prevent future flooding

SDSU Researcher Works to Keep Imperial Beach Above Water

SDSU Water Resources Engineer Hassan Davani speaks with NBC 7 San Diego on what Imperial Beach needs to do to prevent future flooding..


Dr. Sung-Yong (Sean) Park, in his Engineering lab

Channeling Sunlight to Create Indoor Lighting Energy Sources

Mechanical engineering professor Sung-Yong (Sean) Park studies the intersection of the light and the behavior of fluids through small channels for energy systems, which enable technologies such as solar energy. The scope of his current research centers on creating sustainable energy sources, such as solar indoor lighting.


Engineering researcher working in lab

Summer Research Gives Students Confidence to ‘Make a Difference’

Interim Director of Graduate Research Dr. Natalie Mladenov (CCEE) and Mechanical Engineering student researcher Rodolfo Callado are interviewed highlighting the importance of undergraduate research.


James Bunnell, a computer engineering senior, working on machine learning research

Fast Track to Machine Learning Research via MESA

Senior James Bunnell will have co-published five scientific papers when he graduates in the fall with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering.


Civil engineering professor Reza Akhavian will work on improving worker safety in construction zones.

Improving the Nexus of Mind, Machine and Motor in Construction Robotics

Dr. Reza Akhavian, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering received a prestigious NSF CAREER award to improve coordination between construction workers and robots.


Four San Diego State University research teams will focus on transborder research and development, leveraging SDSU Imperial Valley’s presence in Calexico and Brawley, two hours east of San Diego.

Big Ideas for Transborder Solutions

Four ideas aim to address rural infrastructure, Imperial County health and environmental issues, transboundary water, and advancing 3D printing.


College of Engineering Innovation District Town Hall

On March 9, 2021, SDSU Vice President for Research & Innovation, Dr. Hala Madanat, hosted a Town Hall to discuss the initial progress, suggestions and answer questions, related to the SDSU Mission Valley Innovation District with the College of Engineering


An artist’s conception of an urban air mobility environment

Designing a Rideshare for the Sky

SDSU Electrical & Computer Engineering, Department Chair and Professor, Dr. Chris Mi, will work with UC San Diego on a NASA funded project to bring futuristic electric air taxis closer to reality.

Closeup image of cancer cells

Insights on Metastatic Cancer and How Cells Migrate

SDSU and UC San Diego bioengineers pinpoint a key factor that allows cancer cells to spread. The finding could help discover a way to make them stay put.

Drone hovering in air in front of a sunset

Drones that Can Calculate, Communicate and Solve Complex Problems

Dr. Junfei Xie, Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, received a National Science Foundation CAREER award to develop a flying cloud computing system in the air.

Students from the research groups of Matthew Verbyla and Natalie Mladenov

Dr. Matthew Verbyla & Lorelay Mendoza Publish Paper in Environmental Engineering Science Journal

Dr. Matthew Verbyla (Environmental Eng.) and Lorelay Mendoza (B.S. Environmental Eng., class of 2019) recently published a paper in Environmental Engineering Science journal entitled Environmental Engineering for the 21st Century: Increasing Diversity and Community Participation to Achieve Environmental and Social Justice.

Person in car being tested for COVID-19

Public Trust in Science on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic

With such extensive impacts, COVID-19 awareness and understanding among the public has increased, while skepticism declined. SDSU scientists weigh in on the shift.

COVID virus with caption "COVID-19 Research"

Tackling Coronavirus From Every Angle

Faculty from all seven of SDSU's colleges have rose to the occasion during the global COVID-19 pandemic. In dozens of projects - totaling more than $8.6 million in funding - researchers are analyzing how COVID-19 operates and spreads, how the pandemic affects our mental health and how communities are coping in the midst of crisis. Our faculty are developing best practices for testing, contact tracing, health care and education, and working diligently to bring many of these solutions to vulnerable communities here in San Diego and across the globe.

Masters and Doctoral students working on research

$1.5 Million in Research Stipends for High Achieving Masters and Doctoral Students

These fellowships supplement external funding to support 80 highly accomplished research scholars.

New Fall 2020 Professors

Welcome to Our New College of Engineering Faculty

We are proud to welcome for Fall 2020: Dr. Margherita Capriotti, in Aerospace Engineering, and Dr. Zahra Nili Ahmadabadi & Dr. Elisa Torresani in Mechanical Engineering.

Engineering Research Archive

2018-19 Research Highlights
2017-18 Research Highlights
Research highlights 2016-17