Dissertation Fellowship Goes to MSE Student

July 10, 2019 - The UC Irvine Graduate Division awarded William John Thrift, a doctoral candidate in the Samueli School Department of Materials Science and Engineering, a Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship. The award allows students in their final year of graduate education to forgo non-research related employment to concentrate on completing their dissertations.

Thrift, who expects to defend his dissertation this fall, conducts research at the intersection of nanotechnology, biosensing, optics and machine learning, focusing on the development and implementation of optical biosensors for medical diagnostics. He uses nanomanufacturing and machine learning to develop small-molecule sensors that can replicate the sense of smell and simulate the brain’s role in smell, with the goal of detecting and monitoring antibiotic-resistant bacteria. His adviser is Regina Ragan, professor of materials science and engineering.

Thrift’s $5,000 fellowship will fund his summer research. “This fellowship is great because it allows me to finish my thesis and submit my remaining papers before my defense,” said Thrift, who also won a 2018-19 UCI Public Impact Distinguished Fellowship, given for research deemed to have a substantial impact on local, national or global communities.

-Anna Lynn Spitzer

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