Graduate Students & Staff

Graduate Researchers

Brandon Stark

Ph.D. Student, Founding Member, Lab Manager, EECS

Brandon Stark received his Bachelors of Science in Computer Engineering at University of California, Irvine in 2007, and Masters of Science in Computer Engineering and Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering at University of Bridgeport in 2010. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Merced with the Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation (MESA) Lab, where he acts as the Lab Manager. His research interests include Unmanned Aerial Systems, Mechatronic Systems, Human-Automation Interaction and BBQ. His favorite candy is Sour Patch Kids.

Brendan Smith

Ph.D. Student, Fall 2013, ME

Brendan Smith is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California, Merced. He received his B.S. and M.S. in ME from the University of California, Merced in 2013 and 2016, respectively. Brendan began his research with Mechatronics, Embedded Systems, and Automation (MESA) Lab in Fall 2012, during his senior year of undergraduate career. At MESA, Brendan performs research on unmanned aerial systems (UASs) with an emphasis in in-situ environmental sampling. At present, Brendan performs his Ph.D. research at NASA JPL, studying the integration, application and data analysis of a sub-part per million methane sensing UAS payload. The scope of this research encompasses the surveillance, localization and quantification of fugitive gas leaks in natural gas infrastructure. Brendan’s interests include UAVs, robotics, R/C systems, and sustainable systems.

Tiebiao Zhao

Ph.D. Candidate, Fall 2013, ME

Tiebiao Zhao received the B.S. in Automation from Yantai University, China, in 2009, and the M.S. in Automation from University of Science and Technology of China in 2012. Now, he is pursuing the Ph.D. degree in UC Merced.

He is interested in fractional calculus, model predictive control and their applications in industry process control. He is the builder for the gen-4 RIOTS now running on Win 8 MATLAB mex64. Most recently, his focus is on scientific data-drone research within the CPS (cyber-physical systems) framework.

Marwin Ko*

MSc. Student, Fall 2013, ME

Marwin Ko graduated from the University of California, Merced in Spring 2013 with a B.S. degree in Bioengineering. In 2012, he was an intern under the COINS (Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems) at UC Merced where he engineered nano-fibril stem cell scaffolds using an electrospinner. He is currently pursuing his M.S. in Bioengineering under the BEST (Bioengineering & Small-scale Technologies) program at UC Merced. His research interests include Biological Sensors and Human-Automation Interaction.

Duval Johnson

Ph.D. Student. Fall 2014, ME.

His capstone project site NavyGator. Emphasis: EV + Fuel Cell + Autonomy + Fractional Order Mechanics (MRF)

Guoxiang Zhang

Ph.D. Student, Fall 2015, EECS

Guoxiang Zhang is a PhD student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Merced, working with Professor YangQuan Chen. He received his MS and BE from the Xidian University. His current research interests are visual simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), fractional order calculus, multiview geometry, object detection, scene segmentation, motion planning, and quadcopter navigation.

Haoyu Niu

Ph.D. Student, Fall 2017, EECS

Haoyu Niu is a Ph.D student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Merced.

He is interested in Precision Agriculture, Big Data, Deep Learning, sUAS Remote Sensing/Application.






Jose Alcala

Ph.D. Student, Fall 2017 Mechanical Engineering

Jose Alcala received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from U.C. Merced. Next, he directedly worked with Autonomous Vehicles in Pittsburg, San Francisco, and Phoenix. Currently, he is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering and his advisor is Dr. YangQuan Chen. He is an active member of the Mechatronics, Embedded Systems, and Automation(MESA) lab at U.C. Merced His interested are in Mechatronics, Control Systems with a focus in Unmanned Aerial Systems. He was awarded a National Science Foundation Fellowship for Intelligent and Adaptive Systems. He was a team member in the Unmanned Autonomous Ground Vehicle(UAGV) teams which won honorable mention in the 2016 Big Ideas Competition.






Garrett John

Junior Research Specialist

Garrett is a third year undergrad at University of California, Merced. He is currently pursuing his BS in Mechanical Engineering with hopes of pursuing a career in the automotive or aerospace field. His interests include unmanned aerial vehicles, sustainable energy, and advanced robotics with a wide range of applications. He also plays for the UC Merced Club Baseball team.