UC San Diego's Qualcomm Institute Names Shirley Meng Associate Director

Shirley Meng, QI Associate Director

The Qualcomm Institute (QI) at UC San Diego has appointed nanoengineering professor Shirley Meng as its associate director. Meng will play a critical role in developing strategies that further enhance QI’s mission to accelerate technology-driven innovation and to educate current and future generations of innovators. She will succeed Rajesh Gupta, director of the Halıcıoğlu Data Science Institute at UC San Diego, who served as associate director since 2009. 

“We are delighted and honored to have Shirley Meng join the QI leadership team,” said Ramesh Rao, director of the Qualcomm Institute. “Professor Meng is a world-renowned researcher with a proven record of building strong collaborations that spur innovation. She is also a tireless educator whose dedication to the student experience here at UC San Diego is well known and will be critical as QI increases its engagement with students.”   

Meng, who joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2009, is a leader in developing novel battery technologies that are driving a low-carbon, more sustainable future. As the principal investigator of the Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion, she leads a research team that is pioneering smaller, more efficient batteries that can harness wind and solar energy to fuel items like electric vehicles and the stations used to charge them. 

Meng joins QI as it celebrates its twentieth year of promoting innovation and collaboration in the areas of culture, energy, the environment and health. QI, the University of California San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, is an interdisciplinary research and education institute. It was founded to promote discovery and innovation and educate new generations who can translate scientific discoveries into new applications, industries, businesses and jobs in California. 

In her new position, Meng will play a critical role in developing the strategic vision for the institute’s future. Meng has a long history with QI going back to her earliest days on campus. She is a supporter and frequent user of QI’s Nano3 nanofabrication facilities, where she and her students design and develop new nano-materials and nano-structures for advanced energy storage and conversion applications. She also serves on the Nano3 Faculty Oversight Committee.

“I am honored to accept this role. QI is the incubator for the best talents and transformative ideas, and has always promoted interdisciplinary research between science, technology, policy and society,” Meng said.

Meng received her doctorate in advanced materials for micro and nano systems from the Singapore-MIT Alliance in 2005, after which she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow and became a research scientist at MIT. 

She is the founding director of the Sustainable Power and Energy Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the inaugural director of the UC San Diego Institute for Materials Discovery and Design. Meng is also the inaugural holder of the Zable Endowed Chair in Energy Technologies in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. 

Meng has authored or co-authored more than 190 peer-reviewed journal articles, one book chapter and four patents. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Award, the Charles W. Tobias Award from the Electrochemical Society and the International Battery Association Research Award.