We welcome inquiries to join the lab. Consult the list of academic programs and mentoring opportunities. Please identify interests within ongoing research areas and include a CV or resume when contacting Prof. Davidson: mrdavidson AT ucsd.edu.

Prof. Michael Davidson

Portrait Michael Davidson <

I am an assistant professor in the School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. I study the engineering implications and institutional conflicts inherent in deploying low-carbon energy at scale. See my research areas and papers for more details.

I am a faculty member with the 21st Century China Center (where I run a project on Chinese energy markets with the China Data Lab), the Center for Commerce and Diplomacy, and the Japan Forum for Innovation and Technology, all located at UC San Diego. I am currently a fellow with the Public Intellectuals Program at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at Johns Hopkins SAIS. I am an affiliate with the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation.

Previously, I was a post-doctoral research fellow in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and received my Ph.D. in engineering systems and an S.M. in technology and policy from the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, where I was a researcher with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Prior to MIT, I worked for the Natural Resources Defense Council and was a Fulbright fellow in the Tsinghua University Department of Energy and Power Engineering. I received bachelors degrees in Mathematics and Physics and in Japanese Studies from Case Western Reserve University.

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My office locations:

  • MAE: EBUII-465 (4th floor)
  • GPS: RBC-1414 (4th floor)

Zhipeng (Bill) Chen

Portrait Zhipeng Chen <

I’m a fourth year Data Science major at UC San Diego. I’m interested in data mining and machine learning. At Davidson Lab, I’m working on scraping Chinese electricity market data of various modalities from websites and data ETL. My hobbies are playing basketball, working out, and watching anime shows.

Shiny Choudhury

Portrait Shiny Choudhury <

Shiny is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCSD. She is co-advised by George Tynan and Michael Davidson, with whom she explores decarbonization pathways under various technological and market contexts. Shiny has a background in power and energy system modeling, controls, and AI/ML. She holds an M.Sc from UC Irvine, working in the Advanced Power and Propulsion Lab (APEP), exploring hydrogen combustion for stationary burners. In her free time, Shiny enjoys yoga, kickboxing, running, or being in the waters at Scripps pier!

Manh (Tyson) Dao

Portrait Tyson Dao <

Tyson is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, with a focus on Energy Systems at UCSD. He has a keen interest in sustainable development, climate change and renewable energy. His current research involves combining engineering and political-economic principles to better understand global energy trends. In particular, he’s interested in Vietnam’s energy transition and its implication in the broader ASEAN context. In his free time, Tyson enjoys working out, playing his guitar and going on road trips.

Ruibin (Ian) Deng

Portrait Ian Deng <

Ruibin Deng is a visiting graduate at UCSD this year and he is pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy, with a focus on decarbonization policies at Sun Yat-Sen University. He also holds interest in industrial policies, energy transition and policies as well as urban governance. In particular, he is currently working on the political-economic analysis of carbon market governance in China. In his free time, Ian enjoys road trips and outdoor activities such as climbing and trail running.

Nikki Emam

Portrait Nikki Emam <

Nikki is pursuing a Master of Public Policy in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD with a specialization in energy and environmental policy. Prior to this, Nikki was a Regional Affairs Analyst at the California Independent System Operator, where she conducted policy analysis and furthered strategic initiatives to expand participation in the Western Energy Imbalance Market. Nikki’s research at the Davidson Lab focuses on understanding the political economy of state-level energy policy coordination in the Western United States.

Dr. Fikri Kucuksayacigil

Portrait Fikri Kucuksayacigil <

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. I am currently working on a project which attempts to provide guidelines to policy makers regarding meeting carbon emission targets by 2050 in California. In order to meet this goal, regionalization of power system management has been proposed for Western states. My project optimizes renewable capacity expansion for Western states by 2050 under several policy constraints, which might stem from this new market establishment.

I was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Idaho National Laboratory and the University of Arkansas. I develop mixed-integer programming, chance constraint and model predictive control formulations for biomass feeding systems and biomass supply chains. Before joining Idaho National Laboratory, I was a Data and Operations Research Science Intern at Principal Financial Group, where I developed portfolio optimization algorithms and risk hedging techniques. I hold a Ph.D. of Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University, an M.S. of Industrial Engineering from Sabanci University, Turkey and a B.S. of Industrial Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, Turkey. My Ph.D. research analyzes optimal expansion decisions in transmission network and engineering design.

Zecheng (Justin) Li

Portrait Zecheng Li <

I am a third year student at UCSD majoring in Math-Economics and minoring in Data Science. I am interested in the stories behind the data and hope to use my knowledge of econometrics and machine learning algorithms to dig deeper into the information behind the data. Currently, I am working on the China Energy SOE team, analyzing corporate-level finances and researching employee replacement in China to achieve low-carbon economy goals. In my spare time, I enjoy working out with friends and preparing cuisines from around the world.

Xiqiang Liu

Portrait Xiqiang Liu <

I am a fourth-year Data Science student with experience in data analysis and machine learning. At Davidson Lab, I am working on the Geodata project under the guidance of Professor Davidson, where I am currently creating an interface for efficient wind speed modeling. Additionally, I have also added various features, trying to make the overall analysis process easier to use for users with user-friendly prompts and interfaces.

Yumeng Liu

Portrait Yumeng Liu <

Yumeng is pursuing a Master of Public Policy in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD. She is interested in climate change and environmental policy and the policy impacts. Yumeng holds a Bachelor of Laws from Peking University. Prior to UCSD, she interned in several environmental NGOs.

Chen (Pammy) Long

Portrait Pammy Long <

Chen is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy at the School of Global Policy and Strategy of UCSD. She’s interested in financial analysis and company operation improvement. Chen holds a Bachelor of Management from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. Prior to UCSD, she interned at PwC as an assurance intern and at several consulting firms as a part-time assistant.

Jenny Nicolas

Portrait Jenny Nicolas <

Jenny is pursuing a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at UCSD. She is interested in advancing renewable energy penetration by examining energy storage technologies at both device and system levels. Prior to joining the Davidson Lab, she worked as a project manager in commercial and utility-scale solar development. Jenny earned an integrated Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), where the focus of her thesis was phase change materials for heat storage batteries. In her free time, Jenny enjoys running, eating desserts and watching documentaries.

Dinah Shi

Portrait Dinah Shi <

Dinah is pursuing a Master of Chinese Economic and Political Affairs in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD with a specialization in Chinese Environment. She is interested in the engineering and policy implications of decarbonization of Chinese energy systems. Dinah holds a Bachelor of Software Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Prior to UCSD, she worked as a software engineer in private industry.

Yuting (Christine) Wan

Portrait Christine Wan <

Christine is pursuing a Master of International Affairs in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD with a specialization in international economics and management. Her research interest lies in the supply chain and national security concerns of the U.S. and China. Before joining Davidson Lab, she worked at the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation, where she conducted research on China’s battery supply chain. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international politics from Fudan University. In her free time, she enjoys reading histories and literature, and is an enthusiastic traveler.

Dr. Ming Wei

Portrait Ming Wei <

Ming is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. Ming’s research interests focus on electricity markets, low-carbon transitions, green finance, and financial econometrics. Ming is currently working on a project to investigate China’s grid resource adequacy and to support China’s low-carbon policies on crucial power sector reform decision-making.

Ming holds a Ph.D. in Actuarial Studies and Business Analytics at Macquarie University (Australia). Ming’s doctoral dissertation is an interdisciplinary study of the renewable transformation of electricity markets in changing environments. Prior to his Ph.D., Ming earned two Master’s degrees—M.Phil. in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China) and M.Sc. in Electrical Power Systems from Bath University (the United Kingdom). Ming obtained his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Tianjin University (China).

Before joining Davidson’s lab, Ming previously worked as research fellow in the Fintech Center of Zhejiang Lab, where Ming developed models to analyze fintech’s impact on green finance and decarbonization. Apart from that, Ming worked as an analyst at the headquarters of China Light and Power Co., Ltd. Ming also has participated in the consulting and research projects with China Southern Power Grid, Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the National Key Research and Development Program of China with the topics of electricity markets, smart grid, and energy internet.

Boyu Yao

Portrait Boyu Yao <

I am a full-time Research Associate at the Davidson Lab where I focus on assisting the production of open and reproducible datasets and models for China’s power system. My academic passions center around increasing the penetration of renewable energy into the system and exploring the related market mechanisms. Prior to joining the Davidson Lab, I earned my Master’s degree in Environmental Health and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University, where I gained valuable experiences in energy modeling. In my free time, I enjoy engaging in various activities such as playing the piano, participating in soccer games, and exercising at the gym.

Zhenhua Zhang

Portrait Zhenhua Zhang <

Zhenhua is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego with a focus on policy questions relevant to electricity markets and energy systems. He combines engineering methods with the understanding of political economy to identify the transition strategies towards carbon neutrality. His previous research focuses on the operational details of renewable energy technologies and the economic and financial aspects of behind-the-meter renewable projects. Zhenhua has worked on battery storage at Tesla and startups for a couple of years, where he developed software apps for system-level simulations and real-time controls of commercial and industrial battery storage projects in California and China. Zhenhua holds an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University, a B.S. in Environmental Science, and a minor in Economics from Fudan University.


Shasank Bonthala

Jiahe (Jeffrey) Feng

Chi (Will) Gao

Isac Lee

Justin Lu

Johnny Nguyen

Yuanbo (Rambo) Shi

Arjun Sawhney

Huizhong (Sonia) Tan

Ananya Thridandam

Yunhan Zhang