A Hub

for Groundbreaking Research

UC MERCED is home to a number of innovative research and training centers that offer extraordinary opportunities for our students. In state-of-the-art campus labs and in the field, our researchers are working on significant problems and innovative solutions in areas such as data analytics, robotics, solar and renewable energy, water quality and resources, health science, social inequality, immigration, child development, enterpreneurship, materials science and more. Explore information about some our research centers in the pages that follow and join in the excitement of discovery at UC Merced.

Research Centers & Institutes

Health Sciences Research Institute

The Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI) is the University's focal point for health and medical research and aims to foster world-renowned researchers through its work to improve the health of the people in the San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

San Joaquin Valley regional health issues include asthma, valley fever (coccidioidomycosis), obesity, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, heart disease, risky teen behaviors, teen tobacco use, sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis, and many others.

HSRI’s collaborative multidisciplinary research clusters and community emphasis provide an opportunity to rapidly develop, test, and disseminate new ways of improving health and delivering healthcare.

Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation Lab

The Mechatronics, Embedded Systems and Automation (MESA) Lab is earning UC Merced national recognition, and the campus’s expertise prompted the UC system to establish its Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Safety — which determines systemwide policies for drone use and serves as an information resource — at UC Merced.

Unmanned aerial systems, or drones, have significant appeal as remote sensing and actuation platforms for many civilian and commercial applications, from precision agriculture and using aerial mapping to explore and preserve historic sites to remote leak sensing in the atmosphere and in the underground world of natural gas pipelines.

Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines 

The NSF CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines brings together more than a dozen faculty members from multiple units across campus, including bioengineering, physics, chemistry and chemical biology, materials science and engineering. Researchers are studying how biological matter like proteins or cells come together to perform specific tasks, in hopes of eventually being able to engineer and develop innovations ranging from designer cells and tissue to novel diagnostic and therapeutic devices. The CCBM also hosts an integrated, interdisciplinary training program for graduate students that emphasizes physical and biological components and research and training experiences for undergraduate and high school students to enhance the recruitment of underrepresented groups into STEM research.


The Merced nAnomaterials Center for Energy and Sensing (MACES) is an exciting NASA-supported research endeavor in which possibilities are as limitless as the universe itself. The center’s faculty and students collaborate with NASA scientists to push the envelope in materials innovation for expanding the possibilities in space exploration and Earthly endeavors.

MACES has established a strong track record in educating and training students by providing more than 200 student fellowship awards while also enabling cutting-edge collaborative research, supporting more than 15 research projects.

additional centers

A growing university, UC Merced is home to an increasing roster of research centers delving into a wide array of topics, from nanomaterials and climate communication to better teaching methods and community partnerships.