Farhat Beg 

Director, CER

Professor Beg is an expert in Z-pinch discharges and the interaction of very high power laser pulses with matter, and has been active in developing pulsed x-ray and neutron sources. In recent experiments, Beg pioneered the use of compact X-pinch as an x-ray backlighter source for Z-pinch experiments. Beg's work based on table-top plasma focus neutron source has generated considerable interest and has been cited in the American Institute of Physics news, in Nature and in Physics Today.

Associate Directors

Jan Kleissl

Professor Kleissl researches the interaction of weather with engineering systems, in particular buildings and their energy use, solar power systems, and irrigated lands. He developed the first building energy use model that is coupled with weather processes in the urban canyon and urban fluid mechanics through large eddy simulation. This models can be used to study the impact of urban surfaces on human comfort and energy use. Kleissl is also an expert on solar resource assessment and forecasting and is co-director of the California Solar Energy Collaborative and Vice-Chair of the American Solar Energy Society resource applications division. Using high frequency solar irradiance measurements and whole sky imagery, Kleissl's research group has developed cloud tracking and intra-hour solar forecasting models. 


Russel Doerner


Dr. Doerner received degrees from Texas A&M University (B.S. in Physics, 1981) and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (M.S. in Materials Science, 1984 and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, 1988). Since that time he has performed experiments in the edge and scrape-off layer plasma of confinement machines throughout the world and has been involved in fundamental plasma-material interaction measurements conducted in various linear plasma devices. He has worked extensively with the IAEA in various plasma-material interactions coordinated research projects and presently leads the plasma-material interaction research program in the PISCES Laboratory at UCSD, and the US-EU Bilateral Collaboration on Mixed-Material Research for ITER.

Affiliate Members

Simon Bott-Suzuki 

Dr Bott-Suzuki investigates plasmas generated using high current capacitor-driven devices through both experimental and computational studies. The high plasma densities and magnetic fields created conditions of interest in many areas of high energy density physics, which includes the drive towards Inertial Confinement Fusion and subsequent fusion power generation. Such plasmas also have interesting hydrodynamic and magneto-hydrodynamic flow properties and can be used to study, for example, shock formation in radiatively cooled flows, and the propagation of plasma jets relevant to astrophysical objects. Dr Bott-Suzuki carries out his research as part of both national and international collaborations, as well as developing new devices and experimental approaches on the UCSD campus. He is particularly interested in pursuing ways in which pulsed power plasmas and devices can be utilized to further understand broader plasma and physics issues.


Patrick Diamond 

Patrick maintains an active interest in many theoretical problems pertaining to turbulence, transport and self-organization in plasmas fluids and non-equilibrium systems, in general. These include bifurcated mean flow states in turbulent shear flows, magnetic dynamos, confinement and turbulence in magnetized plasmas, flows in granular media, anomalous viscosity mechanisms in accretion disks and MHD turbulence. Patrick is also actively involved with several aspects of the Magnetic Fusion Energy Program. 



Carlos Coimbra


Professor Coimbra explores the intersection between experimental, theoretical and fieldwork methods to analyze and develop new technologies to  harvest solar power in its diverse forms (direct, wind, hydropotential, etc). He  uses a network  of solar observatories  distributed throughout several University of California campuses to harvest valuable ground data to be used in forecasting simulations with time horizons varying from seconds to multiple  days. He  is particularly interested in the development  of highly nonlinear, evolutionary stochastic models for chaotic processes, and linking this knowledge to the development and active control of receiver-to-storage solar and wind systems.


Christopher Holland

Dr. Christopher Holland’s work focuses on understanding the fundamental dynamics of plasma turbulence in magnetically confined systems. The goal of his work is to help develop and improve predictive models of the turbulence, and transport of particles, energy, and momentum it drives, to aid in the realization of fusion energy as an economically viable commercial energy source. As part of this work, Dr. Holland and his collaborators lead validation studies of plasma turbulence using both massively parallel gyrokinetic codes and reduced gyrofluid models, focusing most recently on development of synthetic fluctuation diagnostics and incorporating them into new validation metrics. These studies are performed in close collaboration with the DIII-D experimental team at General Atomics, as well as other US and international fusion experiments, and the Controlled Shear Decorrelation Experiment (CSDX) at UCSD. Complementing these tokamak validation studies are efforts aimed at developing new theoretical models for understanding the coupling between small-scale drift-wave turbulence and macroscopic magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instabilities in magnetically confined plasmas.


Eric Hollmann 

Eric Hollmann's research is primarily in the area of plasma physics in magnetic fusion devices. His work is primarily experimental and is presently focused on the DIII-D tokamak at General Atomics and the PISCES linear plasma device at UCSD. Much of his research is on tokamak disruptions, their effects on vessel walls, and methods for mitigating their damaging effects, especially runaway electron beams. Additionally, he works on plasma-surface interactions and edge plasma spectroscopy.



Valerie Izzo 

Dr. Izzo performs 3D nonlinear magnetohydrodynamic simulations of magnetically confined fusion plasmas. In the past, she has modeled a novel current drive scheme for compact fusion plasmas and tokamak plasma response to resonant magnetic perturbations. Her present work is focused on disruptions in tokamak plasmas, including rapid shutdown scenarios by massive impurity injection, as well as runaway electron confinement on stochastic magnetic fields.



Rick Moyer 

Dr. Moyer's research is focused on understanding the physics of several instabilities that are critically important for ITER and other next-step tokamaks, with the goal of developing actuators to suppress or mitigate the consequences of these events. He studies the plasma stability and transport processes that control the edge and boundary of high performance, magnetically confined plasmas, including: plasma turbulence and fluctuation-driven transport, plasma rotation and radial electric field shear, L-mode to H-mode confinement transitions, turbulence suppression and transport barriers, edge localized modes (ELMs), and control of ELMs via resonant magnetic perturbations or pellet pacing. Together with Dr. T.E. Evans (General Atomics), he pioneered the use of edge resonant magnetic perturbations (RMPs) in 2003 to mitigate or suppress ELMs in H-mode tokamak plasmas.


Farrokh Najmabadi 

Farrokh Najmabadi is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Directs the UCSD Center for Energy Research. He has authored over 140 articles and received several awards including 2003 UCSD Outstanding Engineering Professor and 2002 American Nuclear Society Fusion Energy Division Outstanding Achievement Award. Najmabadi received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982.



Dmitri M. Orlov 

Dmitri M. Orlov received his B.S. and M.S. in Applied Physics and Mathematics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Moscow, Russia in 1998 and 2000 respectively. He received M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, IN, in 2005 and 2007 where his doctoral research work was centered on the numerical models for the single dielectric barrier discharge plasma actuators in CFD simulations of flow control applications. He then moved to the Department of Physics at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, where he worked on MHD and PIC modeling of the atmospheric barrier discharges in application to flow control. Dmitri M. Orlov joined the UC San Diego Center for Energy Research in 2008. He is presently an Assistant Project Scientist working at the DIII-D National  Fusion Facility. Dr. Dmitri M. Orlov published and co-authored 30 peer-reviewed papers and 20 conference  proceeding papers. His works were referenced more than 1500 times.


Mark Tillack 

Mark Tillack is currently pursuing research on laser-matter interactions and applications of high energy pulsed lasers as well as magnetic and inertial fusion energy technology.





George Tynan 

Professor Tynan's current research is focused on the plasma physics of controlled nuclear fusion as an energy source. He studies the fundamental physics of turbulent transport in hot confined plasmas using both smaller scaled laboratory plasma devices as well as large scale fusion experiments located around the world. In addition, he is investigating how solid material surfaces interact with the boundary region of fusion plasmas, and how the materials are modified by that interaction. He is also interested in the larger issue of transitioning to a sustainable energy economy based upon a mixture of efficient end use technologies, large scale deployment of renewable energy sources, and incorporation of a new generation of nuclear technologies such as advanced fission and fusion reactor systems. He is preparing a textbook on these topics to introduce science and engineering students to this critical issue.


Mike Ferry 

Mike is the Director of Energy Storage and Systems at UC San Diego, overseeing campus research on the development and deployment of advanced energy storage technologies and the integration of renewable generation, including technical and commercial demonstration projects to improve the performance of renewable energy systems and microgrid operations, cost-benefit and market analysis, and the promotion of multi-disciplinary frameworks to enable large-scale storage and renewable energy adoption. His energy research also involves electric transportation including EV charging infrastructure, vehicle-grid integration (VGI), and second-life EV battery research. Mike holds a Master of Science degree from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley.