Saif Islam named director of CITRIS at UC Davis

Collage of photos of UC Davis water tower and M. Saif Islam.

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS) are pleased to announce that M. Saif Islam, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California, Davis, has been named the campus director of CITRIS at UC Davis

In his new role, Islam will be responsible for directing operations and ensuring that the CITRIS mission is carried out at the campus level. An esteemed scholar and award-winning mentor, he brings considerable research and leadership experience to the position.

Islam plans to build upon UC Davis’s academic strengths in agriculture technology, telemedicine and robotic surgery, as well as its reputation as a global leader in sustainability. He commends the campus’s “strong culture of interdisciplinary research and collaboration,” which he considers critical to fulfilling CITRIS’s mission to improve the lives of Californians and the world by shaping the future of technology.

“I see CITRIS as an incredibly effective platform to promote closer interactions between technologists of different disciplines at UC Davis and our partners at other UC campuses and in industry to find solutions to society’s pressing challenges,” Islam said.

“We will draw from the wealth of resources at UC Davis and CITRIS to catalyze student-enabled innovation, enhance entrepreneurship and boost educational pipeline creation,” he said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in CITRIS, where diverse faculty, students and staff partner with regional and transnational communities.” 

A physicist and electrical engineer with an interest in ultrafast optoelectronic devices, molecular electronics and semiconductor nanostructures, Saif Islam received his Ph.D. from UCLA in 2001. He has been a member of the faculty of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at UC Davis since 2004, where he served as vice chair from 2011–13 and department chair from 2017–20. He also led the Northern California Nanotechnology Center (NCNC), now the UC Davis Center for Nano-MicroManufacturing (CNM2) from 2012–14.

He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), IEEE, the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), The Optical Society (OSA) and SPIE. Islam has authored more than 250 scientific papers and chaired or co-chaired more than 30 conferences and symposiums. He holds 42 U.S. and international patents and co-founded two technology startups.

At UC Davis, Islam runs the Integrated Nanodevices and Nanosystems (Inano) research group, where his team focuses on the integration of low-dimensional materials in nanoscale electronic and photonics devices, integrated circuit (IC) and systems. 

He has enjoyed a rich 15-year history as a CITRIS principal investigator and received CITRIS Seed Awards in 2010 and 2020 for multicampus interdisciplinary projects.

“UC Davis is an essential partner in advancing CITRIS’s mission,” said CITRIS Director Costas Spanos. “We are grateful for the leadership provided by previous director Bahram Ravani, and we look forward to working with Professor Islam to explore new areas of expertise and connections to industry and the greater Sacramento community.”

Islam’s new position was effective Jan. 3. He succeeds Bahram Ravani, who served as UC Davis campus director from 2016–21.