Andrea Tao

Andrea is a rare species of native San Diegan who grew up close to the beach, but never learned to surf. Her interest in materials chemistry piqued in high school while volunteering in the chemistry lab of Michael Sailor. As an undergraduate, she had the opportunity to work in George Whitesides’s group and learn about self-assembly. Andrea decided to pursue her interest in both inorganic chemistry and self-assembly during her doctoral work at Berkeley, working with Peidong Yang. Her thesis focused on the synthesis and assembly of shaped metal nanoparticles. After working with solid-state materials for five years, Andrea decided to explore a new field by studying marine proteins in Daniel Morse’s group at UC Santa Barbara. She studied the properties of proteins found in the skin of cephalopods (like squid and octopus) that contribute to the ability of these sea creatures to camouflage themselves.

In 2009, Andrea joined the then newly established NanoEngineering Dept. and started her independent work on nanocomposites and plasmonics. If she’s not in her office, you can probably find her at the local crag or tending to her vegetable garden.