University of California San Diego Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Professor Olivia Graeve has been inducted into the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias (Mexican Academy of Sciences or AMC). The AMC, established in 1959, is a non-profit non-governmental association of distinguished members of the Mexican scientific community. Its main objectives are to promote scientific development in Mexico, foster communication and collaboration with scholars in other countries, and provide unbiased scientific council.
Graeve, a Tijuana native and UC San Diego alumna, is one of only three corresponding members inducted in 2019. Corresponding members are researchers who reside outside of Mexico but have made significant contributions to the development of science in Mexico. Graeve is internationally recognized for her research on the development and manufacturing of nanomaterials for use in extreme conditions. Her Xtreme Materials Laboratory at UC San Diego discovers and characterizes materials for use in environments such as space, nuclear reactors, and biomedical devices.
“It is a great honor to be included in the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias alongside so many phenomenal researchers,” Graeve said. “This recognition encourages me to continue working for the benefit of students on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.”
In addition to her engineering research, Graeve is also the founder and co-director of the CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials and Systems, which brings together researchers from UC San Diego and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) to create materials and systems that can function at ultra-high temperatures, under extreme pressures and deformations, radiation, and other extreme conditions. The center develops materials for a wide range of applications, including defense, nuclear, pharmaceutical and aerospace.
Rafael Vazquez-Duhalt, co-director of the CaliBaja Center for Resilient Materials and Systems, professor at UNAM and the #1 most highly cited biotechnologist in Mexico, said Graeve’s induction into the AMC was reflective of both her scientific and binational outreach contributions.
“The nomination of Dr. Graeve as corresponding member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences is a recognition of her fantastic and high-quality scientific work and her valuable and unique contribution to the Mexican-U.S. scientific and educational relationship,” said Vazquez-Duhalt. “Without doubt, the Mexican scientific community is enriched by the incorporation of Dr. Olivia Graeve into the Academia Mexicana de Ciencias.”
In addition to her scientific accomplishments, Graeve has worked to use science and engineering as a bridge to unite the U.S. and Mexico. Her ENLACE summer research program, entering its eighth year, brings more than a hundred high school and college students from both sides of the border to the UC San Diego campus each summer. Students work side by side with a partner from the other side of the border on cutting-edge research.
“Science is universal,” said Graeve. “The intent of ENLACE is to have the students build human bridges across the border, using science and engineering as a tool to get them to engage, know each other and participate in the development of knowledge that will benefit humanity.”
Graeve is also the faculty director of the IDEA Engineering Student Center at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, which works to foster an inclusive and welcoming community of engineering students and increase retention and graduation rates among all engineering students.
She is the second member of the UC San Diego faculty to be inducted into the AMC as a corresponding member. Mario Molina, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry and a Nobel Prize recipient, is also a member of the AMC.