Research Team

Ryan Allen is an Assistant Development Engineer at CLTC. His work includes engineering new solutions, developing tests and analyzing data to develop energy efficient lighting products and control systems. Ryan graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is passionate about innovation and developing sustainable products.

Lucas Beslow is a Ph.D student in the UC Davis Energy Graduate Group and a graduate student researcher in the Green Technology Laboratory. He researches lithium-ion battery energy storage systems, the reuse of electric vehicle batteries, and the grid integration of intermittent renewable energy generation. After studying Environmental Engineering at Purdue University, Lucas worked in various roles within the Environmental Consulting industry. During this time, he worked in the field as a Remediation Engineer, calculated emissions as an Air Quality Engineer, and helped implement large-scale information management systems as an EHS Software Consultant.

Ashley is a Master’s and Ph.D. student in Energy Systems. Her research interests include decarbonization, electrification, renewable energy deployment, and energy and environmental justice. At UC Davis, Ashley conducts research projects within the Energy and Efficiency Institute, Western Cooling Efficiency Center, and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Research Center.
Ashley earned her Michigan State University in 2019, where she graduated with Highest Honors. During her undergraduate career, Ashley was the Laboratory Coordinator of the Team Interaction Dynamics NASA laboratory, and completed her Honor’s Thesis in visual psychophysics in the Visual Neuroscience laboratory. Ashley was also the founding student researcher in the Energy Values Lab in the Department of Community Sustainability with a mentor professor. Ashley is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Keith Graeber leads CLTC’s staff of lighting technology researchers and engineers. He supervises the development of next-generation, energy-efficient lighting systems and controls at CLTC. He also oversees engineering demonstration projects and laboratory evaluations, collaborating with industry partners to bring promising new products to the marketplace more quickly and effectively. Keith is a regular contributor to LD+A, and he has claimed patents for his contributions to daylight harvesting and the calibration of lighting control systems. He graduated from the University of California, Davis, in 2005 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Gaurav Jha is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Conservation Irrigation Laboratory. His current research aims to evaluate irrigation decision support system tools in Central Valley of California to reduce California’s overall energy and water use, while maintaining food production. His research interests mainly relate to precision agriculture, crop production, irrigation management, environmental contaminations and its spatial variability in agricultural fields. Dr. Jha completed his Ph.D. in Plant and Environmental Sciences from New Mexico State University in December 2020 and his M.S. from Punjab Agricultural University (India) in 2016. His doctoral research focused on monitoring the heavy metal(loid) contaminations across the Animas Watershed after the Gold King Mine Spill.

Renee Lafrenz is a member of the Energy Efficiency department at Energy Solutions, focusing on energy market transformation via DER procurement optimization and code readiness integrations. She has extensive experience within the energy sector developing and delivering energy programs and projects to reduce escalating costs and environmental impacts. She fosters an environment of teamwork and ensures that strategy is clearly defined while overseeing performance. Renee received her Master of Environmental Science and Management with a specialization in Corporate Environmental Management from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Ecology, Behavior & Evolution Focus & Minor in Psychology from University of California, San Diego.

Manuel Lopez is an Associate Development Engineer at CLTC.  His work includes designing and testing engineering solutions for efficient lighting and control systems, as well as collecting and analyzing data for these systems. He graduated in 2016 from the University of California, Davis, receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering.

Mark Modera has served as Director of the Western Cooling Efficiency Center (WCEC) for over 10 years and is Professor Emeritus in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering departments. Before joining WCEC, he worked at Carrier Corporation, where he was a Vice-President, and at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). At LBNL, Mark developed a new research program focused on thermal energy distribution in buildings and an aerosol-based duct sealing process. He subsequently established Aeroseal, Inc. to commercialize the duct sealing technology. Mark received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Mallika Nocco is an assistant cooperative extension specialist in soil-plant-water relations and irrigation management. She collaborates with growers, policymakers, and communities to develop irrigation management strategies that balance farm livelihoods and conservation. Her research and extension program is designed to meet the growing and changing needs of agricultural communities.

Sarah Outcault is the Market Transformation Research Director at the UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute and Western Cooling Efficiency Center where she leads research on the nexus of policy, technology and human behavior. In particular, Sarah designs and implements studies and experiments to explore the drivers of technology adoption, use and maintenance, as well as opportunities for market intervention. She works in a wide range of contexts – e.g, disadvantaged communities, working dairies, and sustainable communities – in California and abroad, to understand the needs and constraints of stakeholders and ensure that solutions are designed to address them. She has a PhD in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an M.Sc. in Economic History from the London School of Economics.

Jae Wan Park is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department at UC Davis. He is also the director of the Green Technology Laboratory, where he has researched lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells, and renewable energy systems for over ten years in coordination with PG&E, the California Solar Initiative, the California Energy Commission, the US Navy, and others. His current areas of focus are lithium-ion battery testing, battery management systems, and battery fire suppression. Jae Wan is also a co-founder and the CEO of RePurpose Energy, which reuses batteries from electric vehicles to create lower-cost, more sustainable energy storage systems.

Therese Peffer, Associate Director of the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) at UC Berkeley in addition to Director for CIEE’s Enabling Technologies Development Program, conducts and manages research in smart sensors, controls, and user interfaces in buildings to improve comfort and reduce energy consumption, including Demand Response, Smart Grid, and “Building-to-Grid” research projects. She has served as co-chair for the Behavior Energy and Climate Change for the past five years. Therese also serves as an Associate Director for the Sustainable Infrastructures Initiative at the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. Therese completed a Ph.D. in Architecture at UC Berkeley with an emphasis on building science. As a licensed Architect, she has worked in small firms in San Francisco and Pismo Beach.

Theresa Pistochini is the Engineering Manager at the UC Davis Energy Efficiency Institute and Western Cooling Efficiency Center with over 10 years’ experience in applied research in energy efficiency in buildings, primarily in the areas of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC). She led the development and construction of an HVAC testing laboratory in 2013 and is co-PI and Project Manager for the Product Evaluation Hub. Theresa provides technical management for the engineering staff, reviewing project progress including experimental plans, analyses, results, and publications. She earned her M.S. degree from UC Davis and is a registered professional engineer in California.

Dr. Angela Sanguinetti is a Research Environmental Psychologist at UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and Energy & Efficiency Institute. She directs the Consumer Energy Interfaces Lab (, which focuses on the topic of eco-feedback—interfaces that provide information about natural resource use (e.g., energy feedback) to consumers with the aim of promoting more resource-responsible behavior. At UC Davis since 2014, Dr. Sanguinetti has worked on over 30 research grants and authored over 50 peer-reviewed publications. She earned a B.S. and M.S. in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from CSU Stanislaus, and a Ph.D. in Planning, Policy and Design with an emphasis in Design-Behavior Research from UC Irvine’s School of Social Ecology in 2013.

Radomir Schmidt is a Project Scientist at the Russell Ranch Sustainable Agriculture Research Facility with 15 years experience in basic and applied research in groundwater bioremediation and the effects of sustainable farming practices (no-till, cover cropping, organic amendments) on fundamental soil properties including aggregate formation, water infiltration and  water holding capacity. He earned his PhD from the Univeristy of Queensland, Australia.

Yao-Jung Wen is a member of the Energy Efficiency Department at Energy Solutions, where he focuses on projects related to the energy aspects of intelligent connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and investigates various aspects of networked lighting control systems, including energy reporting, interoperability and non-energy benefits. He also leads various policy development efforts related to lighting and lighting controls. Prior to Energy Solutions, he spent 8+ years at Philips Lighting (now Signify) as a Senior Scientist contributing to government- and corporate-funded advanced lighting control projects, new business ventures, and lighting system standardization activities. Yao-Jung holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley. He is a certified lighting professional (LC) and has served as an elected officer on the Board of the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) San Francisco Section.

Hui Zhang studies human thermal comfort in the buildings and automobiles and how we can provide thermal comfort using less energy. Her work includes laboratory experiments, computer modeling and field studies.