Head Director

G. P. Li is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, with appointments in two departments: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering, and Materials and Manufacturing Technology program. Dr. Li serves as director of California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), which develops solutions for digital transformation of energy and environmental industrial sectors. Dr. Li also serves as director of the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility (INRF) in The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, which researches and develops sensors and actuators for industry 4.0 applications. Furthermore, he serves as director of California Plug Load Research Center (CalPlug), which research and develop solutions for improving flexible demand plug loads’ energy efficiency and their active management. Dr. Li holds 38 U.S. patents with additional 11 patents pending and has published more than 400 research papers involving microelectronic technologies, microwave circuit design, Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) for communication and biomedical instrumentation applications, bio-nano-IT technology, and AI for efficient energy utilization and manufacturing.

G.P. Li, PhD
Director, Calit2 
Email: gpli@calit2.uci.edu

Directors Of CalPlug

Dr. Joy Pixley’s interdisciplinary background includes sociology, labor economics, psychology, and statistics. She specializes in human subject research methods, such as experiments, surveys, and field tests. She was a researcher at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, earned her doctoral degree in Sociology from Cornell, and taught research methods and sociology at UC Irvine prior to joining CalPlug in 2013. At CalPlug, she focuses on how user behavior affects the energy efficiency of plug load devices, how to improve efficiency through better device design and control solutions, and how to inform and motivate users to invest in sustainable solutions.

Joy Pixley, PhD
CalPlug Research Director
Email: jpixley@uci.edu

Dr. Li Zhao earned his Ph.D. from Dept. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Irvine in 2011, focused on high temperature fuel cell and distributed power generation. He then worked as Research Scientist and Associate Manager in the Advanced Power and Energy Program in UCI. He is an engineer experienced in designing, evaluating, modeling and integrating emerging power and clean energy technologies and integrated systems. Before join CalPlug, he found and built an energy-monitoring-IoT startup, developed cloud-based solutions for customer-side energy sensing, monitoring, and auditing, to increase the energy efficiency and lower the energy cost for residential and industrial users. 

Li Zhao, PhD
CalPlug Technical Director
Email: lzhao1@uci.edu

Research Specialists

Katie Gladych joined CalPlug in 2019, with a background in energy policy. She received her dual-degree MA in Social Sciences and Contemporary European Studies from the University of Bath in the UK and the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany. She also holds a BA from Lawrence University in Wisconsin. Her previous work focused on the Energiewende (energy transition) in Germany using interdisciplinary research methods from political science and behavioral economics. At CalPlug, she studies plug load user behavior and utility energy efficiency programs, with an additional focus on improving state and federal codes and standards.

Katie Gladych
CalPlug Project Manager
Email: Kgladych@uci.edu

Sabine Kunrath works as an assistant specialist and research coordinator at CalPlug. She is interested in how people use energy, and especially how people can be motivated to change their behavior to waste less energy and to better respond to the amount of (renewable) energy that is available in the grid. In her spare time she is passionate about promoting a low-carbon, sustainable lifestyle – on campus as a UCI Bike Ambassador and in her neighborhood as a member of the local Sustainability Committee. As an environmental psychologist, Sabine is an active member in the American Psychological Association’s Society for Environmental, Population, and Conservation Psychology. She holds a Master of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Salzburg (Austria) and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Munich (Germany).

Sabine Kunrath
CalPlug Project Coordinator
Email: skunrath@uci.edu

Mahejabeen Kauser is an assistant specialist with a background in Biology and academic research from Cal Ploy Pomona. Her expertise includes device research, survey programming, energy efficiency, data analysis, and advanced tricks in Excel. In her spare time, she likes to play basketball, write poetry, and cook.

Mahejabeen Kauser
CalPlug Assistant Specialist
Email: mkauser@uci.edu

James Griffith graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2019 with a B.S. in Applied Physics and Engineering. His background includes coding, physics simulations, finding creative solutions to problems, and game development. He is using his skills to assist in developing new methods of gathering and analyzing energy research data. This is James’s first time working in energy research and he’s excited to see in what ways he can help build a better future.

James Griffith
CalPlug Assistant Specialist
Email: jgriffi3@uci.edu

Affiliated Team Members

Sergio Gago-Masague, Ph.D
Director of ETAD
Email: sgagomas@calit2.uci.edu

Patricia Lim
Industry Development Strategist
Email: palim@calit2.uci.edu

Richard Donovan, Ph.D
Assistant Director of Research Development
Email: rpdonova@uci.edu

Shelly Nazarenus
Director of Communications
Email: snaz@calit.uci.edu

Stuart Ross, Ph.D
Social Scientist- Retired
Email: stuross@calit2.uci.edu