University of California, Irvine

Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building


“UCI is once again leading the way with the opening of our state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building. ... The vital research collaborations that this magnificent new facility is designed to foster and accelerate will hasten the discovery of new knowledge ... that will make life better regionally, nationally and globally.”

— UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman

ISEB exterior

Tackling the world’s biggest problems

Venn diagram showing how interdisciplinary research will allow sharing of data

The great challenges of the 21st century – such as disease and climate change – will not be solved by solitary thinkers. Tackling such problems requires the collaboration of teams that include engineers, biologists, mathematicians, climate scientists and other specialists. Interdisciplinary research is the future, and UCI – long known for this synergistic approach – has just taken a huge step forward in this realm with the debut of its Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Building.

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As ground was being broken for this fabulous new facility, Susan and I were hoping for a structure that would provide an engine for cross-disciplinary research and innovations to benefit society, and we feel very strongly that goal has been achieved — Henry Samueli, co-founder of semiconductor maker Broadcom Corp.

ISEB video

Interdisciplinary explorers

The six-story edifice, featuring more than 200,000 square feet of laboratory and office space, will be occupied by faculty, researchers and students from a wide range of departments and schools.


  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemical and biomolecular engineering
  • Civil and environmental engineering
  • Electrical engineering and computer science
  • Materials science and engineering

Information and computer sciences

  • Software engineerging
  • Data Science Initiative
  • Center for Statistical Consulting
  • Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute

Physical sciences

  • Chemistry
  • Earth system science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and astronomy

School of Medicine

NSF Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Frontiers program

NSF-Simons Research Centers

Designed to be green

Natural light, energy efficiency and sustainable construction are hallmarks of the ISEB. Air quality is maintained via real-time monitoring and interior spaces are suffused with natural light or, where necessary, LEDs. The building is expected to outperform the California Energy Code by more than 55 percent.

21st consecutive construction project with LEED Platinum certification
UCI's Smart Labs design systems outperforms California Energy Code by more than 55%
Air quality in building monitored in real time ensures clean, fresh air

Innovation is in UCI's DNA

Ever since UCI was founded – and built around a circle, not the typical college quadrangle – the university has shown a commitment to bringing together different academic disciplines to share knowledge for the benefit of society.

  1. Jacob Deyell Dr. Albert R. La Spada, director of UCI’s Institute for Neurotherapeutics, and members of his 14-person research team – including graduate student Jacob Deyell (pictured) – were among the ISEB’s earliest occupants in the fall. The group focuses on neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s.
  2. Xiangmin Xu Xiangmin Xu, professor of anatomy & neurobiology and director of UCI’s Center for Neural Circuit Mapping, is moving into the ISEB with a team of 18 researchers who that focuses on research to helping to unravel the mechanisms underlying several common disorders, such as lazy eye and Alzheimer’s disease.
  3. Nadia Leonard Postdoctoral scholar Nadia Leonard is a member of Jenny Yang’s research group.
  4. Ming Ho Biomedical engineering graduate student researcher Ming Ho works in the lab of Chang C. Liu’s lab. Liu is an associate professor of biomedical engineering, chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry.
  5. Pramod Khargonekar, UCI vice chancellor for research Pramod Khargonekar, UCI vice chancellor for research, says: “We thought that if we could bring people from various subfields of engineering, physical sciences, and information and computer sciences together and have them converge on major problems in energy, environment, climate, and health, then perhaps we could make transformative advances on our biggest challenges. That’s how this building concept has come together.”
  6. ISEB interior The ISEB features numerous interaction areas in a variety of sizes and configurations. These spaces are designed to provide a comfortable, casual setting for relaxation and conversations among students, faculty and staff working in the building.
  7. ISEB open-air gathering and event space On the fourth floor of the ISEB, a symposium room is placed next to an open-air gathering and event space. The building designers envisioned faculty and students taking part in a lecture and then congregating in the reception area to discuss new ideas and approaches to grand challenges.
  8. ISEB exterior The ISEB, recently constructed on the south side of the UCI campus, brings more than 200,000 square feet of new laboratory, office and conference space to the university. The ISEB was designed from the ground up to foster collaboration among physical scientists, engineers and computer scientists so that they can address the most difficult problems facing humanity.
  9. Michael Green, interim dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering On the pressing need for additional laboratory and office space on the UCI campus, which the ISEB is alleviating, Michael Green, interim dean of The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, says: “We grew from 100 tenure-track and tenured faculty in 2010 to 155 in 2020, the result of concerted efforts to bring a number of world-renowned experts to the school, but our laboratory capacity did not grow in order to meet this expansion.”
  10. James Bullock, dean of the School of Physical Sciences James Bullock, dean of the School of Physical Sciences, says: “With this building we took a different view: Rather than arranging by departments, we’re organizing by research question. Energy, climate and health are not the domain of a single department or school, so we said, ‘Why not group together folks with the same broad goals, give them space to interact, and let them bring to bear diverse tools and approaches to tackle the biggest problems of our age?’"
  11. Susan and Henry Samueli Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli, who, through the Samueli Foundation, provided seed financing for the construction of the ISEB, says: “As ground was being broken for this fabulous new facility, Susan and I were hoping for a structure that would provide an engine for cross-disciplinary research and innovations to benefit society, and we feel very strongly that goal has been achieved.”