Mr. Rao joined the Kaner Group in 2014 as an undergraduate research assistant working under Dr. McVerry. Supported by the Grand Challenge Scholars Program and a UCLA Research Fellowship, he developed a method to functionalize commercial polyolefin separators used in Lithium-ion Batteries and other energy storage devices. Mr. Rao, Dr. McVerry, and Dr. Kaner were awarded a $100,000 grant from the UCLA Physical Sciences Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund for further development of the project and investigation of electrolyte mixtures with advanced safety characteristics whose use was enabled by his technology. He has also played an integral role in the development of Hydrophilix coatings designed for biomedical applications. Mr. Rao’s research has contributed to several publications and patents that have been integral to Hydrophilix’s technology portfolio.