Professor Levi joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1984 and is currently Mehrabian Distinguished Professor of Materials. He holds a joint appointment between the Materials Department, where he was Associate Chair (1992-2003) and more recently Departmental Graduate Advisor (2012-2016), as well as in the Department of Mechanical Engineeering. The overarching theme of his research is the understanding of the microstructure of materials and its evolution during processing and service, with emphasis on the performance and durability of structural materials at high temperature and in severe environments. His expertise in materials processing includes physical vapor deposition, powder processing and solidification technologies, fabrication processes for inorganic composites, and synthesis of inorganics from precursors. His research is currently funded by NSF, ONR, NASA, Honeywell Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney and Siemens Corporate Technology. He has extensive industrial interactions as leader of the NSF/FRG/Goali program with GE Research and the Honeywell-UCSB Alliance on Thermal Barrier Coatings, as co-PI in the Pratt & Whitney Center of Excellence in Ceramic Composites and also in the Siemens-UCSB initiative on High Temperature Oxide Composites and Coatings. He is a participant in the Center for Multifunctional Materials and Structures and the Institute for Energy Efficiency at UCSB. He has published over 180 articles on his research, and has been recognized for specific contributions to the literature with the 1983 Howe Medal and the 1989 Grossmann Award, both from ASM International, a 1990 Significant Contribution Award of the MST Division of the American Nuclear Society, and the 2004 DLR Wissenschaftspreis from the German Aerospace Agency. He is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (2012) and has been honored for his career contributions to Materials Science and Engineering with the 2002 Alexander von Humboldt Forschungspreis (Research Award for Senior U.S. Scientists from the AvH Foundation, Germany), the 2008 NIMS Award for Recent Breakthroughs in Materials Science for Energy and Environment (shared with A.G. Evans and D.R. Clarke), and most recently with the 2014 TMS Morris Cohen Award.
Professor Levi is a member of the The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), where he currently serves in the Committee on Public and Governmental Relations. In the past he has served in the Board of Directors and the leadership of the Materials Processing and Manufacturing Division, as well as numerous technical and administrative committees. He is also a member of The American Ceramic Society, ASM International and the Materials Research Society. He has served in the Board of Review of Metallurgical and Materials Transactions and the Editorial Board of Materials Science and Engineering. He is a member of the Arconic Power and Propulsion Technology Advisory Board, a consultant for Pratt & Whitney and CRAFTech, and periodically serves as a consultant for GE Research, GE Aviation and various other organizations.