Professor Fullerton received his B.Sc. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1984 and his Ph.D. in physics from University of California, San Diego in 1991 where he worked on the growth and characterization of metallic superlattices. He joined the magnetic films group in the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and in 1993 became a staff scientist specializing in the physics of coupled magnetic films. In 1997 he joined the IBM Almaden Research Center where he worked until 2003 when he moved to Hitachi Global Storage Technologies as a Research Staff Member and Manager of the Fundamentals of Nanostructured Materials Group. In 2006 he joined the University of California, San Diego as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and NanoEngineering and holder of an Endowed Chair in the Center of Magnetic Recording Research.
Professor Fullerton has co-authored more than 220 papers in refereed journals, presented more than 75 invited talks at conferences and holds 45 US patents including a patent selected as one of the "Five Patents to Watch" in 2001 by MIT's Technology Review magazine. He has been awarded the Argonne Exceptional Performance Award in 1996, Fellowship in the American Physical Society in 1998, the Arfken Scholar-In-Residence at Miami University in 2000, the IBM Outstanding Technical Achievement Award in 2002, the IBM Fourth Plateau Invention Achievement Award in 2003 and the Hitachi GST Gold Patent Award in 2004 and 2005.