Current Members

Prof. Horacio Dante Espinosa

Group Leader

Professor Espinosa received his Civil Engineering degree from Northeast National University in Argentina in 1981. From 1982 to 1985, he practiced the profession by designing foundations of multi-story buildings, reinforced concrete plates, beams, columns used in multi-story buildings, and shells used in elevated reservoirs. Another activity he pursued was the design of city pavement and draining systems. In September of 1985 he started graduate studies at the Polytechnic of Milan until completion of a Master Degree in Structural Engineering. In August of 1987 he moved to the USA and started graduate studies at Brown University, earning a Ph.D. in Solid Mechanics. In January of 1992 he joined the faculty at Purdue University in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Since January of 2000, he has been a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University. Currently, he is the James N. and Nancy J. Farley Professor in Manufacturing & Entrepreneurship, Director of the Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Program, and the President of the Society of Engineering Science.

Dr. Rebecca McNaughton

Research Associate and Administrator

Rebecca received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of New Mexico in the group of Professor Martin Kirk for studies of the catalytic mechanisms of enzymes containing transition metals in their active sites. She continued her research in the area of bioinorganic chemistry at as a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University and received an NIH National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship. To broadened her business experience, she moved to a position as the Scientific Officer and Industrial Liaison for the International Institute for Nanotechnology. In 2012, she began working in the Espinosa group as a Research Associate and Administrator, contributing to group management and mentoring, conceiving and writing grant proposals, preparing technical reports and manuscripts, and managing grant funding.

Dr. Xiaoding Wei

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Xiaoding was born in Anhui, China and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from University of Science and Technology of China in 2003. In the fall of 2003, he joined the department of Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University as a graduate student and received his Master of Science degree in May 2004. His research at Columbia University focused on bulge test experiments on nanocrystalline Cu films and experimental and theoretical studies of mechanical properties of graphene. For this work, he received his PhD degree in May 2009. Xiaoding then joined Prof. Espinosa’s group as a research postdoctoral fellow. Currently, his interests include experimental and theoretical investigation of carbon nanotube based NEMS devices and the design and multi-scale modeling of high-performance nanocomposites.

Dr. Wei Gao

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Wei joined Prof. Espinosa’s group as a postdoctoral fellow in August 2014. His primary research interest focuses on the interdisciplinary study of the mechanical properties of materials spanning length scales from atomistic to continuum levels. Wei received his Ph. D. degree in Engineering Mechanics from The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. At UT Austin, he studied the effects of thermal fluctuation on the mechanical properties of monolayer graphene using classical statistical thermodynamics and molecular dynamics simulations. In close collaboration with experimentalists, he also studied the interfacial adhesion of graphene by multiscale modeling. Before joining UT Austin, Wei worked as a mechanical engineer for two years in Los Angeles after he obtained his master degrees from Tsinghua University in China and the University of California, Irvine, respectively in 2006 and 2007.

Dr. Changjin Huang

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Changjin received his bachelor’s degree in Thermal Science and Energy Engineering from University of Science and Technology of China in 2008. He started his graduate study under the supervision of Prof. Sulin Zhang at Pennsylvania State University and earned a PhD degree in Engineering Science and Mechanics in 2014. His research primarily focused on the biophysics of cell membranes and cell-nanoparticle interactions. He joined Prof. Espinosa’s group as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2014. His current research focuses on in vitro cell manipulation using nanotechnology-based biosensors/devices, including micropillar substrates for cell adhesion quantification and localized electroporation tools for cell transfection and nondestructive sampling.

Dr. Ruiguo Yang

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Ruiguo Yang received his Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering in Mechatronics Engineering degrees from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, China in 2004 and 2007, respectively. At Michigan State University, he worked on atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based nanorobotics and its application for characterizing cell-cell adhesion structures and their role in regulating cell mechanical behavior, where he received a PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2014. Subsequently, he joined Prof. Espinosa's group as a Postdoctoral Fellow. His current research interests include the development and application of nanofountain probe (NFP) technology for single cell electroporation, and continued study of quantifying cell-cell and cell-ECM adhesion strength in wild type and mutant cells using AFM and bioMEMS techniques.

Dr. Srikanth Ammu

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Srikanth Ammu was born in Kothavalsa in the southern part of India. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from University of Mumbai, India (May 2005). He then earned a master’s degree (May 2008) in chemical engineering and a doctoral degree (May 2013) in biomedical engineering and biotechnology from The University of Massachusetts Lowell. Srikanth joined Prof. Espinosa’s group as a postdoctoral fellow in 2013 where his research is currently focused on the electromechanical properties of 2D transition metal dicalcogenides.

Alireza Zaheri

Graduate Student

Alireza was born in Tehran, Iran and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Sharif University of Technology (Iran) in 2010. As an undergraduate student, he proposed a novel method of calculation of elastic properties and strain gradient material constants by utilization of quantum mechanical studies under the supervision of Prof. Shodja. He then joined the department of Mechanical Engineering at Princeton University as a graduate student and earned his Master of Science in Engineering degree in 2013. During his research at Princeton, he worked with Prof. Haataja to understand the role of microstructure on the mechanical behavior and deformation mechanism of bulk metallic glasses and composites undergoing phase transformations by employing a mesoscale phase-field model. Alireza joined Prof. Espinosa’s group in Fall 2014 to pursue a PhD degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. His current research interests include ultrastructural and mechanical characterization of biological species as well as biomimetic syntheses.

Rajaprakash Ramachandramoorthy

Graduate Student

Raj was born in Virudhunagar, India. He received his bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering from both University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (USA). He worked as a research assistant at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology at UIUC with Prof. Scott White on visualization of impact damage in self-healing composites. He then went to McGill University (Montreal, Canada) to earn his master’s degree in mechanical engineering, where he worked with Prof. Pascal Hubert on laser transmission welding of thermoplastic composites using laser refraction. He joined Prof. Espinosa’s group in Fall 2011 to pursue a PhD degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. His current research interests include in situ SEM/TEM nanomechanical testing at high strain rates and fatigue testing of nanowires.

Mike Roenbeck

Graduate Student

Mike Roenbeck was born in Staten Island, NY and hails from the great state of New Jersey. He was part of the fifth graduating class at Olin College of Engineering, earning a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Mike joined the Micro and Nanomechanics Laboratory in the fall of 2010 in pursuit of a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in nanotechnology. His research interests include mechanical properties of carbon nanotubes across multiple scales as well as nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). Outside of the lab, Mike enjoys tennis, baseball, American history, Spanish language, and amusement rides.

Siyan Dong

Graduate Student

Siyan is from Xiamen, China. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA in 2014. During his undergraduate education he joined the Microsystems Laboratory and worked on developing an advanced biological imaging system based on selective plane illumination microscopy (SPIM). He also gained experience during his undergraduate career working on microfluidic device fabrication, flexure structure design and simulation, and Smart Grid implementation. He joined Prof. Espinosa’s group in the fall of 2014 in pursuit of a PhD degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. He currently works on characterization and utilization of 2D piezoelectric materials.

Rafael A. Soler-Crespo

Graduate Student

Rafael was born in Manatí, Puerto Rico. After spending most of his life in the coastal town of Vega Alta, he went on to obtain his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez with highest honors. Due to his training in the fields of chemical and materials engineering, Rafael ardently pursued projects that linked microscopic to macroscopic properties during his undergraduate research work. This led him to obtain two patents for the synthesis of nanoporous materials under Prof. Marcelo Suárez. Additionally, Rafael worked under Prof. María Curet Arana developing reaction mechanisms, aided by DFT calculations, for the transformation of carbon dioxide to functional chemicals with the use of novel catalysts. He joined the Espinosa group in Fall 2012 to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, working on atomistic modeling applications for mechanics. His research interests include multiscale modeling, materials design, and computational mechanics.

Shiva Prasad

Graduate Student

Shiva was born and raised in southern India. He received his Bachelor of Technology degree in Civil Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati in 2010. As an undergraduate student, he worked on research projects in the fields of Applied Mathematics (adaptive grids in singular perturbation problems), Inverse Problems in Engineering (leakage detection in pipe networks using inverse transient analysis), and Computational Mechanics (comparative study of locking-free shear-flexible beam in mesh-free methods). During 2010-12, he worked as Project Engineer with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. in a 1000 km pipeline project. At Indian Oil, he designed and executed quality control (QC) plans related to construction of civil health monitoring units (repeater cum cathodic protection), pipe milling (submerged arc welding), and coating (coal-tar enamel and concrete weight). He joined Prof. Espinosa's group at Northwestern University in Fall 2012 to pursue his Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. His current research interests include designing microfluidic platforms for single cell biology applications and using computational methods to explore nano-mechanics for system and material designs.



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