Current Group 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. Juan Pablo Giraldo

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Juan is a biologist who earned his PhD doing HIV vaccine research by investigating T-cell responses against the virus that could one day be used in a vaccine. As a postdoctoral fellow, he did research on T- and NK-cell activation pathways to understand more deeply how the immune response signal within immune cells initiates the transcription of genes. Besides being passionate about everything in biology, he has always been very interested in engineering and design. He is currently a visiting scientist at Northwestern University and the lead Research Associate at iNfinitesimal LLC, Prof. Espinosa's start-up company. His research in this role is aimed at translating the nanofountain probe technology into a robust and novel commercial biotool that will enable new capabilities for biology researchers to efficiently conduct studies at the single-cell level.

Dr. Wonmo Kang

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Wonmo Kang received his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea in 2004 and his M.S. degree in engineering mechanics from University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 2006. During his Masters research, he worked with Prof. Joseph A. Turner in the Ultrasonics and Vibrations Group. His research effort focused on improving reliability of a landmine detection method using acoustic waves. He joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) for his Ph.D. study in 2006 and worked in the MEMS and Micromechanics laboratory under the supervision of Prof. M. Taher A. Saif. At UIUC he worked in the area of mechanics of MEMS/NEMS and nanomechanics with special emphasis on the thermally and mechanically coupled behavior of micro/nanomaterials. In 2012, Wonmo joined Prof. Espinosa’s group at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral research fellow. His current research focus is on nanobiotechnology, single cell electroporation, and lab-on-a-chip design and fabrication. His academic achievements have been recognized by several fellowships and awards including FMC Fellowship, Frank and Marie Wheeler Fellowship, NSF Student Travel Grants, Schaller Fund, conference travel awards, and the Ohio State University Fellowship.

Rodrigo Bernal

Graduate Student

Rodrigo was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. He attended Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia where he received bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical and Electronics Engineering. His undergraduate work focused on powder metallurgy and development of low-cost scanning probe microscopes. He joined Prof. Espinosa’s lab in the Fall of 2008 to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering. His current research interests include the mechanical and piezoelectric properties of semiconducting nanowires, in situ testing of nanostructures, and nanomanipulation.

Rajaprakash Ramachandramoorthy

Graduate Student

Raj was born in Virudhunagar, India. He received his bachelor degree in Aerospace Engineering from both University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (USA). He worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology in 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 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 high strain-rate in situ mechanical testing of metallic nanowires and nanomanipulation, as well as characterization of surface roughness in carbon nanotubes.

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.

Bradley Biggs

Graduate Student

Bradley was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He graduated with his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Southern California in 2012. His undergraduate research focused on nanosensing, with a particular emphasis on surface functionalization chemistries and patterning on silicon-based microtoroidal optical biosensors. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Biotechnology at Northwestern and joined the Espinosa Lab in January 2013. Bradley's particular research interests include cellular signaling pathways and differentiation, which he is exploring by developing surface chemistries for cell placement and biosensing that couple with the nanofountain probe system. Outside of the lab he enjoys music, his USC Trojans and the Atlanta Braves.

He "Richard" Zhou

Graduate Student

He "Richard" Zhao received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from University of Notre Dame in May 2012. His undergraduate research included bio-mimetic artificial graft material synthesis for bone defect treatment and experimental aero-acoustic research on unsteady surface pressure measurement. He joined the Micro and Nanomechanics Lab at Northwestern in September 2012, pursuing a PhD degree in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. His current research involves both theoretical modeling and nanofabrication for bioMEMs applications.

Matthew Ford

Graduate Student

Matthew Ford graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering. He has previously worked on MEMS resonators for chemical sensing and energy scavenging for low power sensor arrays. In 2011, he co-authored a paper for the annual American Society for Engineering Education conference on a model for student-driven engineering programs for children. He currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Northwestern University and works in Professor Espinosa's group on molecular and numerical modeling of nanocarbon composites.

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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