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Xuanhe Zhao

Contact Info

room 1-310D

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


  • 2009


  • 2008


  • 2006


  • 2003

    Tianjin University


Research Interests

  • Design of soft materials that possess unprecedented properties.
  • Large deformation, instability, fracture, adhesion and multiple-field coupling in soft materials.
  • Wearable and biointegrated electronics, soft robotics and machine, and antifouling and water treatment.


Xuanhe Zhao received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Harvard University in 2009, MS in Materials Engineering from University of British Columbia in 2006, and BE in Electrical Engineering from Tianjin University in 2003. Upon finishing a postdoctoral training in Biomedical Engineering at Harvard, in 2010, Dr. Zhao joint the faculty of Duke University and founded the Soft Active Materials Laboratory. In 2014, Dr. Zhao and his group moved to Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, where he is associate professor and Noyce Career Development Chair. Dr. Zhao is a recipient of NSF Career Award (2012), the Early Career Researcher Award by the AVS Biomaterial Interface Division (2012), the ONR Young Investigator Award (2014), the SES Young Investigator Medal (2017), the Adhesion Society’s Young Scientist Award (2017), and several best paper awards. . He held the Hunt Faculty Scholar at Duke and d'Arbeloff Career Development Chair and Robert N. Noyce Career Development Professor at MIT.

Dr. Zhao’s current research goal is to understand and design soft materials that possess unprecedented properties and functions. His research has led to the design of extremely tough adhesive and biocompatible hydrogels and hydrogel-solid hybrids, discovery of new failure mechanisms in dielectric polymers, and controlled crumpling and unfolding of large-area 2D materials into functional nanostructures.  

Online Data

  • ResearchID: (
  • Google Scholar: (

Honors + Awards

  • 11/2018, Web of Science Highlight Cited Researcher 2018
  • 09/2018, Materials Today Rising Star Award
  • 07/2017, Young Investigator Medal, Society of Engineering Science
  • 02/2017, Young Scientist Award, The Adhesion Society
  • 03/2016, Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) Award, Department of Defence
  • 12/2015, Extreme Mechanics Letters Young Investigator Award, Elsevier
  • 07/2015, Robert N. Noyce Career Development Professorship, MIT
  • 02/2015, Journal of Applied Mechanics Award, ASME
  • 07/2014, d'Arbeloff Career Development Chair, MIT
  • 07/2014, Hunt Faculty Scholar, Duke University
  • 04/2014, Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award, Office of Naval Research
  • 02/2014, Arthur K. Doolittle Award, ACS Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering Division
  • 09/2013, US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering
  • 12/2012, Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, National Science Foundation
  • 11/2012, Early Career Researchers Award, AVS Biomaterial Interfaces Division
  • 11/2011, Haythornthwaite Research Initiation Award, ASME Applied Mechanics Division
  • 03/2008, AAM Founder’s Prize, American Academy of Mechanics


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Physical Society

Professional Service

  • 2015-present, Associate Editor in Chief, Acta Mechanica Sinica
  • 2015-present, Editorial Board, Scientific Reports
  • 2013-present, Editorial Board, International Journal of Applied Mechanics
  • 2013-2014, Editor, Journal Club of
  • 2013-2014, Chair of Technical Committee on Soft Material, ASME
  • 2012-2013, Vice Chair of Technical Committee on Soft Material, ASME
  • 2011-2012, Secretary of Technical Committee on Soft Material, ASME

MIT Service

  • 2014, 2015, Faculty Search Committee (Ad Hoc member), Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
  • 2014-present, Graduate Admissions Committee, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
  • 2014-present, MMEC Seminar Committee, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
  • 2016-present, SMSD Seminar Committee, School of Engineering. MIT


  • 2.002 Mechanics and Materials II
  • 2.01 Elements of Structures
  • 2.02A Engineering Materials: Properties and Applications