About the MechE Alliance Seminar Series

The MechE Alliance Seminar Series is a platform for connecting members of the MechE community, including current students, post-docs and faculty at MIT MechE, our alumni, industry and other external partners. Research thrives on sharing ideas and discoveries. Through these seminars, we support the free-flow of ideas and the networks of researchers that make up the global MechE community.

Seminars will rotate between talks from MIT MechE Faculty, Students and Postdocs, and our alumni and other partners. Topic are as varied as our research with focus areas being in mechanics, controls, instrumentation, & robotics, ocean science & engineering, micro & nano engineering, design & manufacturing, energy science & engineering, and bioengineering.

View recordings of past seminars as well as other videos from around MIT MechE at our MechE Alliance YouTube Channel.

Sponsored by MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering

Next MechE Alliance Seminar

Meeting (& preventing) new challenges in bio(chemical) sensing

Dr. Svetlana Boriskina

Wednesday, September 23
12:00-12:45pm US EDT
Zoom Webinar Link:


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Bio(chemical) sensors play an outsized role in medical care, biological research, drug development, national security, and environmental monitoring, as exemplified by the current need for SARS-CoV-2 virus detection. I will outline the inherent challenges associated with the development and large-scale deployment of reliable sensors for detection of new viral and bacterial pathogens and environmental pollutants. I will also discuss the approaches we are exploring to meet these challenges by combining photonic amplification, biological recognition & nano-mechanical forces on nano-photonic and nano-plasmonic chips. As one of the examples, I will introduce a concept of the High Contrast Probe Cleavage Detection mechanism, which makes use of the dramatic optical signal amplification caused by cleavage of large numbers of high-contrast nanoparticle labels. This method is drastically different from the common photonic biosensing approach based on recognizing and amplifying the signal caused by the adsorption of low-index biological molecules, and holds promise for rapid development of new sensors for detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus and other yet-unknown harmful pathogens. I will also briefly mention our work on new materials development aimed at preventing future environmental pollution and reducing risks of transmission of bacterial and viral infections.



About Svetlana Boriskina

Svetlana V. Boriskina is a physicist and engineer who studies light-matter interactions on nanoscale and develops new smart materials and devices for solar energy harvesting, personal thermal comfort, night vision, space exploration, and bio-chemical sensing. She leads a research group at MIT, which engineers smart and sustainable fabrics, photonic meta-materials with structural colors, wearable high-efficiency sensors, and solar and waste heat harvesting platforms for clean energy generation. As the Lead Editor of the Energy and Environmental Optics Express, Svetlana is helping to disseminate the scientific knowledge and encourage the international collaborative effort to address challenges in the water-energy nexus, photonics, metamaterials, and environmental sensing.

Upcoming MechE Alliance Seminars

  • Automated Discovery of High-Quality Novel Designs
    Faez Ahmed, Assistant Professor, MIT MechE
    Wednesday, September 30th
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Title TBA
    Randall Davis, Professor, MIT CSAIL
    Wednesday, Ocober 7th
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • MechE to Augmented Reality
    Mitch Kelley, MIT MechE B.S. ‘11
    Wednesday, October 14th
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Beyond Classical 3D Architected Materials
    Carlos Portela, Assistant Professor, MIT MechE
    Wednesday, October 21st
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Design and Control of Versatile High-speed and Large-range Atomic Force Microscopes
    Fangzhou Xia, PhD student, MIT MechE
    Wednesday, October 28th
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Title TBA
    Wim van Rees, ABS Career Development Professor, MIT MechE
    Wednesday, November 4th
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Title TBA
    Sili Deng Assistant Professor, MIT MechE
    Wednesday, November 18th
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Mission Systems Engineering of the James Webb Space Telescope
    Mike Menzel, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    Wednesday, December 2nd
    12-12:45pm US EDT
    Zoom Webinar Link:
  • Past MechE Alliance Seminars

    • A worker-centered approach to convex optimization in engineering design.
      Edward Burnell, PhD candidate, MIT MechE 
      Wednesday, September 16, 2020
    • Manufacturing Principles: Theory, Research and Practice.
      Prof. David Hardt, Industry Co-Director Jose Pacheco, Dr. Brian Anthony and Arjun Chandar
      Wednesday, September 9, 2020
    • Cybersecurity and Data Trustworthiness in Connected and Automated Vehicles.
      Dajiang Suo is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
      Wednesday, August 4th, 2020
    • Rethinking Problems in Thermal Science and Engineering - From Atoms to Applications.
      Dr. Asegun Henry, an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
      Wednesday, July 29, 2020
    • A Tale of Two Singularities  --Exotic phenomena and energy applications induced by topological singularities in a Weyl semimetal.
      Mingda Li,  Norman C. Rasmussen Assistant Professor at MIT  Nuclear Science and Engineering Department
      Wednesday, July 22, 2020
    • Scalable Visible Light Additive (Bio)fabrication.
      Kavin  Kowsari, Postdoctoral Fellow , MIT MechE 
      Wednesday, July 15, 2020
    • Birth and death of a single quantum of vibration.
      Vivishek Sudhir , Assistant Professor, MIT MechE
      Wednesday, July 8, 2020
    • Bringing Science and Engineering to Safety.
      Albert Moussa, President, Blazetech
      Wednesday, July 1, 2020
    • 3D Organ Property Mapping Using Freehand Ultrasound Scans .
      Alex Benjamin, MechE, PhD Candidate
      Wednesday, June 24, 2020
    • FiA World Rally Cup and autonomous vehicle technology is speeding the way to safer urban mobility.
      Edward Bernardon, VP Strategic Automotive Initiatives at Siemens Specialized Engineering Software
      Wednesday, June 18, 2020
    • GI Device Development in a few Movements.
      Dr. Giovanni Traverso, Assistant Professor at Mechanical Engineering Department, MIT
      Wednesday, June 17, 2020
    • Sustainability and Summer Learning Opportunities at Danfoss.
      Mark Shu DCs, Innovation Director, The Danfoss Innovation Accelerator, Cambridge, MA
      Wednesday, June 3, 2020
    • Nimble Acoustic Assembly of Organized Multi-Material Extrusion Processes.
      Lauren Chai, PhD Candidate, Computational Instrumentation and Device Realization Lab.
      Wednesday, May 13, 2020
    • Integrating organic components with synthetic soft robots; a paradigm shift for preclinical testing of implantable devices.
      Assistant Professor Ellen Roche, MIT MechE and IMES, W.M. Keck Foundation Career Development Professor.
      Wednesday, May 6, 2020
    • Ultrahigh-efficiency desalination via a thermally-localized multistage solar still
      Lenan Zhang, PhD Candidate, Device Research Lab, MIT MechE
      Thursday, April 23, 2020
    • Manipulating Light and Color with Soft and Structured Matter
      Prof. Mathias Kolle, Rockwell Career Development Professorship, Associate Professor, MIT MechE
      Wednesday, April 15, 2020

    Contact Us

    For questions, please email me-alliance@mit.edu.

    MechE students, postdocs, faculty, and alumni are encouraged to reach out if you would like to present as part of this series.