Faculty Promotions

Martin Culpepper

Martin Culpepper, Full Professor

Professor Martin Culpepper is a widely respected leading authority in the field of precision engineering. His research focuses on the design, fabrication, and testing of high-performance machine systems that make, manipulate, or measure parts and features at length-scales and/or precision levels not previously possible or practical. Research from his group has produced landmark achievements in precision machine systems while also laying a foundation for both academicians and practicing designers, providing new tools to enable design of next-generation precision systems. Professor Culpepper’s HexFlex Nanopositioner is widely considered a signature achievement in the design and fabrication of small-scale, multi-degree-of-freedom positioning systems. His research group developed a foundational framework, considered by many to be a breakthrough in the field, for the design of multi-degree-of-freedom systems: the FACT (Freedom and Constraint Topology) framework rigorously accounts for the freedom and constraint space of the desired motion and provides families of design topologies that will achieve the required degrees of motion. Professor Culpepper is also widely respected for his commitment to education and mentoring of students. His courses at MIT challenge students in the rigorous design of machine elements based on engineering principles and truly embody the Institute’s mens et manus motto. He has brought this approach to industry through a series of professional education courses directly impacting the practice of precision machine design. Professor Culpepper has a long history of service to his profession and to MIT. He has played an active leadership role in shaping the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, and currently serves as Graduate Admissions Officer in Mechanical Engineering. Professor Culpepper has been recognized with several awards, including the prestigious NSF PECASE award and R&D 100 Awards. Most recently, he was named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, as well as Maker Czar overseeing builder space for the department.

Anette Hosoi

Anette “Peko” Hosoi, Full Professor

Professor Anette (Peko) Hosoi’s research contributions lie at the juncture of nonlinear hydrodynamics, microfluidics, and bio-inspired design. She is a world leader in the study of the hydrodynamics of thin fluid films and in the nonlinear physical interaction of viscous fluids and deformable interfaces. A common theme in her work is the fundamental study of shape, kinematic and rheological optimization of biological fluid systems for locomotion, and their application to the emergent field of “soft robotics.” A unique mixture of experimental work, numerical simulation, and theoretical analysis characterizes her work, and it combines elements of both engineering design and mathematical optimization. Her work is widely known and internationally respected by physicists, biologists, roboticists, and applied mathematicians, as well as engineers, and is used to guide the engineering design of robotic swimmers, crawlers, burrowers, and other mechanisms. She is also an exceptional and innovative teacher, an inspiring mentor, and an outstanding communicator of science in general. Her pedagogical contributions have spanned several core disciplines in our undergraduate program as well as our graduate program. She has been awarded both the Junior Bose and Bose Award for her teaching excellence in the School of Engineering; she was elected a MacVicar Fellow; and most recently she won our Department’s coveted Den Hartog Award for Teaching Excellence. She is extremely active in service to the Department as Undergraduate Officer and Associate Head of Education, to the Institute through the Lincoln Labs Campus Interaction Committee, and to the professional community at large as an elected member of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) executive committee and more recently as chair of the APS DFD Media & Science relations committee. Professor Hosoi is a member of the Defense Science Study Group and was recently elected to Fellowship in APS.

Yang Shao-Horn

Yang Shao-Horn, Full Professor

Professor Yang Shao-Horn is widely recognized as a world-leading authority in electrochemical energy storage and conversion. Her research addresses a grand challenge in electrochemical energy – the identification and design of catalysts with enhanced activity levels that will yield high-energy and efficient energy storage and conversion to enable cost-effective renewable energy. Professor Shao-Horn and her group probe and unravel the underlying molecular-level mechanisms of electrocatalytic reactions and the impact of these mechanisms on device performance. Her group is recognized for deep, fundamental contributions across a range of major challenges in electrochemical energy, including breakthroughs in lithium-ion batteries, lithium-air batteries, PEM fuel cells, and solid oxide fuel cells. Professor Shao-Horn is admired for the creativity, innovation, vision, and leadership that she brings to the field and is also widely respected for her scholarly depth and precision. Most recently, her research has resulted in landmark achievements in understanding the fundamental atomic-level mechanisms governing the catalytic activity of transition metal oxides. She has utilized these mechanistic-based insights to construct design principles and discover new oxides with catalytic performance one order of magnitude greater than the current state-of-the-art. This discovery is considered both profound and practical – profound for its grounding in deep mechanistic understanding that can guide the field, and practical for its potential to replace precious metal catalysts with more cost-efficient oxides. Professor Shao-Horn is also recognized for her excellence in the mentoring of students and postdocs. Her ability to motivate, inspire, and nurture emerging researchers early on in their careers is much admired. She is now utilizing these talents to spearhead professional development activities for our graduate students. Her multidisciplinary course on electrochemistry has attracted students from across the School and the Institute as well as from other universities. Professor Shao-Horn has published over 130 archival journal papers with more than 5,000 citations at MIT. She is also a leader in her profession, serving on the advisory board of leading journals in energy science and physical chemistry, and initiating new conference symposia on this rapidly expanding field. She is a highly sought-out speaker and has been recognized by her professional community with the Charles Tobias Young Investigator Award from the Electrochemical Society, the Tajima Prize from the International Society of Electrochemistry and, most recently, the 2013 Research Award by the International Battery Materials Association.

Maria yang

Maria Yang, Associate Professor

Associate Professor Maria Yang is an emerging leader in early stage design. In the field of engineering design, early stage conceptual design plays a dominant role in determining the functional performance as well as the manufacturing cost of the final product. It is during early stage design that the vision of a product is born. Historically, design process research has led to the development of numerous tools, from CAD to robust design methods, providing the ability to optimize final designs. However, understanding the factors and developing methods to guide and enhance the more ambiguous yet highly impactful human-centric aspects of early-stage design are just beginning to be addressed from a fundamental perspective. Professor Yang’s research focuses on how informal design representations (sketches, physical prototypes, models, discussions) drive early stage design and influence the way a design team engages in the process of design. These informal representations are inherently part of the “language of design” with which engineers generate ideas, communicate early concepts, and select designs for final optimization. Professor Yang’s research has identified the important aspects of sketching (timing, quantity, frequency, engineering detail, quality) that govern successful design outcomes as well as the level and form of sketch refinement needed for effective customer feedback, in contrast to that needed for idea generation. Her work has also identified key attributes of physical prototyping that result in successful design outcomes, where simplified prototypes that build on one another early on correlate with better design outcomes, but premature detailed prototyping is not as effective. Success in this field has the potential to be transformative and to yield more effective and efficient design processes for greater innovation in product development. Professor Yang is recognized for her abilities to educate and inspire the next generation of design engineers, educators and researchers through her work in the classroom and as well as through numerous project-based design workshops. She has been recognized with an NSF CAREER Award, the MIT Murman Award for Undergraduate Advising, and a Best Paper Award at the 2013 ASME Design Theory and Methodology Conference. She was recently named a Fellow of the ASME.