New Faculty

Assistant Professors Alberto Rodriguez and Xuanhe Zhao join the department.


Assistant Professor Alberto Rodriguez


Alberto Rodriguez graduated from the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) in Barcelona in 2005 with a degree in mathematics and again in 2006 (with honors) with a degree in telecommunication engineering. He moved to the United States and earned his PhD in robotics in 2013 from Carnegie Mellon University under the supervision of Professor Matthew T. Mason, then he spent a year as a postdoctoral associate at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. Professor Rodriguez is the recipient of La Caixa and Caja Madrid fellowships for graduate studies in the US, as well as the recipient of the Best Student Paper Awards at the RSS 2011 and ICRA 2013 conferences. His main research interests are robotic manipulation, mechanical design, and automation. His long-term research goal is to provide robots with enough sensing, reasoning, and acting capabilities to reliably manipulate the environment.


Assistant Professor Xuanhe Zhao


Xuanhe Zhao received his PhD in mechanical engineering from Harvard University in 2009, his MS in materials engineering from University of British Columbia in 2006, and his BE in electrical engineering from Tianjin University in 2003. Upon finishing his postdoctoral training in biomedical engineering at Harvard in 2010, Dr. Zhao joined the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Duke University. In 2014, Dr. Zhao and his group moved to the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where he is now assistant professor and holder of the d’Arbeloff Career Development Chair. He also holds a joint appointment with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Professor Zhao’s current research goal is to understand and design soft materials with unprecedented properties and functions, such as active polymers, that may replace muscles and hydrogels tougher than cartilages. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, the ONR Young Investigator Award, and the Early Career Researchers Award from AVS Biomaterial Interfaces Division.