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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

  • Soft materials and systems: tough adhesive hydrogels, hard-magnetic soft materials, wearable ultrasound, bioelectronics, soft medical robotics.
  • Solid mechanics: large deformation, instability, fracture, fatigue, adhesion, multiple-field coupling.
  • Societal impacts: health, sustainability, water, food, energy, plastics.


Xuanhe Zhao is a professor of mechanical engineering and civil and environmental engineering (by courtesy) at MIT. The mission of Zhao Lab at MIT is to advance science and technology between humans and machines for addressing grand societal challenges in health and sustainability with integrated expertise in mechanics, materials and biotechnology. A major focus of Zhao Lab is the study and development of soft materials and systems. 
Dr. Zhao is the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, ONR Young Investigator Award, SES Young Investigator Medal, ASME Hughes Young Investigator Award, Adhesion Society’s Young Scientist Award, Materials Today Rising Star Award, and Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher. He held the Hunt Faculty Scholar at Duke University, and the d'Arbeloff Career Development Chair and Noyce Career Development Professorship at MIT. 
Bioadhesive ultrasound based on Zhao Lab's work published in Science was selected among 2022 TIME Magine Best Inventions; SanaHeal Inc based on Zhao Lab’s work published in Nature won 2023 Nature Spinoff Prize. Over ten patents from Zhao Lab have been licensed by companies and contributed to FDA-approved and widely-used medical devices.

Honors + Awards

  • 07/2024, Uncas and Helen Whitaker Professorship, MIT
  • 11/2023, Highly Cited Researcher 2023, Clarivate
  • 06/2023, Nature Spinoff Prize (for SanaHeal), Nature
  • 11/2022, Highly Cited Researcher 2022, Clarivate
  • 11/2022, TIME Best Invention of 2022
  • 05/2022, Soft Matter Lectureship 2022, Soft Matter
  • 03/2022, Humboldt Research Award, Humboldt Foundation
  • 11/2021, Highly Cited Researcher 2021, Clarivate
  • 01/2021, George N. Hatsopoulos (1949) Faculty Fellow, MIT
  • 11/2020, Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award, ASME
  • 11/2018, Highly Cited Researcher 2018, Clarivate
  • 09/2018, Materials Today Rising Star Award, Materials Today
  • 07/2017, Young Investigator Medal, Society of Engineering Science
  • 02/2017, Young Scientist Award, The Adhesion Society
  • 12/2015, Extreme Mechanics Letters Young Investigator Award, Extreme Mechanics Letters
  • 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


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

Professional Service

  • 2021-present, Editorial Board, SmartMat
  • 2019-present, Associate Editor, Science Advances
  • 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, 2023, 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


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