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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: hydrogels, bioadhesives, bioelectronics, electro-magneto-active polymers, wearable ultrasound, soft 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 on the interfaces 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's current research 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 Web of Science 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. 
Please refer to Representative Papers and Review Papers for overview of Zhao Lab's research; Selected Papers and All Papers for more details; Google Scholar and ResearchID for citations of Zhao Lab's papers.

Honors + Awards

  • 11/2022, Highly Cited Researcher, 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, Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher 2021, Web of Science
  • 01/2021, George N. Hatsopoulos (1949) Faculty Fellow, MIT
  • 11/2020, Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award, ASME
  • 11/2018, Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher 2018, Web of Science
  • 09/2018, Materials Today Rising Star Award
  • 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, 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


  • 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, 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