Principal Investigator



Elsa Olivetti

Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Office: 8-403, email: elsao [at] mit [dot] edu

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2007
BS, Engineering Science, University of Virginia, 2000

Professor Olivetti’s research focuses on improving the environmental and economic sustainability of materials in the context of rapid-expanding global demand. She has a particular passion for visiting manufacturing and recycling facilities as well as studying complex systems problems through a lens of materials science. If she can couple that with rock climbing and bike touring, all the better!

Postdoctoral Associates



Jiyoun Christina Chang

Postdoctoral Associate in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2015
MS, Materials Science and Engineering, Yonsei University, 2009
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Yonsei University, 2007

Office: E38-436; email: jiyoun [at] mit [dot] edu

Jiyoun’s research focuses on increasing the use of sustainable raw materials. She investigates the impact of introducing material recovery technologies on the quality of raw materials and how to manage those technologies effectively in order to maximize the benefits of recycling. In her spare time, Jiyoun enjoys cooking, golfing, and swimming.


Piyush Chaunsali

Postdoctoral Associate in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015
MS, Civil Engineering, Clarkson University, 2010
BTech, Civil Engineering, NIT Warangal, India, 2007

Office: 13-5138; email: chaunsp [at] mit [dot] edu

In recent years, there has been an increased push towards utilizing the industrial by-products in form of sustainable construction materials. Piyush’s research focuses on understanding the chemistry and the performance of a novel cementitious binder incorporating boiler ash, the by-product of paper industry in India. Previously during his PhD, he worked on early-age hydration and volume change of calcium sulfoaluminate cement-based binders. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and running.

Kevin Huang

Postdoctoral Associate in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2015
MS, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2007
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University, 2006

Office: 8-403; email: kjhuang [at] mit [dot] edu

Alongside others in the group, Kevin works toward the development of a machine learning platform to predict synthetic routes for new, desired materials. Additionally, Kevin investigates how such synthesis processes in the lab scale to industrial manufacturing capacities in order to identity processes and materials that may be commercially viable at wide deployment. Previously, Kevin studied the composition, structure, and performance of nanocrystal bulk heterojunction photovoltaic devices. And during his PhD, Kevin completed a minor in the Technology & Policy Program, for which he studied the attributes and predictors of venture capital investment in emerging energy technology companies.

Jonathan Krones

Visiting Scholar in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
Postdoctoral Associate, Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

PhD, Engineering Systems, MIT, 2016
MS, Earth Resources Engineering, Columbia University, 2011
SB, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2007

Office: 8-403; email: jskrones [at] mit [dot] edu

Jonathan’s research with the Olivetti group examines the environmental implications of changing secondary material flows in the pulp and paper industry using a modified consequential life cycle assessment approach. In general, he is interested in leveraging interdisciplinary, industrial ecology analysis to better understand the environmental consequences of the material production and consumption patterns of modern industrial society, with a focus on large-scale solid waste management. Jonathan’s post-doctoral research pursues an estimate of the quantity and composition of non-hazardous industrial waste in the United States for the first time in over three decades.

Graduate Students


María Alcaraz Ochoa

MS, Technology and Policy, Engineering Systems Division, MIT, 2016
BS, Chemical Engineering, MIT, 2012

Office: 8-403; email: luly [at] mit [dot] edu

As companies move towards more environmentally friendly manufacturing of their products, they require carbon footprint information related to their products in order to understand the major drivers of impact and to evaluate the performance of design alternatives. These analyses are costly, uncertain, and time consuming. Maria’s research focuses on developing a methodology to perform quantitative evaluation of the carbon footprint at reduced cost. The current strategy being used is streamlined carbon assessment via under-specification. Maria is working on streamlining the manufacturing processes for integrated circuits (ICs) via under-specification and on determining how much information is needed to understand the drivers of the carbon footprint. This involves mapping the important attributes of the IC to its carbon impact. Maria is also developing a carbon footprint tool for ICs that will allow companies to determine their product’s impact using industry average data.

Xinkai Fu

PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
BS, Physics, Nanjing University, 2014

Office: 8-403; email: xinkaifu [at] mit [dot] edu

Population growth, industrialization and urbanization require increasing use of metals. However, some metals critical to the development of clean energy applications might not be routinely available into the future. Xinkai’s research focuses on understanding the criticality of metals mined as byproducts, in terms of the economical, environmental impact and technical limits in material systems. You will most likely find him lifting weights in the gym in his spare time.

Edward Kim

PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
BS, Nanoscience and Physics, University of Guelph, 2014

Office: 8-403; email: edwardk [at] mit [dot] edu

Eddie’s research focuses on predictive modelling of materials synthesis, using data mining and machine learning techniques to infer patterns from the literature at large scales. He used to work with synchrotrons and batteries (but not at the same time), and still thinks those things are cool too. In his spare time, he enjoys martial arts, writing code, and playing video games.

Weitong Liu

MS, Technology and Policy, IDSS, MIT, 2017
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, 2015

Office: 8-403; email: weitongl [at] mit [dot] edu

Several research and industry organizations for the wood fiber industry have expressed interest in understanding the environmental impact of fiber recovery and reuse for their sector. Weitong’s research focuses on understanding and therefore converging towards rational, optimal fiber recovery and reuse along a variety of metrics including economics, greenhouse gas emissions, and land use. She aims to develop a method to educate stakeholders and support decision making around recovered fiber supply chains.

Brian Traynor

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
BS, Nanoscience, Physics and Chemistry of Advanced Materials, Trinity College Dublin, 2016

Office: 13-5138; email: btraynor [at] mit [dot] edu

Incorporation of industrial wastes into construction materials in lieu of traditional precursors has potential for reductions in carbon emissions. Brian’s research focuses on the development of alkali-activated masonry products from industrial waste materials, waste materials characterization and field work in research locations in the US and abroad. Outside of his passion for materials and environmental science, he likes reading and running.

Hugo Uvegi

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering, MIT
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2015

Office: 13-5138; email: huvegi [at] mit [dot] edu

Efforts aimed at reducing our carbon footprint have increased in recent years, with research into sustainable technologies resulting in a wealth of alternatives and novel practices for materials fabrication. Still one of the largest emitters, the construction industry has yet to incorporate many new materials into their repertoire. Hugo’s research focuses on reducing the energy associated with building-materials production by incorporating matter from untapped industrial waste streams, specifically focusing on applications in India and the greater developing world. Hugo enjoys listening to music, and hopes to learn to both blacksmith and sail (although not at the same time) while at MIT.

Undergraduate Students


Rachel Osmundsen

BS, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2017

Email: osmundsr [at] mit [dot] edu

Rachel’s research focuses on incorporating industrial waste streams back in to construction materials and minimizing the environmental impact of manufacturing via design characteristics. Along with others in the group, she is studying a novel use of fly-ash in cementitious materials with a focus on characterization. When she isn’t researching or rowing, Rachel enjoys reading, painting, and cooking.

Nagisa Tadjfar

BS, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2017

BS, Physics, MIT, 2017

Email: ntadjfar [at] mit [dot] edu

Nagisa’s research focuses on assessing the criticality of germanium as a byproduct material. She is currently building models of supply and demand elasticity as well as studying the behavior of carriers zinc and coal and their implications on the future supply of germanium. Outside of school and work, Nagisa enjoys skiing, reading and painting.

Group Alumni


  • Jocelyn Newhouse, Postdoctoral Associate, 2014-2015
  • Stian Ueland, Postdoctoral Associate, 2014-2015
  • Patrick Ford, MS in Technology and Policy, 2014-2016
  • Elinor Pennicott, Visiting Student, 2014-2015
  • Adriano Polli, Visiting Student, 2016
  • Victoria Gong, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2015-2016
  • Caroline Liu, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2015-2016
  • Sara Matthews, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2016
  • Alex Tomala, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2016