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Principal Investigator

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Elsa Olivetti

Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Professor

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

Education:
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!

Research Staff

Kevin Huang

Research Scientist, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Education:
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.

Postdoctoral Associates

Kai Gong

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Education:
PhD, Materials Science / Civil & Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, 2020
MA, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, 2016
MSc, Civil Engineering, Monash University, 2013
BE, Civil Engineering, Monash University (2010) and Central South University (2011)

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

Kai’s research helps address one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st century – how to meet our societies’ growing demand for resources and energy while minimizing the associated negative environmental impacts. With the Olivetti group, Kai will combine atomistic modeling with natural language processing and machine learning techniques along with industrial ecology concepts to support the development of sustainable materials for building and infrastructure applications. During his Ph.D., Kai studied the molecular-level mechanisms controlling the formation and degradation of alkali-activated materials (an important class of low-CO2 materials based on industrial byproducts), by combining atomistic modeling with X-ray and neutron scattering techniques. Outside of research, Kai enjoys basketball, running, and calligraphy.

Yeqi (Faust) Shi

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Education:
PhD, Materials Science & Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2021
BE, Materials Science & Engineering, Zhejiang University, 2015

Office: 13-5005; email: yeqi [at] mit [dot] edu

Data is one of the most valuable resources around the world in every scientific field. Faust’s work focuses on application of data science and machine learning in materials synthesis. Data mining is performed using natural language processing (NLP) to extract information from a large quantity of literature; then, a potential new synthesis pathway is predicted using abundant data taking advantage of modern machine learning models. Outside of his research, he enjoys fitness, photography, and DotA2.

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Vineeth Venugopal

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Education:
PhD, Materials Engineering, Brown University, 2018
MS, Materials Engineering, Brown University, 2014
Integrated Dual Degree, Ceramic Engineering, Indian University of Technology, BHU, 2010

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

Vineeth works on extracting information from scientific literature using Natural Language Processing (NLP). The autonomous processing of material science texts (papers, textbooks, patents, handbooks) helps in compiling databases of material properties, synthesis steps, characterization data, and legacy information. In turn, these databases lead to the prediction of new materials, discovery of new synthesis routes, and the development of improved device structures. The outcome of these efforts is the rapid screening of materials that have new and useful functionalities, improved environmental footprints, and reduced cost. Besides his work on NLP, he is a science writer and he publishes articles on various topics for the educated layperson.

Graduate Students

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Tunahan Aytas

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
BS Materials Science and Engineering, Sabanci University, 2018
BS Molecular Biology, Genetics and Bioengineering, Sabanci University, 2018

Office: 13-5005; email: tunahan [at] mit [dot] edu

The production of Ordinary Portland cement (OPC) is responsible for a substantial fragment of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emission. To lower the carbon footprint and maintain sustainability, usage of some industrial waste materials instead of OPC is suggested. Tunahan’s research is focused on the investigation of the alkali-activated systems with industrial wastes. He also loves writing and consuming way too much caffeine with friends.

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Jacqueline Baidoo

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
BS Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2019
BS Chemistry, Xavier University of Louisiana, 2019
BA Physics, Xavier University of Louisiana, 2019

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

As the environmental and societal goals of the general public tend to clash with the economic benchmarks of the institutions we create, there’s value in aligning interests for a more just and humane society with institutional capability and willingness for change. Jacqueline’s interests lie in applying computational tools such as optimization and machine learning to address the misaligned interests of underserved communities in fields including energy storage, energy infrastructure, and transportation. Her first step towards this will be in the development of a probabilistic decision-informing model to assess paper recycling within the pulp and paper industry. Along with these goals, Jaqueline enjoys singing, learning languages, and staggering her morning alarms so she can wake up knowing it’s okay to go right back to sleep.

Allison Bell

SM Student, Technology & Policy Program
BS Environmental Science, UCLA, 2018

Office: 8-419; email: ambell [at] mit [dot] edu

Allison’s interests lie in systems-level approaches to sustainability- in particular how the development of new technologies and policies can reduce the overall carbon impacts of human systems. Within the lab, Allison is focused on continuing development of the Product Attributes to Impact Algorithm (PAIA) tool for streamlined carbon footprinting of computational electronic devices. In addition, her work will look to address potential tradeoffs in manufacturing versus use-phase emissions of emerging computational electronic technologies.

Eunseo (Dana) Choi

SM Student, Technology & Policy Program
SM Student, Computer Science
BA Economics and Statistics with Kellogg Certificate in Managerial Analytics, Northwestern University, 2019

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

Currently, Dana is interested in improving her understanding of human reasoning in computational terms so she can better support people’s decision-making under uncertainty. At MIT, she hopes to build expertise in developing interpretable probabilistic models that help select the best hypothesis for underlying causes in the face of uncertain/sparse data. Other than research, she like to hike, meditate, and surf through SoundCloud and YouTube for serendipitous music finds.

Brooks Clingman

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
BS Chemical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, 2018

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

Brooks’s research focuses on assessing the manufacturing scalability of beyond lithium-ion battery technologies by leveraging machine learning, materials supply chain analysis, and techno-economic modeling. Through his research, he aims to facilitate technology transfer of promising materials for energy storage, therefore, bridging the metaphorical valley of death between basic science and its commercialization. Before joining MIT, Brooks led the Boeing Space and Launch Thermal Development Laboratory team where he coordinated laboratory projects and resources with a focus on thermal qualification testing for thermal interface materials.

Christian Cmehil-Warn

SM Student, Technology & Policy Program
BS, Economics, University of Missouri, 2020
BS, Statistics, University of Missouri, 2020

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

Christian is interested in developing policy dealing with the automation of bureaucracy and management. Also, he is broadly interested in unique applications of machine learning to solve interesting technical problems within specific domains such as materials science. Outside of class, Christian is on the executive team of the AI Ethics Reading Group, and he enjoys reading mystery novels, playing tennis, and trying to find the best tiramisu.

Christopher Karpovich

PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering
BS Chemical Engineering, Yale University, 2020

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

Chris’s research lies at the intersection of machine learning, data science, and materials science. Specifically, Chris focuses on developing and applying novel machine learning (ML) algorithms, natural language processing (NLP) methods, and data science techniques to the discovery, synthesis, processing, and properties of materials. Outside of research, Chris enjoys running, weightlifting, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors.

Luca Montanelli

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
BS Materials Science and Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), 2017
MSc Materials Science and Engineering, EPFL, 2020

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

Materials informatics is a budding field integrating materials and computational sciences into one cohesive framework. Luca’s thesis will contribute to the growing research in this field by incorporating domain knowledge in computational methods, looking specifically at aluminum alloys. He is excited to explore novel ways of approaching both sciences that can promote a more technologically advanced and sustainable world. Day to day, Luca enjoys cultural history, heraldry, and endlessly browsing Google Maps and Wikipedia, as well as consuming cheese, chocolate and tea.

Mrigi Munjal

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
B. Tech with Honors, Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science, IIT Bombay, 2021

Office: 8-419; email: mrigi [at] mit [dot] edu

Mrigi’s research will focus on assessing materials barriers to scaling of solid-state sodium/sodium-ion batteries in terms of how processes in the lab scale to manufacturing processes, using techniques such as techno-economic analysis, machine learning techniques like keyphrase extraction, and discussions with relevant equipment suppliers. Outside of research, Mrigi can be found practicing several languages or playing table tennis and pickleball.

Elton Pan

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
B.S., Chemistry, Imperial College, London, 2020

Office: 8-419; email: eltonpan [at] mit [dot] edu

At the nexus of machine learning, data science, and materials informatics, Elton’s research focuses on the development and application of machine learning algorithms (natural language processing and generative models) for accelerating materials discovery and synthesis. Outside of research, Elton loves bouldering, working out, and watching sunsets.

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Olivia Peihua Pfeiffer

SM Student, Technology & Policy Program
BS Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2019

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

In the face of climate change, CO2 mitigation is increasingly important. One possible end use for sequestered CO2 involves extracting energy from CO2 reduction by a metal in a primary or secondary battery that uses CO2. Olivia’s research will focus on estimating the life cycle impact of metal-CO2 batteries, identifying potential barriers to scaling and production of such devices. Outside of the lab, she also enjoys watercolor painting, photography, and teaching her dog new tricks.

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Basuhi Ravi

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
B. Tech with Honors in Engineering Physics, IIT Bombay, 2018

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

Today, plastics are indispensable to consumers and industries alike, proving to be one of the most useful materials in modern society. However, their end-of-life fate has been under environmental scrutiny for a while, and the resources lost due to landfilling of waste plastics, often after a brief use, have become a recent concern. Recycling of post-consumer plastics is both an environmental solution and an economic opportunity, but its effectiveness in simultaneously redirecting recoverable resources while avoiding environmental impact involves investigating recycling systems, their technological capacity and the secondary markets for recycled outputs. In this context, Basuhi works towards understanding the relative costs and benefits of the various end-of-life options for all plastic waste generated in the U.S. Apart from her work, she likes to spend time reading, cooking and baking.

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John Ryter

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
BS Mechanical Engineering, Montana State University, 2017

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

As global materials consumption intensifies, the recovery and recycling of metals will become increasingly important due to their associated energy, economic, and environmental benefits. John’s research will focus on developing an understanding of metals markets, including the impact of recycling, the influence of alloying elements and materials substitution, and the associated thermodynamics. He is particularly interested in the government or industrial policies and technological improvements that would reduce human impact on the planet. In his spare time, you will find him hiking, rock climbing, or otherwise enjoying the outdoors.

Group Alumni

  • Zachary Jensen, Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering, 2017-2021
  • Brian Traynor, Ph.D. in Materials Science & Engineering, 2016-2021
  • Jonathan Krones,Visiting Scholar, 2016-2021
  • Rubayyat Mahbub, Postdoctoral Associate, 2019-2021
  • Aubrey Toland, Project Assistant, 2020
  • Alexander Denmark, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019-2020
  • Ciara Mulcahy, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2019-2020
  • Hugo Uvegi, Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, 2015-2020
  • Xinkai Fu, Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, 2014-2019
  • Josh Dennison, MS in Technology and Policy, 2017-2019
  • Alexander Van Grootel, MS in Technology and Policy, MS in Computer Science, 2017-2019
  • Edward Kim, Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering, 2014-2018
  • Bassal Tarabay, Visiting Student, 2018
  • Jiyoun Chang, Postdoctoral Associate, 2015-2018
  • Piyush Chaunsali, Postdoctoral Associate, 2015-2018
  • Jocelyn Newhouse, Postdoctoral Associate, 2014-2015
  • Stian Ueland, Postdoctoral Associate, 2014-2015
  • Weitong Liu, MS in Technology and Policy, 2015-2017
  • María Alcaraz Ochoa, MS in Technology and Policy, 2014-2016
  • Patrick Ford, MS in Technology and Policy, 2014-2016
  • Elinor Pennicott, Visiting Student, 2014-2015
  • Adriano Polli, Visiting Student, 2016
  • Nagisa Tadjfar, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2016-2017
  • Rachel Osmundsen, Undergraduate Research Assistant, 2015-2017
  • 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