Principal Investigator



Elsa Olivetti

Atlantic Richfield Associate Professor of Energy Studies

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!

Research Staff


Kevin Huang

Research Scientist, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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 Associate



Rubayyat Mahbub

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

PhD, Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2019
MSc, Materials Science and Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 2017
MSc, Materials Science and Engineering, Bangladesh University of Science and Technology, 2014
BSc, Materials Science and Engineering, Bangladesh University of Science and Technology, 2012

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

Advancements in the science of materials microstructure and the discovery of novel materials can be accelerated by applying machine learning, computer vision and data science techniques in materials science. Rubayyat’s research work focuses on applying data mining, natural language processing, and machine learning techniques to predict synthesis routes of novel materials. He has previously worked on nanomaterial synthesis and developing structure-property relationships in multi-ferroic bismuth ferrite for magnetic storage applications. In his Ph.D. research, Rubayyat worked on quantitative three-dimensional analysis of heterogeneous SOFC electrode microstructures with the goal of identifying ways to optimize microstructures to improve cell reliability and durability. Outside of research, Rubayyat enjoys playing soccer and cricket.

Graduate Students



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.


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.

Zach Jensen

PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017

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

With recent advances in computational materials design, materials synthesis is often the bottleneck for novel materials design. Zach’s research focuses on learning new synthesis pathways for materials using natural language processing, machine learning, and data mining. He is interested in finding ways to utilize industrial waste as well as developing materials for energy generation and storage. In addition to research, he enjoys playing soccer, hockey, and biking.


Haihao Liu

PhD Student in Materials Science and Engineering
BS, Materials Science and NanoEngineering, Rice University, 2018
BA, Mathematics, Rice University, 2018

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

Despite recent advances applying machine learning (ML) to various problems in materials science, there remains somewhat of a disconnect with the computer science community at the forefront of ML research. Haihao’s research seeks to bridge this gap, drawing on his background in both materials and math. As part of the Synthesis Project, two major goals are to incorporate existing domain knowledge into learning algorithms, and to develop interpretable models. Outside of research, Haihao’s hobbies include running, calligraphy, and playing board games with friends.


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.


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.


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.

Brian Traynor

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

Office: 13-5005; 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 Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering
BS, Materials Science and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2015

Office: 13-5005; 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.

Project Assistant



Aubrey Toland

SB, Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, 2019

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

The application of data extraction and machine learning to materials science has seen impressive results recently. Aubrey’s research looks to take advantage of this synergy between computer science and materials science, and to apply the use of computational materials to the discovery of materials which exhibit metal insulator transitions. These materials are interesting as their inherent resistive switching makes them ideal candidate for next-generation microelectronic hardware. Outside of research, Aubrey enjoys lacrosse, hockey and hiking.

Visiting Scholar


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.

Undergraduate Researchers (UROP)


  • Alexander Denmark
  • Ciara Mulcahy

Group Alumni


  • 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, 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