New Faculty


Irmgard Bischofberger, Assistant Professor

Irmgard-Bischofberger_webIrmgard Bischofberger received her BSc and MSc in 2006 and her PhD in 2011, all in physics, from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago in the research group of Sidney Nagel. She is the recipient of a Kadanoff-Rice Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago and a Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, as well as a Poster Prize Winner for the APS Gallery of Fluid Motion. Irmgard works in the area of fluid dynamics and soft matter physics, with a focus on formation of patterns from instabilities in fluid and technological systems. In her graduate work, she studied the phase behavior and solvation properties of thermosensitive polymers. As a postdoc working for Sidney Nagel at the University of Chicago, she discovered proportional growth – a new growth pattern that was not observed in physical systems, despite its common occurrence in biological systems. Irmgard is also an enthusiastic champion for science education. She begins as an assistant professor in January 2016.



Betar Gallant, Assistant Professor

Betar-Gallant_webBetar Gallant received her SB, SM, and PhD degrees in 2008, 2010, and 2013, respectively, from the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering, where she conducted her PhD research in the Electrochemical Energy Lab with Professor Yang Shao-Horn. She worked as a Kavli Nanoscience Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology with Professor Nathan Lewis in the Department of Chemistry and collaboratively with Professor Julia Greer in the Department of Materials Science and Mechanics. Betar has performed research on a range of electrochemical energy technologies and materials, worked at the US Department of Energy on energy program development, and was involved in a number of entrepreneurial energy-related activities while at MIT, including serving as a managing director of the MIT Clean Energy Prize. Her research interests include using electrochemistry as a tool to manipulate energy conversion pathways, explore spaces for new materials synthesis, and enable fabrication of efficient and scalable devices. Betar begins as an assistant professor in January 2016.



Ming Guo, Assistant Professor

Ming-Guo_webMing Guo received his BE and ME degrees in 2004 and 2007, respectively, in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University, and an MS and PhD in 2012 and 2014 from Harvard University. He studied for his PhD under the supervision of David Weitz, working on problems in cell biomechanics, and his PhD research investigated the mechanical and dynamic properties of living mammalian cells, with an emphasis on intracellular mechanics and forces, the mechanics of cytoskeletal polymers, the equation of state of living cells, and the effect of cell volume and intracellular crowding on cell mechanics and gene expression. In his PhD thesis research, Ming discovered that there is a direct relationship between cell stiffness and volume. By varying the cell volume through a number of different techniques, Ming showed that the volume of cells is a much better predictor of their stiffness than any other cue. He developed a method to measure the mechanical properties and overall motor forces inside living cells by monitoring the fluctuation of microbeads inside the cells and delineating the timescales under which the contribution of active cellular processes could be distinguished from passive mechanical properties. Ming began as an assistant professor in August 2015.



Jeehwan Kim, Assistant Professor

Jeehwan-Kim_webJeehwan Kim received his BS in material science from Hongik University in 1997, his MS in material science from Seoul National University in 1999, and his PhD in material science from UCLA in 2008. Since 2008 he has been a research staff member at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, conducting research in photovoltaics, 2D materials, graphene, and advanced CMOS devices. Jeehwan has been named a master inventor at IBM for his prolific creativity, filing more than 100 patents in five years. He has made several breakthrough contributions, including a demonstration of the ability to peel large-area single-crystal graphene grown from a SiC substrate, enabling reuse of the expensive substrate; the successful growth of GaN on graphene with 25% lattice mismatch, demonstrating that GaN films grown from the process function well as LEDs, pointing to a new principle for growing common semiconductors for flexible electronics; and achieving high efficiency in Si/polymer tandem solar cells and 3D solar cells. Jeehwan began as an assistant professor in September 2015.



Ellen Roche, Assistant Professor

Ellen-Roche_webEllen Roche received her BE in biomedical engineering from the National University of Ireland Galway in 2004 and her MSc in bioengineering from Trinity College Dublin in 2011. In between, Ellen also spent five years working on medical device design in industry for Mednova Ltd., Abbot Vascular, and Medtronic. She recently earned her PhD in bioengineering from Harvard University under the supervision of Conor Walsh and David Mooney. At Harvard, Ellen performed research on the design, modeling, experimentation, and pre-clinical evaluation of a novel soft robotic device that helps patients with heart failure. Her invention, called the Harvard Ventricular Assist Device (HarVAD), is a soft-robotic sleeve device that goes around the heart, squeezing and twisting it to maintain the heart’s functionality. The device has no contact with blood, dramatically reducing the risk of infection or blood clotting as compared to current devices. Additionally, she worked on the incorporation of biomaterials into the device to deliver regenerative therapy to help the heart to heal. Ellen has validated the device in testing with animals, and it eventually might have the potential to restore normal heart function in heart failure patients. Ellen will begin as an assistant professor in July 2017.