Brian L. Wardle
Professor, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
Director, necstlab
Founder and Director, Nano-Engineered Composite aerospace STructures (NECST) Consortium
office: 33-408
email:wardle "at"


Professor Wardle is Director of MIT's Nano-Engineered Composite aerospace STructures (NECST) Consortium, and necstlab. He is active in the Materials Processing Center (MPC) ISN, CMSE, and MEMS@MIT (part of the Microsystems Technology Laboratory) communities.

Post Doctoral Associates

Luiz Acauan
PostDoctoral Fellow

lacauan "at"

Dr. Luiz Acauan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, supported by CINEMA Program in collaboration with Science without Borders Program from CNPq, a Brazilian agency. His project focuses on hybrid solar cells composed by photovoltaic polymers, inorganic semiconductors and carbon nanotubes. He works as well on carbon nanotubes/graphene 3D nanosturctures for a broad range of applications. He has double graduation on Material Science Engineering at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS-Brazil) and the Institut National Polytechique de Grenoble (INPG-França) and obtained Masters at the INPG and UFRGS as well. Completed his PhD recently in 2015 at the UFRGS.

Estelle Cohen
Postdoctoral Associate

escohen "at"

Dr Kalfon-Cohen is a senior postdoctoral associate at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT.  Her research with Prof. Wardle at MIT focuses on the mechanism of interlaminar reinforcement by aligned-CNT in thin ply laminates.  Estelle completed her PhD in Applied Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel in 2010. At the Weizmann institute, as a postdoctoral fellow, she specialized in AFM based nanomechanics and nanoindentation. Then she moved to Harvard University to study imaging and electron transport in graphene. Her extended research interests include polymer science, polymer composite, material characterization and microscopy, and nanomechanics.

Kehang Cui
Postdoctoral Associate


Dr. Kehang Cui joined Prof. Wardle’s NCESTlab at MIT as a postdoctoral associate from August 2015. After receiving Bachelor (2008) and Master’s (2011) degree in Thermal Energy Engineering from Shandong University, Kehang obtained his PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Tokyo in 2014. He continued his research on the controlled growth and solar cell applications of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as Postdoctoral Research Fellow and JSPS Principal Investigator at The University of Tokyo until 2015. His research interests include energy conversion and transport of CNTs, CNT growth, as well as fluid-CNT interactions.

Graduate Students

Frederick Daso
Graduate Student
fdaso "at"

Frederick Daso finished his S.B. in Aerospace Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During his undergraduate years, his research focused on cure sensing capabilities of knock-down CNT forests and building simulations of convective and conductive curing processes to see which one of the two is more energy efficient. He is currently pursuing his S.M. in Aerospace Engineering as a graduate research assistant in the necstlab. His current research focus is on applying novel curing techniques to process thermoplastic composite materials and reducing or eliminating process-driven deformations during the cure cycle for a given prepreg system.

Outside the lab and academics, Frederick writes extensively. He is an Under 30 Contributor to Forbes, writing on college students and recent graduates pursuing entrepreneurship, and also on LinkedIn as MIT's Campus Editor, where he has over 200,000 followers.

Nathan Fritz
Graduate Student
nfritz "at"

Nathan Fritz finished his BS in MechE in December 2015 at Montana State University. While there, his research was focused on acoustic emission analysis of composite materials. At MIT he will be working on integrating carbon nanotubes to alter the interlaminar properties of the composites.

Outside of school he enjoys backpacking, skiing, and ultimate frisbee.

Ashley Kaiser
Graduate Student
kaisera "at"

Ashley Kaiser is pursuing her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2017. During her undergrad, she worked in necstlab as an MPC-CMSE Summer Scholar in 2016. Her research is focused on the design, synthesis, and multifunctional property characterization of carbon nanotube-reinforced polymer nanocomposites.

Outside of the academic environment, Ashley enjoys gymnastics, rock climbing, and hiking in America’s National Parks.

» web:

Reed Kopp
Graduate Student
rkopp "at"

Reed Kopp is pursuing a Ph.D. within the AeroAstro Department and is partially supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). He received his B.S. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University in 2014 and 2016, respectively. Between receiving his B.S. and M.S. degrees, he participated for 14 months in the Postgraduate Research Program, which was administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, at the Vehicle Technology Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL), Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. His research interests include modeling and experimental characterizations of polymer nanocomposite mechanical properties.

Outside of academics, he enjoys basketball, football, weightlifting, and various outdoor activities.

Jeonyoon Lee
Graduate Student
jeonyoon "at"

Jeonyoon Lee is a S.M student in Mechanical Engineering and joined NECST Lab in Fall 2012. He received B.S in Mechanical Engineering from KAIST, South Korea in 2012. His research is focused on mechanical properties of CNT enhanced CFRP.

Outside the lab, he enjoys travelling and snowboarding.

Richard Li
Graduate Student
richli "at"

Richard Li is a S.M. Student in NECSTlab who started working with Prof. Wardle as a UROP in 2009. He received his S.B. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT in 2010. His research is focused on multifunctional properties characterization and scale-up of carbon nanotube/ carbon fiber hybrid multiscale composites.

Outside of research, Rich is the Co-President of the Graduate Association of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and enjoys bike touring, performing Chinese Yo-Yo to the Greater Boston Area, and windsurfing.

Xinchen (Cody) Ni
Graduate Student
codyni "at"

Xinchen Ni is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Fudan University, Shanghai, China in 2012, and his S.M. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2014. His research interests include mechanics of nanoengineered materials.

Outside of research, he enjoys Ultimate Frisbee, running and hiking

UROPs and 16.62x students

Yulin Gao
yulingao "at"

Yulin Gao is an undergraduate researcher in NECSTLab and is pursuing an M.Eng in Materials Science. He is an exchange student at MIT from Imperial College London. Outside of the lab, he enjoys travelling, cycling and target sports.

Travis Hank
travish "at"

Travis Hank is an undergraduate researcher in NECSTLab, and is pursuing a B.S. in AeroAstro. Outside of the lab, Travis is a member of the MIT Baseball Team. Outside of MIT he enjoys biking along Chicago's lakefront and reading thrilling books.

Sofi Peterson
sofip "at"

Sofi Peterson is an undergraduate researcher in NECSTLab and is perusing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Outside of the lab, she is an Associate Advisor and enjoys playing water polo, hiking and skiing.

Amy Vanderhout
vandeamy "at"

Amy Vanderhout is an undergraduate researcher in NECSTLab and is pursuing a B.S. in AeroAstro. Outside the lab, she enjoys hobby rocketry, skiing and hiking.

Visting Students

Carlos José Fortunas Teixeira
Graduate Student
cjft "at"


Carlos Teixeira is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering at University of Minho in Portugal, where he has obtained his MS degree in the same area in 2012. Before starting his PhD program at the MIT Portugal program in 2014, he has worked in the simulation of reinforcement learning techniques in robotic locomotion. Currently, he is a visiting student at MIT, where he is designing and developing a robust methodology to support the transition between two CVD setups for CNT synthesis.

Outside school, he enjoys traveling and playing mandolin.

Affiliated Faculty and Researchers

Prof. Hulya Cebeci, Istanbul Technical Universit, Aerospace Engineering Department
geyikh "at"

Prof. John Dugundji, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
Emertis Professor
dugundji "at"

John Kane, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics
Research Specialist
kane "at"

Dr. Antonio Miravete
Visiting Scientist
miravete "at"

Prof. Desiree Plata
Visiting Professor
dplata "at"

Seunghyun Kim, Brown University
Associate Professor
Seunghyun_Kim "at"

Diemut Strebe
Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence

diemutstrebeq "at"


Administrative Staff

Britton "Bryt" Bradley
Administrative Assistant II
bryt "at"