Brian L. Wardle
Full Professor, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics

Joint appointment, MIT Mechanical Engineering
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 & Research Staff

Luiz Acauan
Research Scientist (formerly a necstlab Postdoctoral Associate)
lacauan "at"

Dr. Luiz Acauan is a Research Scientist in Material Science and a former Postdoctoral Associate with necstlab. His past projects involved hybrid solar cells composed by photovoltaic polymers, inorganic semiconductors and carbon nanotubes as well as carbon nanotubes/graphene 3D nanostructures for a broad range of applications. His current work focuses on multifunction composites and the synthesis of nanostructures. He has double graduation in 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 in 2015 at the UFRGS.

Estelle Cohen
Research Scientist (formerly a necstlab Postdoctoral Associate)
escohen "at"

Dr Kalfon-Cohen was a senior postdoctoral associate at the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT and has continued working with the group as a Research Scientist.  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.

Jingyao Dai
Postdoctoral Associate

jydai "at"

Jingyao Dai joined necstlab in Spring 2021 as a postdoctoral associate. He obtained his Master and PhD degrees at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State University where he studied toughening of ceramic materials with nanoporosity and hierarchical microstructure designs. His current research interests include fracture behaviors of materials, microstructure design and characterization, and advanced manufacturing methods. His research at necstlab will focus on nanoporous networks. Outside of the lab, he enjoys soccer, travelling, and movies.


Carolina Furtado Pereira da Silva
Postdoctoral Associate (
formerly a necstlab Graduate Student)
cfurtado "at"

Carolina Furtado returned to MIT as a postdoctoral researcher in the fall of 2020.  During her pursuit of a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering at University of Porto in Portugal, she was a visiting student at MIT partially funded by the Fulbright Program. She received her M.S degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2015 from the University of Porto and before starting her Ph.D program, she worked on the simulation of damage propagation in composite laminates with AIRBUS Group. Her interests include thin-ply laminates and numerical simulation of damage in composite laminates.  Outside school, she enjoys backpacking, juggling and playing soccer, rugby and hockey.

Jeonyoon Lee
Postdoctoral Associate (
formerly a necstlab Graduate Student)
jeonyoon "at"

Jeonyoon Lee was a S.M student in Mechanical Engineering and joined necstlab 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.

Haozhe Wang
Postdoctoral Associate

wanghz "at"

Haozhe Wang is a postdoctoral associate at MIT AeroAstro. His research interests include synthesis and applications of nanoscale materials. Before joining necstlab, he conducted research on 2D materials and received his PhD at Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT on 2020. His research with Prof. Wardle focuses on design and application of CNT-based sensors. Outside lab, he enjoys classical music.



Graduate Students

Travis Hank
Graduate Student
travish "at"

Travis Hank was an undergraduate researcher in necstab, pursuing a B.S. in AeroAstro; he continued on as a graduate student with necstlab after achieving that degree. 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.

Sudhir Jain
Graduate Student
sudjain "at"

Sudhir Jain is a graduate student in Integrated Design Management(IDM) program at MIT. Before coming to MIT he co-founded two startups in the field of Computer Vision and Machine Learning. He holds a Bachelor of Technology in Electronics and Communications from NIT Bhopal, India. Outside of the academic he enjoys sketching and reading novels.

Ashley Kaiser
Graduate Student
kaisera "at"

» web:

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.

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.

Palak Patel
Graduate Student
palak "at"

Palak Patel is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. While she was pursuing her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at PDPU, India, she interned at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2019. She joined NECSTLAB in 2020. Her research project involves the life-cycle enhancement via data-driven nanoengineering of advanced composite structures by developing a fused-multifunctional nano-engineered system. Outside of the academic and research environment, she enjoys playing soccer and basketball, reading fiction books, and drawing.


Undergraduate Students

Brenden Barbour
bbarbour "at"

Brenden is a second year undergraduate in the AeroAstro department. He is working on the development of an artificial intelligence for the application of segmentation of complex damage in aerospace composite materials. Outside of his work, he spends his time cooking, playing video games, and cycling.


Shannon Cassady
scassady "at"

Shannon is a senior at MIT studying Aeronautical Engineering and Physics.


Megan Cooper
mfcooper "at"

Megan Cooper is joining necstlab in Spring 2021.  Currently a junior at MIT double majoring in aerospace engineering and materials science, with a goal to work in the materials side of the aerospace industry, whether that be materials research or more applied engineering. Particular interests are in how novel composites and alloys can be used for extreme aerospace applications. 


Minsu Jung
minsuj "at"

Minsu Jung is pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, conducting research in nanoporous networks assisted void consolidation.  In his free time, he likes to hike and watch movies.


Matt McGillick
mmcgilli "at"

Matt is a second-year undergraduate student studying aerospace engineering as well as materials science and engineering. In addition to his schoolwork, Matt is also an Air Force cadet in Detachment 365 at MIT. In his spare time, he enjoys refining his cooking techniques, exercising, and riding motorcycles.


Steven Serrano
serrano5 "at"

Steven is a third-year undergraduate at MIT, pursuing a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, with a minor in Spanish. Outside of academics and research, Steven is also a member of MIT’s Men’s Volleyball. In his free time, he enjoys playing sports, lifting, and playing video games.



Visting Scientists & Students

Carlos Catalano
2021 MSRP Intern
ccatalan "at"

Carlos is in his 5th year of B.S. on Mechanical Engineering, in the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. He has always had a passion to work either in renewable energy or in space exploration. His interests lie in the fields of Materials Science and Engineering and Thermal Engineering. Carlos will be interning for necstlab on summer 2021, as part of the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) (more info here: He enjoys biking and reading. 


Richard Li
Visiting Scientist
richli "at"

Richard Li was 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 was 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.


Affiliated Faculty and Researchers

Prof. Hulya Cebeci, Istanbul Technical University, Aerospace Engineering Department Turkey
geyikh "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"


Administrative Staff

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