Our Focus

The Holten-Andersen Group at MIT is headed by Professor Niels Holten-Andersen.  

We study bio-inspired materials. Our goal is to employ design principles extracted from nature in the development of novel synthetic materials that help overcome global challenges in energy, the environment and health. Specifically, by incorporating soft biological material design principles into synthetic polymer platforms, we seek to enhance control, advance function and expand applications of polymer materials. By establishing a synergy between innovative structure-property studies of model biological materials and successful applications of bio-inspired synthetics, the Holten-Andersen Group will not only continuously contribute to the field of bio-inspired materials engineering, but also add to the fundamental elucidation of nature’s advanced functional material design.


Group members

Group Leader Niels Holten-Andersen

Professor Niels Holten-Andersen

Doherty Professor in Ocean Utilization, DMSE, MIT, 2014-Current

John Chipman Assistant Professor, DMSE, MIT, 2012-2014

Associate Professor, Program in Polymers and Soft Matter, MIT, 2012-Current

Post-Doc University of Chicago, 2008-2012

Ph.D. Biomolecular Science and Engineering, University of California-Santa Barbara, 2008

M.Sc. Cell Biology, University of Copenhagen, 2001

B.Sc.Hon. Molecular Biology, University of Canterbury, 2000

B.Sc. Biology, University of Copenhagen, 1998

Research Interests:  Design principles of biological materials; Soft condensed matter; Physical-chemistry of dynamic interfaces



Bavand Keshavarz

Ph.D. MIT, 2017

M.Sc. University of British Columbia

B.Sc. Sharif University of Technology


Qiaochu Li

Ph.D. MIT, 2018

B.Sc. Peking University, 2012

Research Interests:  Synthesis and design of Dopa-polymers; Interface chemistry between Dopa-polymers and solid surfaces

Grad Students


Sungjin Kim

M.Sc. KAIST, 2011

B.Sc. KAIST, 2009

Research Interests:  Bio-inspired materials stiffening process, organic-inorganic hybrid networks


Seth Cazzell

B.Sc. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 2014

Research Interests:  The role of hydroxide and metal concentration on the mechanical properties of metal coordinated hydrogel


Erica Lai

B.Sc. MIT, 2014

Research Interests:  Interfacial mechanical properties of bio-inspired metal-coordinate coatings


Irina Mahmad Rasid

M.Eng. Imperial College London, 2015


Jake Song

B.Sc. Northwestern University, 2017

Research Interests:  Fundamental understanding of power-law relaxation dynamics in polymer networks for the design of tough and dynamically adaptive soft materials


Eesha Khare

B.Sc. Harvard University, 2017

M.Phil Trinity College Cambridge, 2018

Research interests:  Fundamental chemistry and kinetics of metal-ligand bonds, simulation,  protein structure and function, fracture



Jet Lem

B.Sc. Columbia University, 2017

Research Interests: Materials under extreme conditions


Shubhanga Balla

Former Group Members

Carlos Caldera

Alvaro Charlet

Pangkuan Chen

Eleanor Crossley 

Felipe de Quesada

Will Dickson

Sophia Fang

Rebecca Gallivan

Scott Grindy

Danielle Herman

Sarah Hopkin

Michael Kessler

Madison Landry

Robert Learsch

Caroline Liu

Stephanie Marzen

Abigail Regitsky

Emily Ryan

Olivia Saouaf

Inbar Yamin

Jennie Zheng

Yu Zheng