Katia Bertoldi is the William and Ami Kuan Danoff Professor of Applied Mechanics at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). She earned master’s degrees from Trento University (Italy) in 2002 and from Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) in 2003, majoring in Structural Engineering Mechanics. Upon earning a Ph.D. in Mechanics of Materials and Structures from Trento University in 2006, Katia joined the group of Mary Boyce at MIT as a postdoc. In 2008 she moved to the University of Twente (The Netherlands), where she was an Assistant Professor in the faculty of Engineering Technology. In January 2010 Katia joined Harvard’s SEAS and established a group studying the mechanics of materials and structures. She is the recipient of the NSF Career Award 2011 and the ASME’s 2014 Howard Hughes Young Investigator Award.
Katia’s research contributes to the design of materials with a carefully designed meso-structure that leads to novel effective behavior at the macroscale. She investigates both mechanical and acoustic properties of such structured materials, with a particular focus on harnessing instabilities and strong geometric non-linearities to generate new modes of functionality. Since the properties of the designed architected materials are primarily governed by the geometry of the structure (as opposed to constitutive ingredients at the material level), the principles she discovers are universal and can be applied to systems over a wide range of length scales.
Katia’s work spans the Adaptive Material Technologies and Bioinspired Soft Robotics focus areas at the Wyss Institute.