Katia Bertoldi

Katia Bertoldi

  • William and Ami Kuan Danoff Professor of Applied Mechanics
  • Faculty Associate, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
  • Kavli Scholar, Kavli Institute for Bionano Science & Technology


Katia Bertoldi’s research involves the use of continuum mechanics and applied mathematics to model the mechanical behavior of novel materials at the small scale, such as nano-composites and biological composites.

The aim of her group is to establish relationships between the internal structure of a material and its mechanical properties. The greater understanding of existing and potential discovery of new materials, especially those with improved and even ‘tunable’ properties, have direct use in many critical fields, including acoustics, optics, and electronics.

Her primary areas of interest include: continuum mechanics analyses of behavior of modern materials; buckling and instabilities; waves propagation; constitutive modeling of polymers; computational mechanics; fracture mechanics; applied mathematics; and the mechanical behavior of biological materials.

Prior to her appointment at Harvard, Bertoldi was an Assistant Professor at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She earned a Ph.D. in Mechanics of Materials and Structures from the University of Trento in Italy; an International Masters in Structural Engineering from Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg, Sweden; and a Laurea Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Trento.

Contact Information

Lab Name:Bertoldi Group: Solid Mechanics
Assistant:LaShanda Banks
Assistant Office:Pierce 318
Assistant Phone:(617) 496-1461
Research Mgr: Alex Man

Positions & Employment

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

  • Jan 2010-Current: Assistant Professor

  University of Twente (Netherlands)

  • June 2008–December 2009: Assistant Professor

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • March 2006–May 2008: Postdoctoral Associate, Professor Mary C. Boyce

University of Wisconsin–Madison

  • February 2005–July 2005: Visiting Researcher with Professor W. J. Drugan

Other Experience & Professional Membership

  • Organizer (with Holger Steeb, Stefan Luding, Marc Geers and Erik van der Giessen), Workshop on Scale Transitions in Space and Time for Materials in Lorentz Center, Leiden, the Netherlands, 2009
  • Organizer (with Holger Steeb), Symposium on Acoustic Band Gaps in Micro-structured Materials at the10th U.S. National Congress on Computational Mechanics, 2009



  • Institute for Multiscale materials systems, University of California, Santa Barbara, Visiting Researcher Fellowship, February 2009
  • Award for outstanding presentation by younger scientists in Solid Mechanics, ICTAM 2008
  • Riken, The Japanese Center of Chemical and Physical Research, Tokyo, Japan, JISTEC-REES Fellowship, July-August 2003
  • Award for outstanding Thesis, University of Trento, Italy, 2006
  • Chalmers University of Technology (Goteborg, Sweden), Erasmus Grant, exchange student, August 1999–June 2000

Patents Awarded

  • Boyce, Mullin, Bertoldi, Deschanel. Materials Design for deformation triggered transformation. New provisional patent application n. 60/943 and U.S. provisional application n. 60/889
  • Boyce, Mullin, Deschanel, Bertoldi. Pattern production and recovery by transformation. New provisional patent application n. 60/113 and U.S. provisional application n. 60/345