University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering


Michael C. McAlpine

Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Office: ME 115
Phone: 612-626-3303
McAlpine Group Web Page

Ph.D. 2006, Chemistry, Harvard University
B.S. 2000, Chemistry, Brown University


Professor McAlpine's research is focused on 3D printing functional materials & devices. The development of methods for interfacing high performance functional devices with biology could impact regenerative medicine, smart prosthetics, and human-machine interfaces. Indeed, the ability to three-dimensionally interweave biological and functional materials could enable the creation of devices possessing unique geometries, properties, and functionalities. Yet, most high quality functional materials are two dimensional, hard and brittle, and require high crystallization temperatures for maximal performance. These properties render the corresponding devices incompatible with biology, which is three-dimensional, soft, stretchable, and temperature sensitive. We overcome these dichotomies by: 1) using 3D printing and scanning for customized, interwoven, anatomically accurate device architectures; 2) employing nanotechnology as an enabling route for overcoming mechanical discrepancies while retaining high performance; and 3) 3D printing a range of soft and nanoscale materials to enable the integration of a diverse palette of high quality functional nanomaterials with biology. 3D printing is a multi-scale platform, allowing for the incorporation of functional nanoscale inks, the printing of microscale features, and ultimately the creation of macroscale devices. This three-dimensional blending of functional materials and ‘living’ platforms may enable next-generation 3D printed devices.


• Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2017)
• NAS Kavli Frontiers Fellow (2016)
• Moore Inventor Fellows Finalist (2016)
• Extreme Mechanics Letters (EML) Young Investigator Award (2015)
• SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award (2015)
• NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2014)
• Nanonica Prize (2014)
• “Key Player” in Technology Review’s 10 Breakthrough Technologies (2014)
• CNN 10: Inventions (2013)
• Graduate Mentoring Award in Engineering (2013)
• National Academy of Engineering - China-America Frontiers of Engineering (2013)
• New York Times Magazine 32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow (2012)
• DARPA Young Faculty Award (2012)
• National Academy of Engineering - Frontiers of Engineering (2011)
• Technology Review TR35 Young Innovator Under 35 (2010)
• Time Magazine Top 50 Inventions of the Year (2010)
• E. Lawrence Keyes, Jr./Emerson Electric Co. Faculty Advancement Award (2010)
• DuPont Young Investigator Award (2010)
• American Asthma Foundation Early Excellence Award (2009)
• AFOSR Young Investigator Award (2008)
• Intelligence Community Young Investigator Award (2008)
• Outstanding Speaker Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology (2008)
• Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2006-2008)
• National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2000-2003)
• Leallyn B. Clapp Prize for best senior thesis in Chemistry (2000)
• Outstanding Chemistry Student Award by the RI American Chemical Society (2000)
• Junior Prize in Chemistry awarded to one Junior Chemistry concentrator (1999)
• E. Ward Plummer Award for outstanding student paper in the NSF-REU program (1998)