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 ability to three-dimensionally interweave biological and functional materials could enable the creation of bioelectronic devices possessing unique and compelling geometries, properties, and functionalities. Indeed, interfacing high performance active devices with biology could impact a variety of fields, including regenerative bioelectronics, smart prosthetics, medical robotics, and human-machine interfaces. Biology, from the molecular scale of DNA and proteins, to the macroscopic scale of tissues and organs, is three-dimensional, often soft and stretchable, and temperature sensitive. This renders most biological platforms incompatible with the fabrication and materials processing methods that have been developed and optimized for functional electronics, which are typically planar, rigid and brittle. A number of strategies have been developed to overcome these dichotomies. One particularly novel approach is the use of extrusion-based multi-material 3D printing, which is an additive manufacturing technology that offers a freeform fabrication strategy. This approach addresses the dichotomies presented above by (1) using 3D printing and imaging for personalized, hierarchical, and interwoven device architectures; (2) employing nanotechnology as an enabling route for introducing high performance materials; and (3) 3D printing a range of soft and nanoscale materials to enable the integration of a diverse palette of high quality functional materials with biology. Moreover, 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 blending of 3D printing, 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)