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 devices possessing unique and compelling geometries, properties, and functionalities. Indeed, interfacing active devices with biology in 3D could impact a variety of fields, including regenerative bioelectronics, smart prosthetics, biomedical devices, 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. Our approach is to use extrusion-based multi-material 3D printing, which is an additive manufacturing technology that offers freeform, autonomous fabrication. This approach addresses the dichotomies presented above by (1) using 3D printing and imaging for personalized, multifunctional device architectures; (2) employing 'nano-inks' as an enabling route for introducing diverse material functionality; and (3) 3D printing a range of functional inks to enable the interweaving of a diverse palette of materials, from biological to electronic. 3D printing is a multiscale 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, from a one-pot printer.

bionic, 3d, 4d, devices


  • Henry Maso Award Keynote (2018)
  • George W. Taylor Award for Distinguished Research (2018)
  • Guinness World Records (2018)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) (2017)
  • National Academy of Sciences (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 (NAE) - 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 (NAE) - 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)
  • Sigma Xi, Phi Beta Kappa (2000)
  • Leallyn B. Clapp Prize (2000)
  • Outstanding Chemistry Student Award by the RI American Chemical Society (2000)
  • Junior Prize in Chemistry (1999)
  • E. Ward Plummer Award (1998)