Faculty from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) lead and provide core instruction in the MDE program. Additional instructors and guest critics are routinely incorporated into MDE courses to provide area expertise and experience from professional practice.

  • SCI6463 project review by Martin Bechthold
  • Sawako Kaijima reviews student work
  • Joanna Aizenberg in lab
  • Studio review by Heather Boesch
  • Fawwaz Habbal in studio review

Program Co-Directors


Martin BechtholdMartin Bechthold

Kumagai Professor of Architectural Technology, GSD

Martin's research, related publications, and teaching focus on innovative material systems, structural design, and robotic fabrication, with recent projects developing structural applications of architectural ceramics and advancing multi-material 3D printing technology. Martin's research broadly looks at material and fabrication technology as a catalyst of innovation for design practice. In 2010, he founded the GSD’s Design Robotics Group, which he recently merged it into the Material Processes and Systems (MaP+S) Group, a collaboration of faculty, research associates, and students that pursues sponsored and other research projects. He is also affiliate faculty at the Wyss Center for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Joanna Profile PhotoJoanna Aizenberg 

Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Material Science, SEAS 

Joanna is a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard University. She pursues a broad range of research interests that include biomineralization, biomimetics, self-assembly, crystal engineering, surface chemistry, nanofabrication, biomaterials, biomechanics, and biooptics. She is a pioneer of the rapidly developing field of biomimetic inorganic materials synthesis, and oversees the Biomineralization and Biomimetics Lab.

Program Faculty 


Elizabeth Bowie ChristoforettiElizabeth Bowie Christoforetti

Assistant Professor in Practice of Architecture, GSD

Elizabeth is founding principal at Supernormal, an architecture, urban design, and research practice focused on the design of form and processes that balance contextual relevance with the contemporary imperative to scale beyond a single instance, and to reach more people and urban places. Her research on urban form, spatial analysis, and process design explores the deep cultural, typological, and process-based implications of scalable urban systems in the real world.

Luba GreenwoodLuba Greenwood

Visiting Lecturer in Engineering Sciences, SEAS

Luba is an investor and company builder in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and digital health space. Luba has led Strategic Business Development and Corporate Ventures at Google Life Sciences, an Alphabet company at the intersection of technology and healthcare. She has held leadership roles at Roche and Pfizer and serves on the boards of MassBio and numerous biotechnology and tech companies. A former lawyer at WilmerHale, Luba currently advises the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Wyss Center For Bio And Neuroengineering.

Fawwaz HabbalFawwaz Habbal

Executive Dean for Education and Research, SEAS

Prior to Harvard, Fawwaz was the Corporate Vice President responsible for research and product design at Polaroid Corporation, and also served as a Senior Research and Engineering Fellow.  At Polaroid, he led teams that created over 20 products per year, and after leaving Polaroid, he initiated three start-ups related to imaging electronics.  His current research interests include semiconductors and nanophotonics, and he is interested in a holistic engineering education that integrates multi-disciplinary learning, practical reasoning, and integrative thinking. 

Jock HerronJock Herron 

Design Critic in Design Engineering, GSD

Jock is an instructor focused on food systems and health. He co-led the Smart Cities and Wellness project sponsored by the Humana Corporation and the Responsive Environments and Artifacts Lab at the GSD. He has served on the Steering Committee of the Worcester County Food Hub Initiative, and was an early supporter of a rotational grazing business in Central Massachusetts. Co-manager of family farms in southern Ohio (grains, gravel, lumber, solar) and a former chairman of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, he has a longstanding view that food systems are at the nexus of population and habitat health.

Julia LeeJulia C Lee

Executive Director for Education and Research, SEAS
Executive Vice Provost for Strategic Initiatives at the Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia, Peru

Julia’s efforts at the Universidad de Ingenieria y Tecnologia have focused on designing an undergraduate curriculum that integrates science and technology with the humanities and business-management tools. Her research within the Harvard astronomy department (2005-2014) primarily focused on plasma in extreme conditions, using a combination of X-ray satellite spectroscopic data and an extensive experimental program at synchrotron facilities in the US and Asia. Julia has served on numerous advisory and working group committees to inform science and instrument needs, and over the past years, has focused most of her efforts on education and advance learning.  She also has great interest in the art-science connection.

Allen SayeghAllen Sayegh

Associate Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology, GSD

Allen is an architect, designer, educator, and the principal of INVIVIA, an award-winning, global design firm. He is the director of REAL, the Responsive Environment and Artifacts Lab at Harvard, and most recently co-founded the ALIVE group at Harvard, an interdisciplinary team of scientists and designers from the GSD and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.

Mary TolikasMary Tolikas

Lecturer on Engineering Sciences, SEAS

Mary brings experience in start-up operations, product development, strategic planning, and business development in a number of markets and applications, including software, electromechanical devices, and biotech. As an engineer, she has designed and built products for a number of diverse industries, such as automotive, IT, medical, and aerospace. For a number of years, she served as the first Operations Director at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. She holds a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management.

Andrew WittAndrew Witt

Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture, GSD

Andrew works on problems at the intersection of design, shape, constructability, and assembly automation, including differential, topological, graph-theoretic, and multi-constraint optimization approaches to design problems. He has experience with large-scale construction automation, fabrication machine development, and commercial software development, including web-based 3D concurrent design systems, urban simulation of autonomous mobility systems, and history of technology and science in design.

Woodward YangWoodward Yang 

Gordon McKay Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, SEAS, and HBS University Fellow

Woodward Yang has extensive technical background in microelectronic systems and semiconductor manufacturing, and wider intellectual interests, including technology transfer, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, innovation, and engineering design. His innovative and pioneering research results were highly recognized through the prestigious National Science Foundation Young Investigator and Army Young Investigator awards and as IEEE Distinguished Lecturer.  Dr. Yang was also the founder and CEO of a DRAM design company for many years in Korea and Taiwan, which designed and manufactured special purpose memory products.


Affiliated Faculty


Diane Davis Charles Dyer Norton Professor of Regional Planning and Urbanism,  GSD
Trained as a sociologist, Diane's research interests include the relations between urbanization and national development, comparative urban governance, socio-spatial practice in conflict cities, and new territorial manifestations of sovereignty. Her research initiatives include a project funded by the Volvo Research and Educational Foundations (VREF), which focused on the role of political leadership in transforming urban transport, and a project funded by Mexico’s national workers’ housing agency (INFONAVIT).

Jill Desimini Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, GSD
Jill is trained in landscape architecture and architecture, and has practiced professionally in both fields. Prior to joining the full-time faculty at the GSD, she taught in the second term core studio of the MLA Program at the GSD and at Northeastern University's School of Architecture. She was formerly Senior Associate at Stoss Landscape Urbanism, where she managed the firm's efforts on the Lower Don Lands in Toronto, the Bass River Park on Cape Cod, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Krzysztof Z Gajos – Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, SEAS 
In July of 2009, Krzysztof joined the Harvard faculty as an assistant professor in Computer Science. His research interests are in human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, and applied machine learning. The phrase "intelligent interactive systems" describes many of Gajos's interests: understanding how intelligent technologies can enable novel ways of interacting with computation, and in the new challenges that human abilities, limitations, and preferences create for machine learning algorithms embedded in interactive systems.

Chuck Hoberman Pierce Anderson Lecturer in Design Engineering, GSD 
Chuck has an extensive background in design and the manufacturing of transformable structures with demonstrated use as consumer products, deployable shelters, stage sets, and architectural facades. Wider intellectual interests include the process of invention, design automation methods, transformable systems in nature, and creative synergies between the arts and sciences.

Hanif Kara – Professor in Practice of Architectural Technology, GSD 
Hanif is a design-led structural engineer with particular expertise in complex structures, advanced analysis tools, innovative forms, and materials for building structures. His numerous publications include Design Engineering, 2008, Actar. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK Institution of Structural Engineers, and of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and winner of many design awards, including the UK Sterling Prize in 2000 and 2012.

Ali Malkawi – Professor of Architectural Technology, GSD
Ali is the Founding Director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, and teaches and conducts research in the areas of computational simulation, building performance evaluation, decision support systems, and advanced visualization. He received a PhD in Architectural Technology and Artificial Intelligence from Georgia Institute of Technology, a Master in Architecture degree from the University of Colorado, and a BS in Architectural Engineering and Environmental Design from Jordan University of Science and Technology.

Kevin Kit Parker – Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics, SEAS
Kit is a Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and Technology at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and has an extensive technical background in biological systems, medical devices, and bio-inspired design. He has over 20 years of experience as an officer in the United States Army, with extensive experience in combat operations, training, and the adaptation of novel technologies to and from the battlefield.

Antoine Picon – G. Ware Travelstead Professor of the History of Architecture and Technology Director of Research, GSD 
Antoine teaches courses in the history and theory of architecture and technology. Trained as an engineer, architect, and historian, he works on the history of architectural and urban technologies from the eighteenth century to the present. His most recent books offer a comprehensive overview of the changes brought by the computer and digital culture to the theory and practice of architecture, as well as to the planning and experience of the city.

Robert Pietrusko – Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, GSD 
Robert's teaching and research focus on geospatial representation, simulation, narrative + critical cartography, and spatial taxonomies. Pietrusko is also a co-founder of the metaLAB(at)Harvard, where he develops data-rich tools and environments for the communication of scholarly work. His design work has been exhibited at the MoMA, SFMOMA, The Foundation Cartier, and the Venice Architecture Biennale, among others, and has been featured in Metropolis, Architectural Record, and Domus.

Holly Samuelson – Assistant Professor of Architecture, GSD
Holly teaches architectural technology courses, specializing in the energy and environmental performance of buildings. Her research focuses on energy conservation, computerized simulation, occupant behavior, and the future of building practice as it relates to these topics. Prior to joining Harvard, Samuelson practiced full-time as an architect (2000-2007) and sustainable design consultant (2007-2008). As a licensed architect, her collaborative work has been recognized for design and ecological excellence.

Pia Sörensen Senior Preceptor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Materials, SEAS 
Pia co-teaches and manages the General Education course "Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science." Her research interests range from science and engineering education — with an emphasis on online education and creative ways of teaching science and engineering in a liberal arts setting — to chemical biology, stemming from her doctoral work on small molecule natural products and their effects on cell division and other cellular processes.

Joost Vlassak – Abbott and James Lawrence Professor of Materials Engineering, SEAS
Joost has an intellectual interest in the mechanical and thermal behavior of a broad range of engineering materials, with a focus on experimental techniques. Recent projects include degradation of electrodes in lithium ion batteries, development of structural and functional hydrogels, and combinatorial techniques for the development of complex materials systems, including metallic glasses, ultra-high temperature ceramic coatings, and high-temperature shape memory alloys.

David WeitzMallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, SEAS
Weitz and his group study the physics of soft condensed matter, materials easily deformed by external stresses, electric, magnetic or gravitational fields, and even thermal fluctuations. Weitz and his group also have extensive interactions with industry, with some of their work motivated by the science that directly addresses technologically important problems.  In addition, some research in the group has led to promising new technologies, and several start-up companies have emerged from the research. 

Rob Wood – Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, SEAS 
Rob is a founding, core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. He is founder of the Harvard Microrobotics Lab, which focuses on mechanics, materials, manufacturing, and design for novel small-scale, biologically-inspired, and soft-bodied robots.