Professor Lara Estroff
MSE Department Chair
Lara A. Estroff received her B.A. with honors from Swarthmore College (1997), with a major in Chemistry and a minor in Anthropology. Before beginning her graduate studies, she spent a year at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel as a visiting researcher in the labs of Profs Lia Addadi and Steve Weiner. During this time, she was introduced to the field of biomineralization and studied chemical approaches to archeological problems. In 2003, she received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University for work done in Prof. Andrew D. Hamilton's laboratory on the design and synthesis of bio-inspired organic superstructures to control the growth of inorganic crystals. After completing graduate school, she was an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow in Prof. George M. Whiteside's laboratory at Harvard University (2003-2005). Since 2005, Dr. Estroff has been in Materials Science and Engineering department at Cornell University and in 2019 she was promoted to Full Professor. She served as the Director of Graduate Studies in the department from 2015-2019. As of August 2020, she is the current Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering department. Her group focuses on bio-inspired materials synthesis, crystal growth mechanisms, and the high-resolution characterization of pathological mineralization. She has received several awards, including an NSF Early Faculty Career Award in 2009 and a J.D. Watson Young Investigator’s award from NYSTAR in 2006.
Associate Professor Eve Lorraine Donnelly
Director of Graduate Studies
Dr. Donnelly received her BS and MS in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. In 2007 she received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University, where she examined the role of mineral and collagen on the mechanical properties of bone tissue at multiple length scales. As a postdoctoral fellow she studied skeletal tissue biology and biophysical imaging in Biomedical Sciences at Cornell and material properties of osteoporotic bone in the Mineralized Tissues Laboratory at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Dr. Donnelly received an NIH Ruth L Kirchstein National Research Service Award for her postdoctoral fellowship at HSS examining the effects of bone tissue mineral and collagen properties on fracture incidence. She received the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s Young Investigator Award in 2010 and Junior Faculty Osteoporosis Research Award in 2012 for her work on the effects of bisphosphonates on bone tissue properties. She received the New Investigator Recognition Award from the Orthopedic Research Society in 2009 and the Alice L. Jee Memorial Young Investigator Award from the Sun Valley Workshop on Skeletal Tissue Biology in 2007 for her work on imaging primary cilia in skeletal tissues. In 2103 she received an NIH K01 award to study bone material properties and mechanical behavior in Type 2 diabetic patients and in 2015 received an NSF CAREER award, “CAREER: Role of Variations in Tissue Material Properties in Bone Fracture Behavior.”
Associate Professor Chekesha M. Watson
Director of Undergraduate Studies
Chekesha Liddell received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with Highest Distinction from Spelman College (1999) and a Bachelor of Materials Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology (1999), [Atlanta University Center, Dual Degree Engineering Program]. She was awarded the NASA Women in Science and Engineering Scholarship to support her undergraduate work including an honors thesis on the Synthesis and Characterization of m-Aminobenzenarsonic acid, an important standard for understanding the metabolysis of arsenic in poultry. Liddell also held three internship appointments at NASA, Kennedy Space Center in the Cryogenics and External Tank Branch and the Microchemical Analysis Laboratories. She joined the Cornell University faculty in November of 2003, after receiving a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering with a minor in Science and Technology Policy from Georgia Tech. Liddell's awards for scholarly achievement include the National Science Foundation (NSF) Career Award [Nonspherical, Active, and "Inverted" Bases for Optimized Photonic Crystal Design] (2006); Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Sciences Career Initiation Grant, (2003); Office of Naval Research Graduate Fellowship (1999-2003); Georgia Tech President's Fellowship, (1999-2003); Facilitating Academic Careers in Engineering and Sciences Fellowship (1999-2003); NSBE, National Society of Black Engineers Fellow, (2000); Hertz Foundation Fellowship Grant, (1999); TMS materials society, J. Keith Brimacombe Presidential Scholarship, (1999); ASM Foundation Scholarship, ASM International materials society, (1998); and the ASTM, American Society for Testing and Materials, Mary R. Norton Memorial Fellowship, (1999). Liddell is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the American Chemical Society, the Materials Research Society, the Cornell Center for Materials Research (CCMR) and the Cornell Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS).
Associate Professor Shefford Baker
Director of MSE MEng Program
Shefford P. Baker received his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University, in 1993, was a staff scientist at the Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung in Stuttgart from 1993 to 1997 and joined the Cornell faculty in 1998. He was Visiting Professor at the Faculté des Sciences et Techniques de Saint Jérome, Université Paul Cézanne, Marseille, in summer 2006. Baker has received several teaching awards at Cornell, is on the faculty in Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. His research focuses on the mechanical properties of materials, particularly those having critical length scales in the nanometer regime. His interests include relating processing to structure, defects, and stresses in thin films, including texture and phase transformations; nanocontact mechanics; nanomechanical behavior of mineralized tissues, plastic deformation and hardness of silicate and metallic glasses. In addition to his current role as director of the MSE MEng program, Baker has served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies and as co-Director of the Biomaterials Program at Cornell and as President of the Materials Research Society.
Director of Administration
Liane joined MSE as the Administrative Director in December 2020. She previously served as the Administrative Manager for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA), responsible for Finances, Operations, HR, and Research Administration. Liane has 15+ years of experience at Cornell University in a number of financial and administrative roles, previously serving as the Administrative Manager for the KAUST-CU Research Center. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC as well as her Bachelors degree in Government and Economics.