Lara Estroff

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.


Eve Lorraine Donnelly

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.”



Mike Thompson

Professor Mike Thompson

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Prof. Michael Thompson received his B.S. in Applied Physics from CalTech in 1979 and M.S./Ph.D degrees in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell. For the past 28 years, his group's research has focused on the behavior of semiconductor materials under pulsed and CW laser exposure. He is coauthor on more than 120 papers and over 20 patents. For almost 25 years, Prof. Thompson has been teaching juniors in MSE the fundamentals of thermodynamics. In an abstract and generally non-intuitive course, Prof. Thompson enjoys the continuous challenge of finding real-life examples to motivate the material, and identifying physical analogs that help students gain an intuitive as well as mathematical understanding. Externally, Prof. Thompson is active as a consultant in the microelectronics industry. Internally, his primary focus tends to migrate toward curriculum development and outreach activities promoting materials science and engineering. He currently serves on the department curriculum review committee, leading the ABET accreditation process in the department, and is on the FABIT committee for the college.


Shefford Baker

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.