Lara Estroff

Herbert Fisk Johnson Professor of Industrial Chemistry 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.


Katie Jacoby

Katie Jacoby

Director of Administration

Katie Jacoby joined MSE after having served eight years as the executive director of administration and finance for the Cornell Laboratory of Accelerator-based Sciences and Education and the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source. Her experience at the university’s largest research centers has demonstrated her ability to manage highly complex scientific initiatives, infrastructure, funding sources, scientific user programs, and a large and diverse team of faculty, staff and students. 

Jacoby has also served in various roles in the College of Veterinary Medicine, including administrative manager for the James A. Baker Institute for Animal Health and Feline Health Center, as well as the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She has a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University. 


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.


Kintu Early

Professor of Practice Kintu Early

Director of MSE M.Eng. Program

Kintu Early received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University, he completed undergraduate internships creating catalysts for automotive emissions.  Kintu continued in this vein with his graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh.  There, he earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering as he tried to save the ozone layer, creating catalysts to repurpose stockpiled chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) into less environmentally damaging species.  Following graduate school, Kintu shifted gears entirely and began his career as a Development Engineer with Corning Incorporated in the Optical Communications business.  Going from catalysis to fiber making was the first of many transitions in materials and technologies.  This endeavor started a journey that has spanned Research, Development, Engineering, and even Quality while exploring industries as diverse as telecommunications fiber processing, automotive emissions and glazing, and pharmaceutical packaging. From publications to patents to production, Kintu has been deeply engaged with materials throughout his career and from all perspectives of the innovation process.  His presentation will chronicle the evolution of his interaction with materials and materials processing while sharing some critical elements new engineering graduates need to be successful.  Whether starting in a plant, lab or office his insights should help you plan your path and ease your transition from academia to industry.