Lara Estroff

Professor Lara Estroff
MSE Department Chair

Research Interests: Solution crystal growth mechanisms, specifically materials characterization of physiological and pathological biominerals; in situ evaluation of crystal growth mechanisms; development of bio-inspired synthetic strategies for new crystalline materials with complex morphologies, compositions, and properties; design of in vitro models of cell-mineral interactions and tissue engineered constructs that recapitulate key features of biomineralization.

Selected Publications   

Hendley, Coit T., Lee A. Fielding, Elizabeth R. Jones, Anthony J. Ryan, Steven P. Armes, and Lara A. Estroff. “Mechanistic Insights into Diblock Copolymer Nanoparticle-Crystal Interactions Revealed Via In Situ Atomic Force Microscopy” Journal of the American. Chemical Society 140 (2018): 7936-7945.

Kunitake, Jennie A. M. R., Siyoung Choi, Kayla X. Nguyen, Meredith M. Lee, Frank He, Daniel Sudilovsky, Patrick G. Morris, Maxine S. Jochelson, Clifford A. Hudis, David A. Muller, Peter Fratzl, Claudia Fischbach, Admir Masic, and Lara A. Estroff. “Correlative Imaging Reveals Physicochemical Heterogeneity of Microcalcifications in Human Breast Carcinomas.” Journal of Structural Biology 202 (2018): 25-43.

Selected Awards and Honors   

  • Lawrence Berkeley National Lab Affiliate2013
  • Keynote Speaker(Gordon Research Seminar on Biomineralization)2012
  • Marilyn Emmons Williams Award(Cornell Undergraduate Research Board)2009
  • Faculty Early CAREER Award(National Science Foundation)2009
  • Fiona Ip Li "78 & Donald Li "75 Excellence in Teaching Award(College of Engineering, Cornell University)2007


Assistant Professor Jin Suntivich

Assistant Professor Jin Suntivich

Interim Director of Graduate Studies

Jin Suntivich is an assistant professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. Jin received his B.A. in Integrated Science and B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. Afterward, Jin went to obtain his Sc.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT, where his research focused on finding a structure-property relation that controls the electrochemical activity of transition metal oxides and nanoparticles for fuel cells, electrolyzers, and metal-air batteries. Jin conducted his postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard University Center for the Environment. There, he worked on understanding the light-matter interaction in titanium oxides and the role of non-equilibrium structure on the surface chemistry and the carrier lifetimes. His interest is in developing rational strategies for designing new materials for energy and environmental applications.


Chekesha M. Watson

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).


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.


Liane O'Brien

Liane O'Brien

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.