Project Description

Markus Buehler

Department Head
McAfee Professor of Engineering

Research Interests: materials, molecular dynamics, protein-based material


Room 1-290
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Telephone: 617.452.2750
Fax: 617.324.4014
Assistant: Marygrace Aboudou /
Research Website:


  • Postdoctoral Scholar, 2004-2005; Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) 2004 in Materials Science (Chemistry), Max Planck Institute for Metals Research at the University of Stuttgart
  • M.S. 2001 in Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Tech
  • B.S. equiv./pre-diploma 2000 in Process and Chemical Engineering, University of Stuttgart

Editorial Articles

  • Member, Editorial Board, Computational Materials Science
  • Section Editor, Nanotechnology (Institute of Physics)
  • Associate Editor,  J. Engineering Mechanics (American Society of Civil
  • Academic Editor, PLoS ONE
  • Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Nanomechanics and Micromechanics
  • Executive Editor, International Journal of Applied Mechanics
  • Editorial Board, Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
  • Editor, Acta Mechanica Sinica
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience

Research Interests

Materials science and mechanics of natural and biological protein materials (materiomics), how protein materials define our body and how they fail catastrophically (fracture, deformation, disease), large-scale atomistic modeling, protein based materials and biopolymers, interaction of chemistry and mechanics, bridging chemical scales to continuum theories of materials, modeling of bio-nano-materials phenomena, multiple-scale simulation, development and use of multi-scale simulation tools.

Teaching Interests

  • MIT Professional Education: Materials By Design (…)
  • Mechanics of materials, materials science, multi-scale modeling and simulation, biomechanics, molecular mechanics.
  • Subjects taught:
    • 1.021J Introduction to Modeling and Simulation
    • 1.050 Engineering Mechanics I
    • 1.545 Atomistic Modeling and Simulation of Materials and Structures
    • 2.797J Molecular-, Cellular-, and Tissue-Biomechanics (guest instructor)
    • 3.320 Atomistic Modeling of Materials (guest instructor)
    • 3.22 Mechanical Properties of Materials
    • 1.978 From Nano to Macro: Introduction to Atomistic Modeling Techniques

Awards and Honors

  • TMS Hardy Award 2013
  • JOM Best Paper Award 2013
  • IEEE Holm Conference Mort Antler Lecture Award, 2012
  • Society of Engineering Science Young Investigator Medal, 2012
  • Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award, 2012
  • Alfred Noble Prize, 2012 (given by the combined engineering societies of the United States)
  • Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award (ASME), 2011
  • Leonardo da Vinci Award (ASCE Engineering Mechanics Institute), 2011
  • Stephen Brunauer Award, 2011 (ACS)
  • Rossiter W. Raymond Memorial Award, 2011 (AIME)
  • Sia Nemat-Nasser Award (ASME), 2010
  • Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award, 2010
  • Chair, Fourth International Conference on the Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues (2010-2011)
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2009
  • United States Navy Young Investigator Award, 2008
  • Participant and Plenary Speaker, National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (recognized as one of the top engineers in the country between the ages of 30-45; 2007, 2008)
  • DARPA Young Faculty Award, 2008
  • Air Force Young Investigator Award, 2008
  • Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Chair Professorship, 2007
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2007
  • Poster Award, International Conference on Mechanics of Biomaterials and Tissues, 2005
  • First Prize Gold Graduate Student Award, Materials Research Society, 2004

Selected Publications

    1. T. Knowles,  M.J. Buehler , “Nanomechanics of functional and pathological amyloid materials,” Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 6(7), pp. 469-479, 2011
    2. S. Keten, M.J. Buehler, “Nanostructure and molecular mechanics of dragline spider silk protein assemblies,” Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Vol. 7(53), pp. 1709-1721, 2010 (paper
      highlighted in Science)
    3. S. Keten, Z. Xu, B. Ihle, M.J. Buehler, “Nanoconfinement controls stiffness, strength and mechanical toughness of beta-sheet crystals in silk,” Nature Materials, Vol. 9, pp. 359-367, 2010
    4. S. Cranford, M.J. Buehler, “Materiomics: Biological Protein Materials, from Nano to Macro,” Nanotechnology, Science and Application, Vol. 3, pp. 127-148, 2010
    5. Z. Qin, M.J. Buehler, “Molecular Dynamics Simulation of the a-Helix to ß-Sheet Transition in Coiled Protein Filaments: Evidence for a Critical Filament Length Scale,” Physical Review Letters , Vol. 104(19), paper # 198304, 2010
    6. D. Sen, K. Novoselov, P. Reis and M.J. Buehler, “Tearing of graphene sheets from adhesive substrates produces tapered nanoribbons,” Small, Vol. 6(10),pp. 1108-1116, 2010
    7. M.J. Buehler, “Strength in numbers”, Nature Nanotechnology, Vol. 5, pp. 172-174, 2010
    8. M.J. Buehler, Z. Xu,”Materials science: Mind the helical crack,” Nature, Vol. 464(4), pp. 42-43, 2010
    9. Y.C. Yung, J. Chae, M.J. Buehler, C. Hunter, D. Mooney, “Cyclic tensile strain triggers a sequence of autocrine and paracrine signaling that regulate angiogenesis in human vascular cells,” P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA,  Vol. 106, pp. 15279-15284, 2009
    10. S. Uzel, M.J. Buehler, “Nanomechanical sequencing of tropocollagen molecules,” Integrative Biology, Vol 1(7), pp. 452-459, 2009
    11. T. Ackbarow, D. Sen, C. Thaulow, M.J. Buehler, “Alpha-Helical Protein Networks are Self Protective and Flaw Tolerant,” PLoS ONE, Vol. 4(6), paper # e6015, 2009
    12. M.J. Buehler, Y. Yung, “Deformation and failure of protein materials in extreme conditions and disease,” Nature Materials, Vol. 8(3), pp. 175-188, 2009
    13. S. Keten and M.J. Buehler, “The strength limit of entropic elasticity in beta-sheet protein domains,” Physical Review E, Vol. 78(6), paper number 061913, 2008.
    14. M.J. Buehler, S. Keten, T. Ackbarow, “Theoretical and computational hierarchical nanomechanics of protein materials: Deformation and fracture,” Progress in Materials Science, Vol. 53(8), pp. 1101-1241, 2008.
    15. S. Keten and M.J. Buehler, “Geometric Confinement Governs the Rupture Strength of H-bond Assemblies at a Critical Length Scale,” Nano Letters, Vol. 8(2), 2008.
    16. T. Ackbarow, X. Chen, S. Keten, M.J. Buehler, “Hierarchies, multiple energy barriers and robustness govern the fracture mechanics of alpha-helical and beta-sheet protein domains”, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 104(42), pp. 16410-16415, 2007 (cover article)
    17. M.J. Buehler. H. Tang, A. C.T. van Duin, W.A. Goddard III, “Threshold Crack Speed Controls Dynamical Fracture of Silicon Single Crystals,” Physical Review Letters, Vol. 99, p. 165502, 2007
    18. M.J. Buehler and T. Ackbarow, “Fracture mechanics of protein materials,” Materials Today, Vol. 10(9), pp. 46-58, 2007 (cover article)
    19. M.J. Buehler and S.Y. Wong, “Entropic elasticity controls nanomechanics of single tropocollagen molecules,” Biophys. J., Vol. 93(1), pp. 37-43, 2007
    20. M.J. Buehler, “Defining nascent bone by the molecular nanomechanics of  mineralized collagen fibrils,” Nanotechnology, Vol. 18, 295102, 2007