Gao Research Group

Nanomechanics of Engineering and Biological Systems

Prof. Huajian Gao

Huajian Gao

Prof. Huajian Gao (CV)

School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
College of Engineering
Nanyang Technological University
70 Nanyang Drive
Singapore 639798, Singapore

Email: huajian.gao[at]ntu.edu.sg

Brief Biography

Prof. Gao received his B.S. degree from Xian Jiaotong University in 1982, and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Engineering Science from Harvard University in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He served on the faculty of Stanford University between 1988 and 2002, where he was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1994 and to Full Professor in 2000. He served as Director at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research between 2001 and 2006, and then as Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Engineering at Brown University from 2006-2019. At present, he is the Walter H. Annenberg Emeritus Professor of Engineering at Brown University and one of the Distinguished University Professors at Nanyang Technological University, as well as the Scientific Director of the Institute of High Performance Computing in Singapore.

Prof. Gao’s research has been focused on the understanding of basic principles that control mechanical properties and behaviors of materials in both engineering and biological systems. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, the flagship journal of his field. He has been elected to memberships in US National Academy of Sciences, US National Academy of Engineering, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, German National Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Academia Europaea. He has also received numerous awards and honors, including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rodney Hill Prize in Solid Mechanics from the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, the William Prager Medal from Society of Engineering Science, the Nadai Medal from American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Theodor von Karman Medal from American Society of Civil Engineers.

Academy Memberships

  • National Academy of Science of USA
  • National Academy of Engineering of USA
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Academia Europaea (Academy of Europe)

Professional Society Memberships

  • Honorary Fellow, International Congress on Fracture (ICF)
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME)
  • Fellow, Institute of Physics, Great Britain (IoP)
  • Life Member, American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • Life Member, Society of Engineering Science (SES)
  • Member, Materials Research Society (MRS)
  • Member, Engineering Mechanics Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

Major Society Recognitions

  • Senior Distinguished Research Achievement Award, Brown University (only one award in physical sciences per year for the whole university), 2018
  • Theodore von Karman Medal (highest medal of ASCE in engineering mechanics), Engineering Mechanics Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2017
  • Nadai Medal (highest medal of ASME in engineering materials), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 2015
  • William Prager Medal (highest medal of SES), Society of Engineering Science (SES), 2015
  • Rodney Hill Prize in Solid Mechanics (highest international award in mechanics; only one awardee every four years), International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2012
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Award (highest German award for international scientists), Germany, 2012
  • Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award (highest joint award of Pi Tau Sigma and ASME), Pi Tau Sigma (National Mechanical Engineering Honor Society) and ASME, 2011
  • Guggenheim Fellowship (for exceptional scholarship or creativity; only 1-2 awards in engineering per year), John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 1995

Research Interests

  • Solid Mechanics, nanomechanics, biomechanics
  • Fracture mechanics
  • Thin film mechanics
  • Mechanics of nanostructured and low dimensional materials
  • Mechanics of membrane targeting nanomedicine
  • Hydrogen embrittlement

Publications & Impact

  • Publication: >500 papers in refereed journals, including Nature and Nature family journals, Science, Advanced Materials, PNAS, Physical Review Letters, Nano Letters, and Proceedings of the Royal Society, as well as important journals in my field (e.g., JMPS, IJSS, JAM).
  • H-index: 110 (Google Scholar), 98 ISI Web of Science (Researcher ID F-9360-2010)
  • Total number of citations: >54K (Google Scholar), >43K (ISI Web of Science)
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), 2015, 2018 (link)

Awards & Honors

  • 2022 TMS William D. Nix Award, The Mineral, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), March 2, 2022 (news)
  • 2021 Timoshenko Medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), announced on May 18, 2021 (news)
  • Plenary Lecture, Indian Structural Integrity Society, Structural Integrity Conference and Exhibition, December 13, 2020
  • Plenary Lecture, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids Track, November 18, 2020
  • Plenary Lecture, Nanomedicine, Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology (Webinar), September 17, 2020
  • Guo Yonghuai Lecture on Advances in Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Science, Institute of Mechanics, April 16, 2020
  • Plenary Lecture (Opening), The Adhesion Society, 43rd Annual Meeting, February 24, 2020
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award, Scripta Materialia, 2019
  • Closing Plenary Lecture, 56th Annual Technical Meeting, Society of Engineering Science, 2019
  • Distinguished University Professor (only 6 DUPs in the entire university), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2019
  • James K. Knowles Lecture, California Institute of Technology, 2019
  • Elected Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2019
  • Elected Member of Academia Europae, 2018
  • The Dan and Carole Burack President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Vermont, 2018
  • Elected Member of National Academy of Sciences, 2018
  • The Raymond D. Mindlin Lecture, Department of Civil Engineering & Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University & ASCE Metropolitan Section, Engineering Mechanics Institute, American Society of Civil Engineering, 2018
  • Senior Distinguished Research Achievement Award, Brown University (only one award in physical sciences per year for the whole university), 2018
  • Honorary Professorship, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2018
  • Martin Weiner Lecture Series, Physics Department Colloquium, Brandeis University, 2017
  • Elected as Honorary Fellow, International Congress on Fracture (ICF), 2017
  • Theodore von Karman Medal (highest medal of ASCE in engineering mechanics), Engineering Mechanics Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2017
  • Elected Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, 2017
  • Faculty Fellow, Hagler Institute of Advanced Study (TIAS) at Texas A&M University, 2017
  • Southwest Mechanics Lecture Series (invited lecture tour of universities in the Southwestern region of USA), 2017
  • Fran and Eric Gebhardt Distinguished Lecture, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2016
  • Wang Ren Lecture on Mechanics, Department of Mechanics and Engineering Science, Peking University, 2016
  • Rockwell Distinguished Lecture, University of Houston, 2016
  • Fowler Distinguished Lecture, Texas A&M University, 2016
  • CU-Boulder Aerospace Engineering Distinguished Lecture Series, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 2016
  • C.C. Mei Distinguished Speaker Seminar (DSS) Series, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
  • Distinguished Visiting Chair Professor Scheme (DCPS), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 2016-2017
  • Elected Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2015
  • Distinguished Lecture Series, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Boston University, 2015
  • Nadai Medal (for distinguished contributions and outstanding achievements which broaden the field of materials engineering), American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2015
  • William Prager Medal (for outstanding research contributions in theoretical solid mechanics), Society of Engineering Science, 2015
  • James F. Bell Memorial Lecture in Continuum Mechanics, Johns Hopkins University, 2015
  • Martin & Lucinda Glicksman Seminar Series, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department, Florida Institute of Technology, 2015
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), 2015
  • Winston Chen Distinguished Lecture, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, 2014
  • Yunchuan Aisinjioro-Soo Distinguished Lecture, Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2014
  • Inaugural Distinguished Lecturer, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Northeastern University, 2014
  • The 33rd Master Forum Lecturer, Shanghai Jiaotong University, 2014
  • Honorary Professorship, Shanghai Jiaotong University, 2013
  • Founding co-Director, Center for Advanced Mechanics and Materials, Tsinghua University, 2013
  • Van C. Mow Distinguished Lecture in Applied Mechanics, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2013.
  • Lee Hsun Lecture Award, Institute of Metals Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2012.
  • Founding co-Director, Center for Advanced Mechanics and Materials, Tsinghua University, 2012.
  • Inaugural Simpson Faculty Fellow, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, 2012.
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, 2012.
  • Timoshenko Distinguished Visitor, Mechanics and Computation Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2012.
  • Engineering Distinguished Lecture, The University of Hong Kong, 2012.
  • Institute of Advanced Study Distinguished Lecture, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2012.
  • Elected Member of National Academy of Engineering of USA, 2012.
  • Rodney Hill Prize in Solid Mechanics, International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2012.
  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Prize (Humboldt-Forschungspreis), Federal Republic of Germany, 2012.
  • Honorary Professorship, Shanghai University, 2011.
  • ASME Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineering, 2011.
  • Stanford S. and Beverley P. Penner Distinguished Lecture in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, San Diego, 2011.
  • Y.C. Fung Lecture, California Institute of Technology, 2011.
  • Highly Commended Article, The James Clerk Maxwell Young Writers Prize, Journal of Philosophical Magazine, 2010 (with T.K. Bhandakkar, E. Chason).
  • Honorary Professorship, Xian Jiaotong University, 2009.
  • William Mong Distinguished Lectures, The University of Hong Kong, 2009.
  • ASME Robert Henry Thurston Lecture Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineering, 2009.
  • Distinguished scholars and artists Advisor, John S. Guggenheim Foundation, 2008-2011.
  • Visiting Investigator Programme (VIP) Award, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, 2007-2012.
  • The Jerzy Nowinski Lecture, University of Delaware, 2007.
  • Distinguished Scholar Lecture, Arizona State University, 2007.
  • Co-editor-in-Chief of Journal of Mechanics and Physics of Solids, 2006.
  • Midwestern Mechanics Lecturer, 2005-2006.
  • Wissenschaftspreis des Stifterverbands (Research innovation award; team leader is Prof. Eduard Arzt), Max Planck Society, 2005.
  • Elected Board of Directors, Society of Engineering Science, 2005.
  • Young Investigator Award, Society of Engineering Science, 2005.
  • Elected Fellow, The Institute of Physics, 2004.
  • George Wallace Melville Medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineering, 2004.
  • Elected Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineering, 2003.
  • Oversea Director, Shenyang Center for Interfacial Materials, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2003.
  • Scientific Member (Director), Max Planck Society, 2001-2006.
  • Outstanding Young Investigator Award, National Science Foundation of China, 2000.
  • Chang Jiang Chair Professorship Award, Chinese Ministry of Education, 2000.
  • Special Achievement Award for Young Investigators in Applied Mechanics, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1999.
  • Humboldt Fellowship Award, 1997.
  • Alcoa Science Award, 1996.
  • Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship Award, 1995.
  • NSF Young Investigator Award, 1993-1998.
  • IBM Faculty Development Award, 1992-1993.
  • NSF Research Initiation Award, 1990-1992.
  • IBM Research Initiation Award, 1990.
  • Schlumberger Fellowship Award, 1988.
  • Harvard University Graduate Fellowship Award, 1984.
  • Xian Jiaotong University, “SAN HAO XUE SHENG” medal, 1979-1982.
  • Xian Jiaotong University Fellowship Award, 1978-1982.

Editorial Activities

  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids (co-editor 2006-2015), 2006-present
  • Special Invited Editor, PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA), 2014
  • Editor, International Journal of Applied Mechanics, 2009-
  • Regional Editor, International Journal of Fracture, 2004-2014
  • Editorial Board, National Science Review (a topmost journal in China aimed at reviewing cutting-edge developments across science and technology in China and around the world under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences), 2013- present
  • Advisory Board, Science China Technological Sciences, 2018-
  • Advisory Board, Computational Materials Science and Engineering, 2012-
  • Advisory Board, Acta Mechanica Sinica, 2011-
  • Editorial Board, Acta Metallurgica Sinica, 2003-
  • Editorial Board, Acta Mechanica, 2014-
  • Editorial Board, Modeling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, 1998-2019
  • Editorial Board, Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, Editorial Board, 2004-
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Computational & Theoretical Nanoscience, 2004- 2012
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Nanoengineering and Nanosystems, 2004-2011
  • Editorial Board, International Journal of Solids and Structures, 2005-2011
  • Editor-in-Chief, Acta Mechanica Sinica, 2001-2011
  • Board of Associate Editors, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2008-2013
  • Chief Editor, Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics, 2004-2006
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Applied Mechanics, 2000-2006
  • Associate Editor, Communications in Computational Physics, 2006-2007
  • Acting Editor-in-Chief, International Journal of Solids and Structures, 1997

Society Leadership & Committee Memberships

  • Member, NTU 2025 Steering Committee (top university committee to track and ensure resourcing and execution of the university’s 5 year strategic plan), Nanyang Technological University, 2020-2022
  • Member, Engineering Panel, the Research Grants Council (RGC), Hong Kong, 2020-2022
  • Chair, NRC liaison Committee for Section 10, National Academy of Engineering, 2018-2021
  • Member, NTU 2025 Task Force, Nanyang Technological University, 2020 Member, NTU Research Council (NTURC), Nanyang Technological University, 2020
  • Mechanics Engineering Advisory Committee for Curriculum Development and Industrial Liaison, The University of Hong Kong, 2019-2020
  • Scientific Evaluation Committee of the Helmholtz Society Research Programs in Materials Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, 2017
  • Engineering Executive Committee (representing the Solid Mechanics Faculty Group on all matters related to teaching, research and administration in the Brown School of Engineering), Brown University, 2008-2012, 2013-2014, 2015-2019
  • Advisory Committee, the State Key Laboratory of Structural Analysis for Industrial Equipment, Dalian University of Technology, 2015-
  • Academic Committee Chair, Department of Instrument Science and Engineering, School of Electronical Information and Electric Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University, 2014-2017.
  • Rodney Hill Prize Committee, International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2014-2015
  • US Representative to IUTAM General Assembly, International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2014
  • Journal of Applied Mechanics Paper Award Committee, Chair, 2014
  • Community and Program Committee, School of Engineering, Brown University, 2014-2016
  • Faculty Grievance Committee, Brown University, 2014-2017
  • International Advisory Committee, Suzhou Institute of Nano-Tech and Nanobionics (SINANO), Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2013-
  • Founding co-Director, Center for Advanced Mechanics and Materials, Tsinghua University, 2013-
  • University Resources Committee (responsible for recommending the annual operating and capital budget of the whole university to the President), Brown University, 2013-2016
  • Mechanical Engineering Peer Committee (Member 2013, Vice Chair 2014, Chair 2015), National Academy of Engineering, 2013-2015
  • Committee on Eshelby Mechanics Award for Young Faculty, (Member 2013-2014, Chair 2015), 2013-2016.
  • DOE/BES Review Committee, Materials Science Program, Sandia National Laboratories, 2013
  • IUTAM Congress Committee, International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2012-2016
  • Director of Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), Brown University, 2012-2014
  • Founding Associate Director, International Center for Applied Mechanics, Xi’an Jiaotong University, 2012-
  • German Excellence Initiative Evaluation Committee, University of Freiburg, 2012
  • Applied Mechanics Division Executive Committee, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (Program Chair 2013, Vice Chair 2014, Chair 2015, Past Chair 2016-2020), 2010-2020
  • Solid Mechanics Faculty Search Committees (Chair 2010), Brown University, 2008-2014
  • DOE/NNSA PSAAP Review Committee, Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems (PRISM), Purdue University, 2009
  • US National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2008-2016
  • Advisor of Guggenheim Fellowships in Engineering, John S. Guggenheim Foundation, 2008-2012
  • IUTAM Solids Symposium Committee, International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, 2008-2016
  • Committee on Diversity and Hiring, Brown University, 2007-2008
  • University Re-accreditation Steering Committee (preparing the re-accreditation of Brown University with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges), Brown University, 2007-2009
  • Board of Directors (Member 2004-2009, Vice President 2010, President 2011, Past President 2012), Society of Engineering Science, 2004-2012
  • DOE/BES Review Committee, Materials Science Program, Sandia National Laboratories, 2006
  • Senior Advisory Board, Garching Supercomputer Center, Max Planck Society, 2001-2006
  • International Scientific Advisory Board, Shenyang National Laboratory for Materials Science (SYNL), Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2002-2014
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Failure Mechanics Laboratory, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 2002-2012
  • International Scientific Advisory Board, Laboratory for Nonlinear Mechanics, Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2001-2011
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Wyoming, 2001-2005
  • DOE/BES Review Committee, Materials Science Program, Sandia National Laboratories, 2003
  • DOE/BES Review Committee, Materials Science Program, Los Alamos National Laboratories, 2001

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