Markus Buehler, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, has been named head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), effective July 1.
The announcement came this afternoon in an email from Ian Waitz, dean of the School of Engineering (SOE).
“The department is at an important juncture with exciting new directions to pursue,” Waitz wrote. “I welcome the energy and ideas that Markus will bring to leading CEE. … He will be an excellent leader for CEE and I very much look forward to working with him.”
A member of the MIT faculty since 2006, Buehler succeeds Andrew Whittle, the Edmund K. Turner Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who has served as department head since 2009.
“I am deeply grateful to Professor Andrew Whittle for his leadership of the department,” Waitz wrote. “He has set the department on a path to an exciting future, and done so with a great sense of dedication and service. … Please join me in thanking Andrew for his service to the department, the SOE, and MIT.”
Buehler’s research focuses on materials science and the mechanics of biological and synthetic protein materials. He has studied how protein materials define our bodies, and how they can fail catastrophically due to fracture, deformation and disease. He has shown how biological materials achieve extraordinary mechanical properties through a multiscale hierarchy of functional structures — rather than through the diversity of the underlying building blocks — and has applied these insights in the design, synthesis and testing of lighter, stronger and more durable materials.
Buehler received his BS in process and chemical engineering from the University of Stuttgart in 2000; his MS in engineering mechanics from Michigan Technological University in 2001; and his PhD from the University of Stuttgart and the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Chemistry in 2004. He was a postdoc at MIT and at the California Institute of Technology before joining the MIT faculty in 2006.
Buehler has authored or co-authored more than 200 research publications and has won honors including MIT’s Harold E. Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award; the Alfred Noble Prize of the American Society of Civil Engineers; the Thomas J. R. Hughes Young Investigator Award of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; and the Outstanding Young Investigator Award of the Materials Research Society. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the Journal of Engineering Mechanics, and the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.