Gang Chen is currently the Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Carl Richard Soderberg Professor of Power Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the director of the "Solid-State Solar-Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC Center)" - an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy. He obtained his bachelor and master degrees from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and his PhD degree from the Mechanical Engineering Department, UC Berkeley, in 1993. He was an assistant professor at Duke University, a tenured associate professor at UC Los Angeles, before moving to MIT. He is a recipient of a K.C. Wong Education Foundation fellowship and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. He received an NSF Young Investigator Award, an R&D 100 award, and an ASME Heat Transfer Memorial Award. He is a fellow of AAAS, APS, and ASME. In 2010, he was elected a member of the US National Academy of Engineering.

Research Scientists

Svetlana Boriskina


Svetlana V. Boriskina obtained her M.Sc. Degree in Radiophysics & Electronics (summa cum laude) and Ph.D. degree in Physics & Mathematics from Kharkov National University (Ukraine). Prior to joining the NanoEngineering group at MIT, Svetlana worked as a NATO/Royal Society Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Nottingham (UK), a Senior Research Scientist at Kharkov National University, and a Research Associate at Boston University. Her research interests include nanophotonics, plasmonics and metamaterials with applications to bio(chemical)sensing, solar energy harvesting and conversion, optical trapping, light generation and near-field heat transfer.


Mary Ellen Sinkus


Mary Ellen is the Assistant Director of Finance and Administration for the Solid State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center. Mary Ellen has been working in the Mechanical Engineering department at MIT since 2006, first as a Research Administrator and then as the Manager of Research Administration. Prior to MIT, Mary Ellen was a Grant Accountant and a Proposal Development Specialist at Boston Medical Center. Mary Ellen holds degrees from UMass Amherst in Management and Apparel Marketing. She has two daughters, and enjoys days at the beach and crafts, especially crocheting.

Tuyet-Mai Hoang


Tuyet-Mai is an Administrative and Financial Assistant in Mechanical Engineering and she currently works for Professor Chen and the Solid State Solar Thermal Energy Conversion Center (S3TEC). Tuyet-Mai has a BA in Economics from Bates College and has been working at MIT since her graduation in 2009. In her free time, Tuyet-Mai enjoys volunteering and teaching entrepreneurship and financial planning to low-income students in Boston. Some of her hobbies are writing, painting and traveling around the world.

Past Research Scientists

Keivan Esfarjani


Professor Keivan Esfarjani received his Engineering degree from the Ecole Centrale de Paris, followed by a DEA in solid state physics from the University of Paris 7. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in theoretical condensed matter physics. Prior to coming to MIT, he held appointments as assistant and then associate professor at the Institute for Materials Research of the Tohoku University, followed by Sharif University, and finally was a visiting associate professor at UC Santa Cruz. In the past he has mainly worked on electronic, mechanical, and transport properties of carbon nanotubes. His research expertise is in electronic structure and materials properties calculations from first-principle density functional theory. His research at MIT was focused on developing a methodology to calculate thermal conductivity from first-principles-derived force fields, and materials design for thermoelectric applications.

Xiaoyuan Chen


Xiaoyuan Chen received a Ph.D. from the University of Strathclyde, UK (1993) and has worked in both academia and industry on semiconductor physics and devices in low dimensional structures. As a research scientist in the NanoEngineering Group, his interests focused on thermoelectrics and energy transfer in low-dimensional structures; photon, phonon and electron interactions in low-dimensional structures; and device applications of these structures.

Past Staff

Ed Jacobson


Edward A. Jacobson was an Administrative Assistant II in Mechanical Engineering and he was Professor Chen's Administrative Assistant from July 20, 2006 to December 20, 2011. He has a BA in Management in Human Services from the University of Massachusetts/Boston and has been working at MIT for over 20 years and he lives in Boston. He is the proud Father of Edward Jr (Gus) and Christian as well as Papa to his grandchildren, Harris (age 9), Isabel (8), Ellen (6) and Elijah (Eli) (2). Gus, his wife Laura, and their children live in Lincoln, NE. Christian, with his wife Sarah and Eli, live in the Roslindale section of Boston. Ed's hobbies are cooking and singing. He first began singing in choirs at age 10 and has sung semi-professionally in choirs, choruses, and small ensembles mostly in the Boston area.