Britni Ihle

Undergraduate Researcher

Office: 1-131
Phone number: N/A
Fax: 617-324-4014

Research Focus

The goal of my research project is to investigate the mechanical properties of individual proteins and protein materials at the nanoscale, as part of a larger effort to develop multi-scale models that explain the structural hierarchy and strength of high performance biological fibers. Protein structures that I investigate are directly linked to fibrous proteins in muscle tissue, spider silk and amyloid fibrils. The project gives insight into new ideas for creating durable, sustainable materials for structures by elucidating key design principles in biology for structural materials.

My interest in this project lies in gaining familiarity with molecular modeling methods used in nanotechnology as well as finding ways to apply such concepts to novel structural/materials engineering practice. By conducting research at the interface of structural mechanics, materials science and biology, I am able to develop a better understanding of concepts in mechanics, particularly involving elasticity, deformation and fracture of biological and biomimetic materials.


2007 - Present: Candidate for B.S. in Civil Engineering, MIT's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department


  • 3rd Place, MIT 6.470 Programming Competition, January 2008
  • National Toyota Community Scholar, August 2007


  • 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 (link to MIT News Article...)


Copyright (c) 1999-2008 Markus J. Buehler. All rights reserved.