Members of the Rycroft Group

portrait of Chris H. Rycroft
Chris H. Rycroft
John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Chris is an applied mathematician and has been at Harvard since 2014. Prior to starting at Harvard, Chris lived in Berkeley, California where was a postdoctoral scholar and Morrey Assistant Professor in the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department. He obtained his Ph.D. in Mathematics in 2007 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his bachelor's degree from the University of Cambridge in 2001.

Chris grew up in the Lake District, a rural and beautiful area in the northwest corner of England. This kindled a lifelong love of the outdoors and he has enjoyed hiking in every place that he has lived. Chris also likes astronomy, photography, science fiction, cooking, and color coordination.

Email / Google Scholar / ORCID / CV / GitHub /
Fun fact: Co-founded the Cambridge University Jugglers' Association

Current graduate students

portrait of Jovana Andrejevic
Jovana Andrejevic
Ph.D. student in Applied Physics

Jovana received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics at Cornell University in 2016. As a PhD student at Harvard, she studies the crumpling dynamics of thin sheets through both data-driven and simulation-based approaches. She is inspired by research which seeks to recognize patterns and structure in complex, disordered systems.

Jovana was born in Leskovac, Serbia, and moved to the suburbs of Chicago with her family at the age of seven. She has loved drawing and art since her childhood, and she once won a data science animation contest analyzing van Gogh's paintings.

Email / ORCID / GitHub
Fun fact: Sometimes mistaken for her twin sister, Nina

portrait of Nicholas Derr
Nicholas Derr
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Nick is a fifth-year graduate student hailing from Wisconsin. He uses continuum mechanics to model physical and biological systems including cytoskeletal gels, reciprocal swimmers, and branching erosion patterns. His work combines high-performance computation with simplified models because he believes numerics and analysis each provide context for—and deepen understanding of—the other. In 2015, he received his bachelor's degree in Applied Math, Engineering & Physics and Astronomy-Physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The following year, he completed Part III of the Mathematical Tripos at Cambridge University.

He likes crossword puzzles, mass-market paperbacks, and range-based for loops.

Email / Personal homepage

portrait of Xiaoxiao (Catherine) Ding
Xiaoxiao (Catherine) Ding
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Catherine is a third-year Ph.D. student at the Rycroft group, primarily working on utilizing numerical and data-driven techniques to study the shape programmability of composite materials, such as textiles. She is also an experienced experimentalist in materials testing and collaborates with the Bertoldi group on the experimental side. She obtained an integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Engineering with First Class Honours from Imperial College London in 2018. Her broad research interests are in elasticity, geometry and optimization of functional materials.

Catherine was born in China and spent half of her teenage years in the UK before coming to the US. She likes traveling and picking up new languages to connect with people from other backgrounds. During her spare time not traveling, Catherine designs graphics for Harvard Science in the News and volunteers to encourage underrepresented groups to study STEM.

Email / GitHub

portrait of Michael S. Emanuel
Michael S. Emanuel
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Michael got his undergraduate math degree from Harvard in 1999 and spent 17 years working in finance before returning to graduate studies in 2018 and completing a master's of data science at Harvard IACS in 2020. He is currently researching how to learn asteroid trajectories from large data sets of telescopic detections, and will be joining a project to simulate redox flow batteries. Michael has three young children and enjoys distance running and playing bridge and piano with his kids. In his younger days he placed 90th in the 2011 Boston Marathon in a time of 2:29:52.


portrait of Danyun He
Danyun He
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Danyun is a second-year Ph.D. student, and she is broadly interested in reinforcement learning and mathematical modeling. Currently, she is studying navigation problems via reinforcement learning. She obtained a bachelor's degree in Mathematics at the City University of Hong Kong in 2018, before completing a master's degree in Computational Science and Engineering at Harvard IACS in 2019. Danyun enjoys cycling, hiking, solving puzzles, and playing pool.

Email / GitHub

portrait of Madelyn Leembruggen
Madelyn Leembruggen
Ph.D. student in Physics

Madelyn grew up primarily in Dayton, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2018 with bachelor's degrees in Astrophysics, Physics, and Mathematics. Madelyn wants to understand how microscopic (dis)order gives rise to macroscopic observables. As a graduate student, this means using discrete computational models to simulate continuous thin sheets; as an undergraduate, pursuing this interest meant studying theoretical axion particles as a dark matter candidate.

Madelyn is additionally interested in inclusive pedagogy, science outreach, and making physics a more equitable space for people from all backgrounds. Madelyn enjoys taking portraits of friends, tending her houseplants, nerding out about literally anything, and cooking Indo-Dutch feasts.

Email / Personal homepage
Fun fact: Runs a cheese-tagram account dedicated to The Beatles.

portrait of Yuexia Luna Lin
Yuexia Luna Lin
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Luna received her bachelor's degree in Physics at Barnard College in 2015. A fifth-year PhD student at Harvard, she is interested in modeling and developing numerical methods for physical and biological systems, such as fluid–structure interaction, bacterial competitions via nanoscale “harpoons”, and diffusion-limited dissolution. She is also an avid practitioner of high-performance computing in her daily work to build fast and robust computational tools to address these challenging and complex problems. From 2016–2020 she was supported by the DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship, and she spent two summers working with the CCSE group at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

Born in southeast China, Luna moved to New York in 2008. She enjoys hiking and biking, and more recently playing the ukulele.

Email / Personal homepage

portrait of Zhao Lyu
Zhao Lyu
Master's student in Computational Science and Engineering

Zhao received her bachelor's degree in Math and Computer Science at UC San Diego. Her research interest lies in an intersection between physical modeling and data science. She is currently working on learning erosion patterns from large and disordered spatio-temporal data. She enjoys ink painting and walking the dog outside of research.

portrait of Jiayin Lu
Jiayin Lu
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Jiayin is a third year Ph.D. student. She is interested in scientific computing and numerical methods, computational geometry and computer graphics. She is working on parallel computation of Voro++, and is studying shear band formation in bulk metallic glasses through numerical simulation. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2018 with bachelor's degrees in Mathematics, Statistics and Finance.

Jiayin is from Guangzhou, China, and she misses the food there a lot! Jiayin likes art and design, photography, nature, traveling, music and making things. She also has two very mischievous pet rats, Pumpkin and Cookie, whom she loves very much!

Email / Personal homepage / Flickr

portrait of Eder Medina
Eder Medina
Ph.D. student in Engineering Sciences

Eder is a fifth-year graduate student and is co-advised by Prof. Katia Bertoldi. He is broadly interested in computational mechanics and works on understanding, designing, and optimizing nonlinear structures. He received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas-Austin in 2016.

He is a strong proponent of open-source software, enjoys running, and has adapted quite well to the New England winters by learning how to ski.

Personal homepage / GitHub

portrait of Yue Sun
Yue Sun
Ph.D. student in Applied Mathematics

Yue studies the computational methods for simulating fluid–structure interaction. Her research interests are computational fluid dynamics, numerical methods, and physics-based animation. Before studying at Harvard in 2018, she was an undergraduate at New York University Shanghai, with one major in Mathematics and two minors in Interactive Media Arts and Urban Design & Architectural Studies. She received her master's degree in Computational Science and Engineering from Harvard University in 2020.

When not busy tracking bugs in C++ code, Yue likes to cook, bake, watch (animated) movies, and play Switch games.

Email / Personal homepage

Postdoctoral scholars and affiliates

portrait of Changyeob Baek
Changyeob Baek
George F. Carrier Postdoctoral Fellow

Changyeob grew up in S. Korea and earned his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical engineering at Seoul National University. He then moved to New England and completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied complex elastic structures consisting of slender structures. Currently, Changyeob is working on applying machine learning to structural mechanics problems.

During his leisure time, he enjoys going to the gym, cooking, and playing games with his wife.

Google Scholar

portrait of Nicholas Boffi
Nicholas Boffi
Postdoctoral Fellow (Ph.D in Applied Mathematics, 2021)

Nick is an applied mathematician interested in nonlinear dynamical systems, machine learning, and computational mathematics. Nick recently completed a Ph.D. in applied mathematics and was jointly supervised by Prof. Chris Rycroft and by Prof. Jean-Jacques Slotine at MIT. He studies shear band formation in metallic glasses through scientific simulation and develops online learning algorithms for control of nonlinear dynamical systems. He completed an undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in 2014 as a triple major in integrated science, mathematics, and physics, and studied as a Fulbright scholar at Tel Aviv University prior to joining Harvard. He will be joining the Courant Institute as a Courant Instructor in Fall 2021.

Outside of research, Nick enjoys listening to electronic music, snuggling with his cats Pickle and Potato, doing yoga, and lifting weights.

Email / Google Scholar / Personal homepage / GitHub

portrait of Simone Dussi
Simone Dussi
Postdoctoral Fellow

Simone simulates reactive fluids in porous materials to understand transport in redox flow batteries. His research interests include self-assembly in colloidal suspensions, liquid crystals, mechanics of (bio)polymer networks, machine learning and simulation methods. Simone grew up in Rome, Italy and completed his studies in Physics at “Sapienza”. Afterwards, he moved to the Netherlands where he got his Ph.D. at Utrecht University in 2016, did a postdoc at Wageningen University (NL), and got married. He joined the Rycroft group just before the pandemic struck. Simone simulates reactive fluids in porous materials to understand transport in redox flow batteries.

Email / Google Scholar
Fun fact: Used to be a field hockey player for the Italian national team

portrait of Gautam Reddy
Gautam Reddy
NSF-Simons Postdoctoral Fellow in Quantitative Biology

Gautam is interested in figuring out how animals solve navigational tasks using models of learning and decision-making. More recently, he's been developing a statistical physics framework to predict phenotypic evolution in microbes.

Google Scholar

portrait of Xiaolin Wang
Xiaolin Wang
Postdoctoral Fellow (MIT)

Xiaolin works jointly with Chris Rycroft and Prof. Ken Kamrin at MIT and is particularly interested in fluid dynamics, continuum mechanics, and mathematical biology.

Email / Personal homepage

Faculty support

portrait of Claudia Stearns
Claudia Stearns
Faculty Adminstrator


Former postdoctoral scholars

Former graduate students

Additional graduate advisees

Former undergraduate researchers

Former visiting students

Former sabbatical visitors