L. Catherine Brinson

Sharon C. and Harold L. Yoh, III Distinguished Professor

The Brinson lab’s research objective is to characterize and model advanced materials systems, bridging across scales, to develop new understanding of material mechanisms and transfer knowledge into FAIR datasets towards novel material design. The research activities include nanoscale experimental investigations, especially using AFM methodologies, computational predictions of material behavior using finite element analysis and micro mechanics approaches, and application of AI methods including surrogate modeling, optimization, and natural language processing. Target material systems include multiphase polymer systems, nancomposites, bioplastics, metamaterials and 3d printing materials. 

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Sharon C. and Harold L. Yoh, III Distinguished Professor
  • Professor in the Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Donald M. Alstadt Chair of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 3379 Fciemas Building, Duke Campus, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: +1 919 660 5310
  • Email Address: cate.brinson@duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • B.S. Virginia Polytech Institute and State University, 1985
  • M.S. California Institute of Technology, 1986
  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 1990

Research Interests

Mechanics of materials, with emphasis on complex hierarchical materials and polymer based systems, and merging concepts of data science into materials. Nanoscale and bulk scale experimental characterization, modeling and simulation of the behavior of materials, including physics based and machine learning approaches. Current research foci include nanostructured polymers, interfacial behavior, structural metamaterials and data platforms for material query and design.

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • A.C. Eringen Medal. Society of Engineering Science (SES). 2022
  • Fellow. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 2020
  • Nadai Medal. American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). 2014
  • Fellow. American Academy of Mechanics. 2013
  • Fellow. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2009
  • Fellow. Society for Engineering Science. 2007
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Prize. Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. 2006
  • Thomas JR Hughes Young Investigator Award. American Society of Mechanical Engineers. 2003
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Awards - Multiple Sciences. National Science Foundation (NSF). 1995

Courses Taught

  • ME 758S: Curricular Practical Training
  • ME 592: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 591: Research Independent Study in Mechanical Engineering or Material Science
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 392: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • ME 391: Undergraduate Projects in Mechanical Engineering
  • CEE 521: Elasticity (GE, BB)
  • BME 526: Elasticity (GE, BB)

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Slates, Angela M., Shana L McAlexander, Jennifer Nolan, Juan de Pablo, Junhong Chen, Harley T. Johnson, and L Catherine Brinson. “Partnerships and collaboration drive innovative graduate training in materials informatics.” Science Advances 10, no. 18 (May 2024): eadp7446. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adp7446.
  • Brinson, L Catherine, Laura M. Bartolo, Ben Blaiszik, David Elbert, Ian Foster, Alejandro Strachan, and Peter W. Voorhees. “Community action on FAIR data will fuel a revolution in materials research.” MRS Bulletin 49, no. 1 (January 2024): 12–16. https://doi.org/10.1557/s43577-023-00498-4.
  • Jablonka, Kevin Maik, Qianxiang Ai, Alexander Al-Feghali, Shruti Badhwar, Joshua D. Bocarsly, Andres M. Bran, Stefan Bringuier, et al. “14 examples of how LLMs can transform materials science and chemistry: a reflection on a large language model hackathon.” Digital Discovery 2, no. 5 (October 2023): 1233–50. https://doi.org/10.1039/d3dd00113j.
  • McDonald, Samantha M., Emily K. Augustine, Quinn Lanners, Cynthia Rudin, L. Catherine Brinson, and Matthew L. Becker. “Applied machine learning as a driver for polymeric biomaterials design.” Nature Communications 14, no. 1 (August 2023): 4838. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-40459-8.
  • Peloquin, J., A. Kirillova, C. Rudin, L. C. Brinson, and K. Gall. “Prediction of tensile performance for 3D printed photopolymer gyroid lattices using structural porosity, base material properties, and machine learning.” Materials and Design 232 (August 1, 2023). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2023.112126.