Amit Misra to lead Michigan Materials Research Institute

Misra succeeds founding director Alan Taub and looks to build on the Institute's early impact.
Amit Misra to lead Michigan Materials Research Institute

Amit Misra, the Edward DeMille Campbell Collegiate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, has been named director of the Michigan Materials Research Institute (MMRI) and Michigan Center for Materials Characterization (MC)2 effective June 1, 2023.

Misra, who served as Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) department chair from June 2014 to December 2022, succeeds founding MMRI director Alan Taub, Robert H. Lurie Professor of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, who was recently tapped by the University to lead its new $130M Electric Vehicle Center. “I am excited to take on this new role as director of MMRI and (MC)2,” said Misra. “Professors Alan Taub and Emmanuelle Marquis served as inaugural directors of MMRI and (MC)2, respectively, and I thank them for their leadership in building the critical infrastructure that positions the University of Michigan to become a global leader in the interdisciplinary field of advanced materials.”

A U-M alumnus and leader in light-weight structural materials, Misra earned his PhD in materials science and engineering from U-M in 1994 and worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory for 18 years before returning to Ann Arbor to lead MSE.

To Taub, handing over the MMRI reins to Misra is a full-circle moment.

“It was Amit, as chair of the materials science and engineering department, who originally asked me to lead the proposal for the Institute,” said Taub. “He has been fully supportive and provided expert guidance before the Institute was even a reality. There’s really no one more qualified to build on our strong foundation and lead the MMRI in its future successes.”

Launched in 2019, the MMRI was established to catalyze the formation of multiple multi-million-dollar research centers, major instrumentation and infrastructure sponsored by federal agencies and industry. The original proposal, championed by both Misra and Taub, was to implement a virtual institute with programs designed to build a community of materials researchers across the university.

“The earliest impact we had was providing the ability to search the capital equipment database to help both our faculty and industry affiliates find key research equipment and connect them with the associated faculty,” commented Taub.

Now, four years in, the Institute has expanded to 170 members from all areas of campus—most departments in Michigan Engineering, chemistry, dentistry, medicine and physics—and has become a central point of contact for federal agencies and industries, providing easy access to the many disciplines that underpin advanced materials research and driving collaboration within the University. 

“I look forward to working with the diverse materials researchers to build a world-class materials research ecosystem on campus for transformative impact,” said Misra. “Advanced materials are the critical building blocks for engineering solutions to the most critical societal challenges in health care, clean energy, climate change, national security and transportation, among many others.”

The Battery Lab, which was previously part of the MMRI, will move with Taub to the new Electric Vehicle Center.