We have openings for new PhD students starting September 2015. Apply

Biomimetics (also known as biomimicry or bionics) is the transfer of technology from nature to engineering. By understanding how natural materials, tissues, systems or devices operate in their natural environment, we can engineer better materials, system and devices with higher efficiency, higher performance, lower weight. Our lab focuses on biomimetic materials, with two missions:
1) Structure and Mechanics of natural materials: We characterize high-performance natural materials such as teeth, bone, mollusk shells, fish scales, collagen...Our approach includes structural and mechanical characterization of natural materials over multiple length scales. We focus on nonlinear deformations and fracture mechanics, and more recently on multifunctionalities (actuation, self-healing, remodeling). We use multiscale experiments, theoretical models (fracture mechanics, micromechanics) and computational approaches. 

2) Modeling, fabrication and testing of new bio-inspired materials:
We duplicate the structures and mechanisms we observe in nature into new, high-performance engineering materials. We use design and optimization tools, material selections techniques, and non-conventional fabrication techniques (rapid prototyping, laser engraving, self-assembly). For example we recently fabricated a new bio-inspired glass which is 200 times tougher than regular glass, using structures and mechanics inspired from sea shells and teeth. We also recently developed a flexible protective system inspired from armadillo skin and fish scales. Other materials in development include artificial bone, bio-inspired bulletproof glass, advanced ceramics and composites for high-temperature applications.

Browse our website to learn about this exciting new area of research!

If you are interested in joining our group as a master, PhD student or post-doc, contact me by email and attach your CV



Francois Barthelat
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
McGill University
MacDonald 150
817 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2K6

Tel.: 514-398-6318
Fax.: 514-398-7365


•   Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering (2005) Northwestern University (USA)            
•   Master in Mechanical Engineering (1998)  University of Rochester (USA)              
•   Diplome d'Ingenieur (1997) Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Electricité et de Mécanique (France)  


•   McGill University (Montreal, QC)
                Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering    (06/2012 – present)
                Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering    (09/2006 – 06/2012)
                Associate Member, Biomedical Engineering    (03/2007 – present)
                Associate Member, Bioengineering    (06/2013 – present)

•    Northwestern University (Evanston, IL)                 
            Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Mechanical Engineering (01/2006 - 09/2006)
            Supervisor: H.D. Espinosa

•    DataPointLabs (Ithaca, NY)                       
            Development Engineer, consultant in polymer testing   (12/1998 - 09/2000)


- Discovery Accelerator Supplement (2012), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
- Best Paper Award,  Society for Experimental Mechanical (Biological Systems and Materials Division, 70 papers)
- Paper highlighted for 2010 in the journal Bioinspiration and Biomimetics (2011)
- Top-ten cited article in the Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids over the past 5 years (2011)
- Best Paper by a Young Researcher, 12th International Conference on Fracture, 700 papers (2009)
- Hetényi Award for best research paper of the year published in Experimental Mechanics (2005)
- Smith Terminal Year Fellowship, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University (2005)
- Walter P. Murphy Fellowship, Northwestern University (2000)


- Bioinspiration and Biomimetics:  Editorial Board (Invited)
- Experimental Mechanics:  Associate Editor (Invited)
- Experimental Techniques:  Associate Editor (Invited)
- Applied Mechanics Reviews:  Associate Editor (Invited)
- Modeling and Numerical Simulation of Material Science:  Editorial Board (Invited)
- Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials: Guest editor for a special issue“Merging Materials and Structures”

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McGill University
McGill Faculty of Engineering | Department of Mechanical Engineering

Francois Barthelat | MacDonald 150| 817 Sherbrooke Street West | Montreal, Quebec H3A 2K6| Canada
Phone: 514-398-6318 Fax: 514-398-7365