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Hortense Le Ferrand
Assistant Professor
School of Materials Science and Engineering, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
College of Engineering

Dr. Hortense Le Ferrand holds a master and a doctorate degree in Materials Science from ETH Zürich in Switzerland and a diplôme d’Ingénieur from the Grande Ecole  ESPCI Paris, France. Her doctoral thesis on magnetically-driven of bio-inspired composites was acknowledged with several prizes and awards.

After a visiting period in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University in Indiana, USA, where she focused on morphing structures, Dr. Hortense obtained funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation to study protein assemblies at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.

January 2019, she joined the schools of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) and  Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) of NTU as an Assistant Professor and was awarded the prestigious NRF fellowship in January 2020.

Research Statement

We develop manufacturing strategies to create structural materials with multifunctional properties through the design of their microstructures. These designs are largely inspired by those found in natural composites but adapted to engineered materials, processes, and applications. Our research is multidisciplinary across physico-chemistry, material science and mechanics, and at multiple lengthscales, in particular the micro-, meso- and macroscale.

Key thematic focus are:

  • composites and ceramics manufacturing
  • toughened ceramics
  • structural robotics
  • bio-inspired and biomaterials
Research One-liner

We enable new functionalities in hard and strong materials by controlling the arrangements of their internal structure.


H. Le Ferrand, C. Athanasiou, A materials perspective on the design of damage-resilient bone implants through additive/advanced manufacturing, JOM (2020). We review and  discuss which method and material could be potentially used for the implants of tomorrow.

H. Le Ferrand, F. Bouville, Processing of dense bio-inspired ceramics with deliberate microtexture, J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 102 (2019), 7253. We developed a process that control the local microstructure of dense ceramics,  allowing for the local tuning of the mechanical properties.

H. Le Ferrand, M. Duchamp, D. Gabryelczyk, C. Hao, A. Miserez, Time-resolved observations of liquid-liquid phase separation at the nanoscale using in situ Liquid Transmission Electron Microscopy, JACS 17 (2019), 7202. For the first time, we observed  how proteins self-assemble spontaneously into condensed droplets.

Latest Projects
  • 3D Printing of hierarchical composites
  • 3D printing of bio-inspired mechano-sensing skins for large structures
  • Additive manufacturing of resilient, strong and functional composites through bio-inspired microstructures
  • Collaborations: working with living materials, strong bamboo-mycelium composites / ceramics for thermal  management / biomineralisation
Advice to young researchers


Other affiliation(s)

Expert Areas
bioinspiration, ceramics, composites, magnetic fields, processing

Research Interests
structural and functional materials and devices

Research Category
Engineering & Technology
Research Sub-category
Materials Science & Engineering
NISTH Assigned Topic Groupings
Circular economy & waste reduction
Affiliated Sustainable Development Goals
GOAL 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING – Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development.
GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE – Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development.
GOAL 13: CLIMATE ACTION – Climate change is a global challenge that affects everyone, everywhere.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.
Last Updated
13 Apr 2020
Last Updated
13 Sep 2020