Stavros Gaitanaros

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil and Systems Engineering

Research Interests

  • Mechanics of Architected Materials
  • Large Deformations and Structural Stability
  • Shock Formation and Impact Dynamics
  • Structural DNA Nanotechnology

Stavros Gaitanaros’ innovative research focuses on the concept of exploiting “architecture” ─ a combination of topology and solid material distribution ─ as a means to generate new materials that can attain unprecedented mechanical, acoustic, and thermal properties. Architected materials are excellent candidates for a plethora of engineering applications ranging from novel lightweight space structures and biomedical implants to soft robotics and new energy storage devices.

An assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Systems Engineering and a fellow in the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), Gaitanaros leads Hopkins’ Extreme Mechanics of Architected Materials group, which studies the nonlinear mechanics and failure of a wide array of architected materials including metal foams, 3D-printed lattices, biological materials and self-assembled DNA nanostructures. The need for a systematic design of these complex material systems has created exciting possibilities and challenges due to their rich mechanical behavior derived by their architecture. Gaitanaros and his team explore how the interplay of topology, material distribution, and base material(s) composition affect the material’s behavior under large deformation such as elastic instabilities, impact-induced shocks and brittle fracture.

Projects include Gaitanaros’ investigation of lightweight architected materials used under extreme conditions in space, a study for which he also received a [email protected] seed grant.  Another promising area of research is his work on the mechanics of DNA origami nanostructures. These nano-architected materials, synthesized through molecular self-assembly, have great potential as drug-delivery carriers as well as nanoscopic sensors for cell mechanics.

Before joining the Hopkins faculty in 2015, Gaitanaros completed postdoctoral research at MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering Laboratory for Computational Biology and Biophysics. His work has earned him several accolades, including the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM) Bureau Prize for a Young Investigator in Solid Mechanics in 2016.

A member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Engineering Mechanics Institute (ASCE-EMI), and Society of Engineering Science (SES), Gaitanaros serves as the chair of the new EMI Technical Committee on Architected Materials and as vice-chair of the ASME Technical Committee on Instabilities in Solids and Structures. He is regularly organizing mini-symposia on Architected Materials in the Mach and the EMI Conferences. Gaitanaros has given several invited talks in conferences and universities including the 2018 IUTAM Symposium on Architectured Materials Mechanics, the 18th U.S. National Congress for Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 2018, and the 24th International Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Montreal in 2016. He was an invited lecturer on an advanced course on the “Mechanics of Liquid and Solid Foams,” at CISM, The International Centre for Mechanical Sciences in Udine, Italy.

Gaitanaros regularly serves as a reviewer for all major journals on solid mechanics, including Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids, International Journal of Solids and Structures, and Journal of Applied Mechanics, as well as on materials design (e.g. Materials and Design, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, Advanced Engineering Materials, among others).

He received his Diploma (2005) and MSc (2007), both in Mechanical Engineering, from the University of Thessaly in Greece. He received his PhD in Engineering Mechanics (2014) from the University of Texas at Austin.


2014      Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics, University of Texas at Austin

2007      Diploma & M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering, University of Thessaly, Greece



08/2015 – present
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Systems Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

05/2014 – 07/2015
Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory for Computational Biology and Biophysics, MIT

09/2012 – 05/2014
Assistant Instructor, Aerospace Engineering & Engineering Mechanics, Univ. of Texas at Austin

09/2007 – 09/2012
Research Assistant, Center for Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Materials, Univ. of Texas at Austin

09/2004 – 02/2007
Research Assistant, System Dynamics Laboratory, University of Thessaly


Selected Honors – Awards

2016      IUTAM Bureau Prize in Solid Mechanics

2013      “Highly Commended”, Graduate Student Paper Competition
Society of Engineering Science 50th Annual Technical Meeting

2012      3rd place award, Best Student Pape, Applied Mechanics Division (ASME)
International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, Houston, TX

2012      Haythornthwaite Foundation Travel Award

2012      Max L. Williams Endowed Fellowship in Mechanics of Solids, Structures, and Materials
The University of Texas at Austin


Selected Publications

Gaitanaros S., Kyriakides S., Kraynik A.M. (2012) “On the crushing response of random open-cell foams”, International Journal of Solids and Structures 49, 2733-2743.

Barnes A.T., Ravi-Chandar K., Kyriakides S., Gaitanaros S. (2014) “Dynamic crushing of aluminum foams Part I – Experiments”, International Journal of Solids and Structures 51, 1631-1645.

Gaitanaros S., Kyriakides S. (2014) “Dynamic crushing of aluminum foams Part II – Analysis”, International Journal of Solids and Structures 51, 1646-1661.

Gaitanaros S., Kyriakides S. (2015) “On the effect of relative density on the crushing and energy absorption of open cell foams under impact”, International Journal of Impact Engineering 82, 3-13.

Wang P., Gaitanaros S., Lee S., Bathe M., Shih W.M., Ke Y. “Programming self-assembly of two-dimensional DNA origami lattices and plasmonic metamaterials”, Journal of the American Chemical Society (2016)

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