headshot of M. Ravi Shankar

M. Ravi Shankar

John A. Swanson Professor
Industrial Engineering Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science


Shankar is a Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. Broadly, his research interests are in the areas of mechanics, advanced manufacturing, and metamaterials. Current research efforts in the Shankar Research Group are focused on harnessing actuation from order-disorder transitions in liquid crystal elastomers, exploitation of instabilities to power soft robots and developing advanced manufacturing techniques to integrate active materials in freeform geometries.

He was a winner of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ 2010 Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, 2014 Institute of Industrial Engineer’s Outstanding Early Career IE in Academia Award, the Whiteford Faculty Fellowship and currently holds a Swanson Professorship at the University of Pittsburgh.


(2010) Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer award, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

(2009) William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow, University of Pittsburgh.

Gao, J., Clement, A., Tabrizi, M., & Shankar, M.R. (2022). Molecularly Directed, Geometrically Latched, Impulsive Actuation Powers Sub-Gram Scale Motility. ADVANCED MATERIALS TECHNOLOGIES, 7(5).Wiley. doi: 10.1002/admt.202100979.

Babaei, M., Gao, J., Clement, A., Dayal, K., & Shankar, M.R. (2021). Torque-dense photomechanical actuation. SOFT MATTER, 17(5), 1258-1266.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d0sm01352h.

Clement, A., Babaei, M., Phadikar, J., Lee, D.W., Skandani, A.A., & Shankar, M.R. (2021). Complexity from simplicity: Confinement directs morphogenesis and motility in nematic polymers. Extreme Mechanics Letters, 47, 101362.Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.eml.2021.101362.

Martinez, A., Clement, A., Gao, J., Kocherzat, J., Tabrizi, M., & Shankar, M.R. (2021). Thermomechanically active electrodes power work-dense soft actuators. SOFT MATTER, 17(6), 1521-1529.Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). doi: 10.1039/d0sm01399d.

Saed, M.O., Ambulo, C.P., Kim, H., De, R., Raval, V., Searles, K., Siddiqui, D.A., Cue, J.M.O., Stefan, M.C., Shankar, M.R., & Ware, T.H. (2019). Molecularly‐Engineered, 4D‐Printed Liquid Crystal Elastomer Actuators. Advanced Functional Materials, 29(3).Wiley. doi: 10.1002/adfm.201806412.

Tabrizi, M., Ware, T.H., & Shankar, M.R. (2019). Voxelated Molecular Patterning in Three-Dimensional Freeforms. ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 11(31), 28236-28245.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsami.9b04480.

Ambulo, C.P., Burroughs, J.J., Boothby, J.M., Kim, H., Shankar, M.R., & Ware, T.H. (2017). Four-dimensional Printing of Liquid Crystal Elastomers. ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, 9(42), 37332-37339.American Chemical Society (ACS). doi: 10.1021/acsami.7b11851.

Shankar, M.R., Smith, M.L., Tondiglia, V.P., Lee, K.M., McConney, M.E., Wang, D.H., Tan, L.S., & White, T.J. (2013). Contactless, photoinitiated snap-through in azobenzene-functionalized polymers. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 110(47), 18792-18797.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1313195110.