PhD Spotlight: Xiaoyu “Criss” Zhang, PhD’23, Mechanical Engineering
Xiaoyu “Criss” Zhang completed his PhD in mechanical engineering working with the Nanomagnetism research lab, focusing on experimental research to understand and tailor magnetofunctional materials. These materials are essential to modern society by allowing wireless interconversions between different types of energy to functionalize a variety of advanced technologies in automotive, aerospace, energy, and biomedical fields. Advised by Laura Lewis, Distinguished University and Cabot Professor, Zhang’s research applies novel materials processing approaches to alter local atomic environments and structures at scales from Ångstrom-level to microscale to tailor magnetofunctionality.
During his time at Northeastern, Zhang contributed to 14 peer-reviewed journal publications, including nine published contributions, with three as first-author, and five manuscripts in preparation. He has delivered 20 presentations at various national and international conferences. In 2022, he received the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering’s Ferretti & Yamamura Award for Excellence in Research. In addition, Zhang worked closely with six mechanical engineering professors on two core undergraduate courses, providing instructional guidance to over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students in the department. His dedication to teaching earned him the Ferretti & Yamamura Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019.
Zhang has a strong interest in international scientific collaboration and has been actively involved in the global magnetics community by participating in, volunteering, and hosting multiple professional events. In 2021, he led a successful $10,000 seed-funding effort sponsored by the IEEE Magnetics Society, the premier global organization for magnetics professionals. As a “PI-in-training,” this opportunity allowed him to collaborate with other PhD students from Ames National Laboratory and the Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid in developing a more efficient processing pathway for advanced magnetic materials. In 2020 and 2021, he was one of the six organizers who represented North and South America in the inaugural Around-the-Clock Around-the-Globe Magnetics Conference. In 2022, he became the first student chair of a young scientists networking event at the annual Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference in Minneapolis.
After receiving his doctorate, Zhang is continuing research on magnetofunctional materials as a post-doctoral associate at Northeastern.