Christine Ortiz is the Dean for Graduate Education and a professor of materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Ortiz obtained her BS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, and her MS and PhD from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, all in the field of materials science and engineering. Dr. Ortiz's doctoral research focused on the synthesis, characterization, physics, and mechanics of a new class of novel liquid crystalline thermosets and elastomers based on diglycidyl ether of 4,4'-dihydroxy-alpha-methylstilbene. During graduate school, Dr. Ortiz carried out collaborative research at the University of Cambridge, Cavendish (physics) Laboratory in the UK. After graduation, she was granted an NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellowship, which she used to carry out research in the Department of Polymer Chemistry, University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, where she worked in the area of single-molecule mechanics.
Dr. Ortiz then joined the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering as a tenure-track faculty member and developed a research program that focuses on the multiscale mechanics of musculoskeletal and exoskeletal structural biological materials, with the primary goal of quantifying and understanding new mechanisms, phenomena, and design principles and how they determine function, quality, and pathology. Dr. Ortiz has over 150 scientific publications in more than 20 academic journals, including Science, Nature Materials, Nano Letters, Physical Review Letters, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Biophysical Journal, Tissue Engineering, and the Journal of Biomechanics. She has given more than 125 invited lectures, over 35 of them international, and at nine topically different Gordon Research Conferences.
Dr. Ortiz has supervised a total of 80 students and seven postdoctoral research associates from 10 different academic disciplines. She has received over 30 national and international honors, including the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Award, the MIT Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award, a recognition award for “Outstanding Alumni” by the National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, and the National Science Foundation Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, which was presented to her by President George W. Bush at the White House. She is a National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellow, a member of the Defense Science Study Group, and was a Lady Davis Fellow and visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, where she received the Hadassah Appreciation Medal.
Dr. Ortiz currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Science, Advanced Biomaterials, Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Applied Mechanics Reviews, Scientifica, and The Open Nanomedicine Journal. She has served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Defense. Dr. Ortiz is the founding and current faculty director of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI)-Israel Program. She has served on over 25 Institute and departmental committees and, in her current role as dean, manages areas which include graduate diversity recruitment, retention and climate, personal support, conflict resolution and crisis management, community building, compiling and disseminating best practices, endowed and external fellowships, graduate admissions administration, immigration and international student advising, Institute-wide data analysis, professional development, policies and procedures, and academic performance.