Taher Saif's directory photo.

Taher Saif


Primary Affiliation

Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering

Phone 333-8552



  • Biography

    Taher Saif is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering. His primary affiliation is Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition.


    • B.S., civil engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, 1984

    • M.S., civil engineering, Washington State University, 1987

    • Ph.D., theoretical & applied mechanics, Cornell University, 1993

  • Honors
    • 2020: Engineering Science Medal, Society of Engineering Science

    • 2018: Warner T. Koiter Medal, American Society of Mechanical Engineers

    • 2016: Member, International Advisory Board, North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 2016-

    • 2012-2016: Member, Board of Directors, Society of Engineering Science

    • 2016: President, Society of Engineering Science

    • 2009: College of Engineering Outstanding Advisors list

    • 2006: MechSE Alumni Effective Teaching Award

  • Research

    Research areas:

    • Applied Physics

    • Chemistry

    • Health and Bio

    Research interests:

    • Biohybrid robots, engineered living systems

    • Biomechanics: cellular mechanics and mechanotransduction, cancer metastasis, neuro mechanics

    • Deformation mechanisms of nanoscale materials

    • Mechanics of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS)

    Professor Saif's research focuses on the mechanics of nanoscale materials and living cells. He uses both theory and experiment to explore (1) the effect of size on the mechanics of materials, and (2) the role of mechanical force in determining the functionality of cells and cell clusters.

    Professor Saif demonstrated experimentally, for the first time, that plastic deformation in nanocrystalline metal films can be reversible. After plastic deformation, metals with grain sizes between 50 and 100 nanometers recover most of their plastic strain under macroscopically stress-free condition. This recovery is time dependent and thermally activated. Saif showed that the recovery originates from the small size and heterogeniety of microstructure of the metal specimens. The research, which was reported in Science, raises the possibility of manufacturing metal components that can heal themselves after being deformed or dented.

    In the area of cellular mechanics, Professor Saif's projects involve neurons, cancer and cardiac cells, and interactions between cells in clusters. He seeks to address questions such as: What is the role of tension in neurons on memory and learning? Does mechanical microenvironment influence the onset of metastasis during cancer development? Can clusters of cells be guided so that they evolve into biological machines? He, together with Professor Akira Chiba of the the University of Maimi, showed that neurons are under mechanical tension, and that such tension might be essential for memory and learning.

  • 2013

    • Cha, C. Y.; Antoniadou, E.; Lee, M.; Jeong, J. H.; Ahmed, W. W.; Saif, T. A.; Boppart, S. A.; Kong, H., Tailoring Hydrogel Adhesion to Polydimethylsiloxane Substrates Using Polysaccharide Glue. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition 2013, 52, (27), 6949-6952, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201302925


    • Ahmed, W. W.; Li, T. C.; Rubakhin, S. S.; Chiba, A.; Sweedler, J. V.; Saif, T. A., Mechanical Tension Modulates Local and Global Vesicle Dynamics in Neurons. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 2012, 5, (2), 155-164.