Mathias Kolle was a 2017 principal investigator within the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has been an associate professor of mechanical engineering since 2013. Prior to joining MIT, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher for professor Joanna Aizenberg at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences of Harvard University.
Mathias' research focuses on translating unique biological optical sensing, communication and energy-conversion mechanisms into 'bioinspired', adaptive and 'tunable' micro-optical materials and devices. His 2017 J-WAFS funded research project, 'Multifunctional light-diffusing fibers for simultaneous light management and fluid transport in microalgae bioreactors' sought out a viable alternative source for food, feed, and biofuel by engineering solutions for light and nutrient management in microalgae cultures that can help produce algal biomass in a scalable, energy-efficient, affordable way.
His recent research takes inspiration from nature and butterflies to design materials that exhibit advanced optical functions, such as colour-changing sheets and fibres that can be woven into pressure-monitoring bandages, tied into strength-testing knots or fluid droplets that amplify the rainbow.
Mathias took a diploma in physics from the Saarland University, Germany, and the University of Lorraine, France. He subsequently received his PhD from the Cavendish Laboratories, University of Cambridge in 2010.