Aerospace Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Whitaker Health Sciences Fund Fellowship from MIT
Fabio Fachin from Italy has been named a recipient of Whitaker Health Sciences Fund Fellowship at MIT.
Fabio Fachin, an Italian Fulbright S&T Fellow (2007), recently received the Whitaker Health Sciences Fund Fellowship administered by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Whitaker Health Sciences Fund Fellowship is limited to two students (including renewals) in the fields of Life Sciences or Bioengineering. Fabio’s endowed fellowship begins in September and covers over $75,000 of tuition, health insurance, and a living stipend costs.
Fabio Fachin is pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, investigating the potential of micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (MEMS) and nano-electrical-mechanical-systems (NEMS) in both aerospace and biomedical (global health) applications.
Fabio's research consists of creating very small, extremely advanced devices which provide a variety of functionalities that traditional instrumentation cannot. Known as micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (MEMS) and micro-electrical-mechanical-systems (NEMS), Fabio's devices are typically impossible to see using our naked eye, but can nonetheless be used for applications such as satellite orientation control, or even for medical purposes such as cancer screening. Small size and limited weight is especially relevant for aerospace applications, where any savings in total weight translate into substantial monetary savings for the overall missions. To create his devices, Fabio uses a combination of silicon-based microfabrication techniques (i.e., techniques which allow the creation of silicon structures so small that they can only be seen under a microscope) and carbon nanotubes (miniscule, but "as-strong-as-steel" tubes of carbon). His goals are to achieve a new generation of ultra-small, ultra-efficient microdevices to fully control spacecraft, and to create new carbon nanotube-based biomedical devices for global health applications, with particular focus on developing countries.
Fabio focuses his research on creating a new generation of three-dimensional (3D) micro-/nano-structures for both aerospace and biomedical applications. For Fabio’s biomedical research, he focuses on using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to achieve nano-engineered MEMS device for both mechanical and chemical isolation/manipulation of biological species. His research team has demonstrated that CNT technology can provide significant improvements compared to micro-technologies previously used for global health diagnostics. On the aerospace side, he works to developing new devices for three-dimensional sensing and actuation, such as 3D thermal accelerometers. He completes his biomedical research in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor Mehmet Toner and his aerospace applications with MEMSIC, Inc.
The Whitaker Fellowship focuses allows Fabio to continue to focus on his biomedical work, focusing on new applications for carbon nanotubes to target species in the submicron level, effectively opening an entirely new range of applications for areas such as HIV. Fabio’s group closely collaborates with his advisor Prof. Wardle’s Technology Laboratory for Advanced Materials and Structures (TELAMS), one of the world leading groups in carbon nanotube studies and Prof. Toner’s MGH BioMicroElectroMechanical Systems (BioMEMS) Resource Center, one of world leading group in biomedical engineering.
Fabio reports, “I am thrilled by our work. As an aerospace engineer, to have the chance to use my knowledge and export it to such a different and challenging field such as biomedicine is just fabulous. Prof. Toner a great expert in the field, and I have learned things well beyond what an aerospace engineer is usually exposed to. I feel that I have a lot to contribute to this project, especially because bringing aerospace technology and mentality to the biomedical field is something which other people haven’t previously done. The overall idea of working on creating devices for developing countries, and for global health in general, is probably the most appealing feature of our work to me.”
Fabio keeps an active social life outside of the lab and in his free time, he enjoys running, swimming, and hiking. He completed (he competed 2009 Boston Marathon), swimming and hiking. His dream is to become an astronaut.