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Maurizio   Porfiri

Maurizio Porfiri


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Maurizio Porfiri was born in Rome (Italy) and now happily resides in Brooklyn (New York). He received M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech; a “Laurea” in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” and the University of Toulon (dual degree program). Since 2006, he has been a member of the faculty of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, where he is currently a Professor. His work is in the area of dynamical systems, specifically focusing on interdisciplinary underwater applications. He is the author of more than 150 journal publications, and his research has been featured in numerous major media outlets, including CNN, Discovery Channel, and NPR. He has received the National Science Foundation CAREER award, the Outstanding Young Alumnus award from the College of Engineering of Virginia Tech, the ASME Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award, and the ASME DSCD Young Investigator Award; and has been named to the Popular Science “Brilliant 10” list for young scientists as the "Water Wizard".

Journal Articles

    Selected journal papers from the last five years:

    • Ladu, F., Butail, S., Macri, S., Porfiri, M.: "Sociality modulates the effects of ethanol in zebrafish", Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, in press
    • Kopman, V., Laut, J., Acquaviva, F., Rizzo, A., Porfiri, M.: "Dynamic modeling of a robotic fish propelled by a compliant tail", IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, in press
    • Cha, Y., Porfiri, M., 2014: "Mechanics and electrochemistry of ionic polymer metal composites", Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 71, 156–178
    • Cellini, F., Khapli, S., Peterson, S. D., Porfiri, M., 2014: "Mechanochromic polyurethane strain sensor", Applied Physics Letters 105(6), 061907
    • Laut, J., Henry, E., Nov, O., Porfiri, M., 2014: "Development of a mechatronics-based citizen science platform for aquatic environmental monitoring", IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics 19(5), 1541-1551
    • Tauro, F., Grimaldi, S., Porfiri, M., 2014: "Unraveling flow patterns through nonlinear manifold learning", PLos ONE 9(3), e91131
    • DeLellis, P., Polverino, G., Ustuner, G., Abaid, N., Macri, S., Bollt, E. M., Porfiri, M., 2014: "Collective behavior across animal species", Scientific Reports 4, 3723
    • Cha, Y., Cellini, F., Porfiri, M., 2013: "Electrical impedance controls mechanical sensing in ionic polymer metal composites", Physical Review E 88(6), 062603
    • Cappa, P., Clerico, A., Nov, O., Porfiri, M., 2013: "Can force feedback and science learning enhance the effectiveness of neuro-rehabilitation? An experimental study on using a low-cost 3D joystick and a virtual visit to a zoo", PLoS ONE 8(12), e77589
    • Panciroli, R., Porfiri, M., 2013: "Evaluation of the pressure field on a rigid body entering a quiescent fluid through particle image velocimetry", Experiments in Fluids 54(12), 1630
    • Butail, S., Bollt, E. M., Porfiri, M., 2013: "Analysis and classification of collective behavior using generative modeling and nonlinear manifold learning", Journal of Theoretical Biology 336(7), 185-199
    • Abaid, N., Kopman, V., Porfiri, M., 2013: "An attraction toward engineering careers: the story of a Brooklyn outreach program on biomimetics, underwater robotics, and marine science for K-12 students", IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine 20(2), 31-39
    • Tauro, F., Grimaldi, S., Petroselli, A., Porfiri, M., 2012: "Fluorescent particle tracers for surface flow measurements: a proof of concept in a natural stream", Water Resources Research 48(6), W06528
    • Marras, S., Porfiri, M., 2012: "Fish and robots swimming together: attraction towards the robot demands biomimetic locomotion", Journal of the Royal Society Interface 9(73), 1856–1868 (Cover page of the journal)
    • Polverino, G., Abaid, N., Kopman, V., Macri, S., Porfiri, M., 2012: "Zebrafish response to robotic fish: Preference experiments on isolated individuals and small shoals", Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 7(3), 036019
    • Abaid, N., Bollt, E., Porfiri, M., 2012: "Topological analysis of complexity in multi-agent systems", Physical Review E 85(4), 041907
    • Aureli, M., Basaran, M. E., Porfiri, M., 2012: "Nonlinear finite amplitude vibrations of sharp-edged beams in viscous fluids", Journal of Sound and Vibration 331(7), 1624-1654
    • Porfiri, M., 2011: "A master stability function for stochastically coupled chaotic maps", Europhysics Letters 96(4), 40014
    • Giacomello, A., Porfiri, M., 2011: "Underwater energy harvesting from a heavy flag hosting ionic polymer metal composites", Journal of Applied Physics, 109(8) 084903
    • Falcucci, G., Aureli, M., Ubertini, S., Porfiri, M., 2011: "Transverse harmonic oscillations of laminae in viscous fluids: a Lattice Boltzmann study", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences 369(1945), 2456-2466
    • Abaid, N., Porfiri, M., 2011: "Consensus over numerosity-constrained random networks", IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control 56(3), 649-654
    • Tagliavia, G., Porfiri, M., Gupta, N., 2011: "Elastic interaction of interfacial spherical-cap cracks in hollow particle filled composites", International Journal of Solids and Structures 48(7-8), 1141-1153
    • Abaid, N., Porfiri, M., 2010: "Fish in a ring: spatiotemporal pattern formation in one-dimensional animal groups", Journal of the Royal Society Interface 7(51), 1441-1453
    • De Lellis, P., di Bernardo, M., Garofalo, F., Porfiri, M., 2010: "Evolution of complex networks via edge snapping", IEEE Transactions on Circuits and Systems I 57(8), 2132-2143
    • Aureli, M., Kopman, V., Porfiri, M., 2010: "Free-locomotion of underwater vehicles actuated by ionic polymer metal composites", IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics 15(4), 603-614
    • Prince, C., Lin, W., Lin, J., Peterson, S. D., Porfiri, M., 2010: "Temporally-resolved hydrodynamics in the vicinity of a vibrating ionic polymer metal composite", Journal of Applied Physics 107(9)
    • Aureli, M., Prince, C., Porfiri, M., Peterson, S. D., 2010: "Energy harvesting from base excitation of ionic polymer metal composites in fluid environments", Smart Materials and Structures 19(1), 015003


    Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, 2006

    Doctor of Philosophy, Engineering Mechanics

    University of Toulon, 2005

    Doctor of Philosophy, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

    Sapienza University of Rome, 2005

    Doctor of Philosophy, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

    Sapienza University of Rome, 2001

    Laurea (B.Sc./M.Sc.), Electrical Engineering

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, 2000

    Master of Science, Engineering Mechanics


    NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering


    From: September 2014 to present

    NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering

    Associate Professor

    From: September 2011 to August 2014

    NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering

    Assistant Professor

    From: July 2006 to September 2011

    Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

    Post-Doctoral Associate

    From: July 2005 to June 2006

    Awards + Distinctions

    • Invitee of Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering, 2014
    • Jacobs Excellence in Education Award, 2014
    • ASME Dynamic Systems & Control Division Young Investigator Award, 2013 
    • ASME Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award, 2013 
    • Outstanding Young Alumnus, College of Engineering Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2012
    • Best student paper competition award at the 2012 ASME Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems (with graduate students Youngsu Cha and Matteo Aureli)
    • Invited speaker for the “lectio magistralis” at “Sapienza Ricerca”, 2011
    • Best paper award at the 2011 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (with graduate student Nicole Abaid)
    • Invitee of Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, National Academy of Engineering, 2011
    • Jacobs Excellence in Education Award, 2011
    • Popular Science "Brilliant Ten", 2010
    • Best robotics paper award at the 2009 ASME Dynamic Systems and Control Conference (with graduate students Matteo Aureli and Vladislav Kopman)
    • NSF Career award (Dynamical systems), 2008
    • H2CU medal, 2008

    Research Interests

    • Dynamical Systems Theory and Applications
    • Mechanics of Advanced Materials
    • Multiphysics Modeling
    • Smart Materials and Structures