Prior to joining Columbia, Dean Boyce served on the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for over 25 years, leading the Mechanical Engineering Department from 2008 to 2013. Her research focuses on materials and mechanics, particularly in the areas of molecular and nanomechanics of polymers and soft composites, both those that are man-made and those formed naturally. Her leadership in the field of the mechanics of materials has expanded understanding of the interplay between micro-geometry and the inherent physical behavior of a material, which has led to innovative hybrid material designs with novel properties. Models and results from her group have the potential to influence a range of industrial and academic fields from polymer processing to composite material design, tire mechanics, protective armor designs, and transformative meta-material design. She is well known for her collaborative work and leadership in overseeing research teams that bring together faculty from different departments and universities and is the author of more than 150 archival journal publications with her group.
Dean Boyce has been widely recognized for her scholarly achievements, including election as a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering. She also has been honored for her teaching at MIT, where she was named a MacVicar Faculty Fellow and received the Joseph Henry Keenan Innovation in Undergraduate Education Award. Dean Boyce earned her BS degree in engineering science and mechanics from Virginia Tech, and her MS and PhD degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT.