Dr Marcelo Dias

Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering



1.20 William Rankine

Personal Page: 

Engineering Discipline: 

  • Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research Institute: 

  • Infrastructure and Environment

Research Theme: 

  • Structural Engineering
  • Materials and Structures


Dr Dias obtained his bachelor’s in physics at the State University of São Paulo, Brazil. Four years later, he commenced a MSc in theoretical physics from his alma mater. In 2012, he obtained his PhD degree from the University of Massachusetts, USA, where he researched on the mechanics of origami structures and growth mechanisms. Dr Dias has worked as a researcher on a broad range of topics in structural engineering and applied mathematics at Brown University School of Engineering (USA), Aalto University (Finland), and the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics at KTH (Sweden). Before joining the University of Edinburgh, Dr Dias was an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at Aarhus University in Denmark, where he lead his research group 'Mechanical Metamaterials and Soft Matter’.

Academic Qualifications: 

  • Ph.D. in Physics (2012), University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA
  • M.Sc. in Physics (2007), Theoretical Physics Institute – IFT, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
  • B.Sc. in Physics (2004), State University of São Paulo – UNESP, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil

Research Interests: 

In the Mechanics and Geometry of Advanced Structures Laboratory (MEGA SLab), we are interested in a broad range of topics in structural engineering, theoretical mechanics and soft condensed matter physics. Our group contributes to a growing field of smart and structured materials, where novel properties are designed for diverse functionalities. For instance, complex elastic structures with predictable, adaptable, and desirable mechanical performance. From ancient art-forms, such as Origami and Kirigami, to contemporary 3D printed auxetic structures, MEGA SLab focuses on analytical mathematical modeling and table-top experimentation to allow us to go beyond the ordinary properties of matter, towards engineered geometrical selection allowing the control of extraordinary bulk properties.

Mechanical Metamaterials. These go beyond ordinary properties of matter towards engineered structures that yield to the control of extraordinary bulk mechanical properties. Careful tailoring of micro-architectures in thin elastic sheets and frameworks resulting in macroscopic structures that often reveal new effective non-linear and anisotropic responses to external stimuli. These are intrinsically geometric effects transmitted across length scales from microstructure to the bulk.

Soft Materials and morphing structures. Soft and morphing structures may significantly change their geometry and undergo large deformations in response to a variety of external stimuli such as applied strain or stress, swelling, temperature, and light. We derive mathematical models to predict the shape of these materials so as to affect and control their response in the non-linear regime.


  • Theoretical mechancis
  • Soft condensed matter physics
  • Applied mathematics
  • Differential geometry
  • Dimensionally reduced models and structures (beams, rods, plates, and shells)
  • Stability theory
  • Mechanical metamaterials (Auxetic structures, origami, kirigami, etc)
  • Biomechanics
  • Fluid-structure interactions

Further Information: 

Apply for a PhD position @ MEGA SLab here!