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Maria Holland

Maria Holland


Phone: 574-631-1866

Office: 142 Multidisciplinary Research Building


Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2017

M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 2013

B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Tulsa, 2011


Maria Holland is the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame.  She has previously been selected as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, a National Science Foundation East Asian Pacific Summer Institute China Fellow, a Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Doctoral Fellow, and a Brit and Alex d’Arbeloff Stanford Graduate Fellow.  Her research collaborators include the Institute for Biomechanics and Medical Engineering at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, and the Autism and Developmental Disorders Research Program at Stanford.

Summary of Activities/Interests

Dr. Holland’s research is in the area of computational biomechanics, using solid mechanics and computational tools to address important questions about complex soft materials.  She focuses on the brain, addressing important questions about development and how it relates to the brain’s form and function (or dysfunction).  The main goal of her research is to understand the mechanics of cortical folding, or how the brain gets its characteristic wrinkled shape, both in normal development and in cases that lead to developmental disorders such as autism.  This work takes place through collaborations with clinicians and experimentalists.  Additionally, she works to extend the functionality of traditional engineering methods to encompass soft, growing materials.

Recent Publications

  • Colin J and Holland MA (2019). “Layer Wrinkling in an Inhomogeneous Matrix”. International Journal of Solids & Structures. 156-157:119–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijsolstr.2018.08.004

  • Holland MA, Budday S, Goriely A, and Kuhl E (2018). “Symmetry breaking in wrinkling pat- terns: Gyri are universally thicker than sulci”. Physical Review Letters. 121:(22), 228002. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.228002
  • Oomen PJA, Holland MA, Bouten CVC, Kuhl E, and Loerakker S (2018). “Growth and Remodeling Play Opposing Roles during Postnatal Human Heart Valve Development”. Scientific Reports. 8 (1). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-19777-1
  • Holland MA, Li B, Feng XQ, and Kuhl E (2017). “Instabilities of Soft Films on Compliant Substrates”. Journal of the Mechanics & Physics of Solids. 98:350–365. DOI: 10.1016/j.jmps.2016.09.012

  • Holland MA, Miller KE, and Kuhl E (2015). “Emerging Brain Morphologies from Axonal Elongation”. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 43 (7):1640–1653. DOI: 10.1007/s10439-015-1312-9


Notre Dame-led team unlocks key information on the development of the brain

December 10, 2018

New study confirms that the way the brain develops is not exclusively a result of genetic patterns but that it follows physics-based laws.

Notre Dame researchers to tackle autism, preeclampsia and more through new funding

September 7, 2018

Nine faculty from the University of Notre Dame have received awards for five projects from the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics’ Discovery Fund. Each year, grants from the Discovery Fund are awarded to researchers who propose novel technologies and diagnostics that can improve human and environmental health.

Maria Holland Joins Faculty

September 26, 2017

As an undergraduate, Maria Holland resisted a major in mechanical engineering; she didn’t want to “work on cars.” Now she works to share a broader vision of what engineering is.


Graduate Students: