Liane Makatura

Computer Scientist, Mathematician, Human-Centered Designer


Liane Makatura is a computer scientist, mathematician, and human-centered designer who strives to leverage technology in a way that facilitates creativity and innovation. In particular, she enjoys creating computational tools that make it easier for people to design and manufacture physical objects that achieve specific goals in terms of both form and function.

Throughout her research career, Liane has had the opportunity to imagine and develop intuitive digital design tools for a variety of interesting problem domains, including machine knitting and the so-called “mechanical metamaterials” — which are structures with exotic mechanical behaviors that are governed by their geometry rather than their constituent material(s).

By addressing these challenging problems with design tools that are both accessible and powerful, Liane hopes to evoke curiosity, push the boundaries of what is possible, and democratize the process of design for manufacturing, to empower novices and experts alike. She is excited to further her pursuit of these goals in conjunction with the talented and diverse community associated with the MIT Morningside Academy for Design.

Liane received her Bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, where she studied Math, Computer Science and Digital Arts, and conducted research under Prof. Emily Whiting. She also spent a year as a Fulbright Research Scholar in Switzerland, where she worked with Prof. Mark Pauly at EPFL. Now, Liane is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the MIT Computational Design and Fabrication Group led by Prof. Wojciech Matusik. Prior to the MAD Design Fellowship, her Ph.D. work was generously supported by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

While at MIT, Liane has served as an executive team member for the MIT EECS Graduate Application Assistance Program (GAAP); a co-president of the MIT EECS Graduate Student Association (GSA); a co-founder of the ACM SIGGRAPH Community Group for Women in Computer Graphics Research (WiGRAPH); and an organizer for the highly-interdisciplinary ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication (SCF). Outside of work, Liane enjoys knitting, reading, and playing tennis.