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Luca Deseri, PhD

Full Affiliate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist


Luca Deseri earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mechanics from the University of Pisa, Italy, while spending a year at Carnegie Mellon University where he subsequently did his post-doctoral training. He was appointed an assistant and then an associate professor of Solid Mechanics at the University of Ferrara over 8 years. He moved to the University of Molise as a professor and associate dean of Engineering for 3 years. Subsequently, he became head of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Trento for 4 years; Engineering in Trento has been ranked first nationwide 12 times in the last 16 years. Luca has just been nominated “Panel Member” for the Society for Natural Philosophy-SNP. He is also a member of the Italian directorate of Engineering Mechanics, leads the local International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM) Society of Mechanics of Materials and is member of the Italian directorate of Solid and Structural Mechanics. He has held several visiting professorships at Cornell, the University of Kentucky, and Carnegie Mellon University, from 2012–2014. His main research interests range from multiscale mechanics of structured media to viscoelasticity and applications to biology. He has been invited to visit multiple universities, including Columbia, Berkeley, Wisconsin, Caltech, Nebraska, Ecole Polytechnique, Auckland and ETH Zurich.

Description of Research

Dr. Deseri’s research is mainly in the field of multiscale mathematical modeling of the mechanics and multiphysics of structured media. More specifically, the focuses have been on the following topics:

New energetics for predicting phase transitions in biological membranes at the nanoscale
A new multiscale field theory for novel and classical materials exhibiting microstructures; the approach is established in the framework of the theory of structured deformations. This framework will be extended to study the behavior of biological structures
A new approach to study crystalline plasticity: the influence of microstructures on the macroscopic behavior of metallic crystals undergoing finite deformations is interpreted with the new tools provided by the theory of structured deformations
Theory of viscoelasticity and its applications
Modeling for cold and dry compaction of ceramic powders and their sintering.

Research plans comprise the following new topics:
Biological and bioinspired structures
-The relationships among the features of the constituents forming the structure of the material, their morphological and structural organization, and their properties exhibited at the macroscale are the key focuses of the research. These parameters are essential information for the study of novel materials with enhanced mechanical properties inspired from biological structures.
-Nanocomposites for biomedical applications
This research will be based on a recent paper in which Dr. Deseri and a coauthor analyzed the effective response of random elastic composites with random particulates. They showed that the danger of relatively small residual stresses with very rapid spatial oscillations might result in either a magnification of the representative volume element (RVE) size with respect to the un-prestressed case or an explosion.

Areas Of Expertise

Multiscale biomechanics Biomembranes Cell membranes Transmembrane receptor mechanics Biocompatible nanocomposites
Education & Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship , Center for Nonlinear Analysis, Carnegie Mellon University
PhD , University of Pisa

Small-on-large fractional derivative-based single-cell model incorporating cytoskeleton prestretch
Fraldi, M, Cugno, A, Carotenuto, AR, Cutolo, A, Pugno, NM & Deseri, L 2017, Journal of Engineering Mechanics, vol 143, no. 5, D4016009. DOI:

Role of nonlinear elasticity in mechanical impedance tuning of annular dielectric elastomer membranes
Cugno, A, Palumbo, S, Deseri, L, Fraldi, M & Majidi, C 2017, Extreme Mechanics Letters, vol 13, pp. 116-125. DOI:

Photonic crystal slab strain sensors: A viable tool for structural health monitoring
Piccolo, V, Piotrowska, A, Chiappini, A, Vaccari, A, Ferrari, M, Deseri, L & Zonta, D 2016, . in 2016 18th International Conference on Transparent Optical Networks, ICTON 2016. vol. 2016-August, 7550655, IEEE Computer Society, 18th International Conference on Transparent Optical Networks, ICTON 2016, Trento, Italy, 10-14 July. DOI:

Submacroscopic Disarrangements Induce a Unique, Additive and Universal Decomposition of Continuum Fluxes
Deseri, L & Owen, DR 2016, Journal of Elasticity, vol 122, no. 2, pp. 223-230. DOI:

Numerical characterization of mechanochromic photonic crystals for structural health monitoring
Piccolo, V, Piotrowska, A, Chiappini, A, Vaccari, A, Ferrari, M, Deseri, L & Zonta, D 2016, . in 8th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, EWSHM 2016. vol. 3,, pp. 1595-1603, 8th European Workshop on Structural Health Monitoring, EWSHM 2016, Bilbao, Spain, 5-8 July.

Stable disarrangement phases arising from expansion/contraction or from simple shearing of a model granular medium
Deseri, L & Owen, DR 2015, International Journal of Engineering Science, vol 96, pp. 111-130. DOI:

A frequency-based hypothesis for mechanically targeting and selectively attacking cancer cells
Fraldi, M, Cugno, A, Deseri, L, Dayal, K & Pugno, NM 2015, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, vol 12, no. 111, 20150656. DOI:

Coherent Motion of Monolayer Sheets under Confinement and Its Pathological Implications
Soumya, SS, Gupta, A, Cugno, A, Deseri, L, Dayal, K, Das, D, Sen, S & Inamdar, MM 2015, PLoS Computational Biology, vol 11, no. 12, e1004670. DOI:

A mechanical picture of fractional-order Darcy equation
Deseri, L & Zingales, M 2015, Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation, vol 20, no. 3, pp. 940-949. DOI:

New insights on free energies and Saint-Venant's principle in viscoelasticity
Deseri, L, Gentili, G & Golden, JM 2014, International Journal of Solids and Structures, vol 51, no. 19-20, pp. 3382-3398. DOI:

The state of fractional hereditary materials (FHM)
Deseri, L, Zingales, M & Pollaci, P 2014, Discrete and Continuous Dynamical Systems - Series B, vol 19, no. 7, pp. 2065-2089. DOI:

Stable disarrangement phases of elastic aggregates: a setting for the emergence of no-tension materials with non-linear response in compression
Deseri, L & Owen, DR 2014, Meccanica, vol 49, no. 12, pp. 2907-2932. DOI:

Saddle-like deformation in a dielectric elastomer actuator embedded with liquid-phase gallium-indium electrodes
Wissman, J, Finkenauer, L, Deseri, L & Majidi, C 2014, Journal of Applied Physics, vol 116, no. 14, 144905. DOI:

Free energy and states of fractional-order hereditariness
Deseri, L, Di Paola, M & Zingales, M 2014, International Journal of Solids and Structures, vol 51, no. 18, pp. 3156-3167. DOI:

Combined effects of interstitial and laplace pressure in hot isostatic pressing of cylindrical specimens
Galuppi, L & Deseri, L 2014, Journal of Mechanics of Materials and Structures, vol 9, no. 1, pp. 51-86. DOI:

A collaborative project between industry and academia to enhance Engineering Education at graduate and PhD level in ceramic technology
Bosi, F, Mazzocchi, E, Jatro, I, Dal Corso, F, Piccolroaz, A, Deseri, L, Bigoni, D, Cocquio, A, Cova, M & Odorizzi, S 2013, International Journal of Engineering Education, vol 29, no. 6, pp. 1362-1370.

Power-law hereditariness of hierarchical fractal bones
Deseri, L, Paola, MD, Zingales, M & Pollaci, P 2013, International Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering, vol 29, no. 12, pp. 1338-1360. DOI:

The stretching elasticity of biomembranes determines their line tension and bending rigidity
Deseri, L & Zurlo, G 2013, Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, vol 12, no. 6, pp. 1233-1242. DOI:

Residual stresses in random elastic composites: Nonlocal micromechanics-based models and first estimates of the representative volume element size
Dal Corso, F & Deseri, L 2013, Meccanica, vol 48, no. 8, pp. 1901-1923. DOI:

Moving interfaces that separate loose and compact phases of elastic aggregates: A mechanism for drastic reduction or increase in macroscopic deformation
Deseri, L & Owen, DR 2013, Continuum Mechanics and Thermodynamics, vol 25, no. 2-4, pp. 311-341. DOI: