Head of Laboratory

Prof. Tiffany Abitbol
Tenure Track Assistant Professor

Tiffany Abitbol is a tenure-track assistant professor in the Institute of Materials at EPFL, where she holds the industry-funded Chair on Sustainable Materials co-sponsored by BASF SE, Logitech, Nestlé, and SIG Services AG. 
Her research group focuses on the valorization of bio-based materials as alternatives to materials from petrochemicals. Tiffany’s research interests are broad, with a particular interest in taking advantage of the inherent self-assembly of nanomaterials and opportunities for their directed assembly using the growth-driven mechanisms of living organisms such as fungi. Tiffany is originally from Montreal and has a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University (2011). Before joining EPFL,  Tiffany was a senior researcher at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden in Stockholm (2017-2022), where she worked closely with industry under the general umbrella of bioeconomy and health. Tiffany is a long-time fan of cellulose and a rather new enthusiast of fungal materials.


Administrative Staff

Corinne Farquharson
Administrative Assistant

Shawn Koppenhoefer
Systems Administrator
& Photographer/Videographer



Post-docs and Research Staff

Dr. Wenjing Sun
Postdoctoral Researcher

Research project: Mycelium materials

I obtained my PhD in bioproducts engineering at the University of Maine. I have worked with natural-based materials (mostly wood and other lignocellulosic materials and fungal mycelium materials) for more than ten years.  My research goal is to understand natural-based materials, develop them into functional all-bio-based products, and investigate strategies to improve their properties.


Dr. Matteo Hirsch
Postdoctoral Researcher

Research project:
Cellulose nanocrystal-based inks

After obtaining his PhD in Materials Science at EPFL, Matteo joined the Sustainable Materials Laboratory to work on novel alternatives to replace conventional inks for packaging. He has a strong background in soft matter and advanced manufacturing. Whenever he is not in the lab, Matteo enjoys playing volleyball and finding treasures in flea markets.

Twitter: @matteo_hirsch

Dr. Anastasiia Komarova
Postdoctoral Researcher

Research project:
Functionalized cellulose-based materials for smart packaging
Anastasiia obtained her PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at EPFL where she worked on developing sustainable carbohydrate-based solvents by acetal functionalization of lignocellulosic biomass. She joined the Sustainable Materials Laboratory to work on functionalization of cellulose-based materials for stimuli-responsive self-assembled packaging.

Email: [email protected]

PhD Students

Buse Tatli
Doctoral Assistant

Research project: Cellulose nanomaterials

Buse received her master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from EPFL following her undergraduate studies at Sabanci University in Turkey. Her work focuses on nanocellulose materials from different sources.

Anna Koptelova
Doctoral Assistant, co-supervised by Professor Stellacci

Research Project: Protein materials for packaging applications

Anna received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in Fundamental and Applied Chemistry at M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University. She worked in the laboratory at MSU and in industry, developing and synthesizing catalysts for the oxidative desulfurization process.

Matteo Darra
Doctoral Assistant

Research Project: Mycelium-based composite materials

Born in Brazil and raised in Italy, Matteo received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Bologna, respectively in Chemistry and Photochemistry and Molecular Materials. He spent ten months as an intern at Nestlé Institute of Packaging Science of Lausanne and is currently working on mycelium-based materials.

Inyoung Yonah Lee
Doctoral Assistant

Research Project: EPS from submerged fungal fermentation

Inyoung Yonah received her BSc in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, then her MSc degree in Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at EPFL. She is an enthusiast of membrane materials for separation processes and joined the Sustainable Materials Laboratory to work on the synthesis of self-assembled cellulosic membranes.


Yuki Hayashi
Doctoral Assistant

Research Project: Multilayered mycelium materials

Yuki received her master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from EPFL after completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Sheffield in the UK. She spent six months as an R&D intern in Body In White Part at Sika Technology and contributed to the odor improvement of thermally expandable foams and the development of an ammonia measurement method. She is currently working on multi-layered mycelium material in SML.

Blanca de Miguel Martínez
Doctoral Assistant

Research Project: Colloidal particles from mycelium

Blanca completed her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at Complutense University of Madrid and her master’s degree in Sustainable BioEnergy at the Technical University of Denmark. She has worked on biomass valorisation and phase change materials for thermal energy storage and biocatalysis.


Visiting Researchers

Dr. Francesca Scarpelli

Francesca obtained her PhD in Physical, Chemical and Materials Sciences and Technologies at Unical (Università della Calabria). She is currently a junior researcher in General and Inorganic Chemistry at Unical, where she works on the design, synthesis, and characterization of inorganic compounds as multifunctional additives for biopolymeric matrices.

Xiao Han
Doctoral Assistant

Xiao was born and raised in China. After obtaining her Master’s degree in Materials Physics and Chemistry from University of Chinese Academy of Science, she is now a PhD student at Zhejiang University. Her work focusses on the assembly and formation processes of nanocellulose into materials and the interactions between nanocellulose and other functional particles. 



Kosuke Ayama

Research Project: Cellulose nanomaterials

Kosuke completed his master’s degree in 2023 the Materials Science and Engineering department at EPFL on the characterization and utilization of microcrystalline cellulose and other cellulose nanomaterials.

Lise Kretz

Research Project: Self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals

Lise completed her master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering at EPFL in 2023. Her research in the Sustainable Materials Laboratory focused on characterizing the effects of sugars on the self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals.
Alicia Vivas Hernando
SML researcher from Sept 2022-Aug 2023


Student Researchers