Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering

Kaka Ma


Office: Engineering A103A,  The Factory – Advanced Manufacturing and Materials Research: B-108 
Phone: 970-491-3886

Dr. Kaka Ma

Nanostructured Materials and Nanomechanics Laboratory

Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering

School of Advanced Materials Discovery

Before joining Colorado State University as an assistant professor in August, 2016, Dr. Ma was an assistant project scientist at University of California, Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from University of California, Davis in December, 2010, and continued her postdoctoral research at UC Davis during January, 2011 to November, 2015. She was also a lecturer for an upper-level undergraduate course, Materials in Engineering Design, at UC Davis from April, 2014 to June, 2015. Dr. Ma received her B.S. in materials physics from University of Science and Technology of China in June, 2006.

Dr. Ma’s research interests sit at the interface of materials science, mechanical engineering and sustainability. We are interested in fabrication and characterization of advanced materials that contain nanoscale microstructural features for high performance such as high specific strength, high ductility, improved reliability and lifetime. We perform mechanical testing at small scales and in localized regions such as boundaries and interface in the materials using cutting-edge nanoindentation technique. The objective is to uncover new processing-structure-properties correlation in advanced nanomaterials for next-generation structural, electronic, and energy components. Her recent research activities focus on multiscale hierarchical structured materials, functionally graded materials, low-work-function electrode materials, additive manufacturing (AM) and sustainability issues associated with metal AM.

Dr. Ma is a member of TMS (The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society) and serves on the reviewer board for several international circulated journals including Nature Communications, Materials Science & Engineering A, Journal of Materials Science, etc. In her spare time, Dr. Ma enjoys spending time with her family doing outdoor activities such as hiking and swimming.


  • Ph.D. 2010, University of California, Davis—Materials Science and Engineering
  • B.S. 2006, University of Science and Technology of China—Materials Physics


Research Interests

  • Powder Metallurgy
  • Electronic Materials
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Sustainable Materials Engineering
  • Multiple Scale Mechanical Testing 

Honors and Awards

  • 2020, the TMS Light Metals/Extraction & Processing Subject Award – Recycling, The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society.
  • 2018, Outstanding Contribution in Reviewing, Additive Manufacturing