profile picture

Elijah M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


polymers, environmental fate, reactor design, climate change


I'm incredibly passionate about working on problems related to circularity and climate change. Both deal with how we manage chemicals that accumulate in the environment and have detrimental impacts on humans and the environment. Before starting my PhD I was a Senior Engineer at Beyond Meat where I worked to create meat analogs to help fight climate change. Now I work to better understand plastic degradation with the goal of creating more environmentally benign plastics. While I love what I do for work, I also love to get outside and explore the outdoors. After living in California for work I became an avid surfer and have pursued it on the east coast through the cold Boston winters. When the surf is not good, I love to read and build things (ebike, camper-van, surfboard, etc.).

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Assessing biodegradable plastics end-of-life fate.

This project will entail familiarizing yourself with recent advances in sustainable materials and their impacts on the environment relative to traditional materials. Questions answered may include but are not limited to: How can we compare tradeoffs like compostability and recyclability of biodegradable plastics? Is the set of biodegradable plastics we have sufficient? If not, what is limiting these current plastics? Is the widespread use of the compostable plastic, polylactic acid, at restaurant chains like Sweetgreen better than using a highly recyclable material like polyethylene terephthalate? The basis of this project will require reading scientific literature, specifically life cycle assessments, and analyzing published data to develop a paper of your own that can be published.

Coding skills

Python, Matlab, Arduino, C++, Verilog

Teaching experience

I've worked as a private math tutor and also I've co-led a summer course at MIT called experiential sustainability. This entailed curriculum development and course organization. I also work as a mentor in a maker space on campus.


Work experience

Beyond Meat (2017 - 2021)
Senior Engineer


Tufts University
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Environmental Engineering

Interested in working with expert mentors like Elijah?

Apply now