Lei Cao

Assistant Professor
Lei Cao

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 2016
  • B.S., Department of Precision Instruments, Tsinghua University, 2010

Open positions

We have two Ph.D. openings starting Spring 2018 or Fall 2018. A background in materials science or solid mechanics is preferred. Please send your resume and transcripts to Dr. Cao for consideration.


Dr. Cao joined the University of Nevada, Reno in July 2016 after receiving her Ph.D. from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette. In 2010, she obtained her B.S. degree from the Department of Precision Instruments at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.

Her research interests focus on using large-scale Phase-field Micromechanical Models and atomistic methods to track microstructure evolution during deformation and its impact on mechanical properties of materials.

Honors and awards

  • Adelberg Fellowship, Purdue University 2015-2016
  • Most Innovative Study, 2014 nanoHUB User Conference, Phoenix, AZ 2014
  • Best Poster Award (first-place), NNSA PRISM TST Meeting 2011

Research interests

  • Microstructure evolution
  • Dislocation dynamics
  • Deformation in nanocrystalline materials
  • Computational solid mechanics

Selected and recent  publications

  1. P. Chakraborty, L. Cao, and Y. Wang, Lattice Thermal Conductivity of the Random Multilayer Structure with Lattice Imperfections, Scientific Reports. 2017; 7: 8134.
  2. L. Cao, D. Pantuso, A. Sengupta, M. Koslowski, Effect of texture and grain size on the residual stress of nanocrystalline thin film, Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering 25 075004 (2017).
  3. L. Cao, M. Koslowski, Rate-limited plastic deformation in nanocrystalline Ni, Journal of Applied Physics, 117 (24), 244301 (2015).
  4. L. Cao, A. Hunter, I. J. Beyerlein, M. Koslowski, The role of partial mediated slip during quasi-static deformation of 3D nanocrystalline metals, Journal of the Mechanics and Physics of Solids 78 (2015): 415-426.
  5. L. Cao, M. Koslowski, Effect of microstructural uncertainty on the yield stress of nanocrystalline nickel, Acta Materialia 61.4 (2013): 1413-1420.