Dr. Lara Tomholt
Location: Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Architectenregister (Netherlands): 1.141115.024


08|2016 - 09|2022
Doctor of Design (DDes) | Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Thesis: Biologically-inspired tunable heat transfer: the design of adaptable façade systems
Relevant coursework: SCI6477 Nano micro macro: adaptive material laboratory (Fall '16), SCI6478 Informal robotics (Spring '17), MIT MAS.863 How to make almost anything (Fall '18), SCI6364 Thermal monocoques: an energy systems laboratory (Spring '20), SCI6374 Advanced applications in sustainable architecture (Fall '20), MIT 2.788 Mechanical engineering and design of living systems (Fall '21)
Including: Independent study (Roboat project) at Senseable City Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Fall '16 and Spring '17)

02|2011 - 11|2014
Master Architecture, Urbanism and Building Technology (MSc) | Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.

The Why Factory

09|2007 - 01|2011
Bachelor Architecture, Urbanism and Building Technology (BSc) | Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands.

09|2009 - 02|2010
Architecture minor: Erasmus exchange program | Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy.


10|2022 - present
Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow | Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA

Working with professors Reza Moini (Architected Materials and Additive Manufacturing Lab) and Forrest Meggers (CHAOS Lab) to explore novel solutions for 3D-printed ceramic systems with energy-efficient heat transfer for building thermoregulation, inspired by architectural design rules of plant leaves.

05|2017 - 03|2022
Research Assistant | Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA (until 07|2020) and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Harvard University, Cambridge, USA (from 07|2020)

Performed research on echinoderm skeletal structures using micro-CT, (automated) segmentation software, SEM, 3D printing and parametric modeling. Design, fabricate and characterize performance of a biologically-inspired soft actuator.

05|2018 - 05|2021
Research Assistant | Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, Cambridge, USA

Assisted the CGBC director in research and writing for a book publication on ultra-efficient buildings.

08|2017 - 05|2019
Teaching Fellow | Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Courses: VIS2129 Spatial analysis and the built environment (Fall '17), VIS2224 Digital Media II (Spring '18), SCI6478 Informal robotics (Spring '19), ADV 9691 Discourse and research methods (TA, Spring '21), SCI6126 Materials (Spring '21)

01|2017 - 08|2018
Research Assistant | ALivE group, Harvard GSD (in collaboration with Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering), Cambridge, USA

Performed novel material fabrication, thermal and mechanical characterization by thermal imaging, UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometry, optical microscopy and stress-relaxation tests.

09|2012 - 03|2013
Architecture Intern | Benthem Crouwel Architects, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Provided CAD support, poster design for competition projects, and performing independent research on passenger flows in the largest Dutch railway stations.

04|2010 - 05|2016
Assistant Teacher (Chemistry) | Stichting Studiebegeleiding Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Taught chemistry to secondary school students in preparation for their final exams


Participant | Biomimicry 3.8 Immersion Workshop, Discover Nature's Genius in Brazil

Participated in a week-long professional biomimicry training through immersion in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, where we learned to observe, mimic, and apply the lessons of nature to our work.

05|2020 - 12|2021
Guest Juror | Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, USA

Final reviews of courses: SCI6478 Informal robotics (Spring '20, Spring '21), SCI6476 Transformable design methods (Fall '20, Fall '21), SCI6477 Nano micro macro: adaptive material laboratory (Fall '21)

09|2016 - 05|2018
Council for Student Sustainability Leaders |Harvard Office for Sustainability, Cambridge, MA, USA

Developed plans to study the diet of students across the Harvard campus and strategies to provide healthier and environmentally-friendly food options at dining halls. Article by The Harvard Gazette

The Green Program Hawai'i | The Green Program, University of Hawai'i, HI, USA

Participated in travel abroad and experiential education on sustainable farming, environmentally-friendly waste management, green energy production, and native Hawaiian culture.


ResearchGate profile

L. Tomholt, D. Baum, R.J. Wood, J.C. Weaver (2023) High-throughput segmentation, data visualization, and analysis of sea star skeletal networks. Journal of Structural Biology, 215 (2), 107955. [Citations: -]
Press release by Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

L. Tomholt, O. Geletina, J. Alvarenga, A.V. Shneidman, J.C. Weaver, M.C. Fernandes, S.A. Mota, M. Bechthold, J. Aizenberg (2020) Tunable infrared transmission for energy-efficient pneumatic building façades. Energy and Buildings, 226, 110377. [Citations: 9]

L. Tomholt, L.J. Friesen, D. Berdichevsky, M.C. Fernandes, C. Pierre, R.J. Wood, J.C. Weaver (2020) The structural origins of brittle star arm kinematics: An integrated tomographic, additive manufacturing, and parametric modeling-based approach. Journal of Structural Biology, 211 (1), 107481. [Citations: 8]

S.C. Hofferberth, M.Y. Saeed, L. Tomholt, M.C. Fernandes, C.J. Payne, K. Price, G.R. Marx, J.J. Esch, D.W. Brown, J. Brown, P.E. Hammer, R.W. Bianco, J.C. Weaver, E.R. Edelman, P.J. del Nido. (2020) A geometrically adaptable heart valve replacement. Science Translational Medicine, 12, eaay4006. [Citations: 31]
Cover article
Press release by Boston Children's Hospital

D. Baum, J.C. Weaver, I. Zlotnikov, D. Knötel, L. Tomholt, M.N. Dean. (2019) High-throughput segmentation of tiled biological structures using random-walk distance transforms. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 59 (6), p.1700-1712. [Citations: 15]


05|2014 - 08|2014
International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) 2014: Urban by Nature (Benthem Crouwel stand)
Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


05|2023       Art of Science 2023, Princeton University. Jury Award
11|2021       ISI and ZPH Conference: Equitable & Sustainable Infrastructure Delivering Merit & Climate Resilience. 1st place, Project Award
10|2021       2021 Built Environment Plus Award, Green Building Showcase 1st place, Student Project of the Year
04|2021       Solar Decathlon Design Challenge, US Department of Energy. 3rd place, Office Building Division
10|2020       Visual Computing for Biology and Medicine (VCBM) Image Contest, Tübingen, Germany. 1st place, Best Image Award
07|2016       Battle of Concepts: Hoe zorgen we ervoor dat treinreizigers sneller in- en uitstappen? Province Gelderland, The Netherlands. 6th place                     Concept development with stakeholders (08|2016)


Dutch (mother tongue), English (proficient), (Italian, German, French)


Adobe Creative Suits: Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Premiere Pro
2D and 3D modeling: Autocad, Rhinoceros and Grasshopper
Programming: Processing, Java, Python, Arduino
Web design: HTML, CSS, JavaScript
Micro-CT data processing: VG Studio Max 3.0, Materialise Mimics, Amira
Finite element analysis: COMSOL Multiphysics


Prototyping: Soft robotics and advanced molding and casting, additive manufacturing (polymers and cement), electronics, CNC milling, laser cutting, sewing
Analysis: Mechanical testing, thermal characterization, microscopy, tomography, photography


04|2020 - 05|2020       Face shield design and isolation hood prototype assembly assisting the MGB COVID-19 Faceshield and Isolation
                                    Hood working groups   Wyss Institute press release

09|2015 - 12|2015       Volunteer dog walker | Dierenbescherming, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
12|2014 - 06|2016       Volunteer at an animal shelter | Dierenasiel en pension 't Julialaantje, Rijswijk, The Netherlands.


2024       Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund, Princeton University ($100,000)
2022       Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University
2016       Dean's Merit Award, Harvard Graduate School of Design ($20,000)

2016       Dr Hendrik Muller Vaderlandsch Fonds (€5,000)


2022       "Bio-inspired engineering. Engineering, biology, art and design", EXPLO Engineering, June 30 and July 28, 2022
2022       "ResilientHub: building resilience through a new design paradigm"
                IBPSA (International Building Performance Simulation Association) - Boston Chapter, March 29, 2022