Iwnetim Abate

Chipman Career Development Professor, Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Contact Info

Office Phone: 617-253-3311
Office: 13-5094
Website/Lab: Abate Lab


Assistant Name: Kathryn Simons
Assistant Email: kesimons@mit.edu
Assistant Phone: 617-452-3499


Working at the nexus of electrochemistry, condensed matter physics and materials chemistry, Professor Iwnetim Abate and researchers at the Abate Lab manipulate electrons and spins in layered materials—oxides, two-dimensional materials, and their heterostructures—to develop next-generation batteries, catalysis/sensing platforms, and materials for neuromorphic and quantum computing. They aim to achieve mechanistic understanding from atom to system level using theory, computation, and experiment. They apply computational tools to accurately interpret experimental results. Experiments involve synthesis and characterization at the material and device levels using electrochemical, electron, optical, and X-ray characterization techniques.

The Abate Lab aims to develop materials and devices for two grand challenges: climate change and energy accessibility. Global energy transition to renewables is indispensable to combat these challenges and ultimately ensure the continuity of life on earth. Electrochemistry and materials play a significant role in enabling the energy transition. To ensure an equitable and sustainable energy transition, the group will focus on discovering high-performance, low-cost, sustainable, and environmentally friendly materials.


Professor Abate earned a BS in physics at Minnesota State University Moorehead in 2015, an MS in materials science and engineering at Stanford University in 2018, and a PhD at Stanford in 2021. His PhD focused on designing high-performance materials for lithium-ion and sodium-ion batteries and elucidating their reaction mechanism. Before joining Stanford, he was a researcher at IBM Alamden, working on metal-air batteries, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, on hybrid perovskite solar cells. He was also Miller and Presidential Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, working on layered materials for application in computing, catalysis, and sensing.
Professor Abate is also a co-founder and president of a nonprofit organization, SciFro, working to empower youth in African and underrepresented communities in the US to solve local problems through scientific research and innovation. The organization is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, National Science Foundation, American Physical Society, and others. 

Awards & Honors

Talented 12, Chemical & Engineering News
Daniel Cubicciotti Award, Electrochemical Society
Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley
Miller Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley
First place in the national college entrance exam from more than 200 high schools in Ethiopia