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Jack Lesko

Director of Engineering Research

Jack Lesko is the director of engineering research at the Roux Institute. He is also a professor in Northeastern’s College of Engineering, in the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership.  

Lesko helps build the institute’s engineering research enterprise, focusing on industry partnerships, translational research, and technology development to grow the technology economy in Portland, throughout Maine, and across the Northeast.

Lesko came to the Roux Institute from Virginia Tech, where he was the Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Mechanical Engineering.  His research and development work focused on materials development and manufacturing, and his work contributed to new composite technologies for highway bridges, desalination membranes, and components in extreme environments. He also served at Virginia Tech as the associate dean for research and graduate studies and as a special assistant to the vice president of research. In September 2021, he was honored by Virginia Tech with the title of professor emeritus of mechanical engineering.

An entrepreneur himself, Lesko co-founded PowerHub Systems, an energy storage company acquired by Fermata Energy. He was a co-principal investigator for the NSF I-Corps Mid-Atlantic Regional Node (DC I-Corps). He uses his startup experience to help other companies innovate their products and businesses to address customer pain points and value propositions. 

He earned his PhD and Master of Science in engineering mechanics from Virginia Tech and his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Lesko lives in Portland, ME and loves anything water-related. He particularly enjoys coast sailing, diving, swimming, and fishing.

Research Overview

Lesko’s research and development work focuses on designing and creating new materials, and manufacturing methods and systems for products addressing societal needs. He also engages in physics-based and data analytic-driven designs, manufactured materials, and systems for increased durability and sustainably, that are safer, more efficient for their environments, and more suitable for their intended lifespan. His more recent work features advanced additive manufacturing and supply chain systems; he’s collaborating with several Maine companies to scope and develop opportunities to automate and digitalize how to build resilience and increase capacity in their manufacturing processes. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Polymer Physics, Mechanics, and Interdisciplinary Material System Design/Characterization
  • Design and Advanced Manufacturing of Polymeric Multifunctional Composites, Metals and Polymer Materials and Their Structural design, Durability, and Reliability
  • Renewable Energy Storage and Smart Grid Technologies
  • Building Energy Efficiency, Design and Constrction


  • B. Vondrasek, C. Wen, S. Cheng, J. Riffle, J. Lesko, “Hydration, Ion Distribution, and Ionic Network Formation in Sulfonated Poly(arylene ether sulfones).” Macromolecules 2021, 54, 1, 302–315.
  • S. R. Choudhury, O. Lane, D. Kazerooni, G. S. Narang, E. Soung Jang, B. D. Freeman, J. J. Lesko, and J. S. Riffle. “Synthesis and characterization of post-sulfonated poly (arylene ether sulfone) membranes for potential applications in water desalination.” Polymer (2019).
  • R. M., Joseph, M. M. Merrick, R. Liu, A. C. Fraser, J. D. Moon, S. R. Choudhury, J. Lesko, B. D. Freeman, and J. S. Riffle. “Synthesis and characterization of polybenzimidazole membranes for gas separation with improved gas permeability: A grafting and blending approach.” Journal of Membrane Science 564 (2018): 587-597.
  • Cvetkovic, Igor, Timothy Thacker, Dong Dong, Gerald Francis, Vladimir Podosinov, Dushan Boroyevich, Fred Wang, Rolando Burgos, Glenn Skutt, and John Lesko. “Future home uninterruptible renewable energy system with vehicle-to-grid technology.” In 2009 IEEE Energy conversion congress and exposition, pp. 2675-2681. IEEE, 2009.
  • Post, N. L., S. W. Case, and J. J. Lesko. “Modeling the variable amplitude fatigue of composite materials: A review and evaluation of the state of the art for spectrum loading.” International Journal of Fatigue 30, no. 12 (2008): 2064-2086.
  • Hayes, Michael D., Don Ohanehi, John J. Lesko, Thomas E. Cousins, and Dan Witcher. “Performance of tube and plate fiberglass composite bridge deck.” Journal of Composites for Construction 4, no. 2 (2000): 48-55.
  • Read more on Google Scholar

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