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Akash Garg

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Akash graduated with a B.Tech from IIT Guwahati in 2007 and an MS from Purdue University in 2013 . After a few years in industry, working as a thermal and fluid sciences engineer, he decided to head back to school to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Interested in anything at the intersection of biology and engineering, he is currently working on developing artificial cardiac tissue, co-advised by Prof. LeDuc and Prof. Ozdoganlar.

 

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Andrés Arias-Rosales

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Arias graduated first in class with the highest honors from the B.A. in Product Design Engineering from Universidad EAFIT (Colombia, 2014). During his undergraduate studies, he developed a concentrating photovoltaic system for Primavera, the first Colombian solar vehicle, which was awarded at a national level and traversed close to 3,000 km of Australian deserts. He graduated first in class from the Master’s Degree in Engineering (Universidad EAFIT, 2017), and his research thesis received the highest honor. Arias has been researching in renewable energies for more than seven years, including high and low concentrating photovoltaics and wind turbines inspired by the flippers of humpback whales. With a Fulbright scholarship, Arias started his Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering (Carnegie Mellon University, 2018) with Professor Philip LeDuc as his main advisor. His current research interests range in the intersections between renewable energies, artificial intelligence, biomimicry, and behavioral economics. In particular, Arias is exploring the potential of implementing Swarm Intelligence in autonomously self-adapting populations of solar harvesting devices. He is also analyzing how societies react to technological growth paradigms that pose potential long-term existential risks, such as with anthropogenic climate change and hypothetical general artificial intelligence.

 

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Andrés García

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Andrés García graduated earned his B.E. in Mechatronics Engineering from ITESM (Mexico, 2019). During his undergraduate studies, he did a yearlong research internship at Harvard Medical School under Professor Yu Shrike Zhang, where he did work on organ-on-chip systems and bioprinting. With a Fulbright scholarship, Andrés started his Ph.D. program in Mechanical Engineering (Carnegie Mellon University, 2021) with Professor Philip LeDuc as his main advisor. Andrés' current research interests lie in the intersection of regenerative medicine, robotics, and additive manufacturing.

 

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Ernest Kabuye

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Ernest earned his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University and Tufts University in 2017. He is now part of the IDI group being co-advised by Dr. Jonathan Cagan and Dr. Philip LeDuc. His research interests include the intersection of Augmented Reality and Healthcare Delivery.

 

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Latifah Almaghrabi

PhD Student, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Latifah graduated from Georgia Tech in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. She is proud to have been an initiating board member of the Hive, Georgia Tech's Electronics Makerspace, from 2017 to 2018. She received a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from KAUST in 2020. She joined the Photonics Laboratory, where she studied the electrical characteristics of lower-dimensional materials during her master's. Currently, she is a dual ECE Ph.D. student at CMU and the University of Aveiro. Latifah is co-advised by Professor LeDuc from CMU and Professor Paula Marques and Professor Pedro Fonseca from the University of Aveiro. Her research focuses on developing a neural implant for spinal cord injuries.

 

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Mark DeAngelis

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Mark graduated from Youngstown State University (YSU) in 2021 with a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics, both as an Honors Scholar with Distinction and summa cum laude. While at YSU, he was the President of the YSU Robotics Club, which primarily focused on building a lunar rover for the NASA Lunabotics Competition with a multidisciplinary team. His contribution to the rover - the design and optimization of a kinematically-actuated digging system - was the culmination of eight years of experience working in robotics since being a member of FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2010 in high school. Additionally, because of his undergraduate academic and leadership achievement, he was awarded the YSU PIN Award, which is given to only five graduating seniors annually. Now, as a first-year PhD student who is co-advised by Dr. Philip LeDuc and Dr. Warren Ruder, he is interested in research at the intersection of robotics and biology.

 

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Nolan Frey

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Nolan Graduated from Denison University in 2017 with a BS in biochemistry. Nolan is currently in his 3rd year, jointly advised by Phil LeDuc and Jon Minden. He is interested in utilizing novel microtechnologies to research how biological systems sense and respond to mechanical force. His current work investigates the role of mechanotransduction during embryogenesis using Drosophila as a model.

 

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Nolen Keeys

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Nolen received his B.S. in Engineering with a concentration in Biomedical Engineering from Robert Morris University (RMU) in 2018, and his M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 2020. While attending RMU, he conducted research to optimize reverse stemless shoulder prosthetic geometry, using finite element analysis, as an approach to decrease the risk of postoperative subluxation. During his M.S. at CMU, he worked in collaboration with the company Lifeware Labs to develop wireless, low-profile, flexible, wearable devices for human motion tracking, leveraging rapid prototyping techniques such as 3D printing. The devices he developed at Lifeware Labs are being used in clinical studies. Now as a Ph.D. student, Nolen is conducting research in the field of haptics to develop a thin, wearable, magnetic skin for tactile sensing. Nolen is a GEM fellow and co-advised by Dr. Philip LeDuc and Dr. Carmel Majidi.

 

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Richard Desatnik

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Richard graduated summa cum laude from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Military Science. While at UA, he worked on biomedical engineering projects for Akron Children's Hospital under the autonomous systems lab (ASL). His work included creating a wireless operating room for telemedical applications and an AI pediatric blood calculator that used an expert system to determine optimal blood testing. Richard is currently serving as a Cyber Warfare officer for the Ohio Army National Guard, where he leads offensive and defensive operations for the state of Ohio. He is co-advised by Dr. Philip LeDuc and Dr. Carmel Majidi. Richard's current research focuses on soft robotics systems with SMA actuators.

 

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Rudy Torres

PhD, Mechanical Engineering

Rudy is a proud Mexican-Texan-American and he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in the end of Spring 2014. Before graduating Rudy worked in undergraduate research at UT Austin where he developed a mathematical model of asphalt as a solar collector which earned him the Longhorn Scholars Undergraduate Research Scholarship and helped him become one of the sixty out of over twelve thousand applicants to be selected for the NASA Johnson Space Center Undergraduate Research Internship. In December 2013, Rudy was selected as one of the seventeen UT students to be in Business Insider’s “17 Incredibly Impressive Students at the University of Texas” article. After graduation, Rudy worked in the industry for two years on the research and development of state-of-the-art nanomaterials for high capacity lithium ion batteries. Currently, Rudy is studying the electrochemical pathways of the energy conversion processes inside cell mitochondria as a method for developing synthetic organic catalysts for carbohydrate fuel cells. He is collaborating with Dr. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski to develop methods for synthesizing electrochemically active polymers that efficiently mimic the active ends of enzymes and co-enzymes involved in the reduction of monosaccharides and lipids in the Kreb’s Cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation processes of cell respiration.

 

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Stephen Coyle

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Coyle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from Claflin University in 2016. While at CU his research focus was on characterizing the passive mechanical response of porcine vessels to find the best graft for coronary bypass procedure. Since 2016, Coyle has been a PhD student co-advised by Dr. Phil LeDuc and Dr. Jimmy Hsia. His research interests involve studying the mechanics of muscle cell-laden microstructures. His focus is to understand how microscale topographies control cell-substrate interface and what control methods have precise control over muscle cell-based actuation. The approach will be to develop novel bio-hybrid microsystems that address any current technological or scientific issues.

 

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Susana Beltrán

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Susana graduated from Southwestern University (SU) with a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a minor in Mathematics in May 2018. While at SU, she was involved in many interdisciplinary projects in astronomy, renewable energy, agricultural robotics, and electronics. During her undergraduate career, Susana interned twice at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, CO. There, she worked with the Magnetics Imaging Group in the development of instrumentation and metrology for low magnetic field bio-imaging. Later, she worked with the Quantum Nanophotonics Group and JILA in the development of entangled two-photon absorption fluorescence microscopy. Susana is a GEM Fellow and a NSF GRFP recipient. She is co-advised by Dr. Philip LeDuc and Dr. Rebecca Taylor. Susana's current research focuses on the calibration and characterization of nanoscale force sensors.

 

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Utku Sönmez

PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering

Utku received his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering with first class honors from Istanbul Technical University (iTÜ) in 2016. The same year, he was awarded a scholarship from Turkish Education Foundation (TEV) for his master studies. His undergraduate research about circulating cancer cell detection from blood samples in microfluidic systems (patent-pending) was awarded as Best Senior Design Project in mechanical engineering department, second place in Best Undergraduate Research Competition of ITU ARI Teknokent (out of >1000 projects), and selected as finalist at Best Student Paper Competition of SB3C Conference.

He is currently working on migratory behaviors of cytotoxic immune cells and their interactions with cancer cells in spatiotemporally controlled tumor microenvironments using microfluidic techniques for the immunotherapy of cancer through a collaboration with Dr. Lance Davidson from the Department of Bioengineering, and Drs. Pawel Kalínski and Greg Delgoffe from the Department of Immunology at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

He is also studying mechanotransduction in embryonic development using Drosophila melanogaster as model organism through a collaboration with Ardon Shorr and Dr. John Minden from Biological Sciences Department of Carnegie Mellon University. In this project, he is developing novel experimental microsystems to mechanically and chemically stimulate large quantities of embryos in a reproducible way, enabling application of state-of-art proteomic technologies to map all the mechanosensitive proteins in the whole organism.

Lastly, He is researching endothelial cell response to physiological blood shear stress and its gradients with a focus on the effects of pathological mechanosensing to vascular malformations. In this project, he is co-advised by Dr. Beth Roman from Human Genetics Department of University of Pittsburgh.

In his free time, he enjoys talking about himself in the third person.