People

   

Principal Investigator

Tommaso Lenzi, PhD

Biography    Tommaso Lenzi received the MS degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Pisa in 2008, and the Ph.D. degree in BioRobotics from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in 2013. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah, a Core Faculty in the Utah Robotics Center, and the Director of the Ergonomics and Safety Program at the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Previously, he was Research Scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (2015-2016), and a Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University (2013-2014). He is a member of IEEE, the Robotics and Automation Society (RAS), and the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society(EMBS). Dr. Lenzi has co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific publications, three book chapters, and 13 patents. He serves as Associate Editor for IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, the International Conferences on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), and Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BIOROB). His main research interests include robotics, mechatronics, and rehabilitation medicine with a major emphasis on the design and control of wearable robots for human assistance and rehabilitation. Outside academia he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, playing soccer, riding his Ducati, and playing his Gibson Studio.

Research   My research focuses on the intersection of robotics, design, control, and biomechanics. My primary research interests are related to optimizing the dynamics of human-robot cooperation within the context of physical disability. I aim to discover novel transformative design and control solutions that will allow individuals with physical disabilities to recover natural movement ability at home and in the community. Rather than focusing on the impaired biological counterpart and trying to imitate its mechanics with a non-biological device, my research explores non-biomimetic solutions that can build upon the residual, non-impaired abilities of a person, while leveraging on the strengths of artificial technologies such as mechanism, sensors, and feedback control.

Teaching   Fall 2017/Fall 2018: Dynamic Systems and Control (ME EN 3220) Spring 2018/Fall 2020: Wearable Robotics (ME EN 7960-004) Spring 2019/Spring 2020: Advanced Mechatronics (ME EN 6240)

Research Scientist

Lukas Gabert, Ph.D.

Lukas Gabert received his bachelor’s degree from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 2016 and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah in 2022. Lukas has extensive experience in the design, development, and testing of wearable robots. His passion lies at the intersection of mechanical design, embedded systems, and controls.  Outside of academia, he likes to spend time outdoors, travel, and eat tasty food.

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Postdoctoral Scholars

Rosemarie Murray, Ph.D.

Rosemarie Murray received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2016 and her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2022 both from Columbia University, where she developed new designs for powered exoskeletons for postural control. In addition to robotics, she maintains an active interest in dance, martial arts, and somatic movement.

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Ph.D. Students

Dante Archangeli

Dante Archangeli is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student. He graduated from Yale University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, after which he collaborated on many early-stage medical devices, consumer products, and kinetic sculptures as a Design Fellow at the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design. His interests in medical devices, industrial design, and robotics spurred him to join the Bionic Engineering Lab in the fall of 2019. His other interests include building community and backcountry rock climbing.
Email: Dante(dot)Archangeli(at)utah(dot)edu
   

Marissa Cowan

Marissa Cowan is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student in the Bionic Engineering Lab at the University of Utah. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Illinois in 2022. During her undergraduate studies, she interned at PSYONIC, a prosthetic company that designs and manufactures upper-limb prosthetics. There, she discovered her passion for helping others through engineering life-changing devices. Outside of the lab, Marissa enjoys climbing, mountain biking, and snowboarding.

     

Andy Gunnell

Andy Gunnell is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering, who joined the Bionic Engineering Lab in 2019 as an undergraduate research student after winning a UROP scholarship and received his B.S. degree from the University of Utah in 2020. Andy’s research focuses on studying wearable robotics and exoskeletons and their biomechanical effects on lower-limb amputees and stroke victims. After completing his Master’s, Andy plans on pursuing a Ph.D. with the lab. Outside of work, Andy enjoys fishing, golfing, watching sports, and playing video games.

Email: Andy(dot)Gunnell(at)utah(dot)edu Google Scholar    

Sarah Hood

Sarah Hood is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate in the Bionic Engineering Lab at the University of Utah. She received her Master of Science from the University of Utah in May 2020 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University. During her undergraduate career, she interned at the Texas A&M Motion Biomechanics Laboratory where her desire to work at the intersection of engineering and the medical field began. Sarah’s specific projects include a biomechanics analysis of lower limb amputees for building a database, improving the control strategy for the Utah Lightweight Leg, and understanding the effects of the Utah Lightweight Leg on the mobility of lower limb amputees. Sarah is passionate about using technology to restore mobility and improve the quality of life of individuals. Outside of the lab, she enjoys the surrounding area for all of its activities, including biking, climbing, and skiing.

Email: Sarah(dot)hood(at)utah(dot)edu

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Grace Hunt

Grace Hunt is a Mechanical engineering Ph.D. student in the Bionic Engineering Lab. She graduated in 2018 with a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah and joined the Bionic Engineering lab in 2019. Before grad school, Grace worked in a motion capture lab at the U for 5 years researching changes in gait and balance. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, knitting, and spending time with her dog.

Email: grace(dot)hunt(at)utah(dot)edu

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Joel Mendez

Joel is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah. Originally from Texas, he earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin in 2017. After a year out in the industry, he decided to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Utah. There he joined the Bionic Engineering Lab where he currently works on developing an adaptive controller for lower limb prostheses. Hobbies include running, cooking, hiking, and comics.

Email: joel(dot)mendez(at)utah(dot)edu Google Scholar    

Brendon Ortolano

Brendon is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student in the Bionic Engineering Lab. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of West Florida in 2021. During his undergraduate education, he interned at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, where he had the opportunity to develop hardware and software for the Quix exoskeleton and novel perception, mapping, and tracking methods for humanoid robots, rovers, and watercraft. Brendon’s interests include the design, control, and validation of lower-limb powered exoskeletons for disabled populations. Outside of academia, he likes to boulder, hike, and watch movies.

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Liam Sullivan

     

Sergei Sarkisian

Sergei Sarkisian is a Ph.D. candidate in Mechanical Engineering who joined the Bionic Engineering Lab in 2017. Originally from Armenia, he immigrated to the United States in 2013. Sergei received a B.S. in 2018 (Magna Cum Laude) and an M.S. in 2021 from the University of Utah. Sergei specializes in the mechanical design of exoskeletons, series-elastic actuation, controls, biomechanics, and ergonomics. Passionate about his research, Sergei is applying his knowledge and skills towards contributing to state-of-the-art and bringing wearable robotic devices one step closer to being used in the real world. Outside of school, Sergei is a competitive tennis player.

Email: sergei(dot)sarkisian(at)utah(dot)edu

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Minh Tran

Minh Tran is a PhD candidate in the Bionic Engineering Lab at the University of Utah. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, where he also worked at NREL Lab on the development of a powered hip exoskeleton. His current interests include the mechanism and design of lightweight, efficient devices with variable transmission systems to improve human locomotion. Outside of work, Minh enjoys reading and traveling.

Email: minhquang(dot)tran(at)utah(dot)edu

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Sam Westgard

Sam Westgard is a PhD student in the Bionic Engineering Lab at the University of Utah. Sam received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University and graduated with great distinction. He is interested in the design and control of wearable robotic devices and will be responsible for developing a novel robotic ankle prosthesis in the Bionic Engineering Lab. Previously, Sam worked as an R&D co-op engineer and as an engineering intern for Parker Hannifin’s Human Motion and Control business unit. At Parker, he was responsible for the R&D of wearable robotic devices and gained valuable industry experience and exposure to devices such as the Indego Exoskeleton, a powered exoskeleton used for stroke and spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Sam also developed various cycle testing fixtures that replicate human gait and has a pending patent for a fixture that he co-invented. In his free time, Sam enjoys biking, rock climbing, and exploring the outdoors.

Email: Sam(dot)Westgard(at)utah(dot)edu    

Master Students

Suzi Creveling 

Suzi Creveling is an undergraduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Utah. She is currently working towards her BS/MS degree in Mechanical Engineering. She joined the Bionic Engineering Lab in Spring 2021 as an undergraduate researcher. Her academic interests include biomechanics, motion capture, wearable robotics, and helping those living with mobility disabilities. Her research focuses on understanding the biomechanics of ankle movement from the Utah Lightweight Leg during stair ambulation. Suzi is originally from Salt Lake City and enjoys skiing, camping, hiking, and golfing in her free time.

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Kai Pruyn

Kai Pruyn is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah. She joined the Bionic Engineering Lab after participating in the ACCESS program for women in STEM. Her interests are in the design and function of prosthetic devices. Kai is originally from Reno, Nevada, and enjoys biking, swimming, and reading when she has free time.

     

Collaborators

Kenneth Bo Foreman, PT, Ph.D. (Co-Director, Motion Analysis Core, University of Utah)

Kenneth “Bo” Foreman received his B.S. in Physical Therapy in 1994 and his Ph.D. in Anatomy in 2005 from the University of Utah. As a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Orthopaedics and Mechanical Engineering, and as the Director of the Motion Analysis Core Facility (MoCap), Dr. Foreman has led multiple studies analyzing balance, postural control, and clinical outcome measures as a means of documenting alterations or improvements in movement and function. His background is in biomechanical analyses of movement and a variety of clinical populations prepares me well for this project.

K. Bo FOREMAN, PhD, PT – Research – Faculty Profile – The University of Utah


Jake George, Ph.D. (Director, NeuroRobotics Lab, University of Utah)

Jacob Anthony George portrait

Jacob A. George received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and a Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin in 2016. George graduated with Highest Honors and was the sole recipient of the Biomedical Engineering Student Leadership Award for his contributions to his department as President of the Biomedical Engineering Honor Society. He then received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah in 2018 and 2020, respectively. At Utah, George served as the Co-President of the Graduate Student Advisory Committee and Inaugural President of the IEEE Engineering Medicine and Biology Student Chapter.


 

Alumni

Marshall Ishmael, PhD
Connelly Buchanan, MS
Sarvenaz Chaeibakhsh, PhD
Sharath Patlolla, MS