Graduate Catalog
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Engineering Mechanics
College of Engineering
Academics and engineering adtninistration. Formerly called Engineering Building. Southwest wing completed Spring 1960; cost $377,983; North wing, joining Holden Hall, completed Summer 1962; cost $529,100. Total building contains 72,375 sq. ft. Named after Earle Bertram Norris (1882-1966) who was Dean of the School of Engineering from 1928 to 1952 and Director of the Engineering Experiment Station from 1932 to 1952.
333 Norris Hall Blacksburg VA 24061
Norris Hall
Degree(s) Offered:
• MS
MS Degree in Engineering Mechanics
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
• MEng
MEng Degree in Engineering Mechanics
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
• PhD
PhD Degree in Engineering Mechanics
Minimum GPA: 3.0
Offered In:
Email Contact(s):
Web Resource(s):
Phone Number(s):
Application Deadlines:
Fall: Jan 15
Spring: Aug 13
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Interim Department Head : Stefan Duma
Graduate Program Director(s) : Mark Stremler (Graduate Chair of Engineering Mechanics), Renee Cloyd (Graduate Coordinator of Engineering Mechanics)
Emeriti Faculty: Norman Dowling; John Duke; John Grant; Zafer Gurdal; Muhammad Hajj; Scott Hendricks; Dr. Edmund Henneke; Robert Jones; Luther Kraige; Ronald Kriz; Kenneth Reifsnider; Mahendra Singh; Demetrios Telionis
Professors: Romesh Batra; Jonathan Black; Jeffrey Borggaard; Scott Case; Raffaella De Vita; David Dillard; Thomas Dingus (Newport News); Stefan Duma; Robert Gourdie (VTCRI); Rakesh Kapania; Roop Mahajan; Steven McKnight (National Capital Region); Rolf Mueller; Alexey Onufriev; Mark Paul; Rui Qiao; Robin Queen; Saad Ragab; Thanassis Rikakis; Shane Ross; David Schmale; Gary Seidel; John Socha; Mark Stremler; Danesh Tafti; Saied Taheri; Pamela VandeVord; Jennifer Wayne; Craig Woolsey
Associate Professors: Nicole Abaid; Bahareh Behkam; Jonathan Boreyko; Michael Bortner; John Chappell (VTCRI); Zachary Doerzaph; Hosein Foroutan; Yao Fu; Christine Gilbert; Scott Huxtable; Yong Lee; Suyi Li; Majid Manteghi; James McClure; Jennifer Munson; Michelle Olsen; Miguel Perez; Steven Poelzing (VTCRI); Steven Rowson; Anne Staples; Costin Untaroiu; Vincent Wang; Robert West
Assistant Professors: Alan Asbeck; Oumar Barry; Caitlyn Collins; John Domann; Netta Gurari; Aiguo Han; Sohan Kale; Justin Kauffman (Northern Virginia); Oleg Kim; Arina Korneva; John Palmore; LaDeidra Roberts; Shima Shahab; Alexandrina Untaroiu; Eli Vlaisavljevich
Clifton C. Garvin Professor: Romesh Batra
Reynolds Metal Professor: Scott Case
Adhesive & Sealant Science Professor: David Dillard
John R. Jones III Faculty Fellow: Bahareh Behkam; Jonathan Boreyko; Rui Qiao
Norris and Laura Mitchell Professor of Aerospace Engineering: Rakesh Kapania
Kevin P. Granata Faculty Fellowship: Robin Queen
Harry C. Wyatt Professor, ICTAS Director: Stefan Duma
N. Waldo Harrison Professor: Pamela VandeVord
Newport News Shipbuilding Professor: Thomas Dingus (Newport News)
Kendall and Laura Hendrick Junior Faculty Fellow: Eli Vlaisavljevich
William S. Cross Professor: Danesh Tafti
Lewis A. Hester Chair In Engineering: Roop Mahajan
Professor of Practice: Andre Muelenaer
Samuel Herrick Professor: John Socha

Engineering Mechanics Introduction

The Engineering Mechanics (EM) program provides a strong foundation and interdisciplinary framework for the discovery, development, transfer, and implementation of knowledge in the areas of mechanics of materials and material systems, fluid mechanics, dynamics and vibration, biomechanics, and computational and experimental methods. The Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM), home to the EM program, is fully committed to providing an educational environment that emphasizes fundamental understanding, high-quality teaching, frontier-level research, innovation, and service to the professional mechanics community.

The four core research areas of our program are:

·       Biomechanics (right click for biomechanics research information)

·       Dynamics and Control (right click for dynamics and control research information)

·       Fluid Mechanics (right click for fluid mechanics research information)

·       Solid Mechanics (right click for solid mechanics research information)

Instilling EM graduates with a rigorous background and a highly flexible professional perspective enables them to pursue successful careers in a variety of engineering industries, in research environments, and in higher education. Engineering Mechanics graduates teach and conduct research in academic departments across the nation and around the world; start up, lead, and work in a breadth of domestic and international companies and government laboratories; serve as science and technology advisors to local, regional, and federal agencies; hold leadership positions in professional societies; and actively promote the role and value of engineering science in the technological competitiveness of the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation.


Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • iBT
      • 90.0

MS thesis option

Students pursuing the MS thesis degree option must complete at least 30 credit hours, including at least 21 graded course credit hours and satisfactorily prepare and defend a master’s thesis. The final transcript will designate the degree as thesis.

The MS thesis option must satisfy the following requirements:

  • ESM 5014 Introduction to Continuum Mechanics (3 credits)
  • One ESM 5xxx/6xxx course in two of the following three areas: dynamics, solid mechanics, or fluid mechanics (3 credits in each area, for a total of 6 credits)
  • One course satisfying the mathematics requirement (3 credits)
  • Graded elective courses (at least 9 credits)
  • ESM 5994 Research and Thesis (at least 6 credits)

MS students must also pass at least two credit hours of 5944 Seminar during two separate semesters. These seminar credits are not included on the Plan of Study.

The MS Plan of Study may contain a combination of 5xxx and 6xxx-level courses and a maximum of six (6) hours of approved 4xxx-level courses.

A minimum of 12 course credits must be labeled ESM (not including 5944 or 5994).

A maximum of six (6) credit hours of independent study (IS) or special study (SS) courses can be used to complete the Plan of Study, with the total for both IS and SS courses not exceeding six (6) hours.

MS non-thesis option

Students pursuing the MS non thesis degree option must complete at least 30 graded course credit hours and satisfactorily pass a comprehensive oral examination. The final transcript will designate the degree as non thesis.

The MS non-thesis option Plan of Study must include at least 30 credit hours that satisfy the following requirements:

  • ESM 5014 Introduction to Continuum Mechanics (3 credits)
  • Two ESM 5xxx/6xxx courses in two of the following areas: dynamics, solid mechanics, or fluid mechanics (3 credits in each area, for a total of 6 credits)
  • One course satisfying the mathematics requirement (3 credits)
  • Graded elective courses (at least 18 credits)

MS students must also pass at least two credit hours of 5944 Seminar during two separate semesters. These seminar credits are not included on the Plan of Study.

The MS Plan of Study may contain a combination of 5xxx and 6xxx-level courses and a maximum of six (6) hours of approved 4xxx-level courses.

A minimum of 12 course credits must be labeled ESM (not including 5944 or 5994).

A maximum of six (6) credit hours of independent study (IS) or special study (SS) courses can be used to complete the Plan of Study, with the total for both IS and SS courses not exceeding six (6) hours.

Please refer to the EM Graduate Manual on for details regarding all degree requirements.

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • iBT
      • 90.0

Master of Engineering (MEng)

This program is oriented toward engineering practice instead of fundamental research, teaching or further study. This degree is intended to increase the competence of students who are interested in design, development, operation, and engineering practice.

Students pursuing the MEng degree option must complete at least 30 credit hours and satisfactorily prepare and defend an engineering project report. The purpose of the project report is to develop and demonstrate the candidate's ability to plan and execute projects relating to the practice of engineering.

The MEng option Plan of Study must include at least 30 credit hours that satisfy the following requirements:

  • ESM 5014 Introduction to Continuum Mechanics (3 credits)
  • Two ESM 5xxx/6xxx courses in two of the following areas: dynamics, solid mechanics, or fluid mechanics (3 credits in each area, for a total of 6 credits)
  • One course satisfying the mathematics requirement (3 credits)
  • Graded elective courses (at least 15 credits)
  • ESM 5904 Project and Report (3 credits)

MEng students must also pass at least two credit hours of 5944 Seminar during two separate semesters. These seminar credits are not included on the Plan of Study.

The MEng Plan of Study may contain a combination of 5xxx and 6xxx-level courses and a maximum of six (6) hours of approved 4xxx-level courses.

A minimum of 12 course credits must be labeled ESM (not including 5944 or 5994).

A maximum of six (6) credit hours of independent study (IS) or special study (SS) courses can be used to complete the Plan of Study, with the total for both IS and SS courses not exceeding six (6) hours.

Please refer to the EM Graduate Manual on for details regarding all degree requirements.

Offered In (Blacksburg)

Degree Requirements

Minimum GPA: 3.0
Institution code: 5859
Testing Requirements:
    • iBT
      • 90.0

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Students must earn a minimum of 90 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. A Master’s degree is not required for admission to the program.

Core Courses

  • ESM 5014: Intro to Continuum Mechanics (3 credits)
  • ESM 5314: Intermediate Dynamics (3 credits)
  • ESM 5024: Intro to Solid Mechanics (3 credits)
  • ESM 5054: Intro to Fluid Mechanics (3 credits)
  • ESM 5004: Scientific Communication in Engineering Mechanics (2 credits)

Math Courses

  • MATH 5000-6000 level courses (3 credits). See EM Graduate Manual for approved Math courses.

ESM Courses

  • Additional ESM coursework, ESM 5000-6000 level courses  (6 credits). See EM Graduate Manual for approved courses.

Additional Coursework

  • 5000-6000 level courses that support area of doctoral research (12 hours)


  • ESM 5944 (Minimum of 4, one-credit hour seminars) (4 credits)

Program-specific credits from above: 39 hours

Additional Coursework

  • Agreed upon by student and advisory committee: 21 hours of coursework, research or combination of the two

Dissertation Research

  • ESM 7994 (Research/Thesis) (30 hours)

Minimum Total Credits: 90

The PhD Plan of Study may contain a combination of 5xxx and 6xxx-level courses and a maximum of six (6) hours of approved 4xxx-level courses.

A maximum of three (3) credit hours of independent study (IS) can be used to complete the Plan of Study.

Please refer to the EM Graduate Manual on for details regarding all degree requirements.

Engineering Mechanics Facilities Introduction

The Engineering Mechanics graduate program has well-equipped research and teaching facilities on the Blacksburg campus for each of the supported research areas.  Approximately 40,000 square feet of space supports program activities in Norris Hall, Kelly Hall, and several of the surrounding buildings.  

Engineering Mechanics research groups include:

To view an up-to-date list all of faculty affiliated with the Engineering Mechanics program and their associated groups and facilities, visit

Adhesion Mechanics Laboratory:  David Dillard, PI

The Adhesion Mechanics Laboratory focuses on the mechanical behavior of polymeric materials and components, with a special emphasis on the fracture behavior and durability of adhesive bonds.  Using fracture mechanics, viscoelasticity, and stress analysis tools, the group has been involved in a variety of federally and industrially-funded research programs to characterize behavior, develop constitutive relationships, and predict damage and durability response.  Of recent interest has been adhesive bond fracture studies for automotive applications, fuel cell durability test methods and assessments, and characterization of adhesives, sealants, hydrogels, and membranes for a range of applications. (right click for Dr. Dillard's faculty page)  

Applied Interdisciplinary Research on Flow Systems (AIRFlowS) Lab: Hosein Foroutan, PI

In the AIRFlowS Lab we study a wide range of environmental, geophysical, and biological flow systems that are diverse in nature, scale, and physics. With a synergistic blend of numerical simulations, theory, experiments, and observations we characterize the transport of momentum, energy, and pollutants (chemicals, pathogens, allergens, and toxins) in these systems. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and integrates the knowledge of fluid dynamics, computational mechanics, atmospheric and environmental sciences, and aerosol sciences. (right click for website)

The Batra Group: Romesh Batra, PI

The Batra Computational Mechanics Laboratory specializes in the development of mathematical and computational models of nonlinear multi-physics phenomena that involve interactions among thermal, mechanical, viscous and electrical effects in elastic (e.g., rubber like, and biological materials), elastic-plastic (e.g., ceramics, metals, polymers), and thermo-elasto-visco-plastic materials under extreme loads such as those caused by improvised explosive devices, thermal shocks (e.g., high-power lasers), and slamming of a boat into water (i.e., fluid-structure interaction).  The group studies the initiation and progression of damage and failure in monolithic and composites including sandwich structures with fiber-reinforced face sheets and functionally graded materials/structures. For functionally graded structures, the group specializes in inverse problems of determining microstructures (e.g., spatial variation of material properties such as Young’s modulus, Poisson’s ratio, volume fractions of two or more constituents) to achieve a desired state of stress distribution in the structure. (right click for website)

Bioinspired Science and Technology Group: Rolf Mueller, PI

Dr. Mueller's research group seeks to develop solutions for sensing in complex natural environments, e.g., to enable drones that are capable of autonomous navigation in complex natural environments. To achieve this, the flight and biosonar behavior of bats is studied in Borneo with high-speed camera and ultrasonic microphone arrays. The insights from the work are then used in the design of biomimetic soft-robots and matching deep learning paradigms to replicate the bats' abilities. (right click for website)

Hard Tissue Biomechanics and Computational Mechanobiology: Caitlyn Collins, PI

The Collins lab integrates non-invasive imaging methods with experimental mechanics and computational modeling in order to develop clinically applicable tools to monitor bone integrity, fracture risk, and fracture healing in patients. Through this, the lab aims to better understand and model how the mechanobiological pathways in bone modulate its structure and physiology from cell to organ scale, and how diseases and treatments perturb this system. (right click for website)

Combustion, Atomization, & Multiphase Physics Research & Education (CAMPhyRE): John Palmore, Jr., PI

The CAMPhyRE Group focuses on better understanding the physics of turbulent multiphase fluid flows as well as the education of students in such flows. The group develops high-fidelity numerical methods to study turbulent multiphase flows with special emphasis on flows in aviation gas turbine engines. We study topics including fuel spray combustion and foreign object damage (particle motion and impact) in engines. We also study how to introduce these concepts into the undergraduate engineering curriculum.  As such, our work lies at the nexus of engineering, mathematics, education, and computer science. (right click for website)

Comparative Biomechanics Lab: Jake Socha, PI

Our lab studies the biomechanics of motion in animals, conducting integrative research that crosses traditional boundaries of engineering and biology. We study how form relates to function in a diverse range of animals including snakes, lizards, frogs, birds, and insects, examining how animals move in flows and how flows are created within animals. We aim to understand the biomechanics of animals both for fundamental understanding of physiology, ecology and evolution, and as inspiration for novel engineering applications (‘bio-inspired engineering'). (right click for website)

Complex Systems Laboratory: Nicole Abaid, PI

The focus of the Complex Systems Laboratory is in the area of dynamical systems and control. Current research is largely focused on collective behavior in multi-agent systems and spans agent-based modeling, studies of synchronization and consensus, field studies with wild animals, and bio-inspired robotic systems. Other research projects include studying the feasibility of auditory stimulation for closed-loop control of neural oscillations. (right click for Dr. Abaid's faculty page)

Computational Biomechanics and Applied Mechanics (CBAM) Group: Costin D. Untaroiu, PI

The CBAM Group conducts research on a large range of topics in applied mechanics, including injury biomechanics, human body modeling, vehicle safety, applied machine learning, autonomous vehicles, and tire modeling. This research is sponsored by industry consortiums (e.g. GHBMC, CenTiRe), and government agencies (e.g. NHTSA, NASA). (right click for Dr. Untaroiu's faculty page)

Damage Science and Mechanics Laboratory:  John C. Duke, Jr., PI

In order to achieve and sustain the safety and reliability of critical assets, it is essential to understand the science of how systems degrade and how this damage affects performance. The Damage Science and Mechanics Laboratory works within the multiple disciplines needed to achieve this goal. Sustainable system planning and design, life-extension, system prognostics, and system and structural health monitoring are areas where this work finds applications. Particular emphases are micromechanical characterization of damage mode formation and propagation, identification of in-service damage mode precursors, characterization of linear and nonlinear mechanical properties for additive manufactured parts. (right click for website)

Division of Data and Analytics: Miguel Perez, PI

Dr. Perez is interested in a variety of efforts that help to improve the safety and convenience of our transportation systems. He currently leads a number of efforts related to mitigation of temporary and permanent disability effects on driving, naturalistic driving study design and analysis, and data standardization, preparation, and mining. In addition, Dr. Perez is involved in efforts to improve the response of emergency vehicles to motor vehicle crashes. (right click for website)

The Dynamic Active Materials Laboratory: John Domann, PI

The Dynamic Active Materials Laboratory investigates the coupling of solid mechanics and electrodynamics in active material systems, including piezoelectric, magnetoelastic, and composite multiferroic structures. This work covers everything from creating analytical and numerical models to measuring fundamental material properties and developing devices that exploit the coupled behavior of these systems. (right click for website)

Dynamic Matter Research Lab: Suyi Li, PI

Our lab's long-term research vision is to create new structures and material systems with programmable properties and physical intelligence, termed "dynamic matter." We are currently focusing on two research themes: (1) Materials that can morph, adapt, and compute: we create multi-functional materials that morph their external shapes according to ambient environmental conditions, actively adapt their mechanical properties on demand, or perform computation in the mechanical domain without involving computers; (2) Soft robots that can grow, perceive information, and control themselves without controllers: we construct robots that mimic trees' growth and energy harvesting behaviors, generate locomotion gaits without any electronic controllers, or exploit the physical interactions with their surrounding objects to understand their environment. We believe this dynamic matter concept can cross-pollinate with many disciplines - within and outside mechanical engineering - and advance aerospace, bio-medicine, and manufacturing industries. (right click for website)

Feedback Flow Control Lab: Jeff Borggaard, PI

Our lab develops new reduced-order modeling strategies and nonlinear feedback control algorithms for the purpose of stabilizing otherwise unstable fluid systems.  These systems include flow past bluff bodies or instabilities that arise when fluids are heated.  A component of the research incorporates the estimation of fluid flows from sparse measurements. (right click for website)

Hydroelasticity Laboratory: Christine Gilbert, PI

The Hydroelasticity Laboratory is an experimental group that studies fluid-structure interactions near a free surface (the interface between air and water). The work of this group consists of projects related to slamming of small surface boats into waves, seaplane landing and take-off, fluid-structure ice interactions pertaining to ship operations in arctic regions, bio-inspired flow around highly flexible surfaces (fish- or ray-like structures), and morphing structures near a free surface (to include effects like muscle actuation of a fish or ray). (right click for website)

Kevin P. Granata Biomechanics Lab: Robin Queen, PI

The Kevin P. Granata Biomechanics lab is dedicated to preventing injuries, determining optimal rehabilitation strategies, and assessing readiness to return to activity for those impacted by injury or joint pain. In the spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) we strive to positively impact the lives of individuals across the lifespan from young children to older adults by restoring movement and loading symmetry and preserving long-term joint health through mechanical and therapeutic interventions. (right click for website)

Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics in Nature: Anne Staples, PI

The research at the Laboratory for Fluid Dynamics in Nature (FINLAB) is focused on two main themes: fluid flows in nature and advanced computational methods for fluid flows. The natural systems studied in the FINLAB range from insect respiratory flows, which occur at the microscale, to human cardiovascular flows and other biomedically relevant flows, to planetary atmospheric flows with length scales on the order of tens of kilometers. There is an emphasis on bioinspiration, on high performance computing and advanced computational methods, including machine learning, on algorithms, and on experimental validation, including microfluidics experiments. (right click for website)

Laboratory of Transport Phenomena for Advanced Technologies: Rui Qiao, PI

In this laboratory, we explore the fundamental physics of transport phenomena with an emphasis on problems in which molecular and mesoscopic physics plays a key role. Our research is driven by challenges emerging at the frontiers of advanced technologies such as hydrocarbon extraction from unconventional sources, thermal management, and engine reliability in aggressive environments. We focus on atomistic, mesoscopic, and continuum modeling, but we also work closely with experimentalists and theoreticians. Recent research interests include nanofluidic transport in unconventional reservoirs, particulate manipulation in low-Reynolds number flows, particulate transport in aero-engines, and thermal and fluid transport in thermal management systems. (right click for website)

Lattice Boltzmann Methods for Porous Media: James McClure, PI

Dr. McClure is the main developer for the LBPM software package, which relies on lattice Boltzmann methods to simulate a wide range of transport phenomena. Current capabilities include simulation of fluid flows through porous materials, immiscible flow, electrochemical systems and ion transport through biological membranes. LBPM has been extensively optimized for US exascale supercomputers, and is among the most efficient scientific computing applications in the world. (right click for website)

Materials for High-Temperature and Corrosive Environment Laboratory: Yao Fu, PI

Our research efforts are focused in the rapid exploitation and introduction of new materials systems as well as understanding and controlling the microstructural features of materials during novel manufacturing processes through the integrated computational materials engineering approach (ICME).  In particular, the most recent research focus is to develop the understanding of the environmentally assisted cracking and degradation/failure of alloys including additive manufactured (3D printing) and multi-principle element alloys via integrated multiscale and multiphysics simulations and experiments. (right click for website)

Materials Response Group: Scott Case and David Dillard, PIs

The Materials Response Group (MRG) is a research group within the Engineering Science & Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech focusing on the response of material systems to mechanical and environmental loading. Of particular interest are polymer and ceramic composites, adhesives, and scientific visualization. (right click for Dr. Case’s faculty page; right click for Dr. Dillard’s faculty page)  

Multiphysics Data Modeling and Fusion Group: Justin Kauffman, PI

The Multiphysics Data Modeling and Fusion group is at the intersection of computational mechanics (finite volume and/or finite element solutions), remote sensing and decision making. Our group develops physics-based models to simulate different types of sensor data for a variety of applications ranging from National Security to Environmental Security. The sensor data is then used to develop and test data fusion algorithms that integrate the separate sources for decision- and sense-making. We aim to create intelligent systems that make informed decisions based on the plethora of available data and we choose to control initial data via physics-based computational studies. (right click for Dr. Kauffman’s faculty page)

Multiphysics Intelligent and Dynamical Systems Lab: Shima Shahab, PI

The Multiphysics Intelligent and Dynamical Systems (MInDS) Laboratory focuses on the intersection of smart materials and dynamical systems for various interdisciplinary applications such as energy harvesting, biomimetic locomotion and contactless acoustic energy transfer, biomedical opportunities and challenges. Current research topics at MInDS include intelligent fluid flow control using smart materials and metamaterial-inspired concepts, high-intensity focused ultrasound for wireless charging of low-power sensors, and ultrasound responsive drug delivery systems. The goal is to design new generations of smart autonomous biomedical systems which lead to new medical diagnostics and treatments. (right click for website)

Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Group: Jennifer S. Wayne, PI

The Musculoskeletal Biomechanics group conducts research on a range of topics in biomechanics, particularly of the musculoskeletal system but also of biological tissues in general. Experimental analyses and computational simulations of function in normal, injured, and repaired states; CT image and morphometric analysis. (right click for Dr. Wayne’s faculty page)

Nature-Inspired Fluids & Interfaces Lab: Jonathan Boreyko, PI

Inspired by nature's design for animals, plants, and the weather, our group's research involves characterizing unexplored phenomena and designing innovative materials and systems. Our research is a multi-disciplinary combination of fluid dynamics, heat transfer, interfacial phenomena, materials science, and renewable energy. (right click for website)

Nerve Mechanics Laboratory: Arina Korneva, PI    

Nerve Mechanics Laboratory is working on understanding the mechanics of nerve tissues and cells during neurodegeneration (nerve loss). We employ continuum mechanics approaches combined with microscopy-based testing methods to characterize the mechanical behavior of tissues and cells. Students are a part of an interdisciplinary team that also includes mechanical engineers, biomedical engineers, and neuroscientists. The long-term goal of the group is to combine mechanics and biology to understand disease mechanisms. (right click for Dr. Korneva’s faculty page)

Nonlinear Systems Laboratory: Craig Woolsey, PI

The Nonlinear System Laboratory (NSL) provides a facility for research and instruction in dynamics and control of nonlinear systems, with particular focus on autonomous ocean and atmospheric vehicles. Founded in 2005, the NSL is co-directed by Dr. Cornel Sultan, Dr. Mazen Farhood, and Dr. Craig Woolsey. The Lab supports Virginia Tech's Autonomy and Robotics group. (right click for website)

Orthopedic Mechanobiology Lab: Vincent M. Wang, PI      

The Orthopedic Mechanobiology Lab conducts research on orthopedic and soft tissue biomechanics, mechano-stimulation of tendon healing, and artificial intelligence approaches to injury detection.  Our collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches include (a) pre-clinical animal studies and experimental assessment of tendon biomechanics, structure, and cell biologic responses, (b) machine learning analyses of clinical ultrasound images, (c) structure-function investigations of soft tissue pathomechanics, and (d) biomechanical studies of soft tissue surgical repair procedures. (right click for website)

Polymer and Composites Materials Laboratory: Michael Bortner, PI

The PCML focuses on polymer composite processing and resulting morphology and structure property relationships, spanning macro to nano-scale polymer composites. Core research areas include advanced manufacturing approaches for rapid fabrication of carbon fiber based composites, process modeling and materials development for polymer based additive manufacturing, development of novel nanoscale interfacial/interphase characterization analyses in thermosetting polymer nanocomposites, and processing/applications of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). Specialized equipment includes high temperature (bed/melt), multi-material extrusion custom additive manufacturing machines; modulated DSC; DMA; capillary and microcapillary rheometers; FTIR + MCT, ATR; laboratory scale extrusion, ultra high T (2200°C) vacuum furnace, Instron loadframe (500N-50kN, various geometries), high energy ball milling, Zeiss stereoscope (motorized stage and ZEN z-stacking hardware/software). (right click for website)

Robotics and Sensorimotor Control Lab: Netta Gurari, PI

The Robotics and Sensorimotor Control Lab is comprised of a multi-disciplinary research team that is investigating how humans perceive somatosensory signals at their upper limbs. The overarching research goal of the lab is to apply robotics concepts to the field of quantitative systems neuroscience to develop a richer understanding of the human sensorimotor system and, in turn, to develop more effective treatments for those with compromised sensorimotor control. (right click for Dr. Gurari's faculty page)

Ross Dynamics Lab: Shane Ross, PI

The Ross Dynamics Lab performs mathematical modeling and experiments of nonlinear dynamics with applications to patterns of dispersal in oceanic and atmospheric flows, passive and active aerodynamic gliding, dynamic buckling of flexible structures, ship dynamics, orbital mechanics, and control of escaping dynamics. (right click for website)

Schmale Lab: David Schmale, PI

Our lab studies the long distance transport of microorganisms in the atmosphere. The atmosphere is teeming with microorganisms. Some of these microbes may cause important diseases in plants, animals, and people. Others live in the clouds and can initiate rain, snow, and hail. Still others are professional surfers, riding atmospheric currents for tens to hundreds of kilometers across states, countries, and even continents. We have developed technologies with uncrewed aerial systems (UASs or drones) to study microorganisms hundreds of meters above the surface of the earth. We are using robots to track the movement of hazardous agents in the water, and their transport across the air-water interface. (right click for website)

The STRETCH Lab: Raffaella De Vita, PI

Research in the STRETCH Lab focuses on characterizing the mechanical properties of biological systems ranging from cellular components to tissues, with special emphasis on the development of new mathematical models and experimental methods. Although the research interests in the STRETCH Lab are diverse and continuously evolve over time, the common thread that runs through much of the work is the genuine passion in advancing fundamental and mechanistic knowledge of biological systems. This knowledge is crucial for the development of effective interventions to prevent and treat illness and disability. (right click for website)

Theoretical and Applied Fluid Mechanics Group: Mark Stremler, PI

The Theoretical and Applied Fluid Mechanics (TAFM) Group conducts research on a range of topics in fluid mechanics, including reduced-order mathematical, numerical, and experimental models of fluid flows, with an emphasis on fluid-structure interaction, flows dominated by coherent vortical structures, microfluidic systems, fluid dynamics in biological systems, and connections to dynamical systems theory, particularly applications to fluid mixing. (right click for Dr. Stremler’s faculty page)

Vascular Biology Lab: Yong W. Lee, PI

Our lab studies research projects related to pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory pathways of brain injury. These studies will offer better understanding of pathophysiological mechanisms, as well as help identify a novel biological target and promote its use for prevention/treatment for patients with brain injury. We are also interested in the design and construction of in vitro 3D brain tissue models including combinations of different types of brain cells that are central to pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory responses to complement animal models for mechanistic studies of brain injury. In addition, our lab studies the development of novel bioconjugated nanoparticles and validation of their effectiveness for targeted drug delivery. Studies in this area are anticipated to advance the understanding of how nanotechnology can contribute to improvements in human health as well as to providing new opportunities for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. (right click for Dr. Lee’s faculty page)

VibRo Lab: Oumar Barry, PI

The VibRo Lab Group conducts fundamental research at the interface of nonlinear vibrations and robotics focusing on energy harvesting, vibration control, and structural health monitoring. The goal is to create novel analysis, design, and control techniques for the discovery of emerging technologies with applications in smart grid, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and autonomous systems. Research at the VibRo Lab is divided into four thrust areas: (1) mobile robots for vibration control and inspection of civil infrastructure, (2) human vibrations and assistive robotics, (3) adaptable metamaterials and metastructures, and (4) accuracy and precision in advanced manufacturing. (right click for website)

Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI):  Zachary Doerzaph, Executive Director

The modern transportation system is among humankind’s greatest inventions.  However, the negative consequences of moving people and goods has created unprecedented global challenges which are impacting our health and wellbeing.  The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) believes in a future with safe, ubiquitous and effective transportation. As the largest of seven premier research institutes created by Virginia Tech to answer national challenges, VTTI is continually advancing transportation through innovation and has affected technology and public policy on national and international levels. We support the development and evaluation of advanced technologies and operations using our laboratories, numerical models, test-tracks, field studies and analysis toolchains. The applied nature of our work is intended to support original equipment manufacturers, automotive suppliers, policy makers, and infrastructure owner operators in designing and improving the effectiveness of systems by quantifying performance benefits, resilience, unintended consequences, and potential misuse while also characterizing user acceptance, reliance, comprehension, and understanding of advanced vehicle and infrastructure systems.  With VTTI, you will work alongside over 400 talented individuals who are dedicating their lives to saving lives (right click for website)

Resources: EM program website ( Biomechanics Core Research Area ( Dynamics and Control Core Research Area ( Fluid Mechanics Core Research Area ( Solid Mechanics Core Research Area (
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