We work on the biomechanics and control of motor behavior in humans and other animals. Our work spans the areas of mechanics, dynamics, robotics, biomedical engineering, as well as comparative and evolutionary biomechanics. We apply principles of mechanics, both mathematical and experimental, to understand how the mechanical design and material properties of our bodies help or hinder the ability to control it. Applications of our work include human health and biologically inspired design of robotic or prosthetic devices.


I maintain a small group of around five people, including postdocs and graduate students. The group size naturally impacts and is related to the type of science that we pursue: detailed, one-person projects with strong mathematical and experimental components. The questions that we pursue are fundamental in nature and driven by curiosity. Naturally, our projects are filled with wonderful and colorful deadends; cf. Goldenfeld’s “intellectual death march.” Do write to me if this type of science appeals to your aesthetic sense.

Cultural diversity breeds scientific creativity and equal opportunities for everyone is at the heart of it.

Ph.D. students.

I am always eager to have talented students join the group. The ideal candidate will have a strong inclination towards applied mathematics, mechanics, and experimental work with biological organisms. Ph.D. students are expected to develop their own problem, with some alignment with other research areas in my group.

Postdoc positions

Doctoral degree holders with strong grounding in mechanics and applied mathematics, and deep interest in biology or applied mechanics are highly encouraged to write to me. I am also happy to work with interested postdocs who want to pursue fellowship opportunities. The salary will be commensurate with experience and include benefits.

Recent publications

Journal Article
Bates KT, Venkadesan M, Vereecke EE, Charles JP, D’Août K. Editorial: The human foot: function in progress. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology [Internet]. 2023;11. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbioe.2023.1245069/fullhttps://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbioe.2023.1245069/full (514.56 KB)
Dhawale N, Venkadesan M. How human runners regulate footsteps on uneven terrain. eLife [Internet]. 2023;12. https://elifesciences.org/articles/67177
Sharma N, Venkadesan M. Finger stability in precision grips. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Internet]. 2022;119(12):e2122903119. https://www.pnas.org/doi/abs/10.1073/pnas.2122903119
Yang B, Baines R, Shah D, Patiballa S, Thomas E, Venkadesan M, et al. Reprogrammable soft actuation and shape-shifting via tensile jamming. Science Advances [Internet]. 2021;7(40). https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abh2073
Venkadesan M, Yawar A, Eng CM, Dias MA, Singh DK, Tommasini SM, et al. Stiffness of the human foot and evolution of the transverse arch. Nature. 2020;579(7797):97 - 100.
Dhawale N, Mandre S, Venkadesan M. Dynamics and stability of running on rough terrains. Royal Society Open Science. 2019;6:181729.
Nguyen KD, Sharma N, Venkadesan M. Active Viscoelasticity of Sarcomeres. Frontiers in Robotics and AI. 2018;5.  (975.7 KB)
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