Madhusudhan Venkadesan

Madhu is an Associate Professor (term) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and the Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology at Yale. He studies Biomechanics and Control, specifically the role of mechanical design to solve control problems, with applications in biomedical sciences, evolutionary biology and robotics.

Postdoctoral Associates

Erynn Johnson

Personal URL

Erynn is a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Yale. She earned her PhD in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania (2020) and her B.S. in the Science of Earth Systems at Cornell University (2015). Her research is focused on using experimental approaches to understand the evolution of mollusk shell strength over deep time.

Nikolaos Papachatzis

Nikos is a postdoctoral associate in Yale’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. He earned his Ph.D. in 2022 from the Department of Biomechanics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, mentored by Kota Takahashi. Currently, Nikos is developing mathematical and comparative experimental approaches to understand how mechanical forces have shaped the morphology of primates’ lower and upper extremities, including humans. He aims to incorporate scientific perspectives from different fields to understand why the human body moves and looks the way it does, translating biological principles into technological applications to lessen or prevent locomotion-related health issues.

Graduate Students

Dan Rivera

Dan Rivera is a graduate student in the department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale. Previously, he developed a bio-inspired linear systems model of muscle contraction and implemented this model as a control system for a commercially available powered lower limb prosthesis. His current research interests include the study of muscle as a material, mathematical biology, and the intersection of biological physics and human rehabilitation. Dan received an Associates in Applied Science from Coconino Community College (2016) and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and Biology from Northern Arizona University (2020).

Vir Shetty

Vir Shetty is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale. During his undergraduate studies, Vir studied the mechanics of planarian reproduction and its implications for population reproductive strategies. His current research interests include mudskipper biomechanics, evolutionary biology, and combining the two to understand how early tetrapods specialized to transition from water to land. Vir received a Bachelor of Arts in Physics and Statistics from Swarthmore College (2022).

Collaborators and mentors

* Co-author on paper(s), grant(s), or both.

Lab alumni


  • Armita Manafzadeh - Postdoc, Earth and Planetery Sciences, Yale University
  • Yue Guan - Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Memphis
  • Carolyn Eng - Research Project Manager, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
  • Vandana Phadke - Senior Clinical Research Scientist, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, India
  • Dhiraj Singh - Postdoctoral researcher, University of Utah.
  • Aisa Biria - Research Associate, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

Ph.D. students

Post-baccalaureate Researchers

  • Aparna Nair-Kanneganti - Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program
  • Akshay Srinivasan - Senior AI Engineer, SonyAI.
  • Surabhi Simha - Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University

Masters students

  • Vishaal Krishnan - PhD student, University of California, San Diego

Undergraduate students

  • Yale: Dan Huynh, Eric Chan, Lucinda Peng (PhD at Georgia Tech), A. Michael West (PhD at MIT), Claire Huebner (Synectic Medical Product Development), Petter Wehlin (ARIX Technologies), Alexander Lee (UPenn), Lucia Korpas (PhD at UPenn), Katherine Li, Dante Archaengeli, Xuan Truc-Nguyen (PhD at UCSD), Jeffrey Gau (PhD at Georgia Tech), Robert Loweth (PhD at UMich, Ann Arbor), Daniel Pfaff (BS at Worcester Polytechnic), Sarah Weil, Bernardo Saravia, Henrik Hartmann, Daniel Pfaff, Betsy Li, Megan Perkins, Stephanie Silin.
  • NCBS: Kishan Kishan (PhD at NYU), Radha Nayak, Evan John Philip, Archishman Raju, Anirban Mukherjee, Harsha Vardhan Dasarathy, Prashanth Srinivasan, Aravinda Ramakrishnan, Prashanthi Ravi, Jennifer Chang, Sumanth Dathathri (PhD at Caltech).

(High) School students

  • Yale: Nick Monteiro
  • NCBS: Ranjini Narayanan