Madhusudhan Venkadesan

Madhu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science and the Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology at Yale. He studies the use of mechanical design to solve control problems, with applications in biomedical sciences, evolutionary biology and robotics.

Graduate Students

Neelima Sharma

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Neelima is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Yale. She earned her B.E. (2011) in Biotechnology from Delhi University. Her research work combines simulation and experiments. She has studied human hands and their stability during contacts, and her current project focuses on the functional morphology of animal joints.

Ali Yawar

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Ali is a PhD candidate in MEMS at Yale. He received his B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee in 2014. His bachelor’s thesis was on the design of muscle-like actuators. He is interested in bio-inspired mechanisms, morphology based control systems, and passive dynamic machines. He has worked on human throwing at NCBS, India, humanoid locomotion at TUHH, Germany, human arm kinematics and robotic simulation at EPFL, Switzerland, and soap film dynamics at OIST, Japan.

Khoi Nguyen

Khoi Nguyen started his PhD training in 2016 and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences at Yale. He has previously worked on problems involving the mechanics of floating cereal pieces, and of evaporating coffee droplets. His current research is of the stiffening mechanism of fish fins and its applications to robotic design. Khoi received his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Brown University (2014) and his M.S. in the same field from Carnegie Mellon University (2015).

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).

Visiting Assistants in Research (VAR)

Nihav Dhawale

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Nihav Dhawale is graduate student at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India and a visiting assistant in research in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences at Yale. He started his PhD in 2011 under Venkadesan, working on the energetics and stability of human running locomotion. His work involves conducting human subject experiments in conjunction with building simple mathematical models to ascertain how stability of running is achieved. Prior to this, he completed an M.Sc. in Physics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in 2010 and and a B.Sc. in Physics from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in 2008.

Postgraduate Researchers

Aparna Nair-Kanneganti

Aparna is a post-graduate research associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences at Yale. She received her B.S. in Applied Physics from Yale in 2020. Her main research interest lies in condensed matter; in previous work at Yale and at Los Alamos National Laboratory she designed computational models for quantum and classical soft systems. She is currently studying growth properties of elastic bilayers.

Collaborators and mentors

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

Lab alumni


  • Vandana Phadke - Senior Clinical Research Scientist, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi, India
  • Dhiraj Singh - Postdoctoral Scholar, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan
  • Aisa Biria
  • Carolyn Eng

Ph.D. students

Visiting Assistants in Research

  • Surabhi Simha - PhD student, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Akshay Srinivasan - PhD student, University of Washington, Seattle

Masters students

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

Undergraduate students

  • Yale: 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.
  • 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