The center's faculty members focus on interdisciplinary research and education in the area of biomimetic and bioinspired engineering. Those who work in these areas attempt to create an approach to transfer or extract from nature technologies, design principles, and solutions into our own designs for small, multi-functional machines, technologies, and devices. Michael Plesniak, a professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, is the director of the Center.


Michael W. Plesniak

Michael W. Plesniak
Professor & Director
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1990.
Experimental fluid dynamics, Turbulence and complex flows, Mixing phenomena, Biological flows: cardiovascular and phonation

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Elias Balaras

Ph.D., Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland, 1995
Computational mechanics, fluid structure interactions, parallel computing, turbulent and transitional flows, biological fluid dynamics

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Lorena A. Barba

Associate Professor
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2004
Computational science, fluid mechanics, biophysics, biological flight, numerical algorithms, fast multipole method, high-performance computing, GPU computing.

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Kartik V. Bulusu 

Associate Research Professor
D.Sc., The George Washington University, 2010
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James Hahn

Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 1989
Medical Simulation; Image-guided Surgery; Medical Informatics; Visualization; Motion Control

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L. Patricia Hernandez

Associate Professor  
Ph.D. in Biology, Harvard University
Functional morphology of feeding mechanisms in fishes, fluid mechanics of feeding in fishes, flow patterns in larval fish feeding at incredibly low Reynolds numbers, biomechanics of building crushing surfaces out of bone, mineralized cartilage, and other biological materials.

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Stephen M. Hsu

Ph.D Pennsylvania State University, 1976
Nanomaterials, nanometrology, ceramics, tribology, biomaterials, and engine technology.

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Megan Leftwich

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Princeton University, 2010
Experimental fluid dynamics, biological flows: swimming and flying, the aerodynamics of groups, wind farm designs, high-energy fluid instabilities, shock-driven turbulence and mixing. 

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Zhenyu Li

Associate Professor 
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2007
Integration of nanophotonics and microfluidics (or optofluidics) for biological and biosensing applications, biomimetic photonics, biomimetics of compound eyes, biophotonic crystals and adaptive micro-lenses.

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Rahul Simha

Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1990
Bioinformatics and biomedical computing; Computer science; Computer security and information assurance; Networking and mobile computing; Pervasive computing.

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Lijie Grace Zhang

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Brown University, 2009
Nanomedicine, biomaterials, bone, cartilage and vascular tissue engineering, drug delivery, stem cell, self-assembly tissue engineered constructs and biomechanics

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Affiliated Members



Rajat Mittal

Affiliated Member
Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1995
Computational fluid dynamics, turbomachinery flows, biofluid mechanics, microflow, fluid-structure interaction, flow control.

[email protected]

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R. Ryan Vallance 

Affiliated Member
Chief Technology Officer, Nano Precision Products, Camarillo, CA.