JOIN:

Click here if you’re interested in joining the lab as a student or postdoc.

Hodjat Pendar

Hodjat is a PhD student in Engineering Science and Mechanics, studying insect biomechanics. He has bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from Sharif University. Prior to coming to VT, he spent many years in industry as an engineer, dreaming of someday working with bug guts.

Farid Jafari

Farid is a PhD candidate in Engineering Science and Mechanics, studying flying snakes.  Farid earned his bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from Sharif University of Technology.   Personal web page

Summer 2013 lab group:  (Left) Dr. Jake Socha, Hodjat Pendar, Ellen Granata, Jacob Sieve, Catherine Twyman, Khaled Adjerid, Logan Miller, Rod La Foy, Matt Giarra, Talia Weiss, Alexis Johnston, Joel Garrett, Ms. Tiffany Hunter, Jessica Aviles, Farid Jafari.  Front: lab mascots Beckett & Kylan.

Our lab

Graduate students

Undergraduates

Matt Giarra

Matt is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, studying methodologies for fluid mechanics, including circulation in insects. Matt has ME degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and U. Alabama Hunstville.  Matt’s primary home is the AEThER lab, and is co-advised with Dr. Pavlos Vlachos of ME.

Rod La Foy

Rod is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, working on new methods to measure three-dimensional flows. Rod has BS in ME from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Rod’s primary home is the AEThER lab, and is co-advised with Dr. Pavlos Vlachos of ME. Rod is an inaugural member of the NSF MultiSTEPS IGERT program.

Click here for previous group photos.

Jake Socha, PI

I am an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech.  I am also a member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, an adjunct of VT’s Department of Biological Sciences, a member of VT’s Integrative Organismal Biology group, and a member of Virginia Tech’s NSF MultiSTEPS IGERT team.

                           Download CV (pdf)

Catherine Twyman

Catherine is a masters candidate in Mechanical Engineering, studying landing in flying snakes.  Catherine earned her bachelors in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech.

Talia Weiss

Talia is a graduate student in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, studying locomotion at the water interface in animals.  Talia earned her bachelors in bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology. She is also a member of the NSF MultiSTEPS IGERT program.

Melissa Kenny

Melissa is a PhD candidate in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, studying mechanisms of internal flow production in insects.  Melissa earned her bachelors in biomedical engineering from Cornell. She is also a member of the NSF MultiSTEPS IGERT program.

Joel Garrett

Joel is a PhD student in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, studying insect biomechanics and bio-inspired engineering.  Joel earned bachelors and masters degrees in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech and Duke University. He is also a member of the NSF MultiSTEPS IGERT program. Personal web site.

Khaled Adjerid

Khaled is a PhD student in Engineering Science and Mechanics, studying insect biomechanics.  Khaled earned bachelors and masters degrees in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech and spent time in industry as well. Personal web site.

Jessica Aviles

Jessica is an Engineering Science and Mechanics major, and has been working in the lab since entering the EFRI-REM program in 2012. Jessica has done work measuring hemolymph pressures in beetles, and is currently working on tomographic imaging of insects.

Jacob Sieve

Jacob is a double major in biology and math, and a member of the Scieneering program at Virginia Tech. Jacob has worked on a number of projects in the lab, and is currently working on tomographic imaging of insects.

High school teacher

Ms. Tiffany Hunter

Ms. Hunter is a biology teacher at Courtland High School in the Spotsylvania County Public Schools, Virginia. She has been working in the lab primarily in the summer as part of the EFRI-REM program. Ms. Hunter has been making measurements of hemolymph volumes in insects using radioactive techniques, with the help of Dr. Don Mullins and mentor Hodjat Pendar.

High school students

Ellen Granata

Ellen is a student at Blacksburg High School and also the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School. She has been working in the lab for more than a year, having started with the EFRI-REM program in 2012 and continuing on through 2014. She has been developing new methods to measure the viscosity of hemolymph, with the help of mentor Matt Giarra.

Alexis Johnston

Alexis is a student at North Stafford High School in Stafford, Virginia. She has been working in the lab primarily in the summer via the EFRI-REM program. Her work aimed to uncover the details of abdominal pumping and spiracle movements in hissing cockroaches, with the help of mentors Joel Garrett and Khaled Adjerid.