This spring we welcome four new faculty members to the department in the areas of Controls, Autonomy and Robotics, Orbital Mechanics, and Solids, Structures and Materials.

ann chenJingyi "Ann" Chen

Assistant Professor                                        

Jingyi "Ann" Chen's research interests focus on the analysis of the Earth’s atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere and hydrosphere using high-resolution crustal deformation measurements derived from spaceborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR). Her radar interferometry lab aims to explore to what extent the advances in InSAR technology can lead to cutting-edge scientific discoveries and inform social decisions at all levels concerning resource and environmental management.

Prior to joining UT, Chen was a postdoctoral fellow at the environmental geophysics group at Stanford University for two and half years, where she demonstrated the use of spaceborne remote sensing data for evaluation and management of our groundwater resources in agricultural regions.

Chen holds a doctorate in geophysics from Stanford University and a M.S. in electrical engineering, also from Stanford. She received her B.S. in space physics from the University of Science and Technology of China.

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What attracted you to UT ASE/EM?

The opportunity to work with great colleagues and students with diverse backgrounds at a top-tier engineering school.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?

InSAR technology offers a unique way to better understand the earth. Processing InSAR data requires a broad range of skill sets, including image processing, computer programming and estimation.  

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading and spending time with my family and our dog.

manuel rauschManuel Rausch

Assistant Professor

Manuel Rausch's research interests focus on soft tissue biomechanics. He uses experimental as well as computational tools to characterize and understand the mechanical behavior of biological soft tissues such as myocardium, vascular soft tissue, heart valve tissue, and skin to improve diagnostic and therapeutic methods, and medical device design.

Before he joined UT, Rausch was a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. He also has two years of industry experience as the Director of R&D for a medical device start-up.

Rausch earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He also holds a Dipl. Ing. in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

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What attracted you to UT ASE/EM?

I was attracted to the department by its long history in teaching and research excellence and to UT for the diversity of its student body and its strong commitment to solving future global and societal problems.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?

I find a lot of satisfaction in applying engineering principles to solve tomorrow’s human health challenges. 

What are your favorite hobbies?

When I am not injured you’ll find me on my road bike or out on the trails.

luis sentisLuis Sentis

Associate Professor

Luis Sentis' research focuses on realtime optimal control of human-centered robotics, including the design of high performance humanoid robots and exoskeleton systems, safety assured human-robot interaction, and cognitive modeling and intervention of learner behavior.

Before joining the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Sentis was a faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department at UT Austin. He is also the director of the Human Centered Robotics Laboratory in Austin, where his group focuses on control and embodiment of humanoid robots.

Sentis was the UT Austin's Lead for DARPA's Robotics Challenge with NASA Johnson Space Center where he helped to design and test the Valkyrie humanoid robot. He was awarded the NASA Elite Team Award for his contributions to NASA’s Johnson Space Center Software Robotics and Simulation Division. 

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He is co-founder and scientific advisor of Apptronik Systems Inc., a company focusing on human-centered robotic augmentation systems and educational robotic laboratories. His research has been funded by NASA, the Office of Naval Research, NSF, DARPA, and private companies.

Sentis received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University where he was also a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Computer Science Department. He also holds a B.S. in telecommunications and electronics engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Before Stanford, he worked in Silicon Valley as a Control Systems Engineer.

What attracted you to UT ASE/EM?

What attracted me to UT ASE/EM is the focus on control theory and autonomous robotic systems. I was also attracted by the strong undergraduate and graduate curricula.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?

I greatly enjoy the possibility of modeling complex systems such as robots or human behavior. More importantly I enjoy the possibilities that the control and intervention sciences can achieve with respect to those complex systems.

What are your favorite hobbies?

My favorite hobbies are spending time with my wife and son and working on the startup I co-founded, Apptronik Systems Inc.

renato zanettiRenato Zanetti

Assistant Professor

Renato Zanetti's research focuses on the estimation of complex dynamical systems and autonomous onboard navigation, which includes on-board image processing and optical navigation, non-linear estimation of non-Gaussian/non-linear systems, sensor fault detection and utilization strategy, and autonomous spacecraft GN&C.

Prior to joining UT, Zanetti worked at the C.S. Draper Laboratory and at the NASA Johnson Space Center for more than nine years, where he contributed to the successful design and flight of numerous autonomous space navigation systems.

Zanetti earned his Ph.D. in aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a Laurea in aerospace engineering from Politecnico di Milano.

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What attracted you to UT ASE/EM?

The possibility to come back to one of the very best aerospace programs in the country, where I can work with so many incredible faculty members and gifted students.

What do you enjoy most about engineering or your specific field?

I like seeing the outcome of our work finally make it into a space mission. Spacecraft take many years to design, test, and finally fly; the frequency at which our work actually makes it to space is usually low. The reward of seeing so much work finally make it into a complex space mission is, in my opinion, the best part of our job.

What are your favorite hobbies?

I like to spend time outdoors, camping, hiking, jogging, or riding my bike.