Principal Investigator

Professor Tyler R. Clites

Principal Investigator

Dr. Tyler Clites is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCLA, with joint appointments in Bioengineering and in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

His research in rehabilitation and augmentation technology is focused on synchronizing the efforts of surgeons and mechatronic engineers to enable co-development of body and machine, in pursuit of bionic performance that is superior to what is possible with mechatronics alone.

After graduating from Harvard in 2014 with a B.S. in Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering, Prof. Clites earned his Ph.D. in 2018 from the Harvard/MIT program in Health Sciences and Technology. He carried out his doctoral research in the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab, where he led the development of the Agonist-antagonist Myoneural Interface (AMI), a novel technique for limb amputation surgery to improve the neural and mechanical interfaces between persons with amputation and their prosthetic devices.

Dr. Clites was named to the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List in Healthcare, and was honored as one of the Boston Globe’s 2018 STAT Wunderkinds. His research has been featured at TED, on the front page of the Boston Globe, in the New York Times, and on 60 Minutes, Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, and CNN.


Graduate Researchers


PhD Students

Ophelie Herve

Mechanical Engineering

Ophelie is a PhD candidate and National Science Foundation fellow in the Anatomical Engineering Group. She graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2018 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a Biomedical Specialization, and in 2020 with a MS in Mechanical Engineering. During her previous graduate work, Ophelie conducted research on an EMG driven, time independent PID controller for lower limb prosthetic and exoskeleton applications. Now, her research under the leadership of Dr. Tyler Clites is focused on investigating potential solutions to prevent reinjury of the anterior cruciate ligament after reconstruction surgeries.

Brandon Peterson

Mechanical Engineering

Brandon is a mechanical engineering PhD student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. He earned bachelor’s degrees in both Computer Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Florida in 2017 and a master’s degree in Robotics from the University of Michigan in 2019. Before attending UCLA, Brandon worked as a robotics engineer at the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, FL. He served as the software and controls lead on a team that developed a powered exoskeleton that allows people with lower-limb paralysis to transfer out of their wheelchair, stand up, and walk around. Brandon is working with Dr. Clites on an implanted ankle-foot prosthesis that provides an alternative solution to pathologies that are typically treated with arthrodesis or amputation.

Haley Warren

Mechanical Engineering

Haley is a graduate student and National Science Foundation fellow in the Anatomical Engineering Group. They graduated from University of Vermont in 2020 with a BS in biomedical engineering. As an undergraduate, Haley's research included the use of AI to predict falls, the effects of a hip exoskeleton on gait kinematics, and the optimization of electrophysiology implants. They are currently investigating the potential of implanted magnets to improve prostheses and exoskeletons.

Masters Students

Gracia Lai

Bioengineering

Gracia is a Bioengineering Masters thesis student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2020 with a BS in Materials Science Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. During her undergraduate studies, Gracia conducted research on developing corneal stromal tissues for transplantation. Her current research in the Anatomical Engineering Group focuses on creating grafts from redundant skin that can be regenerated over prosthetic implants.

Will Flanagan

Bioengineering

Will is a Mechanical Engineering Masters thesis student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. He attended Georgia Tech for his undergraduate studies, earning a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Physiology. While at Georgia Tech, Will conducted research into machine learning techniques for detecting locomotion modes and estimating terrain conditions using wearable sensor data during human walking. In the Anatomical Engineering Group, his current work focuses on the magnetic suspension of prosthetic limbs for a better biological-mechanical interface.


Medical Trainees


Residents

Alex Upfill-Brown

Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Alex Upfill-Brown is an Orthopaedic Surgery resident at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the Anatomical Engineering Group. After graduating from Stanford University with B.S. with Honors in Biology in 2011, Alex received an M.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Oxford in 2012. He then worked at the Institute for Disease Modeling in Seattle for three years, developing predictive statistical models of infectious disease transmission to advise ministries of health and international agencies on disease eradication strategy. Subsequently, he earned with MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2019. Working with Dr. Clites, Alex is focusing on the development of a novel total elbow replacement — seeking to re-engineer the joint to address common modes of failure affecting currently available prostheses.

Medical Students

Carlos Maturana

David Geffen School of Medicine

Carlos Maturana grew up in New York City and is a graduate of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering at Columbia University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Carlos joined the United States Air Force shortly after graduating Columbia and became a mobility pilot. He spent over 11 years on active duty on multiple assignments all over the world. He had the honor of leading multiple aircrews into combat in Afghanistan, where he received numerous accolades to include four Air Medals. While on active duty, he obtained a master’s degree in Engineering with an aerospace concentration from UCLA. He was then assigned to help lead and conduct testing on multiple aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where he finished his active-duty commitment. Carlos is currently a medical student in the Charles R. Drew University/UCLA Medical Education Program. He is passionate about working in underserved communities with a focus on health issues faced by disabled veterans and military families. He firmly believes that we can meld engineering, design, and surgical techniques to improve the way the human body works and heals. As such, he plans to pursue a surgical specialty after graduating from medical school.


Undergraduates


Kai Becraft

Mechanical Engineering

Marcus Belingheri

Mechanical Engineering

Jake Kanetis

Mechanical Engineering

Alyssa Tomkinson

Mechanical Engineering