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

Sachi Bansal

1st Year, Bioengineering

Sachi is a graduate student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. She attended the University of Washington- Seattle for her undergraduate studies, earning a BS in Biology. As an undergrad, Sachi conducted research exploring concussion prevention in athletes while working for the women’s basketball team. Before attending UCLA, Sachi worked as a clinical research coordinator in Stanford’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery studying novel strategies to delay the early onset of post traumatic osteoarthritis following acute primary ACL tears. In the Anatomical Engineering Group, her work focuses on a prosthetic device that can help individuals with thumb amputations regain loss of function and sensation.

Will Flanagan

2nd Year, Mechanical Engineering

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.

Ophelie Herve

3rd Year, Mechanical Engineering

Ophelie is a PhD student 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

3rd Year, 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.

Armin Pomeroy

4th Year, Mechanical Engineering

Armin is a PhD student in the Anatomical Engineering Group and Flexible Research Group at UCLA. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA in 2019. During his undergraduate, Armin worked on finite element models for flash-boiling cooling mechanisms for the Nano Transport Research Group at UCLA. In 2020, he began his PhD research under Dr. Jonathan Hopkins of the Flexible Research Group. He is working on a compliant screw design with an internal microarchitecture that gives the screw auxetic properties meant to resist screw loosening in aerospace and medical applications. In 2022, he joined Dr. Tyler Clites of the Anatomical Engineering Group to collaborate on an implanted ankle-foot prosthesis. His contributions have included finite element analysis on the prosthesis as well as experimental test design. In the future, Armin plans to extend his work in the Anatomical Engineering Group to an implanted knee prosthesis.

Michael Rose

1st Year, Mechanical Engineering

Michael is a mechanical engineering PhD student and National Science Foundation fellow in the Anatomical Engineering Group. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Mechanical Engineering in 2020. Before starting at UCLA, Michael spent two years working as a Research Coordinator in the Movement & Applied Imaging Lab at Boston University studying knee osteoarthritis gait biomechanics. In the Anatomical Engineering Group, his research focuses on restoring motor function in individuals with hand paralysis.

Leonardo Ruffini

2nd Year, Mechanical Engineering

Leonardo is a Mechanical Engineering PhD student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnic University of Turin (Politecnico di Torino) in 2018 and a master's degree in Mechatronic Engineering with a double major in Mechanical and Electronic Engineering and a minor in Automotive Engineering from the same institution in 2020. Leonardo worked for Magneti Marelli as a corporate quality engineer and for Vibram Group as a manufacturing operation engineer. Since 2020, he has collaborated with the UCLA Bionics Lab on the mechanical design and manufacturing of a static, full-body exoskeleton for VR haptics. Leonardo is collaborating with Dr. Clites in the Anatomical Engineering Group to develop a new generation implantable total wrist replacement as a remedy for pathologies currently treated with arthrodesis.

Masters Students

Jinyoung Kim

Mechanical Engineering

Jinyoung is a mechanical engineering masters thesis student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. He graduated from Yonsei University in 2022 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted research on acoustic tweezers to develop techniques to rotate and position cylindrical nanoparticles. In the Anatomical Engineering Group, he is currently working on developing an engineering model for the orbicularis oculi muscle. His research will contribute to the development of implantable electronic stimulation devices for people with facial paralysis.

Amin Khatibi

Mechanical Engineering

Amin is a Mechanical Engineering master's student in the Anatomical Engineering Group at University of California Los Angeles. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California Los Angeles in Mechanical Engineering. Amin conducted research into robotics and EXO-skeleton designs, allowing him to gain valuable experience and exposure in design and manufacturing. While completing his master's thesis, his goal is to design sensitized limbs to be utilized in prosthetic devices.

Vehan Doshi

Mechanical Engineering

Vehan is a Mechanical Engineering master's student focused on Design, Robotics, and Manufacturing (DRoM). He earned his bachelor's degree from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India. While at NITK, Vehan focused on developing electric vehicles and was the formula student team lead there. Here, Vehan will focus on developing and controlling a speciality transmission for a magnetically suspended prosthetic limb. He loves high-altitude treks and is a regular to the mountains.

Raunika Anand

Mechanical Engineering

Raunika is a Mechanical Engineering Masters thesis student in the Anatomical Engineering Group. She graduated from Vellore Institute of Technology in 2021 with a BS in Mechanical engineering. During her undergraduate studies, Raunika conducted research in materials and published her study on the effects of orthogonal cutting on chip morphology. Her other interests include Formula 1, Legos and modern art.

Medical Trainees


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.

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Bailey Mooney

David Geffen School of Medicine

Bailey is a medical student at David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the Anatomical Engineering Group. She graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Biochemistry and Genetics. Working with Dr. Clites, Bailey is focusing on developing post-operative guidelines and optimizing fixation of a novel ankle implant to native bone. She aspires to pursue a career in orthopedic surgery with strong research interests in clinical outcomes of patients who sustain traumatic injury and could benefit from next-generation implants.


Kai Becraft

Senior, Mechanical Eng.

Marcus Belingheri

Senior, Mechanical Eng.

Heather Griffiths

Sophomore, Mat. Sci. Eng.

Aakash Kadakia

Sophomore, Mechanical Eng.

Jake Kanetis

Senior, Mechanical Eng.

Katie Kubiatko

Junior, Mechanical Eng.

Kai Lim

Senior, Mechanical Eng.

John McCullough

Senior, Mechanical Eng.

Gabriel Olin

Junior, Mechanical Eng.

Shilpa Rao

Junior, Electrical Eng.

Alyssa Tomkinson

Senior, Mechanical Eng.

Zach Wong

Senior, Mechanical Eng.


Gracia Lai - MS Bioengineering, 2022 (THINK Surgical)