The Team


 Dan Inman

Principal Investigator


Daniel J. Inman received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Mechanical Engineering in 1980 and is Chair of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, as well as the C. L. “Kelly” Johnson Collegiate Professor. Since 1980, he has published eight books (on vibration, energy harvesting, control, statics, and dynamics), eight software manuals, 20 book chapters, over 330 journal papers and 600 proceedings papers, given 62 keynote or plenary lectures, graduated 62 Ph.D. students and supervised more than 75 MS degrees.  He works in the area of applying smart structures to solve aerospace engineering problems including energy harvesting, structural health monitoring, vibration suppression and morphing.  He is a Fellow of ASME, AIAA, IIAV and AAM.


Jared Hobeck

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Jared Hobeck’s research ultimately seeks to develop multifunctional smart structure systems capable of active or passive vibration suppression, monitoring their own structural integrity, remembering extreme or traumatic events, providing advanced damage detection warnings, wirelessly transmitting data, environmental sensing, and scavenging enough ambient energy to power the entire system making it automated and self-sustaining. Structures with these capabilities will have unprecedented safety, performance, and reliability thus drastically reducing inspection and maintenance costs in areas including aerospace, automotive, and civil infrastructure. He received a B.S. degree in general engineering from Montana Tech at the University of Montana in 2008, a M. Eng. degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2012, and a Ph.D. degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan in 2014 where he is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

Alex Pankonien

Postdoctoral Research Associate 

Alexander M. Pankonien  is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the field of adaptive structures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Primarily focused on systems-level capability improvements associated with smart material integration for Unmanned Aerial Systems, his work in hybrid morphing and smooth variable-camber control surfaces helped motivate the avian-inspired morphing aircraft grant currently under investigation. This research formed the body of his Ph.D.  in Aerospace Engineering, which he received from the University of Michigan in 2015. In his previous experience as an NSF-IGERT fellow, he also investigated smart-material structures, namely piezoelectric wave-driven energy harvesters. This work lead to his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2011 at Texas A&M University, where he had previously received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering in 2009 with a focus on material theory and characterization.


Katie Reichl

Ph.D. Candidate 

Katie Reichl is a third year PhD student working on vibration suppression using metastructures.  She is looking at adding passive, active and material damping to structures to obtain tuned vibration suppression over a large frequency range while not adding additional mass to the system. She obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Engineering Mechanics.


Brittany Essink

Ph.D. Candidate 

Brittany Essink’s current research focuses on energy harvesting and metastructures. Her current work includes developing nonlinear zigzag shaped beams for broadband energy harvesting and experimenting with optimized chiral lattice metastructures. She completed her B.S. degree in aerospace engineering at Florida Institute of Technology in 2012, and her M.S. degree in aeronautical engineering with an emphasis in structures and materials and minor in systems engineering at Purdue University in 2014.


Lawren Gamble

 Ph.D. Candidate

Lawren  Gamble is interested in improving aircraft flight performance through bioinspired morphing by using smart materials to achieve these novel shape changes. Her work includes optimizing an extended nonlinear lifting line model to predict span-wise varying aileron deflections to recover from stall for a morphing finite wing. Currently, her work focuses on developing a method of yaw control for flying wing UAVs with a bioinspired horizontal control surface using piezoelectric and shape memory alloy actuators. She obtained a B.S. degree at Smith College, in General Engineering.


Shengxi Zhou

 Visiting Ph.D. Scholar

Shengxi Zhou is a joint PhD student (2-year visiting research) in Prof. Inman’s Lab since September 2014. Meanwhile, he is studying for a doctor’s degree majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. His research focuses on vibration energy harvesting including multi-stable energy harvesting, low-frequency energy harvesting, novel energy harvesters, and so on. By far, he has published more than 20 journal and conference papers, which were cited more than 80 times in Google Scholar.

Andrew Lee

 Ph.D. Precandidate

Andrew Lee is a first year Ph.D. student in the Aerospace Engineering department. He completed his B.S. and M.S. at the University of Michigan in the same department and had previously conducted research on stack actuator energy harvesting under Dr. Inman. After working for 2 years at Raytheon Missile Systems, Andrew has come back to pursue a Ph.D. degree and is currently preparing for the preliminary exam.


Krystal Acosta

Ph.D. Precandidate


Krystal Acosta is a first year Aerospace Engineering PhD student.  After passing the preliminary exam, she will work on Macro-Fiber Composite Actuators for space applications.  She will develop a model for the way MFCs behave in extreme temperatures and then validate the model through experiments in lab.  She graduated with a Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering and two minors in Astronomy and Materials Engineering from the University of Florida where she previously worked on the synthesis of PZT.


Auriane Duchamnp

 Visiting Ph.D. Scholar

Auriane Duchamp is a French visiting scholar in Dr. Inman’s lab since September 2015. This five-month research at the University of Michigan is part of her master’s thesis, which she is achieving in her engineering school in France. After a B.S. degree in general engineering from ICAM Lille, she started a M.E. in aerospace engineering at ICAM Toulouse. Her current research is about structural health monitoring, trying to identify and characterize structural damage with a non-attached PZT sensor, using the impedance method.