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Postdoctoral Researchers

Saurav Agarwal
Postdoctoral researcher, CIS

Saurav’s research focuses on developing theoretical foundations and algorithms for coordination, collaboration, and motion planning for mobile robots. His interests include graph neural networks, combinatorial optimization, and approximation algorithms for designing efficient, adaptive, and resilient systems with online decision-making capabilities. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he introduced the generalized coverage problem for monitoring complex environments, developed efficient algorithms, and conducted experiments with UAVs and ground robots.

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Laura Hallock
Postdoctoral researcher, MEAM

Laura is interested in using novel musculoskeletal modeling and sensing modalities to build safer and more dexterous human–robot systems, including intuitively controlled high-dimensional robot platforms (e.g., assistive devices) and collaborative manipulation teams. She has a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) from the University of California, Berkeley — where she piloted the use of ultrasound-measured muscle deformation for device control and showed its promise as a source of muscle force information for biomechanical modeling — and an SB (also in EECS) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — where she worked on neuromuscular modeling for lower-limb prostheses. Her research interests span sensing, imaging, modeling, system identification, and motor control (both human and robotic). She works jointly with the Kumar Lab, the [Figueroa Lab](https://nbfigueroa.github.io/) and Michelle J. Johnson’s [Rehabilitation Robotics Lab](https://www.med.upenn.edu/rehabilitation-robotics-lab/) in Penn Medicine.

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Ph.D Students

Anish Bhattacharya
PhD student, CIS

Anish focuses on enabling vision-based agile robotics control using machine learning and event-based perception data. Previously, he developed full-stack autonomy for aerial robotics in the field, and studied quadrotor control for pursuing moving aerial targets. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Anthony Bisulco
PhD student, ESE

Anthony’s research interests are in event-based perception, hardware accelerators, and machine learning. He has his B.S. in ECE from Northeastern University and his MEng from Cornell Tech.

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Austin Chen
PhD student, CIS

Austin’s research interests include swarm robotics and multi-agent systems, with a focus on the scalable control of robot teams in applications like perimeter defense and resource allocation. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2018, as well as an M.S. in Robotics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2020.

Steven Chen
PhD student, CIS

Steven’s research interests are in deep learning applications in robot perception, action, and communication. He is specifically interested in robots for unstructured, natural environments such as farms and forests. Steven is also the CEO and co-founder of Treeswift, a venture-backed startup he founded with Kumar Lab alumni.

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Spencer Folk
PhD student, MEAM

Spencer is interested in planning, control, and design for aerial vehicles with emphasis on constructing compact models of aerodynamics and windy environments for applications in more energy-efficient planning, agile and robust control, and potentially new and innovative designs. His background includes prior work with the US Army Research Laboratory on scalable and reconfigurable 3D-printed UAVs. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College

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Malakhi Hopkins
PhD student, ESE

Malakhi is interested in mapping and navigation in real-time with decentralized, heterogeneous multi-robot systems. Malakhi graduated with a B.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in Spring 2020.

Laura Jarin-Lipschitz
PhD student, MEAM

Laura’s research is focused on search-based motion planning for fast flight in cluttered and unstructured environments. She received a M.S. in robotics at Penn in 2021 and an S.B. in mechanical engineering at MIT in 2016.

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Pratik Kunapuli
PhD student, CIS

Pratik is interested in using reinforcement learning to control agile and dynamic robots in the real world, as well as improving sample efficiency in sim2real transfer. His previous work involved using machine learning for state estimation in human-augmentation robotics as well as online adaptation of machine learning-based control. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Elijah S. Lee
PhD student, CIS

Elijah’s passion is in the construction of robust robotic systems, and he strives to build autonomous systems to aid humans and solve real-world problems. His research interests include aerial robotics, autonomous vehicles, computer vision, deep learning, reinforcement learning, and perimeter defense.

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Alice Kate Li
PhD student, ESE

Alice is interested in informative path planning for environmental monitoring and modeling spatio-temporal processes. She is co-advised by Dr. Ani Hsieh and Dr. Vijay Kumar. She received her B.S and M.S in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.

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Xu Liu
PhD student, MEAM

Xu is interested in developing long-range autonomous UAV navigation and multi-robot semantic mapping systems for large-scale, unstructured, cluttered, GPS-denied 3-D environments, and applying them to solve real-world problems such as precision agriculture and infrastructure inspection. He received the M.S.E. degree in Robotics from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, in 2019.

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Matthew Malencia
PhD student, ESE

Matthew is a robotics researcher, an AI educator, and a science policy advocate. His research on coordination strategies enables robot teams to accomplish complex tasks within the context of real world human systems by leveraging robot heterogeneity. He is co-advised by Dr. George Pappas and collaborates with Dr. Amanda Prorok at the University of Cambridge as a visiting researcher

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Katie Mao
PhD student, MEAM

Katherine is interested in aerial robotics and motion planning. She received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 2020.

Ian Miller
PhD student, ESE

Ian’s work revolves around enabling robotic systems to perceive the world in more human-like ways, as well as building on these human-like representations for higher levels of autonomy. He has a particular focus on system design and field robotics, and is especially interested in building robust systems of many robots that can operate in real-world conditions. He has a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a B.S. in Physics, both from Lafayette College.

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Daniel Mox
PhD student, MEAM

Daniel is interested in solving practical, fundamental challenges at the intersection of robotics and wireless systems using search-based planning, optimization and machine learning.

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Ty Nguyen
PhD student, CIS

Ty’s research interests are in the areas of Machine Learning, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. His current focuses are on Control & Optimization, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Knowledge Transfer and Probabilistic Modelling. As a long-term goal, he whole-heartedly works to facilitate the coexisting of robots and intelligent agents with us.

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Fernando Cladera Ojeda
PhD student, CIS

Fernando is interested in perception and energy-efficient hardware architectures for robotics. Specifically, he is looking into the intersection of embedded systems, autonomous robots, and event-based vision. He has more than six years of experience in hardware and embedded systems design. Fernando received his B. Sc from the National University of Cuyo and the Brest National School of Engineering. He then received an M. Sc. in embedded systems at the University of Rennes 1 and an M. Sc. in Robotics at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Penn, Fernando worked for the Samsung AI Center in NY.

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Dexter Ong
PhD student, CIS

Dexter is interested in vision and scene understanding for agile flight in unknown and unstructured environments. He is pursuing a PhD in Computer and Information Science, co-advised by Dr. Pratik Chaudhari and Dr. Vijay Kumar. He previously worked on field robotics at DSO National Laboratories. He has a BEng in Electrical Engineering from the National University of Singapore.

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Kelsey Saulnier
PhD student, ESE

Kelsey is a PhD student interested in problems related to active information acquisition and autonomous mapping. She received a B.S and M.S in Computer Engineering from RPI in 2011 and 2013 respectively as well as a M.S.E in Robotics from University of Pennsylvania in 2017.

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Yifei Shao
PhD student, CIS

Yifei is a first year student pursuing PhD in Computer and Information Science(CIS). He is interested in using tools from sampling-based motion planning and optimization to generate and refine accurate motion plans in real-time. He is coadviced by Prof. Pratik Chaudhari and Prof. Vijay Kumar. He has a M.S. in Robotics&Mechanical Engineering from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from Cooper Union

Anusha Srikanthan
PhD student, ESE

Anusha is pursuing her PhD in Electrical and Systems Engineering advised by Dr. Nikolai Matni and Dr. Vijay Kumar. She is working at the intersection of multi-agent systems, learning and control theory. She completed her Masters Thesis at Georgia Institute of Technology, advised by Dr. Harish Ravichandar and Dr. Sonia Chernova. The focus of her thesis was on the design of algorithms for learning implicit task requirements for multi-agent task allocation using data from expert demonstrations. Outside of academia, she was a performer and headed the dance team during her undergraduate years at NIT Trichy, India.

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Yuezhan Tao
PhD student, CIS

Yuezhan is a PhD student studying Computer and Information Science under the supervision of Dr. Vijay Kumar. He is interested in active exploration and multi-robot collaborative mapping leveraging on-board sensing and computation power. Yuezhan completed his MSE in Computer and Information Science at UPenn. Before that, he got his BE in Computer Science and Engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

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Jake Welde
PhD student, MEAM

Jake’s research focuses on planning and control for underactuated multibody aerial robots, such as quadrotors equipped with manipulator arms. He is interested in exploring the fundamental geometric properties of these systems to develop a deeper theoretical understanding, as well as using these insights to inform mechanical design and practical control implementation on real-world robots. Jake also completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Robotics here at Penn.

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Yuwei Wu
PhD student, ESE

Yuwei’s research interest lies in motion planning. Her work involves optimization-based trajectory generations under disturbance for aerial robotics and obstacles avoidance in dynamic environments.

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Research Staff

Kashish Garg
Research Engineer

Kashish has a B.S from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering Brooklyn, NY and his interests lie in a variety of fields throughout Robotics

Rahul Zahroof
Research Specialist

Rahul received his MS in robotics in 2021. His interests lie in multi-robot path planning, controls, and novel machine learning applications in robotics.

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Alex Zhou
Research Engineer


Masters Students

Harsh Goel
MS Student, Robotics

Harsh is interested in endowing robots with human like intelligence to plan and cooperate to complete tasks collectively and effectively. He obtained his B.E. in Mech. Eng. from the National University of Singapore.

Beiming Li
MS Student, Robotics

Beiming is interested in sensor fusion of time-of-flight camera and ultrasonic sensor for glass detection and robot navigation. Before joining Penn, he got his B.S. in Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Jiazhen Liu
MS Student, CIS

Jiazhen’s research interests involve safe and resilient multi-robot systems in uncertain and antagonistic environments. She previously obtained her B.E. from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

Dhruv Parikh
MS Student, MEAM

Dhruv’s research interest lies in sensor fusion and controls. Before joining Penn, he was working in development of flight controllers for quadrotors.

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Ankit Prabhu
MS Student, Robotics

Ankit’s research interests involve enabling autonomous robots to understand and leverage rich semantic features from previously unknown environments such as generic urban expanses and forests. To that capacity he is interested in using Computer Vision and Deep Learning techniques to create novel algorithms and systems for Semantic Mapping, SLAM and Active Exploration. He is current working on creating an efficient heterogeneous multi-robot autonomous semantic mapping system that will later serve as the foundations for a forest semantic mapping project. Before joining UPenn, he completed his B.Tech degree from SRM University.

Xiatao Sun
MS Student, Robotics

Xiatao’s research interests involve motion planning using learning-based methods and human-robot interaction. Before joining Penn, he got his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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Saibernard Yogendran
MS Student, MEAM (Robotics)

Saibernard’s research interest lies in controls, dynamics and motion planning in quadcopters and interested in using them to achieve optimal tasks. Prior to joining Penn, he has worked in motorsports as a Technical lead and Race engineer.

Undergraduate Students

Aishwarya Balaji
Undergraduate M&T Student in CIS and Economics

Aishwarya is interested in the use of computer vision in agriculture. Her background involves using adsorption techniques to manage agricultural waste, as well as analyzing cognitive impairment using applied methods of nonparametric smoothing and functional data analysis.

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