Four faculty from the Department of Mechanical Engineering have received promotions to associate professor with tenure from the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors at its June 7 meeting.

Alan Asbeck, who joined the department in 2015 at the rank of assistant professor, is best known for his work with robotics and exoskeletons. Asbeck in the past has led the engineering and building of an exosuit for protecting the health of retail employees at Lowe's, and has recently received an NSF CAREER award to develop novel exoskeletons that allow for greater range of motion by users. He is the director of the Assistive Robotics Laboratory.

Oumar Barry received an NSF CAREER award in 2020 to support fundamental research for a self-powered autonomous robot that travels along power lines to diagnose defects. Barry joined the department in 2018 as an assistant professor, and is the director of the Vibrations and Robotics Laboratory.

Zheng Li is a researcher and inventor in the field of lithium-ion battery recycling technology, with more than 16 years of experience in battery research and development. He led the prototype design of several game-changing battery technologies at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Virginia Tech, and founded Li Industries in 2020 to accelerate scalable and automated direct battery recycling. Li joined the department as an assistant professor in 2016.

Shima Shahab received both an NSF EAGER award and an NSF CAREER award to expand research with acoustic holograms. Shahab has partnered with colleagues from within her own department as well the Department of Biomedical Engineering to more fully deploy this technology for use in the medical field. Shahab joined the Virginia Tech community in 2015, moving to mechanical engineering as an assistant professor in 2019. She is the director of the Multiphysics Intelligent and Dynamical Systems (MInDS) Lab.