Senior Advisor, Office of the Provost and Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Fluid dynamics, turbulence, reduced modeling of complex systems, dynamical systems theory, chaotic mixing, microfluidics, electrohydrodynamics, manipulation and assembly of nanoscale particles in microfluidics, biofluids
Engineering for Health, Mechanics of biomaterials at the nanoscale, Synthesis and study of functionals nanomaterials for biomedical imaging and drug delivery, Advanced imaging for medical diagnostics, Novel processes and materials for dentistry: nano-polishing and self-healing materials
Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) fabrication, modeling, and testing. Particularly acoustic MEMS (microphones, ultrasound), and aerodynamic measurement technologies (skin friction sensors, aeroacoustic sensors). Acoustics, vibrations, dynamics and controls. Electromechanical systems including robotics. Finite element methods and system modeling. Electronics for measurement. Mechanical measurements.
Animals, as a consequence of evolution, employ multiple, complex, highly interconnected, locomotion modes to overcome obstacles and move through unstructured environments; the individual contributions of which are not well understood. While roboticists have made great strides in enhancing robot performance, the focus has been on the control system (brain, sensors), and yet a significant gap still exists between robots and their biological counterparts. The Robot Locomotion & Biomechanics Laboratory at Tufts University focuses on enhancing robot mobility through a deeper understanding of the fundamental design methodologies employed by animals to combine locomotion modes (integrated multimodal locomotion), interact deterministically yet passively with the environment (morphological intelligence), and actuate their physical systems (advance actuation). Current projects include, adapting the complex, passive, multifunctional feet of desert locusts to enhance the dynamic surface interactions of terrestrial robots and support highly dynamic behaviors, studying how flying animals may use their physical systems (bodies) to transform relatively simple inputs into complex non-linear outputs through an understanding of the unsteady aerodynamics, and understand how swarms communicate and create complex structures.
Science focused on energy, development and environmental management. Computational
modeling of electrical grid integration of renewable energy and storage. Interaction of science and
policy in academia, industry and government
Professor and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Interaction of light with matter, physics of nanostructures and interfaces, metamaterials, material science, plasmonics, and surfactants, semiconductor photonics and electronics, epitaxial crystal growth, materials and devices for energy and infrared applications.
Dr. Stearns provided thought leadership to USDOT in the areas of human factors research and evaluation focusing on relationships between humans and transportation policies and processes. She has a broad understanding of the human factors issues affecting transportation due to her work as the founding Executive Agent for the DOT's Human Factors Coordinating Committee (HFCC). Her research contributions focused on social factors influencing the use, operation, and organization of transportation systems and equipment. She led research to address user acceptance of new vehicle technologies and designed and conducted evaluations of user acceptance of automotive collision avoidance and roadway departure warning systems. She led a government-industry cooperative program to develop the first generation of driver assist features using an adaptive interface system to minimize driver distraction. She led the Volpe Center's aviation human factors program and designed and conducted a longitudinal effort to assess the impact of advanced technology on transit operations. She and her team developed a software tool to evaluate and record human factors considerations for air traffic controllers' equipment, provided the human factors plan for a proposed air traffic control upgrade, and provided software tools for acquiring and archiving data on air traffic control activity. She documented the differential impacts of the energy shortage by user category. She has also analyzed alcohol-related recreational boating fatalities, use of automotive safety belts, experiences of older drivers, general aviation fatalities, marine crew fatigue, characteristics of the future FAA maintenance work force, and the impacts of crew scheduling and fatigue on the railroad industry. She has extensive experience developing data collection and analyses strategies and has consulted on, as well as designed, numerous data collection instruments and surveys.
micromechanics of composites, interfacial fracture and adhesion, fatigue and creep damage in solder alloys, thermomechanical reliability of microelectronic packaging, defects and transport in solids with applications to solid oxide fuel cells and batteries, ultrasonic nondestructive evaluation of advanced engineering materials, material science