Alumni News Brief

Kramer-Botiglio wins top NSF honor

Former SEAS Ph.D. now a mechanical engineering professor at Yale

Headshot of former SEAS student and Yale professor Rebecca Kramer-Botiglio

Rebecca Kramer-Botiglio, Ph.D. '12 (Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science)

Rebecca Kramer-Botiglio, Ph.D. '12, was one of three researchers recently honored with the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award, the nation's highest honor for early-career scientists and engineers. The Waterman Award will be presented at a ceremony during the National Science Board meeting on May 1 in Washington, D.C. Awardees will each receive $1 million over five years for research in their chosen field of science.

Kramer, currently the John J. Lee Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science, was recognized for her multidisciplinary research in robotics. Her research draws on biological and evolutionary adaptations in nature, such as developing an amphibious turtle-inspired robot with limbs made from coupled fluidic actuators and variable-stiffness materials that change between hydrodynamic flippers and load-bearing leg shapes depending on the environment.

"Robots are traditionally mechanical assemblies designed to complete a single task in a specific context. In contrast, biological organisms adapt physiologically, behaviorally, and morphologically in response to changing environmental conditions," Kramer-Bottiglio said. "My research focuses on imbuing next-generation robots with the ability to adapt and evolve like animals."

Kramer-Botiglio studied engineering science with a focus on mechanical engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). She worked in the Harvard Microrobotics Lab of Robert Wood, Harry Lewis and Marlyn McGrath Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She joined the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science faculty in 2017.

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