Nitin Sharma

Professional Biography: Nitin Sharma received the B.E. degree in Industrial Engineering from Thapar Institue of Engineering and Technology, India, in 2004, and the M.S. degree and the Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, in 2008 and 2010, respectively. He was an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Post-Doctoral Fellow with the Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. From 2012-2017, he was an Assistant Professor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Pittsburgh and promoted to an Associate Professor in 2018. In 2019, he joined Joint Biomedical engineering department at the North Carolina State University-Raleigh and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Research Interests: His research interests include the modeling, optimization, and control of functional electrical stimulation (FES), hybrid exoskeletons that combine  FES and a powered exoskeleton. His research group has recently started looking into using ultrasound imaging-derived sensing signals to address human robot interaction problems in rehabilitation. He has won O Hugo Schuck Award for the Best Application Paper from the 2008 American Control Conference. His research in hybrid exoskeletons is funded by three NSF awards and one NIH R03 Award. He won NSF CAREER Award in 2018.


Albert Dodson

Albert Dodson received his BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University in 2010. Before enrolling at Pitt, he worked in industry as a Mechanical Engineer for a company that designs flight simulators for commercial and military applications. He graduated with an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Pitt in 2017 and his MS thesis is titled “A Novel User-Controlled Assisted Standing Control System for a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis.”

Albert works as a Research Associate for Professor Sharma’s Neuromuscular Control and Robotics Laboratory. His research contributions include advancing the mechatronic and controls design for the Exoskeleton Project and acting as a co-contributor for the Unilateral Exoskeleton Project.



Vahidreza Molazadeh

Vahid Molazadeh received his BS from K. N. Toosi University of Technology in 2013. He then went to Sharif University of Technology and completed his study in 2015. He is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering under the supervisory of Dr. Sharma. Main Focus of his research is on the Hybrid Zero Dynamics.


Zhiyu Sheng

Zhiyu Sheng graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2013 with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and Automation. He then went to Columbia University in the City of New York, and obtained his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2015. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. under advisement of Dr. Sharma, focusing on ultrasound imaging, FES control system and muscle fatigue estimation.


Ziyue Sun

Ziyue Sun received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. He then went to the graduate program, pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. He is doing research in reinforcement learning.


Qiang Zhang

Qiang Zhang received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Wuhan University in 2014, and then received his M.S. in Mechatronic Engineering from Wuhan University in 2017. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Sharma. His research focuses on control of hybrid walking extremity exoskeleton combining FES and motor, and IMU based nonlinear gait estimation during hybrid walking.


Ashwin Iyer

Ashwin graduated from Pitt with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science in 2017. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering focusing on control methods using ultrasound imaging. 



Christopher Greathouse


Stanley Liu

Shih-Dun (Stanley) Liu is a fourth-year medical student on MD/research track at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is currently on a research year under the Clinical Scientist Training Program. Stanley was born in Taiwan, and moved to Pittsburgh where he pursued a B.S. in Biological Sciences/Neuroscience Track at Carnegie Mellon University. He graduated with university and research honors in 2010. Stanley received an M.S. in Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Stanley has also worked with biotechnology startup F Cubed, and worked as a research associate at Stanford University. At the Sharma lab, he is working at the intersection between medicine and engineering, helping develop a hybrid exoskeleton that will help patients with spinal cord injury regain functional movements.


Jonathan Powers

Jonathan Powers graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016.  He is currently enrolled in Pitt’s MBA/M.S. Mechanical Engineering dual degree program.  Jonathan is currently a leader on Pitt’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) team, and has been a CAD designer of components on the car for 6 years.  As an undergraduate, Jonathan was a teaching assistant for an introductory SolidWorks class.  Jonathan has always had a keen interest in Biomechanical Engineering design, and is excited to perform research.



Jake Saletsky

Sharfin Islam

Michael Gale

Zach Egolf

Thomas Hinds

Uwazuruonye Kaosi

Jacalyn Sharp

Kaichen Sun


Nicholas Kirsch, Ph.D. (2016)

Current Employment: Senior Robotics Engineer at I Am Robotics in Pittsburgh, PA

Dissertation: “Control Methods for Compensation and Inhibition of Muscle Fatigue in Neuroprosthetic Devices”

Xuefeng Bao (2019)

Current Employment: Postdoc at Case Western Reserve University

Dissertation: Robust and Adaptive Optimal Control Methods for a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis.


Zunding Xiao ’18; -Thesis: State Estimation of an Acoustic Bubble-Powered Microswimmer from Ultrasound Imaging Data

Albert Dodson ’17 – Thesis: A Novel User-Controlled Assisted Standing Control System for a Hybrid Neuroprosthesis

Ziyue Sun ’17- Thesis: Robust Model Predictive Control of An Input Delayed Functional Electrical Stimulation

Tianyi Qiu ’16 – Thesis: Robust Compensation of Electromechanical Delay during Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation of Antagonistic Muscles

Qiang Zhong ’16 – Thesis: Development and Experimental Evaluation of a State Dependent Coefficient Based State Estimator for Functional Electrical Stimulation-Elicited Tasks

Brian Doll ’15 – Thesis: Optimization of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation to Reduce Muscle Fatigue during Isometric Contractions