Faculty Directory

Smela, Elisabeth

Smela, Elisabeth

Mechanical Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering
Maryland Robotics Center
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Brain and Behavior Institute
Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices
2112 Glenn L. Martin Hall


Research Scientist, Linköping University, Sweden
Senior Scientist, Risø National Laboratory, Denmark
Vice President of Research and Development, Santa Fe Science and Technology, Inc. (SFST), New Mexico
University of Maryland since 2000


Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania
B.S., Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Honors and awards

NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), 2004
(converted from NSF CAREER for "Development of Advanced MEMS Actuator Technology for Microrobotics," 2003)

Outstanding Invention of 2004, Office of Technology Commercialization, UMD
for cell sensor-based pathogen detection

E. Robert Kent Teaching Award for Junior Faculty, UMD, 2004

DuPont Young Professor Award, 2003

Danish Research Councils Talent Project award, 1998

NSF Fellow, Summer Institute in Japan, 1991


Dr. Smela's research is primarily in the field of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), particularly polymer MEMS and bioMEMS. She focuses on the use of organic materials (from polymers to cells) in microsystems to realize microactuators, cell-based sensors, and CMOS/MEMS integrated systems.

AquatiClaw Grabs Departmental Award at Capstone Expo

Event features projects developed by more than 500 Maryland Engineering seniors.

A Wider Lens

UMD engineering faculty are finding ways to introduce sustainability concepts throughout the curriculum.

Bio-Nose Technology: Conferring a Sense of Smell

NSF grant funds UMD-led team developing portable “nose” device.

UMD’s Tubaldi Wins NSF CAREER Award

Improved cardiovascular implants could be one result of an ME faculty member’s groundbreaking research.

UMD ME Faculty Ranked in Top 2% of Scientists Worldwide

The department is home to some of the most widely-cited researchers in their fields.

Engineering Outreach Through Next-Generation GOALKits

Hands-on learning gets a new twist with a design created by UMD students.

UMD Mechanical Engineering Retains Strong Position in Rankings

Program is #12 among public universities and #20 overall, according to U.S. News & World Report

Search Initiated for New Clark School Dean

A national search has been initiated for a new Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering.

Stretchable, soft sensing skins for robots

Such skins could equip soft robots with integrated sensing and estimation.

Investing in Environmentally Responsible Engineering

A grant from The Lemelson Foundation will accelerate environmentally and socially responsible engineering through innovation in undergraduate curricula.

Spread Hope: The "Smart Bra"

The "smart bra" is a low-cost wearable device that could conceivably detect breast cancer early enough for treatment.

Elisabeth Smela one of five honored with Campus Women of Influence Award

Recipients have contributed to improving the quality of women's lives.

University of Maryland, College Park & Baltimore Campuses Announce Seed Grant Winners

Program, now in eight year, spurs inter-campus research collaboration

Smela Named ADVANCE Professor

Mechanical Engineering Professor Elisabeth Smela Named University of Maryland ADVANCE Professor

Bruck Named SEM Fellow

Department of Mechanical Engineering Professor Hugh Bruck named SEM Fellow.

Bruck, Smela, Yu receive NSF grant for compliant multifunctional robotic structures

National Robotics Initiative grant will develop a robotic 'nervous system.'

Associate Professor Teng Li Wins E. Robert Kent Outstanding Teaching Award

Li is the fourth Mechanical Engineering professor to receive the award for outstanding excellence in teaching.

Miniature Robotics REU students give final presentations

Ten undergrads from around the country give talks on their summer projects.

Antbot research profiled in Pacific Standard magazine

Article explores potential of antbots in search and rescue operations

Systems Researchers Partner with Trento, Italy

Joint efforts to target bioengineering, renewable energy, nanomaterials, microsystems, education.

Elisabeth Smela Promoted to Full Professor

MEMS researcher advances to new rank.

Martins, Abshire, Smela, Bergbreiter win $1.5 million NSF grant

The team will develop self-organizing ant-sized microrobots.

Shapiro, Smela are issued U.S. Patent 7,523,608

Clark School faculty members invent electrically driven microfluidic pumping for actuation.

Engineers Collaborate on New Cell-Based Sensors

New bio-sensors could speed up and improve the detection of pathogens, explosives.

Dandin Named 2008 Fischell Fellow

BioE grad student to develop fast, portable biosensor.

Clark School Leads "Microsystems Mechanics" Center

$10M effort to develop networked micro-vehicles for assisting soldiers.

Abshire, Shapiro, Smela part of biosensor grant

Researchers are partnering with IBI, graduate of university's TAP program.

Engineers Without Borders Installs Solar Systems in Burkina Faso

Sustainable power sources help illuminate community in developing African country.

New Scientist highlights cell sensor research

Work of Shapiro, Abshire, Smela improves pathogen detection.

Cooperation with Korean University Adds to International Exchange

Pusan National University to share Ph.D. research knowledge, faculty and students.

Department Welcomes German Fulbright Scholars

German-American Fulbright Program provides educational exchange.

Engineering Change in Burkina Faso

Engineers Without Borders team improves quality of life for African village.

ME Faculty Honored at Research Leaders Luncheon

Nine ME Faculty honored on November 14.

Pi Tau Sigma Honors Faculty, Teaching Assistant

Pi Tau Sigma honored two faculty members and a teaching assistant during their initiation ceremony on May 10th.

ME Faculty & Students Dominate Invention Awards

Co-Inventor Greg Jackson Winner in Physical Sciences Category

ME Faculty & Students Win Invention, Business Plan Awards

The department congratulates these outstanding students and faculty on their well-deserved awards.

Smela Promoted to Associate Professor Status

Congratulations to Elisabeth Smela, who was recently awarded the status of Associate Professor with tenure.

MIPS Program, Maryland Companies Award Funds to ME Faculty To Develop Technology-Based Products

Nearly $700K of that amount was awarded to ME faculty MIPS projects, detailed below.

Dr. Adam Hsieh Joins ME Department in November 2004

Hsieh to Work With Bioengineering Graduate Program.

ME Undergrad Selin Mariadhas Awarded ASME Foundation Scholarship

Selin is the only recipient of the award from UMD, College Park campus in 2004.

Profs. Balachandran and Sandborn Winners of OTC Invention of the Year Competition

Professors Balakumar Balachandran and Peter Sandborn were the winners of two of the three (OTC) Invention of the Year Awards.

Elisabeth Smela Receives NSF CAREER Award

Award won for project titled, "Development of Advanced MEMS Actuator Technology for Microrobotics."

Industrial College of the Armed Forces Students Visit

The students were hosted by Assoc. Prof. Jeffrey Herrmann and were welcomed by Department Chairman Avram Bar-Cohen.

4 ME Faculty Win Department of Defense Awards

Four members of the Mechanical Engineering faculty are recipients of the Department of Defense MURI and DURIP awards.

Maryland Team Takes Second Place in MEMS Alliance's Special Topics Symposium Refereed Poster Session

Hyo Suk Oh and Yingkai Liu took second place in MEMS Alliance's Special Topics Symposium Refereed Poster Session.

MRI Award Granted to Research Team

This equipment will complement the department's deep reactive ion etcher (DRIE), previously awarded under a Navy DURIP grant