Zoe Lemon

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Mechanical Engineering

PhD Candidate, First Year

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Hometown

Kansas City, Missouri

Undergraduate institution

University of Missouri-Kansas City

What sparked your interest in your current field, and what do you love about it?

I became interested in mechanical engineering, particularly the department here at MIT, when I was applying to graduate school (my undergrad was in physics) because I wanted to join an interdisciplinary field where people are inventing things to solve a wide variety of problems. The MechE students and faculty here are working on all sorts of things, from developing biologically-inspired materials to building robots, and sometimes a little bit of both! I find this diversity of research inspiring, and I am so excited to be a part of it.

Personal research summary

My past research experiences were primarily in biophysics labs, where physics methods are applied to investigate biological problems. After shifting to mechanical engineering, I again sought out a project that had biological or medical relevance. I am now in Professor Asada’s group, where I am continuing the supernumerary robotic fingers project. Development of these fingers will provide a way for hemiparetic patients (those with paralysis in one limb) to effectively perform daily tasks by themselves that might otherwise be very difficult or require outside assistance. Faye Wu, the now-graduated PhD student who pioneered this project, developed an amazing working prototype of the robotic fingers. My research will involve improving this model’s functionality, and working to make it suitable for real-life usage.

Personal interests

I love art – along with painting in my spare time, I enjoy listening to and playing music (I’m a cellist in the chamber music society at MIT). My other interests include dogs, reading books, and playing video games as a family with my brothers and dad.