Lab members

Currently working in the lab. Click here for previous members.

Dr. Jake Socha
Principal Investigator

I am a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics at Virginia Tech.  I am also a member of the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, an affiliate of VT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Biological Sciences, a member of VT’s Integrative Organismal Biology group, and the director of Virginia Tech’s BIOTRANS program. I also serve as Associate Editor for the journal Royal Society Open Science.

Download CV (pdf)


Mary Salcedo

Postdoctoral fellow

Dr. Salcedo is a postdoc in the lab, supported by an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (PRFB). Mary earned her Ph.D. in the Department of Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, co-advised by L. Mahadevan and Stacey Combes (U.C. Davis), studying the biomechanics of insect wings. She did her bachelor's degree in biology at U. Washington, and at one point worked with Tom Daniel. In our lab, Mary is working on circulation in insects, among other things.

Her web site

Graduate students

Talia Weiss

Ph.D. candidate


Talia is a graduate student in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, studying locomotion at the water interface in animals.  Talia earned her bachelor's in bioengineering from the California Institute of Technology. She is also a member of the BIOTRANS program.

Michelle Graham

Ph.D. candidate


Michelle is a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, studying the gap-crossing movements of flying snakes. Michelle earned a bachelor's degree in physics and philosophy from Oxford University. She is also the executive director of Wild Animal Initiative, a nonprofit organization that promotes research into wild animal welfare.

Josh Pulliam

Ph.D. student

Josh is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, whose research focuses on how animals climb i arboreal environments. Josh earned dual degrees in applied physics from Morehouse College and mechanical engineering from Auburn University. 


Tyler Ellis, Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Mohamed Hussein, Mechanical Engineering
Alison Henry, Biomedical Engineering
Terrell Worrell, Engineering Science & Mechanics
Terrell analyzed high-speed video footage of ducks landing on water, and also helped collect experimental data in the field.
Joyce Lu, Animal and Poultry Sci
Noah Goldfarb, Animal and Poultry Sci
Taylor Payne, Animal and Poultry Sci
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Teen 1


Kylan goes to school, runs track, plays soccer, and does theater.


Teen 2


Beckett goes to school, plays soccer, and sometimes does theater.

© 2016-21 Jake Socha