Assistant Professor

Laura Treers will join the faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UVM in August 2024. Dr. Treers received her PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 2023, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT in 2018. She is now a Postdoctoral Scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology in the Schools of Physics and Biological Sciences.  Her graduate research focused on improving robotic mobility in complex environments such as granular media, through the design of novel mechanisms and modeling techniques. Her current postdoctoral work is focused on collective behavior in both robotic and biological systems, specifically exploring the manipulation of cohesive granular materials.

At UVM, her lab will continue to work on research ideas at the intersection of robotics, physics, and comparative biomechanics.  She plans to build a lab focused around improving robotic capability in natural terrains, with key interests in: 1) modeling of interaction forces in complex materials like granular media and entangled matter 2) design of novel mechanisms for operation in messy, granular environments and 3) using both biological systems, as well as robotic prototypes, as tools to better understand principles of complex locomotion, ie “robophysics”-based approaches.

Laura is passionate about advancing equity in undergraduate education, as well as STEM outreach for underrepresented groups. She has mentored at several science camps for middle school girls, is an active mentor and coach for FIRST robotics programs, and feels strongly about helping students from all backgrounds and walks of life feel like they belong in the sciences.


  • S. Kim, L. K. Treers, T. Myung Huh, H. S. Stuart, “Efficient Reciprocating Burrowing with Anisotropic Origami Feet”. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, Vol 10, p. 1214160, 2023
  • L. K. Treers, B. McInroe, R. J. Full, H. S. Stuart, “Mole crab‑inspired vertical self‑burrowing”. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, p. 263, 2022
  • J. J. Page, L. K. Treers, S. J. Jorgensen, R. S. Fearing, H. S. Stuart, ”The Robustness of Tether Friction in Non‑idealized Terrains”, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol 8 (1), p. 424‑431, 2022
  • A. Martinez, J. DeJong, I. Akin, A. Aleali, C. Arson, J. Atkinson, P. Bandini, T. Baser, R. Borela, R. Boulanger, M. Burrall, Y. Chen, C. Collins, D. Cortes, S. Dai, T. DeJong, E. Del Dottore, K. Dorgan, R. Fragaszy, J. D. Frost, R. Full, M. Ghayoomi, D. I. Goldman, N. Gravish, I. L. Guzman, J. Hambleton, E. Hawkes, M. Helms, D. Hu, L. Huang, S. Huang, C. Hunt, D. Irschick, H. Thomas Lin, B. Lingwall, A. Marr, B. Mazzolai, B. McInroe, T. Murthy, K. O’Hara, M. Porter, S. Sadek, M. Sanchez, C. Santamarina, L. Shao, J. Sharp, H. Stuart, H. H. Stutz, A. Summers, J. Tao, M. Tolley, L. K. Treers, K. Turnbull, R. Valdes, L. van Paassen, G. Viggiani, D. Wilson, W. Wu, X. Yu, and J. Zheng, “Bio‑inspired geotechnical engineering: Principles, current work, opportunities and challenges.” Geotechnique, Vol. 72 (8) p. 687‑705, 2022.
  • L. K. Treers, C. Cao, H. S. Stuart, “Granular Resistive Force Theory Implementation for Three‑Dimensional Trajectories.” IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol 6 (2), p. 1887‑1894, 2021
  • L. K. Treers, R. Lo, M. Cheung, A. Guy, J. Guggenheim, F. Parietti, and H. Asada, “Design and Control of Lightweight Supernumerary Robotic Limbs for Sitting/Standing Assistance.” International Symposium for Experimental Robotics, 2016.

A full list of publications can be found here (Link to Google Scholar). 

Awards and Recognition

  • 2023 Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of California
  • 2019 National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship, Office of Naval Research
  • 2018 UC Berkeley Presidential Fellowship, University of California
  • 2018 Thomas Sheridan Prize for Creativity in Man‑Machine Integration, MIT
Assistant Professor Laura Treers

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Robotic locomotion in complex terrains, physics of granular materials, robophysics, organismal biomechanics, collective behavior, field robotics, mechanism design


  • PhD Mechanical Engineering, 2023, UC Berkeley
  • BS Mechanical Engineering, 2018, MIT


Office Location:


Office Hours:


Courses Taught

  • ME 3320 A Control Systems
  • ME Mechatronics Design