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Smela, Elisabeth

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
2112 Glenn L. Martin Hall

Research Interests 

Cell-based sensing, sensing skins for compliant robotics, mapping nucleic acids in tissue sections, polymer actuators, nastic actuators, other polymer MEMS and fiber optic sensing


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 

Young Faculty Awards
PECASE (Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering), 2004
NSF CAREER for "Development of Advanced MEMS Actuator Technology for Microrobotics," 2003

Related News 

Elisabeth Smela one of five honored with Campus Women of Influence Award
Recipients have contributed to improving the quality of women's lives. March 28, 2019

Maryland Robotics Center launches a new postdoctoral fellowship program
The program will foster multidisciplinary collaborations among Maryland Robotics Center faculty. September 14, 2018

Salamanca-Riba Appointed 2017/2018 UMD ADVANCE Professor 
Dr. Salamanca-Riba will help facilitate opportunities for advancement among University faculty members, especially under-represented groups. September 12, 2017

ISR faculty leading bio-inspired robotics and transportation electrification REUs
NSF's REU program provides undergraduate students with hands-on exposure to scientific research. July 17, 2017

Smela named Clark School Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Graduate Programs
She will begin serving in this position on Sept. 1. July 7, 2017

Khaligh wins Clark School junior faculty teaching award
Khaligh will receive the Robert E. Kent Teaching Award for Junior Faculty at winter commencement. December 1, 2016

University of Maryland, College Park & Baltimore Campuses Announce Seed Grant Winners
Program, now in eight year, spurs inter-campus research collaboration October 17, 2015

Elisabeth Smela named ADVANCE Professor
She joins the ranks of five other ISR faculty associated with the ADVANCE program. September 4, 2015

Students present final projects for 2014 NSF Microrobotics REU
Research ranged from robotic skin to leg designs, inertial tail actuators, and more. August 10, 2014

Derek Paley wins PECASE Award
ISR/AE faculty member has research interests in dynamics and control. December 23, 2013

Sarah Bergbreiter wins PECASE Award
ISR/ME faculty member specializes in microrobotics. December 23, 2013

ECE Ph.D. student Timir Datta wins Graduate All-S.T.A.R. Fellowship
The fellowship honors scholarship, teaching, administration and research. October 22, 2013

Bruck, Smela, Yu receive NSF grant for compliant multifunctional robotic structures
National Robotics Initiative grant will develop a robotic 'nervous system.' September 3, 2013

Miniature Robotics REU students give final presentations
Ten undergrads from around the country give talks on their summer projects. August 10, 2012

Five additions to faculty
ISR welcomes four new joint appointments and one new affiliate faculty member. July 13, 2012

Antbot research profiled in Pacific Standard magazine
Article explores potential of antbots in search and rescue operations June 12, 2012

ISR organizes NSF Workshop on Micro, Nano, Biosystems
Event is held March 30-31 in Arlington, Va. March 27, 2012

Six ISR grad students in Clark School Future Faculty Program
Program helps students prepare for academic careers in top-50 engineering schools. February 14, 2012

Pamela Abshire wins Kent Teaching Award
Chosen for engaged teaching, curriculum development and advising student research. December 22, 2011

International partnership agreement being finalized
International relationship will include research and education components. May 27, 2011

Ching Teo and Yezhou Yang win in Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship competition
Teo is advised by ISR affiliate faculty member Yiannis Aloimonos. May 24, 2011

ISR faculty earn promotions
Sennur Ulukus, Elisabeth Smela, Min Wu and Bruce Jacob promoted to Full Professor. May 18, 2011

Nuno Martins promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure
Dr. Martins' research interests are in control theory, estimation and information theory. April 12, 2011

ISR students Datta, Teo are part of finalist teams in Qualcomm competition
Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship competition recognizes outstanding Ph.D. students. March 30, 2011

ISR's busy November: NSF site visit, 25th anniversary dinner, SAC meeting
The Institute for Systems Research held three major events from Nov. 17–19. December 14, 2010

Martins, Somasundaram, Frazier win awards at ISR's annual ceremony
Congratulations to our outstanding faculty, graduate student and staff member! May 7, 2010

Six Clark School faculty become affiliates of ISR
ISR welcomes Desai, Humbert, Jacob, Paley, Qu and Smela. April 20, 2010

Martins, Abshire, Smela, Bergbreiter win $1.5 million NSF grant
The team will develop self-organizing ant-sized microrobots. September 25, 2009

Cell-based sensors featured in The Scientist
Cross-disciplinary work of Abshire, Smela, Shapiro is highlighted. July 8, 2009

Shapiro, Smela are issued U.S. Patent 7,523,608
Clark School faculty members invent electrically driven microfluidic pumping for actuation. May 5, 2009

Clark School Researchers Collaborate on New Cell-Based Sensors
New bio-sensors could speed up and improve the detection of pathogens, explosives. May 6, 2008

Abshire, Shapiro, Smela part of biosensor grant
Researchers are partnering with IBI, graduate of university's TAP program. February 26, 2008

New Scientist highlights cell sensor research
Work of Shapiro, Abshire, Smela improves pathogen detection. November 27, 2007

Microfluidic System for Sample Preparation (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 23, 2007

Micro-Array for Nucleotide Amplification with 2D Positional Information (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 22, 2007

Micro-Fluidic Pumping (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 22, 2007

Cell-Based Sensing: Biological Transduction of Chemical Stimuli to Electrical Signals (Nose-on-a-Chip) (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 22, 2007

Cell Canary (ISR IP)
This IP is available to license. June 22, 2007

Abshire is PI for NSF grant on cell-based sensing
ECE/ISR assistant professor will research integrated transduction, actuation and control April 19, 2005

ISR faculty win two Invention of the Year awards
Faculty recognized in information science and physical science categories April 2, 2005

Gupta, Ghodssi, Shapiro part of $3 million micro air vehicles MURI
April 2004—ISR faculty will be working on "Micro Hovering Air Vehicles: Revolutionary Concepts and Navigation Advancements" April 11, 2004

Temporary Clark School clean room opens
Room meets urgent need for enhanced fabrication capabilities. October 12, 2003

Ghodssi, Rubloff, Smela awarded DURIP for chemical mechanical planarizer
Tool used in semiconductor fabrication, microelectronics, optoelectronics and MEMS April 5, 2002

Ghodssi, DeVoe awarded MRI for MEMS aligner/bonder
Grant to fund state-of-the-art MEMS microfabrication equipment August 12, 2001