Santos joined the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2014, where she directs the UCLA Biomechatronics Lab. Her research interests include human hand biomechanics, human-machine systems, tactile sensors, prosthetics, and robotics for grasp and manipulation. She teaches classes on the control of robotic systems and the dynamics of particles and rigid bodies.
Among her many honors, Santos has received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development CAREER Award, UCLA Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department Teaching Award, Arizona State University’s Young Investigator Award and two ASU Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering Top 5% Teaching Awards. She is an associate editor of the ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction and was the editor-in-chief for the 2020 IEEE Haptics Symposium.
Santos earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a music minor from UC Berkeley, and M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a biometry minor from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Prior to joining UCLA, Santos was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southern California and an assistant professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Program at Arizona State University. She assumed the role of associate dean on Jan. 1, 2021, and is the first woman to hold the position.