Dr. Lara A. Thompson
Lara A. Thompson, PhD (Entered MIT 2007, Graduated Aug. 2013)
With a background in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from Stanford, Dr. Thompson’s Ph.D. research under Dr. Richard Lewis at MEE investigated vestibular dysfunction and the effects of compensative strategies, as well as an invasive vestibular prosthesis prototype, on balance and postural control. Directly upon graduation, she took a faculty position at the University of the District of Columbia, where she is now a tenured Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Founding Director of both the Biomedical Engineering Program and the Center for Biomechanical & Rehabilitation Engineering (CBRE). Dr. Thompson directs one of only few biomedical degree programs at historically black colleges and universities nationwide. Within her CBRE lab, she investigates balance in aging individuals and develops devices to aid mobility. She has been awarded multiple federal grants, including an NIH C06 grant for designing a new state-of-the-art biomedical research facility focused on gait and balance, virtual reality rehabilitation, assistive robotics for rehabilitation, and biomechanics. Dr. Thompson is also the PI of an NIH National Institutes of Aging MSTEM grant that addresses the need for fostering aging-related research by underrepresented minority students. Here is a National Science Foundation video featuring a snapshot of her work.