Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington

Biography: Michelle's research lies at the intersection of environmental fluid mechanics and particle-laden flows. A large part of her work is motivated by understanding microplastics pollution in the ocean. Specifically, she studies how to interpret observations, predict transport, and model degradation of plastic debris in the environment. In addition, she studies problems in biological fluid mechanics such as the behavior of plankton in turbulence with applications to bio-inspired navigation and larval ecology. In her work, she uses laboratory experiments, often in a wave tank or flume, as well as numerical and analytical tools to measure and predict how the properties of small particles control their dynamics in unsteady flows. In her free time, Michelle likes to cook extravagent meals for her friends, garden, ferment vegetables, and go on adventures with her dog.

Research interests: environmental fluid mechanics, particle-laden flows, non-spherical particles, surface wave flows, microswimmers, plankton, microplastics, particle dispersal.

PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Stanford University 2019

BS in Environmental Engineering, Cornell University 2014


mdiben at uw dot edu