People

Michelle DiBenedetto

PI

A large part of my work is motivated by understanding microplastics pollution in the ocean. Specifically, I study how to interpret observations, predict transport, and model degradation of plastic debris in the environment. In addition, I study problems in biological fluid mechanics such as the behavior of plankton in turbulence with applications to bio-inspired navigation and larval ecology. I use 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.

Proper bio: I received my B.S. from Cornell University in 2014, and my Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2019 in Civil & Env. Eng. where I studied the behavior and transport of non-spherical particles in surface gravity waves under advisors Nicholas Ouellette and Jeffrey Koseff. For my dissertation work, I was awarded the 2019 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics from the American Physical Society and the Lorenz Straub award from St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at University of Minnesota. Prior to joining UW, I was a Weston Howland Jr. Postdoctoral Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the Physical Oceanography and Biology departments. I currently serve as an Early Career Board Member for the Physical Review Fluids journal.

In my free time, I like to cook extravagent meals for my friends, garden, and ferment vegetables. I am also an aspiring crossword constructor.

Lucia Baker

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

Luci received her PhD in Aerospace Engineering with a focus on Experimental Fluid Mechanics from the University of Minnesota. Her research explores the vertical mixing of microplastics and other non-spherical particles by wind-driven turbulence at the ocean surface through laboratory experiments and numerical models. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, growing vegetables, and voraciously reading books.

Julio Chavez-Dorado

Ph.D. Student, UW ME

Julio is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on the dynamics of non-spherical particles in turbulent flows. He obtained a Master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied the morphological characterization of turbulent channel flows using remote sensing techniques, such as surface particle image velocimetry (SPIV). In his free time, Julio enjoys photography, drawing in the outdoors, and hiking. He is also working on his chess openings and learning to play Go.

Carlos Abarca

Ph.D. Student, UW ME

Carlos is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering. His research focuses on coastal trapping of positively buoyant particles. He received his Bachelor's Degree from Pennsylvania State University. At Penn State, he was a member of the Millennium Scholars Program and wrote an undergraduate research thesis: Biomechanics of Comb Jellies Swimming in Turbulent Flow. In his free time, Carlos likes to play and watch sports, listen to music, play video games and keep up with shows he is binging.


Emma Fritzberg

Volunteer researcher

Emma graduated from UW with a B.S. in Computer Science in 2019. She currently works as a software engineer while assisting with lab work by writing Python code to analyze and visualize ocean drifter data. In her spare time, she enjoys running, listening to podcasts, and exploring art galleries.


Inessa Garrey

B.S. Student, UW

Anusha Aggarwal

B.S. Student, UW


Former lab members:

Manny Pacheco, M.S. Student, UW ME

Cali McFarland, B.S. Student, UW ME

Alexander Erling, B.S. Student, UW ME