85 Prescott
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Affiliated Department or Office
BS Chemistry Virginia Tech BS Biochemistry Double Major 1986
MS Biology and Biotechnology Purdue University Biophysics Specialization 1988
MS Chemistry Virginia Tech Polymer Chemistry Specialization 1991
PhD Chemistry Virginia Tech Polymer Chemistry Specialization 2002
Industrial experience in between Virginia Tech’s MS and PhD: Associate Scientist, Johnson & Johnson Corporate Biomaterial Center at Ethicon, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson Company, Somerville, NJ

Lenore Rasmussen is an adjunct professor at WPI and the CEO/CTO of Ras Labs, Inc. While in grad school at Purdue, a close relative suffered a traumatic farm injury, and she investigated prostheses, but was disappointed with what was available in the marketplace. Her drive to advance prosthetic technology led her to invent Synthetic Muscle™ – electroactive polymer (EAP) based materials and actuators that contract and expand at low voltages, offering a high level of control with low power consumption and with minimal heat/noise signatures. EAP contraction-expansion can be cycled repeatedly, and the amount of movement can be controlled by adjusting the voltage, which lends these materials to biofeedback. With the additional intrinsic ability to sense pressure, Ras Labs EAPs can provide for self-adjusting prosthetic liners, closed loop impact attenuating devices, or self-sensing robotic grippers/hands. These EAP smart materials are also robust, and selected samples of Synthetic Muscle™ were tested on the International Space Station. Lenore is a recognized global leader in the EAP industry with multiple patents, peer reviewed publications, and the book "Electroactivity in Polymeric Materials" ( Her work was featured on NASA TV, which highlights Ras Labs’ goals and vision: She enjoys sharing her knowledge of smart materials & actuators and biomimicry. Her graduate level course, “Smart Materials and Actuation (and Biomimicry)”, is cross-referenced through the Robotics Engineering Program and the Biomedical Engineering Department. Upper level undergraduates are also welcome to take this hands-on course.

Professional Highlights & Honors