Academic Credentials
  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2020
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2017
  • B.A., Physics, Brown University, 2014
Professional Honors
  • Dean’s Outstanding Merit Fellowship, CU Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 2015
  • Colorado Diversity Fellowship, CU Boulder Colorado Diversity Initiative, 2015
  • Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Research Potential Fellowship, CU Boulder Mechanical Engineering Department, 2015
Professional Affiliations
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

Dr. Villada specializes in mechanics of materials, experimental testing of materials and products, and finite element analysis (FEA). He combines numerical approaches with laboratory-based research to tackle complex problems involving a wide range of materials, such as those encountered in biomedical devices, flexible electronics, and soft robotics. 

With a background in physics and materials engineering, Dr. Villada has experience with experimental testing under various environmental conditions and at different length scales. In addition, he has extensive knowledge of computational mechanics methods to analyze mechanical systems.

Dr. Villada completed his Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. at the University of Colorado in Boulder, specializing in the applications of Shape Memory Polymers (SMPs) and other active materials to flexible electronics and soft robots. He created finite element models to simulate the thermomechanical properties of SMPs. He has applied this expertise to design and manufacture medical and robotic devices, including an in-ear biosensor for sleep stage recognition and a flexible robotic skin for human-machine interaction. While at the University of Colorado, Dr. Villada served as the teaching assistant for the graduate-level Finite Element Analysis class/lab and the Materials and Fluids course.

Before joining Exponent, Dr. Villada performed research and materials engineering consulting at Earable, a start-up that developed a novel device for sleep quality monitoring. He designed the conductive polymer electrode sensor and validated the design through custom mechanical testing and initial clinical trials. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from Brown University, where he was involved with the Large Underground Xenon dark matter detection experiment. There, he carried out cryogenic testing on photomultiplier tubes using custom-made chambers and LED drivers.