2023 Presidential Scholars Tommaso Lenzi, Nancy Allen, and Neng Wan

Congratulations to University of Utah mechanical engineering associate professor Tommaso Lenzi, who was one of four faculty members names as Presidential Scholars at the University of Utah for 2023. This award recognizes excellence and achievement for faculty members at the assistant or associate professor level and comes with $10,000 in annual funding for three years to support their scholarship and enrich their research activities.

Dr. Lenzi is among the top researchers of prosthetics in the country and is well known as the designer of the Utah Bionic Leg, which was selected as one of the Best Inventions of 2023 by Time Magazine. The Utah Bionic Leg is a robotic prosthesis that replicates the biomechanics of the human knee, ankle, and toe, providing power and torque at a lighter weight. This technology has the power to change lives.

His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, industry, and private donors. Last year, he began a partnership with the largest player in the prosthetics field and are now in the co-development phase, where students of the opportunity to work on the research and development aspects of the product.


“Being in academia gives you an opportunity to dream big,” said Lenzi, “to think about changes, to take big risks. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to think about the future you want to build.”

In addition to his research achievements, Lenzi has supported nearly 25 postdocs, PhD, and master’s students, who have subsequently won numerous awards in their own right. Student comments about his classes are highly complimentary and peers commend his mentorship and class instruction.

Learn more about Dr Lenzi’s research  at the HGN Lab for Bionic Engineering website.