B. Lorena Villarreal graduated with honors from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics Engineering in 2008, and her Ph.D in Robotics and Intelligent Systems in 2014. She also took courses in automotive engineering and design at the Fachhochschule Braunschweig/Wolfenbütel in Wolfsburg, Germany, and courses in Lean Manufacturing endorsed by the Institute of Industrial Engineers. In 2013, she was invited as a visiting researcher to collaborate with the EVOVision Group at the computer department of CICESE in Baja California.
In 2014, Dr. Villarreal earned a nomination on MIT Technology Review’s “Innovators under 35 Mexico” (TR35) list for her work on the development of an artificial olfactory system for odor-source tracking and localization using rescue robots.
In 2015, Dr. Villarreal was awarded through a program between INFOTEC, CONACYT, the Newton Fund, and the Mexican Secretariat of Economy, with the opportunity to participate in a training course on technology commercialization as part of the Leaders in Innovation Fellowship program offered by the Royal Academy of Engineering in collaboration with the University of Oxford and Isis Enterprise.
Previously, Dr. Villarreal was a Research Specialist at the Center of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at Tec de Monterrey, and a Professor and Researcher of robotics and embedded systems at Universidad de Monterrey, where she remains an affiliate fellow. She has authored eight peer-reviewed publications and has taught different courses in advanced robotics, mechatronics, signal analysis, computer environment, embedded systems, electric circuits, and control systems.
Dr. Villarreal’s research interests include both mobile robotics and artificial intelligence systems. Because technology is constantly changing, she always advocates for research in the use of new technologies. She believes that professors should be able to evolve as well, providing students with up-to-date theoretical background, experience, and practical knowledge, all of which will help them to develop an ability to translate that knowledge into analysis, interpretation, and designs of their own. She encourages students to take part in her research into bio-inspired rescue robots during the summer — an opportunity whereby students can learn more about embedded systems and communication protocols, participate in conferences, and publish peer-reviewed papers.