Dr. Fathi H. Ghorbel

Director, RiSYS Lab
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering
E-mail: ghorbel(at)rice(dot)edu
Tel. (Off.): 713 348 3738
Fax (Off.): 713 348 5969

Detailed website

B.S. (1985) Penn State University
M.S. (1987) Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D. (1991) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Fathi H. Ghorbel is a Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University, Houston, Texas, where he serves as the Director of Graduate Studies. Dr. Ghorbel has a joint appointment at the Department of Bioengineering. He is the Director of the Robotics and Intelligent Systems (RiSYS) Lab. His research is in the areas of dynamic systems and control, robotics, and biomedical engineering systems.

Dr. Ghorbel received the B.S. degree with honors from the Pennsylvania State University in 1985, the M.S. degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1987, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1991 all in Mechanical Engineering. In 1988, he spent one year at the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois, as a Research Assistant. During his doctoral studies, he was a Research Assistant at the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois where he was also a visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate in 1991. From 1992 to 1994, Dr. Ghorbel was a Research Associate at the Institut d'Automatique, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. He joined Rice University in 1994.

Dr. Ghorbel's current research program covers projects in nanorobotics and nanomanipulation, robotic rehabilitation, in-pipe robotic sensing and inspection, modeling and control of complex closed-chain mechanical systems including parallel robots, and nonlinear transmission attributes in mechanical systems including flexibility, friction, hysteresis and kinematic error. In the bioengineering area, Dr. Ghorbel is conducting research in bio-systems dynamic analysis and control.

Dr. Ghorbel is a Member of the ASME, a Senior Member of the IEEE, a member of Sigma Xi, IFAC, SIAM, IASTED, ASEE, and past President of the Tunisian Scientific Society (TSS). He is a Founding Member, Member of the Board of Directors, and Vice-President of the Arab Science and Technology Foundation (ASTF). He is the recipient of the medal of "Order of National Merit in the field of education and sciences" by order of the president of Tunisia. He is the past Vice-Chair then Chair of the ASME Biomechanical Systems Panel, and the past Chair of the IEEE Control Systems Society's Technical Committee on Manufacturing Automation and Robotic Control. He is an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, an Associate Editor for the ASME Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, an Associate Editor for the IEEE Control Systems Society Conference Editorial Board, and a past Associate Editor for the International Journal of Robotics and Automation. Dr. Ghorbel served in conference organization and program committees at different organizational levels including Conference Chair, Conference Co-General Chair, Publication Chair, Publicity Chair, Finance Chair, and Member of several national and international conference Program Committees.

Dr. Ghorbel is the founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Technology Advisor of itRobotics Inc., a startup pioneering technology company operating to provide state of the art non-destructive inspection solutions for small diameter energy pipes using the latest robotics technology. It aims to increase the safety and security of the energy industry around the world. itRobotics' technology was initiated at Dr. Ghorbel's Robotics & Intelligent Systems Lab at Rice University.