Ann Marie Sastry

Ann Marie Sastry is the founder and CEO of Amesite, an educational technology startup incorporating artificial intelligence located in Ann Arbor, MI. Previously, she served as President and CEO Sakti3, an advanced battery manufacturing company recognized as having one of Technology Review's Top Ten global technologies for 2011. Sakti3 was acquired by Dyson in 2015 for $90 million.

Sastry holds PhD and MS degrees from Cornell University, and a BS from the University of Delaware, all in Mechanical Engineering. Her credentials include several of the highest honors in her field. Among these are the 2007 ASME Gustus Larson Award, the University of Delaware Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement (2004), the UM College of Engineering 1938E (2000), the University of Michigan Henry Russel Award (1999), and NSF's Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (1997). In 2005, she was honored with a University of Michigan Faculty Recognition Award, acknowledging outstanding contributions as a senior faculty member in research, teaching and service. She has served on three Editorial Boards: the ASME Journal of Engineering Materials and Technologies, Journal of Composite Materials, and as a Founding Associate Editor of the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.

In 2007, Sastry and her two co-founders formed Sakti3, a high-tech, advanced battery manufacturing spinout from the University of Michigan. Sakti3 received $2M in financing from Khosla Ventures, one of the world’s premier cleantech funds. Sastry led her team in a successful bid for support by the State of Michigan in 2008. As part of this support, Sakti3 was designated as a Michigan Center of Energy Excellence by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), receiving a $3M grant to accelerate its prototyping efforts, and also to partner with Professor Christian Lastoskie of the University of Michigan to conduct life cycle analyses of high power batteries. In 2009, Sakti3 entered an agreement with GM to study vehicle integration issues for high-tech batteries, earning her company recognition as the Ann Arbor Business Review’s Research Deal of the Year.

In her academic life, Sastry is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Mechanical, Biomedical and Materials Science at the University of Michigan. In her laboratory numerical simulations, and advanced materials characterization and design approaches have been applied to energy technologies and fundamental problems in applied mathematics, biology and electrochemistry. Sastry and her collaborators have published over 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. She has delivered over 60 invited seminars at academic institutions and organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health. Her technical work has been featured in Nature, Business Week, and other publications. In energy technologies, her laboratory has developed new materials, invented techniques for optimization and manufacturing of batteries, and algorithms for optimization of power systems. Her laboratory’s numerical work, with support from the Department of Energy, offered the first coupled mechanical and electrochemical simulation approach to modeling failure initiation in high power battery systems. Her laboratory’s projects include numerical simulation of performance of Li batteries for electric vehicles, design of micro-batteries for implantable systems, creation of biological batteries comprised of cellular organelles coupled with engineered substrates, and modeling of fully integrated structural batteries for realization of multifunctional, composite materials. Sponsors include General Motors, DoE, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, NSF, the Keck Foundation and the Ford Motor Company.

Sastry has pioneered new models for industrial/university collaborations on technology, and in 2009 co-founded the GM/UM Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains where she continues to serve as the UM co-Director. The $5M Center, which is supported by Department of Energy and Michigan Economic Development Corporation funds in addition to GM support, involves over 30 technical participants from UM, GM, GM-Opel, UCCS, and Fraunhofer, and links researchers at all levels and across several fields of study. The center’s aim is to speed technology insertion of storage technologies into electric vehicles, using advanced simulation, experimentation, optimization and control of batteries.

In addition to her research work, Sastry has created durable curricula to support critical cleantech develoment. In 2007, she founded the University of Michigan’s Energy Systems Engineering Program, the first Master’s degree of its kind in the nation. The program is dedicated to providing graduate education in vehicle electrification technologies and clean grid technologies. The degree comprises 30 credits offered both on campus and via distance, and now has over 200 engineers enrolled. Key strategic partners include DTE Energy and General Motors. Her colleague, Professor Christian Lastoskie leads the grid concentration of the program, which complements the vehicle focus.

Sastry and her teams have been recognized by Inc. (cover, November 2009), Automotive Engineering and other publications, for their efforts. She has commented widely on the challenges and benefits of vehicle electrification and workforce training, in the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR and other media. Her teams have garnered visibility for vehicle electrification, including technology and education, and her teams’ efforts remain focused are aimed on creating knowledge and educating knowledge workers for the automotive and battery OEMs as vehicle electrification progresses.

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