Brendan O'Toole

Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Director, Center for Materials and Structures
Co-Director, Center for Math, Science and Engineering Education
Expertise: Composites, Manufacturing, Mechanical testing, Mechanics, Stress analysis, Vehicle design


Brendan O’Toole is a UNLV College of Engineering professor who specializes in composites, manufacturing, mechanical testing, and design.

He has led student projects including Hailey's Hand, through which undergraduates and graduate students built a series of 3D-printed prosthetic robotic hands for a local child; the performance of quality control tests on components of NASA’s Orion deep-space capsule, which is designed to travel on the Artemis missions to the moon and, eventually, to Mars; and a challenge to build the world's largest flying disc. He was also instrumental in a UNLV partnership with the Desert Research Institute, the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and Tesla on a summer boot camp aimed at coaching Nevada teachers to become more confident in coaching robotics programs.

O'Toole is the faculty advisor to the student section of the Society of Automotive Engineers and has mentored many American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Society for Automotive Engineering (SAE) student design competition teams. He also serves as the program manager of the Soldier’s Objective Future Force Electronics Reliability and Survivability (SOldier FERST), a program dedicated to protecting military personnel by improving vehicle designs that can withstand roadside blasts.

Prior to joining UNLV, O'Toole was a research assistant at the University of Delaware, researching new materials and processes for making curved beams in aircraft structures. O'Toole's research interests have focused on a broad range of experimental material characterization and computational simulation of advanced materials subject to extreme loading conditions.


  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware
  • B.S., Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Delaware

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Brendan O'Toole In The News

K.V.V.U. T.V. Fox 5
This weekend teams from across the Valley and around the world will meet on the field of battle to put their robots to the test. The teams are made up completely of high school students, with the help of some very special mentors sent to them from UNLV. FOX5 caught up with one team to learn more about the competition, and the bonds formed while building robots and futures.
K.S.N.V. T.V. News 3
UNLV student mentors are assisting high school robotics teams to compete in the Las Vegas Regional FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). The international robotics competition has teams producing robots to compete against other teams in a game that changes with every tournament. This year involves collecting “notes”, orange, foam rings, and shooting them into goals.
K.N.P.R. News
NASA’s long in-development ARTEMIS lunar space missions completed its first phase last month. The idea is to land someone on the moon in two years. Then from there, head to Mars. And the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is helping out.
K.S.N.V. T.V. News 3
For centuries, man has looked into the sky at the red planet and could only wonder at the possibility.

Articles Featuring Brendan O'Toole

Spring Flowers (Becca Schwartz)
Campus News | April 1, 2024

A roundup of the top news stories featuring UNLV students and faculty.

Students Adi Pahima and Magnus Yuen build and programing their robot.
Campus News | March 27, 2024

In an effort to encourage STEM learning, UNLV engineering students partner with local high schools to help 'gear' up for the FIRST Robotics Competition as part of a new two-semester course.

two men holding old photos
UNLV History | November 4, 2022

The 25-year-old triumph of two UNLV engineering professors and their quest to build the world’s largest flying disc.

Two women stand in front of an image of a Martian rover
Research | May 19, 2020

Pair of geoscience professors at the forefront of UNLV’s contributions to Mars exploration, but plenty more academics are involved in the Red Planet.