Elena Messina is the group leader of the Manipulation & Mobility Systems Group of the Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Her current responsibilities include managing the Engineering Laboratory’s Robotic Systems for Smart Manufacturing Program, which is focused on advancing the capabilities of collaborative robots through the definition of performance requirements, metrics, test methods, tools, and testbeds. She is internationally recognized for her work in the development of performance metrics and evaluation methodologies for robotic and autonomous systems. Elena founded key efforts to develop test methodologies for measuring performance of robots, which range from long-term use of robotic competitions to drive innovation to consensus standards for evaluating robotic components and systems.

Elena has over 150 publications and is co-editor of the books Intelligent Vehicle Systems: A 4D/RCS Approach" and “Performance Evaluation and Benchmarking of Intelligent Systems.” She has received two Department of Commerce Bronze Medals for Superior Performance and Technical Leadership and the Edward Bennet Rosa Award for research and development leading to standardized test methods for emergency response robots.

Prior to joining NIST in 1994, Elena worked in private industry. She held several management and development positions at the Structural Dynamics Research Corporation, focusing on geometric and solid modeling products. As an engineer in the Industrial Robot Division of Cincinnati Milacron, she received patents for her innovations in robotic arc welding and trajectory planning. While working on her Bachelor's in Engineering Science at the University of Cincinnati, Elena co-oped at Argonne National Laboratory and the NASA Johnson Space Center.