UWIN is pleased to announce that seven undergraduate students and three post-baccalaureate researchers have been awarded 2017 Washington Research Foundation Innovation Fellowships in Neuroengineering.  You can read their exceptional biographies below, and follow the links to see all of UWIN’s undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellows.

2017 WRF Innovation Undergraduate Fellows:

Karley Benoff (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering major working with Kat Steele in the ME Ability & Innovation Lab. Karley’s research focuses on designing and optimizing body-powered orthoses for individuals with neuromuscular deficits of the arm. She will test her device with participants using electromyography (EMG) signals to evaluate motor learning and user adaptation. Karley’s goal is have the final orthosis design be open source.
Monica Harris (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate student working with Eatai Roth and Tom Daniel in the Biology department. Monica is interested in sensory processing systems, and her research focuses on the optomotor pitching response of the Hawk Moth (Manduca Sexta). Specifically, she explores how small- and wide-field visual stimuli affect the abdominal flexion of moths in a closed-loop system.
Kim Hua (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Bioengineering working with Rajesh Rao in the Computer Science & Engineering department. Kim’s research uses electrocorticography (ECoG) to provide direct cortical stimulation as a means of providing tactile feedback in human subjects. She is interested in how different stimulation parameters change human perception. This information can inform future experiments on sensory stimulation and bi-directional brain computer interfaces. Kim aims to pursue a Ph.D. in Bioengineering after graduation.
Linxing Preston Jiang (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Computer Science who works with Rajesh Rao in the Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and Andrea Stocco in the Psychology department. Preston is researching the relationship between transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and the elicited visual perception of human participants. After graduation, Preston hopes to pursue a Ph.D. to keep working in the field of brain computer interface and machine learning, and possibly bridging the gap between BCI and operating systems.
Jessica Johnson (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Bioengineering working with Rajiv Saigal in the Neurosurgery Department. Jessica’s research investigates the use of a controlled, localized drug release system for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she intends to pursue a Ph.D. in Bioengineering, with a focus in neuroscience.
Ben Pedigo (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Bioengineering with a minor in Applied Math. He is working with Chet Moritz in the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine and Physiology & Biophysics. Ben’s research investigates how optogenetic stimulation of the spinal cord may be able to improve upper-limb motor function after a spinal cord injury. He is optimizing the lab’s implantable optogenetic stimulation methods for use in long-term studies in rodents. After graduating, Ben plans to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering or a related field, continuing to study the interface between technology and the nervous system.
Gautham Velchuru (2017 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Computer Science working with Bing Brunton in the Biology department. Gautham’s work involves developing software for face annotation and emotion recognition, with the goal of creating an automated facial pose recognition pipeline. This will be used along with video and electrocorticography (ECoG) data to gain insight into possible associations between naturalistic brain recordings and behavior. He is especially interested in computer vision and machine learning, and hopes to continue working in those fields.

2017 WRF Innovation Post-baccalaureate Fellows:

Comron Ganji (2017 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Steve Perlmutter in the Physiology and Biophysics department. Comron’s research uses the Neurochip, a brain-computer interface, to induce spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP) following a spinal cord contusion injury in a rat model. He will be using the Neurochip to explore which type of recording/stimulating patterns can best induce STDP as a means to aid in recovery of motor function following a spinal cord injury. Comron attended the University of Washington where he received a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology with departmental honors.
Natalie Koh (2017 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Andrea Stocco in Psychology and Thomas Grabowski in Radiology. Natalie’s research uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to determine if it is possible to bias the retrieval of specific types of memories. The goal of her work is to inform current human brain-to-brain interfacing paradigms. Natalie is also broadly interested in the development of brain-computer interfaces and neural prosthetics for clinical use. She graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology (with Honors) in 2016, and was a recipient of the Mary Gates Research Scholarship award and the Guthrie Prize for best empirical paper.
Emily Kubota (2017 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Jason Yeatman at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. Emily’s research focuses on understanding the function of the ventral temporal cortex (VTC) in perception. She is currently examining how task demands affect activation in the VTC using fMRI studies, and eventually hopes to expand her work to see whether these patterns of activation can be used to predict behavioral data, such as reading scores in individuals with Dyslexia. Emily recently graduated from Pomona College with a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science.