Category: Graduate Students (Page 1 of 2)

Successful spinal cord rehabilitation trial by UWIN affiliates Chet Moritz and Soshi Samejima featured on King 5 News

Successful spine injury rehabilitation trial conducted by UWIN affilliates Chet Mortiz and Soshi Samejima

Transcutaneous Spinal Stimulation project with Chet Moritz
Image credit: Center for Neurotechnology;

UWIN/Center for Neurotechnology (CNT) graduate fellow Soshi Samejima, and UWIN faculty member (and CNT Co-Director) Chet Moritz were featured on King 5 News for their research which resulted in a successful spinal cord rehabilitation trial.  The article focuses on the study participant, Joe Beatty, who suffered a spine injury which left him with a “future life without the use of his limbs.”  During the course of the study, Joe has regained some fine control in his limbs, going from having “a difficult time to feed himself, grabbing thing, grasping utensils” to movement that is “improved where he can grab sandwiches, he can grab a remote, grab his cell phone,” even walking with some aid for up to eight minutes.  With defined improvements in Joe’s movements, the initial trial has been a success and the Center for Neurotechnology is looking to refine and expand the new method of rehabilitation for chronic spinal cord injuries.

Dr. Mortiz and his team changed the traditional invasive methods of spinal cord rehabilitation by applying transcutaneous electrical simulation – that is, stimulation of spinal cord circuits through the skin. This noninvasive electrical stimulation happens at the same time that the patient performs movements, and the stimulation allows the patient to move better than without stimulation.  Repeated sessions even lead to long term improvements, although the exact mechanism has not been solidified. Currently, Dr. Mortiz and his team believe that by having the simulator firing at the same time that the patient practices movements, the patient can rewire the connections between the neurons in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to long term changes.

With initial success in nerve stimulation trials, the study plans to expand to four other states with the intent to design individual units that patients can take to their house in order to provide convenient ongoing treatment.  Learn more about this research on the Center for Neurotechnology website and in the study’s associated paper.

Soshi Samejima was awarded a UWIN graduate fellowship in 2017.  Chet Moritz, in addition to being the CNT Co-Director and a member of the UWIN Executive Committee, is part of the team running the Laboratory for Amplifying Motion and Performance (AMP Lab).  He was also part of the team awarded a $1 million prize as part of reaching the finals in the GlaxoSmithKline Bioelectronics Innovation Challenge.

UWIN fellows Kaitlyn Casimo and Karley Benoff named two of the 2018 Husky 100!

UWIN fellows Kaitlyn Casimo and Karley Benoff, both named to the 2018 Husky 100Congratulations to UWIN graduate fellow Kaitlyn Casimo and UWIN undergraduate fellow Karley Benoff, who were named two of the 2018 Husky 100!  Each year the Husky 100 award “recognizes 100 UW undergraduate and graduate students from Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma in all areas of study who are making the most of their time at the UW”.

Students named to the Husky 100 “actively connect what happens inside and outside of the classroom and apply what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future. Through their passion, leadership and commitment, these students inspire all of us to shape our own Husky Experience.”

UWIN fellow Kaitlyn Casimo, one of the 2018 Husky 100Kaitlyn Casimo, UWIN graduate fellow, says: “Besides developing programs in interactive, informal science learning to make science fun for kids and adults, I’m improving the way we tell stories about science on the stage and page. When I’m not doing research on patterns of connectivity in the human brain, I’m working to bring science to new audiences in innovative and accessible ways and to teach other scientists to do the same.”

Kaitlyn was awarded a UWIN graduate fellowship in 2014 and is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program, where she is a member of Jeff Ojemann’s lab in Neurological Surgery.  She studies the electrophysiology of human resting state and task based brain connectivity, working with patients undergoing epilepsy surgery. She is especially interested in changes in connectivity related to brain-computer interface use and learning. Kaitlyn received a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Pomona College, where she studied physiological responses to stress. She is a joint fellow of UWIN and the UW Computational Neuroscience Training Grant.  Kaitlyn  was named to the 2016 class of AAAS Emerging Leaders in Science & Society.

UWIN fellow Karley Benoff, one of the 2018 Husky 100Karley Benoff, UWIN undergraduate fellow, shares: “Throughout my Husky Experience, I have sought opportunities to empower people with all levels of mobility. This includes researching to develop and evaluate assistive devices, working in teams to tackle unmet clinical needs and helping establish HuskyADAPT, a student organization dedicated to improving and advocating for accessibility. As a 2018 graduate, I aspire to use my technical background and leadership experience to help advance healthcare technology.”

Karley was awarded a UWIN undergraduate fellowship in 2017 and is a 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.

Kaitlyn and Karley join former UWIN undergraduate fellow Camille Birch, who was named one of 2017’s Husky 100.

2017 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering awarded

We are pleased to announce the seven exceptional University of Washington graduate students have been awarded 2017 Washington Research Foundation Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering: Aaron D. Garcia (Neuroscience), Vaishnavi Ranganathan (Electrical Engineering), Soshi Samejima (Rehabilitation Science), Raymond Sanchez (Neuroscience), Mohammad Tariq (Neuroscience), Momona Yamagami (Electrical Engineering), and Ezgi Yücel (Psychology).  Read about the new fellows and their exciting, innovative research below:

Aaron D. Garcia is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program advised by Bing Brunton in Biology and Elizabeth Buffalo in Physiology and Biophysics. Aaron’s research centers on identifying brain activity in the hippocampus and surrounding structures used during navigation and memory tasks. His approach involves applying empirical mode decomposition in tandem with Hilbert Spectral Analysis to local-field-potential data recorded from high-density micro-drives. Aaron received a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from Boston University. He is a joint fellow of UWIN and the Computational Neuroscience Training Grant.
Vaishnavi Ranganathan is a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering working with Josh Smith in the Sensor Systems Lab. Vaishnavi’s research interests include fully wireless wearable devices and implantable neural interfaces for treatment and rehabilitation in patients with spinal cord injury. Specifically, she works on wireless power transfer and power-aware computation for implantable devices to remove the need for batteries and enable autonomous operation. Vaishnavi received a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and completed her bachelor’s degree at Amrita University in India.
Soshi Samejima is a Ph.D. student in Rehabilitation Science working with Chet Moritz in Rehabilitation Medicine and Rajiv Saigal in Neurological Surgery. Soshi’s research focuses on restoring mobility and leg/arm function for people with spinal cord injury by using electrical spinal stimulation and rehabilitation through neural interfaces and robotics. For the last 10 years, Soshi worked as a physical therapist. He received a clinical doctoral degree in physical therapy from MGH institute of Health Professions, a master’s degree in Biomedical Science and Athletic Training from Thomas Jefferson University and Texas Tech University respectively, and a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from Kanazawa University, Japan. He is co-funded by UWIN and the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering.
Raymond Sanchez is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program working in the lab of Horacio de la Iglesia in Biology. Raymond is interested in the neural circuits regulating sleep and circadian rhythms, and their relationship to neurological and psychiatric diseases. The goal of his research is to develop and validate a closed-loop system for real-time manipulations of sleep and seizures in a genetic mouse model of Dravet syndrome, a severe form of childhood epilepsy accompanied by sleep disturbances. This system will serve as an open-source experimental tool for researchers interested in the interactions between sleep and disease, and inform the development of novel therapeutic devices for Dravet and other epileptic syndromes. Raymond received a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience & Cognitive Science from the University of Arizona.
Mohammad F. Tariq is a PhD student in the Neuroscience program working in the labs of David Gire in Psychology and David Perkel in Biology and Otolaryngology. His work focuses on understanding how olfactory cues in the environment guide memory formation and decision-making. He uses electrophysiology and imaging from freely behaving animals to study the network and physiological mechanisms that allow olfactory information to make robust memories of the environment. Mohammad received his bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from the Georgia State University.
Momona Yamagami is a graduate student in Electrical Engineering working with Kat Steele in Mechanical Engineering and Sam Burden in Electrical Engineering. In her research, Momona uses a computer trajectory-tracking task to quantify and predict motor planning impairments in children with cerebral palsy. She is broadly interested in understanding how humans learn different control models to plan their movements. Momona received her bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Ezgi Irmak Yücel is a graduate student in Psychology, where she is a member of the Vision and Cognition Group working with Ione Fine in Psychology and Ariel Rokem at the eScience Institute. Ezgi’s research broadly focuses on visual perception and restorative technologies for blindness. Her current project aims to validate a retinal model of restored vision developed by UWIN postdoctoral fellow Michael Beyeler. She will use psychophysical methods to accomplish this, with the eventual goal of optimizing stimulation protocols for retinal prosthetics to improve visual outcomes. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from Bilkent University in Turkey.

Applications open for 2017 UWIN graduate fellowships

Applications are open for the 2017 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.

These prestigious fellowships provide a graduate stipend of $30,000 for two years, as well as full tuition coverage and $2000 in travel funds.  Graduate students in any UW degree-granting program who have committed to doing research in the lab of one of UWIN’s faculty members are welcome to apply.  Individuals from underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply.  Co-mentoring between experimental and theoretical or engineering groups is encouraged.

Applications are due by Monday, July 17, 2017, with funding starting in September 2017.  More information about the fellowship and application can be found at: http://uwin.washington.edu/students/graduate-students/apply-graduate-students/

2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering awarded

We are pleased to announce that four exceptional University of Washington graduate students have been awarded 2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering: David Caldwell (Bioengineering), Phil Mardoum (Neuroscience), Thomas Mohren (Mechanical Engineering), and Claire Rusch (Biology). Read about the new fellows and their research below:

David Caldwell, recipient of a 2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering David Caldwell is an M.D./Ph.D student in Bioengineering working with Rajesh Rao in Computer Science & Engineering and Jeffrey Ojemann in Neurological Surgery. His research focuses broadly on neural connectivity and processing. Specifically, his work aims to enhance neural connectivity through electrical cortical stimulation and characterizing the cortical response to stimulation in human patients implanted with electrocorticographic grids in preparation for epilepsy surgery. David received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan. He is a joint fellow of UWIN and the Big Data for Genomics & Neuroscience (BDGN) Training Grant, and is an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) scholar.
Phil Mardoum, recipient of a 2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering Philip Mardoum is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program working in the labs of Fred Rieke in Physiology and Biophysics and Rachel Wong in Biological Structure. His research focuses on sensory coding in micro-circuits of the retina, and how multiple distinct information streams can be processed in parallel within the same circuitry. He received a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago.
Thomas Mohren, recipient of a 2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering Thomas Mohren is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering working with Steve Brunton in Mechanical Engineering and Tom Daniel in Biology. He is interested in how animals use mechanosensory arrays to make fast and robust control decisions. He uses computational models, sparse sensing techniques and neurophysiological approaches to study hawk moth flight control, with the aim of uncovering generalizable principles in biology that can inspire novel engineering solutions. Thomas received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He is co-funded by UWIN and the Air Force Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI, and was a recipient of a 2014-2015 Fulbright scholarship.
Claire Rusch, recipient of a 2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering Claire Rusch is a Ph.D. student in Biology working in Jeff Riffell’s lab. Her research interests focus on the how the environment shapes and is processed by the nervous system to control motor responses and behavior. Specifically, her project aims to better understand the neural circuits and processing of visual information and memory in honeybees– an attractive system for learning because of its robust behaviors and relatively simplified neuroanatomy that permits neurophysiological recording from identifiable neurons. Claire received a master’s degree in Neuroscience, Behavior and Cognition from Paul Sabatier University, France. She is co-funded by UWIN and the Air Force Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI).

Perfect Pitch Contest and Poster Session

UWIN postdoctoral and graduate fellows recently took part in the first ever Washington Research Foundation Innovation Fellows Perfect Pitch Contest and Poster Session!  Fellows had 90 seconds and one slide to explain their research question, the solution they are developing, and the potential impact.  Pitches were judged by a panel of research and industry representatives.

The first place prize for UWIN went to postdoctoral fellow Gabrielle Gutierrez for her pitch on “The adaptable computer in your eye”, and the second place prize for UWIN went to graduate fellow Gaurav Mukherjee for his pitch on “Opening the hand: Restoring hand function after neurological injury”.

Additionally, UWIN’s graduate fellow Yoni Browning won the second place prize for best poster across all four WRF-funded institutes, for his poster on “Spatial representations in the monkey hippocampus”.

Congratulations to UWIN’s winners and all of the participants!

 

Applications open for 2016 UWIN graduate fellowships

Applications are open for the 2016 WRF Innovation Graduate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.

These prestigious fellowships provide a graduate stipend of $30,000 for two years, as well as full tuition coverage and $2000 in travel funds.  Graduate students in any UW degree-granting program who have committed to doing research in the lab of one of UWIN’s faculty members are welcome to apply.  Co-mentoring between experimental and theoretical or engineering groups is encouraged.  Individuals from underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Applications are due by Friday, July 15, 2016, with funding starting in September 2016.  More information about the fellowship and application can be found at: http://uwin.washington.edu/students/graduate-students/apply-graduate-students/

Research published by UWIN gradute fellow Nancy Wang spans neuroengineering and data science

UWIN graduate fellow Nancy Wang, who is co-funded by the UW eScience Institute, recently published a paper in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience on unsupervised decoding of naturalistic human Electrocorticography (ECoG) data. The paper, entitled “Unsupervised decoding of long-term, naturalistic human neural recordings with automated video and audio annotations”, involved collaborations with UWIN faculty members Bing Brunton, Raj Rao, and Jeff Ojemann.

Two UWIN graduate fellows selected as AAAS Emerging Leaders

Congratulations to UWIN graduate fellows Kaitlyn Casimo and Gaurav Mukherjee, who have been elected to the 2016 class of the AAAS Emerging Leaders In Science & Society.  ELISS Fellows are graduate students selected through a competitive application process to participate in a 15-month leadership development experience. The fellows run a collaborative think tank that taps campus and community expertise around a real-world challenge.

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