Category: Post-bacs

Applications open for 2019 UWIN undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellowships

Applications are now open for the 2019 WRF Innovation Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.  Applications are due by Monday, March 4, 2019.

These fellowships provide up to $6000 to support for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate researchers committed to working in UWIN faculty labs.  More information about applying for these fellowships can be found in the links below:

Neuron paper on proprioception published by UWIN affiliates John Tuthill and Pralaksha Gurung

"Neural Coding of Leg Proprioception in Drosophila" written by John Tuthill and Pralaksha Gurung, published in Neuron

Graphical Abstract for “Neural Coding of Leg Proprioception in Drosophila”

UWIN faculty member John Tuthill and UWIN-post baccalaureate fellow Pralaksha Gurung published a paper in Neuron  on how sensory neurons in a single leg joint in Drosophila (a genus of flies often lumped together as “small fruit flies”) code movements and control behavior in that joint. The paper titled “Neural Coding of Leg Proprioception in Drosophila” describes the work using fluorescent dye-based two-photon calcium imaging to isolate and investigate these specific sensory neurons.

In order to move, nearly all mobile animals rely on receptors that specialize in position and movement called proprioceptors. Challenges arise in modeling and analyzing proprioceptors due to complications in isolating the specific clusters of receptors and relating them across individuals in a species. These challenges were addressed in this paper by focusing on a specific proprioceptor group within the leg of the fruit fly – which previous research had marked as controlling precise leg movements, such as walking.  In order to isolate the specific proprioceptor, a magnet and pin glued onto the fly’s tibia controlled the fly’s leg position.  By measuring neuron activity during the fly’s range of leg movements, the researchers found the sub-classes of neurons that responded to different positions of the joint, as well as the neuron’s sensitivity to movements.  The isolation and mapping of the cluster of neurons provides more insight into how proprioceptors aid in everyday motion.

"Neural Coding of Leg Proprioception in Drosophila" written by John Tuthill and Pralaksha Gurung, published in Neuron

This work helps build an understanding of how stimulation of a single leg joint is received and translated by sensory neurons, and also builds a framework for how complex feedback signals are used in the body to dictate movement.  This work connects with the mission of the Air Force Center of Excellence on Nature-Inspired Flight Technologies and Ideas (NIFTI).

Previously, Dr. Tuthill won a 2018 McKnight Scholars award,  was named a 2017 Allen Institute Next Generation Leader, was awarded a Sloan Fellowship, was named a 2017 Searle Scholar, and received a UW Innovation Award.

2018 UWIN Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships awarded

Join us in welcoming UWIN’s newest undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellows!  Six undergraduate students and three post-baccalaureate researchers were awarded 2018 UWIN Fellowships.  You can read all about their exciting research below, and follow the links to see all of UWIN’s undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellows.

2018 UWIN Undergraduate Fellows

Mahad Ahmed, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Mahad Ahmed (2018 fellow) is an undergraduate student working with Tanvi Deora and Tom Daniel in the Biology department. He is investigating the neural basis of learning in hawkmoths (Manduca Sexta). Mahad’s current project looks at mechanosensation’s role in this learning, seeing how different flower shapes influence the moth’s feeding behaviors.
Mackenzie Andrews, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Mackenzie Andrews (2018 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Bioengineering and Neurobiology with a minor in Neural Computation and Engineering. She is working with Charles Chavkin in the Departments of Pharmacology. Mackenzie’s research investigates how brain regions communicate to drive behaviors associated with drug abuse and addiction. She is designing a device to be simultaneously implanted in two brain regions in mice capable of optogenetic modulation and electrophysiological recording of neural activity. After graduating, Mackenzie will be continuing this project into her Bioengineering Master’s thesis where she will be doing the computational work required to analyze the data.
Alyssa Giedd, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Alyssa Giedd (2018 fellow) is an undergraduate student working with Momona Yamagami and Sam Burden in the Electrical Engineering department. Alyssa’s research focuses on the development and testing of a remote data collection tool for quantifying motor planning. This will allow for the collection of data remotely so a greater number of individuals can participate in research on Cerebral Palsy.
Joyce Huang, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Joyce Huang (2018 fellow) is an undergraduate student in the Bioengineering department, working with Rajiv Saigal in the Neurosurgery Department. Joyce’s research focuses on electronically controlled drug release for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. She intends to pursue an MD degree and continue research in neuroengineering after graduation.
Aiden Maloney-Bertelli, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Aiden Maloney-Bertelli (2018 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Bioengineering and Electrical Engineering who works with Ramkumar Sabesan in the Ophthalmology department. Aiden is working on image processing algorithms for optical coherence tomography (OCT) of the human retina to support research in the emerging field of optophysiology. She and her lab aim to use a variant of OCT to noninvasively measure neuronal responses to visual stimuli and, thereby, provide insight into how the retina functions in healthy and diseased states.
Clara Orndoff, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Clara Orndorff (2018 fellow) is an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering major working with Tom Libby and Sam Burden in the Electrical Engineering department. Clara’s research includes designing and building a system that will be able to analyze the different methods with which moths use multi-sensory information to increase their agility. Specifically, this system will quantify a flying moth’s response to mechanically applied perturbations. The goal of this work is to obtain results that can be used to build and improve nature-inspired flying robots.

2018 UWIN Post-baccalaureate Fellows

Kirsten Gilchrist, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Kirsten Gilchrist (2018 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Steve Perlmutter and Jane Sullivan in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Kirsten’s research uses optogenetics to promote synapse regrowth and formation between cortical and spinal neurons. Her project will provide fundamental information on neural plasticity, with the goal of eventually improving treatment for spinal cord injuries. Kirsten attended the University of Washington where she received a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology.
Pralaksha Gurung, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Pralaksha Gurung (2018 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with John Tuthill in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics. Pralaksha is studying the diversity and distribution of proprioceptors along the leg of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). She will be characterizing the anatomy of function of tibial proprioceptors using optogenetic tools. Pralaksha graduated from Colby College with a bachelor’s degree in Cellular Molecular Biology/Biochemistry.
Aidan Johnson, recipient of a 2018 UWIN Fellowship Aidan Johnson (2018 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Wu-Jung Lee in the Applied Physics Laboratory. Aidan’s research focuses on deriving the computational principles of sensorimotor behavior in the context of coordinated flight and multi-agent active sensing. He is broadly interested in the signal processing that occurs within the brain and how the functions of individual neurons are combined for system-level action and perception. He recently graduated from the University of Washington where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

Applications open for 2018 UWIN undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellowships

Applications are now open for the 2018 WRF Innovation Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.  Applications are due by Tuesday, March 6th, 2018.

These fellowships provide up to $6000 to support undergraduate and post-baccalaureate researchers committed to working in UWIN faculty labs.  More information about applying for these fellowships can be found in the links below:

2017 UWIN Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships awarded

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.

Applications open for 2017 UWIN undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellowships

Applications are now open for the 2017 WRF Innovation Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.   Applications are due by Friday, March 10, 2017.  These fellowships provide up to $6000 to support undergraduate and post-baccalaureate researchers committed to working in UWIN faculty labs.  More information about these fellowships can be found in the links below:

2016 UWIN Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships awarded

UWIN is pleased to announce that six undergraduate students and four post-baccalaureate researchers have been awarded 2016 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.

2016 WRF Innovation Undergraduate Fellows:

Elliott Abe, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Elliott Abe (2016 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Physics working with Adrienne Fairhall in the Physiology and Biophysics department. Elliott’s research investigates trial and error learning in the Zebra Finch song system. He is analyzing the timing variation of male Zebra Finch songs, with the goal of using data from recordings to inform bio-physiological models of trial and error learning. After graduation, Elliott plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics, with an emphasis in computational neuroscience modeling.
Camille Birch, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Camille Birch (2016 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Bioengineering working with Eberhard Fetz in the Physiology and Biophysics department. Camille’s research uses the Neurochip-3, a powerful new head-mounted electrophysiology system, to investigate the behavioral state-dependence of functional neural connectivity between the prefrontal cortex and the motor cortex of non-human primates. She is particularly interested in neural engineering research contributing to advances in rehabilitation medicine.
Joe Hodge, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Joe Hodge (2016 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Biomedical Engineering and Organismal Biology at Vanderbilt University working with David Perkel in the UW Biology and Otolaryngology departments. Joe’s research investigates bipedal balancing in birds, as an example of natural multimodal sensory processing. He focuses on the sensory cues and feedback algorithms birds use to maintain balance and upright posture in the face of dynamic perturbations. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Joe intends to continue research in neuroengineering as part of a Ph.D. program.
Mahdi Ramadan, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Mahdi Ramadan (2016 fellow) is an undergraduate Neurobiology major working with Raj Rao in the Computer Science department. Mahdi has a keen interest in neural engineering and machine learning, and his research focuses on assessing and developing the functionality of electrocorticography-based brain-computer interfaces. He hopes to continue his investigations into rehabilitation technology after graduation.
Alex Rockhill, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Alex Rockhill (2016 fellow) is an undergraduate student completing honors programs in Neurobiology, Applied Math in Biological and Life Science, and Computational Neuroscience. He is working with Wyeth Bair and Anitha Pasupathy in Biological Structure. Alex studies shape recognition in an intermediate structure in the ventral visual pathway. He is specifically investigating whether shape orientation and curvature preferences that have been previously characterized in two dimensions are encoded differently for three-dimensional shapes, with the goal to study dynamic shape encoding in the future.
Ryan Shean, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Ryan Shean (2016 fellow) is an undergraduate student in Microbiology working with Bing Brunton in the Biology department. Ryan’s research focuses on applying automatic analysis techniques to large data sets to learn more about the brain and how electrocorticography (ECoG) signals relate to and predict naturalistic tasks like moving and speaking. He is especially interested in the neural basis of speech and how to apply machine learning techniques to neuroscience. He hopes to further pursue this line of research in graduate school.

2016 WRF Innovation Post-Baccalaureate Fellows:

Sam Kinn, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Sam Kinn (2016 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Bing Brunton in the Biology department. Sam’s research focuses on the optimal placement of sparse neural sensors for reliable information processing in neural systems. He is broadly interested in the applications of machine learning and optimization for more effective diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and for improvement of signal processing and control in brain-computer interfaces. He received a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics at the University of Washington.
Taylor Renno, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Taylor Renno (2016 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with Chantel Prat in the Psychology department. For the last two years, Taylor’s research has examined the effects of belief-influenced cognitive placebos on memory. Obtaining her Bachelors of Science in Psychology in 2016, her post-baccalaureate research explores how neuro-stimulation and neurofeedback training differently affect cognitive processes. Taylor will be attending the Western Washington University’s Experimental Psychology Masters degree program in the fall of 2016.
Dominic Sivitilli, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Dominic Sivitilli (2016 fellow) is a post-baccalaureate researcher working with David Gire and Joseph Sisneros in the Psychology department. Dominic’s research focuses on neural mechanisms underlying movement in response to chemical signals (chemotaxis) in the octopus. The goal of his work is to understand decision-making and behavior in an algorithmically transparent model for intelligence and to develop related computational and robotic systems. Dominic graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology and will begin as a graduate student in Behavioral Neuroscience in the fall of 2016.
Douglas Strodtman, one of the recipients of the 2016 UWIN Fellowships Douglas Strodtman (2016 fellow) is post-baccalaureate researcher in Jason Yeatman’s Brain Development & Education lab at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. Douglas’s research aims to identify biomarkers for dyslexia and arrive at a computational model that allows for predictive classification of reading ability. This work uses large, publicly available datasets and proprietary tractography software to investigate correlations between diffusion properties of white matter pathways and behavioral data. He recently completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech & Hearing Sciences at Portland State University.

Applications open for 2016 UWIN undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellowships

Applications are now open for the 2016 WRF Innovation Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellowships in Neuroengineering.   Applications are due by Friday, March 4, 2016.  Information about these fellowships can be found in the links below:

2015 WRF Innovation Fellowships in Neuroengineering awarded

We are pleased to announce that UWIN has awarded new WRF Innovation Fellowships in Neuroengineering to two post-doctoral fellows, seven undergraduate fellows, and four post-baccalaureate fellows.  Through these fellowships, UWIN is supporting exciting research and collaborations across many labs and departments at the University of Washington.

The two new postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Miriam Ben-Hamo and Dr. Nicholas Foti, join the group of highly prestigious WRF Innovation Postdoctoral Fellows in Neuroengineering already a part of UWIN.  The seven new undergraduate fellows and four new post-baccalaureate fellows are the first class of undergraduate and post-baccalaureate fellows funded by UWIN.  These fellowships provide crucial research experience for young scientists.

In total, UWIN has now funded 23 researchers across 14 different departments in 3 different colleges and schools at the University of Washington.

Applications open for UWIN postdoctoral, undergrad, and post-baccaulaureate fellowships

We are pleased to announce that applications are open for 2015 WRF Innovation Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate Fellows in Neuroengineering.   Information about these fellowships can be found in the links below, as well as a reminder that nominations are also open for Postdoctoral Fellows.