Online Master's in Biomedical Engineering @ Case.edu
A Mighty Force - read full story

Personnel


Faculty and Staff


Emily Graczyk

Emily Graczyk, Ph.D.
Research Asst. Prof.

Jacob Segil

Jacob Segil, Ph.D.
Associate Investigator
VA Career Dev Award II Recipient
Embodiment through Neural Interfaces
Melissa Schmitt
Melissa Schmitt, R.N.
Research Nurse
Bob Michaels
Bob Michaels
Senior Project Director
Joris Lambrecht
Joris Lambrecht
Engineer 3

Post-doctoral Researchers


Janet Gbur

Janet Gbur, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Implated Medical Device Materials
Understanding how material structure informs mechanical properties ultimately affecting performance of devices used in medical applications is key to the success of any treatment modality. My research focuses on advancing the field of fatigue and fracture of medical materials and devices and applying that knowledge to develop a flexible, implantable printed lead for neurostimulation.

Elizabeth Heald

Elizabeth Heald, Ph.D.
Post-doc
Hypertension Management
​Liz received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from CWRU in 2019. As a post-doctoral researcher she is investigating electrical activation of the baroreflex via carotid sinus nerve stimulation to advance the translation of technology for treatment of refractory hypertension.

Current Doctoral Students
Listed from most to least senior in the lab


Nabeel Chowdhury

Nabeel Chowdhury
Ph.D. Student
Sensorimotor Integration
My work has to do with understanding how the tactile sensations created by stimulating the peripheral nerves integrate with the motor system. I am investigating how these artificial tactile sensations are processed by the brain at an intuitive level and how this subconscious processing augments the motor plan that is created when controlling our hands. Currently this is studied through the use of upper limb prostheses, but the applications of this research should help us understand how tactile feedback is used for able bodied individuals as well. The overall goal of my research is to close the disconnect that exists between our understanding of how tactile feedback is felt and how our motor commands descending from our brain are used.

Leah Roldan

Leah Roldan
Ph.D. Student
Multiperception Processing
​When reaching out to grab objects while multitasking, we don’t always have to look at that object in order to reliably pick it up and manipulate it. For example, while typing the last sentence I was able to grab a water bottle off my desk and take a sip without taking my eyes off the computer screen. This type of dexterity relies on stereognosis, which is the ability to recognize the shape and form of an object based on touch alone. Prior research has focused on understanding the relationship between stimulation paradigms and the resulting sensation at a single point of perception, such as the index fingertip, at a time. However, natural touch and stereognosis requires the integration of information from multiple percepts across the hand. This multi-percept integration is the current focus of my research, and will allow us to understand how multiple percepts that have distinctly different dimensions are interpreted by the brain. Understanding this question is important not only for prosthesis use when linking electrical stimulation to different sensors on a prosthetic hand, but also for understanding how much information an individual can receive and interpret through tactile feedback.

Sedona Cady

Sedona Cady
Ph.D. Student
Clinical Translation, iSens
​Information processing with electrically activated sensation differs from that of natural neurophysiology, but the information conveyed with peripheral nerve stimulation can still be useful. My research interests include modeling the amount of information content contained in electrically activated peripheral axon populations and understanding how information content affects sensation quality perception initially and over time. My work also involves understanding the effects of utilizing a fully-implanted peripheral nerve stimulation for sensory feedback and myoelectric control device in a randomized clinical trial.

Vlad Marcu

Vlad Marcu
Ph.D. Student
Advanced Neural Interfaces
​I am developing next generation electrodes for the stimulation of peripheral nerves. Currently, researchers tend to either stimulate peripheral nerves extraneurally or intrafascicularly. In the extraneural approach a cuff of some kind is placed around the epineurium of a nerve, and then we try to stimulate specific fascicles by selectively pushing current into the contacts on the cuff. Intrafascicular approaches at nerve stimulation entail the use of a penetrating electrode that pierces the perineurium to directly access the axons and have very high selectivity for where we push current. The extraneural approach is less traumatic and invasive to tissues than the intraneural approach, but it also is far less selective. In my research I am validating the potential of a third option, interfascicular stimulation. In this approach I plan to place conducting contacts in the epineurial space between fascicles and manipulate the current entering and exiting the contacts to achieve a selectivity greater than an extraneural approach while being less damaging and invasive than the intrafascicular approach. Additionally, this particular approach has potential to be administered via a n ultrasound assisted shot, thus removing the barrier that an open surgery poses to many patients that might otherwise benefit from neural technologies. I will be assessing the long term viability and functionality of such an electrode in an animal model in my work.​.

Vlad Marcu

Karina Dsouza
Ph.D. Student
Naturalistic Prosthetic Control
​​​Modern, electric prosthetics (ex: DEKA arm, Michelangelo hand) have made incredible progress in allowing users to command multiple Degrees of Freedom. However, prosthetic abandonment rates are still relatively high. This is thought to be owed to lack of intuitive control over the device and pre-programmed grips, as well as the user's inability to comfortably embody the device (rather than see it as a cumbersome tool). The purpose of controls research (my job!) is to research and develop new methods for users to comfortably command a prosthetic's multiple DoFs simultaneously (without being limited to a set of pre-programmed grips) using their own, real-time EMG signals.

Preethi Bhat

Preethi Bhat
Ph.D. Student
(Co-mentored with Dr. Graczyk)
Sensory Neuroaxis
​Preethi received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2020. As part of the Reconnecting the Hand and Arm to the Brain (ReHAB) study, Preethi is interested in uncovering how somatosensory information is encoded in the cortex, and how this understanding can be used to develop peripheral nerve stimulation patterns that evoke naturalistic cortical activity. In her spare time, Preethi enjoys crafting and chasing sunsets.

Undergraduate Team Members


Bryn Spilker

Bryn Spilker
Biomedical Engineering, Devices & Instrumentation

Kelly Moton

Kelly Moton
Biomedical Engineering