Tamara Bonaci to receive UW CIAC Rising Star Award

tamara_croppedBRL PhD Candidate Tamara Bonaci will be receiving the UW’s Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity (CIAC) Rising Star Award on Thursday, May 28th. The CIAC is recognizing her contributions for medical device security of both teleoperated surgical systems and brain-computer interfaces. Congratulations Tamara! Read more about the award and other honorees here-

BRL Students Receive NSF GRFP and NDSEG Fellowships!

We’ve received great news for three BioRobotics lab affiliated students who each received a new fellowship this week! Two students, EE graduate student Katherine Pratt and undergrad alum Andrew Hill, each received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Margaret Thompson, an EE graduate student, received the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship. Congratulations to all three of them!


mthompson_headshotCurrent BRL graduate student Margaret Thompson graduated in 2014 from Harvey Mudd College with a degree in engineering. Her current work with Professor Chizeck in the BioRobotics Lab is designing novel brain-computer interface (BCI) platforms using long-term, fully implanted deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes which were originally designed to treat movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. Read more about her work here.


kpratt_headshotKatherine Pratt graduated in 2008 from MIT with a degree in aerospace engineering.  She worked at Blue Origin in systems engineering prior to entering active duty as an officer in the US Air Force.  Most of her service was spent at Edwards AFB as a member of the operational test team for the F-35; she concentrated on pilot systems and cockpit integration.  After leaving the military, she worked with Adrian KC Lee at UW (LABS^N), running spatio-temporal behavioral, EEG, and M/EEG experiments.  For the past academic year she has been a participant in the NSF Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering’s program that facilitates veterans returning to academia.  Her current work with Professor Chizeck  is in the BioRobotics Lab is developing touchscreen control using EMG and other neural signals for individuals without sufficient finger dexterity to operate smart phones, tablets and similar devices.


andrew_hillAndrew Hill is a UW Bioengineering undergraduate alumni. He worked in the Biorobotics Lab from 2010 to 2012, where he did a year long senior capstone design project under the supervision of Professors Chizeck and Hannaford. After graduating in 2012, he then worked as an engineer at Tekscan, Inc. for one year followed by another year as a genomics researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital/Broad Institute in Boston, returning to UW in 2014 as a graduate student in Genome Sciences.


Read more about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program here.

More information about the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship is available here.


BRL attends Deep Brain Stimulation Think Tank

uf_thinktankLast week, BRL researchers Jeffrey Herron, Maggie Thompson, Brady Houston, and Prof. Howard Chizeck attended the third annual DBS Think Tank in Orlando, Florida. Our collaborator Dr. Andrew Ko from the UW Medical Center also joined us in this trip to discuss cutting edge research into improving DBS therapy. Howard Chizeck presented our ongoing work to build engineering tools to enable research into  closed-loop and volitional control of DBS therapy. We aim to use these tools collaboratively to accelerate development of advanced DBS systems across multiple institutions. Thank you to the organizers for putting together such a great event!

BRL undergraduate researcher Sharon Newman receives Fulbright Student Award

sharon_newmanBRL’s undergraduate Bioengineering senior, Sharon Newman, has been awarded the Fulbright U.S Student Award! For one year starting in September 2015, Sharon will be funded to conduct research and attend classes in the BrainLinks-BrainTools department at the University of Freiburg, Germany. Her proposed project “Sensory Exploration of Acutely Implanted TIME in the Rat Sciatic Nerve” will continue her aspirations to conduct neuro-prosthetic research, and increase access to assistive technologies. We congratulate her on her accomplishments, and are excited for her to embark on this fellowship!


The BioEngineering Department recently posted an article highlighting her achievements and plans for the immediate future available here.

Upcoming Publications and Conferences

Members of the BRL will be presenting a number of papers at upcoming conferences this spring. The final papers will be posted to this website after each of the respective conferences.


WeRobot 2015 http://www.werobot2015.org/, the fourth annual conference on Robotics, Law and policy, will be held in Seattle on April 10-11, 2015. This innovative conference includes formal (and informal) discussions of papers by experts from government, NGO’s, corporations and legal experts, as well as academics. Two of the papers to be addressed in this conference involve our lab:

I Did It My Way: On Law And Operator Signatures for Teleoperated Robots by Tamara Bonaci, Aaron Alva, Jeffrey Herron, Ryan Calo, Howard Jay Chizeck

Personal Responsibility in the Age of User-Controlled Neuroprosthetics by Patrick Moore, Timothy Brown, Jeffrey Herron, Margaret Thompson, Tamara Bonaci, Sara Goering, and Howard Chizeck.


The 2015 Cyberphysical Systems Week Conference  http://www.cpsweek.org/2015/  will be held in Seattle from April 14-16, 2014. This international conference (since 2008) now encompasses four ACM and IEEE conferences. Our lab’s contribution is:

Experimental Analysis of Denial-of-Service Attacks on Teleoperated Robotic Systems by Tamara Bonaci, Junjie Yan, Jeffrey Herron, Tadayoshi Kohno, Howard Jay Chizeck


The 2015 7th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering http://neuro.embs.org/2015/  will be held in Montpellier, France from April 22-24. One of the papers at that conference will be:

Closed-Loop DBS with Movement Intention by Jeffrey Herron, Tim Denison, and Howard Jay Chizeck


The 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)  http://icra2015.org/  will be held in Seattle from May25-May 30, 2015.  From our lab, the following papers have been accepted:

Semi-autonomous Simulated Brain Tumor Ablation with RavenII Surgical Robot using Behavior Tree by Danying Hu, Yuanzheng Gong, Blake Hannaford, and Eric J. Seibel

Sensor-Aided Teleoperated Grasp of Transparent Objects by Kevin Huang, Liang-Ting Jiang, Joshua R. Smith, and Howard Jay Chizeck



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