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.

UW highlights Sam Burden joining EE as an Assistant Professor this Fall

sam-burden-2x2The University of Washington posted a great article discussing Sam Burden‘s return to UW EE as an Assistant Professor! Sam attended UW as an undergrad before pursuing his PhD at UC Berkeley, where he is currently a Post-Doc. This coming Fall, Sam will be joining the EE department and the BioRobotics Lab as an assistant professor.

Sam has this to say about joining the BRL:
“I am thrilled to be joining UW EE and the BRL, where I’ll study dynamic motion of robots, humans, and animals.  I’m particularly eager to translate principles from biology to improve the design of robots, and to adapt engineered devices to assist humans.  Between the BRL, the CSNE, and the broader Seattle health sciences community, I couldn’t have found a more ideal place to work.”
Check out the full article here