I am currently an NDSEG fellow working on my PhD in biomedical engineering in the Nonlinear Optics and Biophotonics Lab at Tufts University.
As an undergraduate at Tufts, I began to work under professor Fiorenzo Omenetto in early 2008 on applications of silk fibroin based nanophotonic devices. After completing my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, I elected to continue on towards my PhD. My current research efforts have shifted from photonics towards implantable devices, specifically for neural applications.
The recent announcement of the BRAIN project by President Obama places the monumental task of assembling a dynamic map of the human brain firmly in the national pysche, and presents it as the next grand scientific challenge. However, in order to meet this goal, significant advances in technology for both manipulating and recording responses of individual neurons will need to be developed. The advent of optogenetics in 2006 has promised to revolutionize neuroscience research by providing heretofore-unavailable methods for controlling populations of neurons in a circuit-like manner. However, achieving high fidelity recordings of neural responses on both a short spatial and temporal manner has remained elusive. Furthermore, maintaining both stimulation and long term recording in awake, freely-behaving animals remains a significant challenge.
My goal as a researcher is to contribute to the large multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary team that it will take to meet these difficult challenges, through design and implementation of fully implantable neural stimulation and recording devices. I hope that in the future, the collective work of many scientists will meet the lofty goals of the BRAIN project, ushering in a new era of physiological and psychological understanding for our species.