PEOPLE

Faculty

Ranu JungRanu Jung, Ph.D.

Wallace H. Coulter Eminent Scholars Chair, Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Director of Adaptive Neural Systems Laboratory
Email:
Office: (305) 348-3722

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Ranu Jung holds the Wallace H Coulter Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University (FIU) where she is Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. She served as Interim Dean of the FIU College of Engineering and Computing from 2015 to 2017. Previously she was a member of the faculty at Arizona State University and University of Kentucky. Professor Jung's research is at the cutting edge between engineering and neuroscience, developing devices that lead to scientific advances with clear pathways to clinical application. Of special interest to her are biohybrid systems merging biologically inspired technologies with humans for recovery and restoration of lost function. Her team developed the first wireless, implantable, investigational neural-interface system for restoring sensations to amputees and received FDA approval to conduct a first-in-human clinical trial. In 2011 she conceived, edited and published "Biohybrid Systems: Nerves, Interfaces, and Machines" and in 2015 as co-Editor-in-Chief, she published the first edition of a four volume "Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience". Holder of 12 U.S. patents, founder of one R&D Company, Jung is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and The Biomedical Engineering Society. She is a Senior Member of IEEE and Society of Women Engineers, Full Member of Sigma Xi, and elected to the International Women's Forum. Appointed to the US National Institutes of Health National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, she has chaired or served on advisory committees and scientific review panels for the US National Institutes of Health, the US National Science Foundation, research foundations, international universities and professional journals. Her honors include the 2019 Miami-Dade County In the Company of Women Science and Technology Award, the FIU 2016 Outstanding Faculty Torch Award, the 2011 New Florida Scholar's Boost Award, the 2002 Kentucky Science and Engineering Award and Governor's certificate of recognition, the Whitaker Foundation Young Investigator Award, the NIH National Research Service Award, the AHA NE Ohio Research Fellow Award, and a 3-year appointment as commissioner, Arizona Biomedical Research Commission. She was featured in 2019 by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering as an exceptional woman grantee. Jung received her Doctoral degree and Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, USA. She received her Bachelors with Distinction in Electronics & Communication Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Warangal, India.

Kenneth HorchKenneth Horch, Ph.D.

Research Professor
Email:
Office: (305) 348-2176

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Broadly speaking, my research interests lie in the area of how the nervous system processes information and controls behavior. The main thrust of the work in my lab at present centers around neuroprosthetics – development of devices and methods for restoring or replacing nervous system function in handicapped individuals. The current focus of my work in this area is to develop an interface between the nervous system and prosthetic arms. This work is currently being supported by funds from NSF. In addition, I am engaged in an attempt to use magnetic fields to block peripheral nerves. If successful, this system would have various clinical uses such as in treatment of children with cerebral palsy and in hand surgery.

Brian HillenBrian Hillen, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor
Email:
Office: (305) 348-4783

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Dr. Hillen received his BS in Bioengineering from UC San Diego and his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University. His research interests include motor control, biomechanics and neuroprostheses, particularly related to injury. His research has focused on changes in locomotion following spinal cord injury using experimental and computational approaches. Much of his research has been funded by the joint NSF/NIH program: Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience (CRCNS).

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Collaborators

Melissa BaraltMelissa Baralt, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics - Department of Modern Languages
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Dr. Baralt is an applied psycholinguist (SIPA, CCF) who serves as an affiliate faculty member, research collaborator, and student mentor to the ANS laboratory. Her areas of research that correspond to the ANS mission include functional near-infrared spectroscopy and eye-tracking (TOBII laptop and glasses) to examine (1) the neural recruitment of executive functioning in the brain as well as (2) attention and noticing. All of Dr. Baralt's funded research looking at the cognitive effects of bilingualism in premature-born children has been conducted in the ANS laboratory. In addition to her research, Dr. Baralt serves as a mentor to McNair and to CURE mentees in the ANS lab (one of her greatest joys at FIU). She enjoys attending Thirst for Science events, helping to write grants for the ANS lab, and contributing to Caesar-the-lab-skeleton's fashion statements.

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Staff

Sathyakumar KuntaegowdanahalliSathyakumar Kuntaegowdanahalli, M.S.

Research Engineer
Email:
Office: (305) 348-4780

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Sathyakumar S Kuntaegowdanahalli is a Research Engineer in the Adaptive Neural Systems Laboratory (ANS) at Florida International University. He received his B.S. degree in Electronics and Instrumentation from Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, India. He also has a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Cincinnati. As part of his Master’s thesis he worked on developing microfluidic particle separators. Currently he is working on a NIH funded project to develop advanced prosthesis that can provide sensory feedback to amputees. His research interests include neural interfaces and functional electrical stimulation. When not working, Sathyakumar enjoys wildlife and landscape photography.

Andres PenaAndres Pena, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
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Andres E. Pena is an electrical and biomedical research engineer who completed his doctoral work at the ANS lab in the Spring of 2020. Andres has been actively engaged in the design and development of neurotechnology and has made major contributions to the field of prosthetics and neural interfaces during his undergraduate and graduate career. As part of his doctoral work, he conceptualized, developed and implemented a novel non-invasive neuromodulation platform for restoration, enhancement, and/or modulation of neurophysiological functions such as sensation. This platform, that utilizes non-visual feedback and has been evaluated in human subject studies, has very broad applicability from use in gaming, to surgical robotics, to military applications such as explosive ordinance disposal and control of unmanned aircraft. In 2019, Andres received an award at the annual Military Health Systems Research Symposium for his work on the development and assessment of this novel electrical neurostimulation approach with human participants. In addition, Andres has been deeply involved with the neural-enabled prosthetic hand system project, and his work was instrumental for receiving regulatory approval for a first-in-human clinical trial to restore sensation to an individual with upper limb amputation. He has now embarked on a post-doctoral fellowship to enhance the system and expand the clinical trial to a second site. He has been investigating pathways for the commercialization of the current system and is committed to pursuing an entrepreneurial role.

Anil ThotaAnil Thota

Research Engineer
Email:
Office: (305) 348-4780

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Anil received his B.E. in Biomedical Engineering from University College of Engineering, Osmania University, India in 1998. He received two master degrees in Biomedical Engineering, one from University of Kentucky in 2004 for his work in neuromechanical gait analysis in incomplete spinal cord injured rodents and the other from Case Western Reserve University in 2012 for his work in biomechanical assessment of Parkinsonian gait in non-human primates. As a research engineer at Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) from 2006 to 2012, he collaborated in developing algorithms to assess postural stability in Parkinson's disease patients and in collegiate athletes after sports related concussions. At CCF, he also worked on projects in understanding the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation on motor control behavior in Parkinson disease patients. Currently, he is working at ANS on NIH and DARPA funded projects to develop smart prosthesis for upper limb amputees.

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