People

Current Members

Principal Investigator

otto_kevin2014Dr. Kevin J. Otto
Professor
kevin.otto@bme.ufl.edu
LinkedIn Profile
Twitter (@OttoKev)

ORCID iD

Neural engineering, device-tissue interfaces, and neurostimulation

Dr. Kevin J. Otto received the BS degree in chemical engineering from Colorado State University in 1997, the MS degree in Bioengineering in 2002 and the PhD Degree in Bioengineering in 2003 from Arizona State University, Tempe.

From 1997 to 2003 he was a Research Assistant in the Bioengineering Department, Arizona State University, where his work was in the areas of neural engineering and sensory neuroprostheses. From 2003 to 2004 he was a Research Fellow in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where his work focused on brain-machine interface systems and implantable devices. From 2004 to 2006 he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Central Systems Laboratory in the Kresge Hearing Research Institute in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where his work focused on cochlear implants.

His primary appointment is Professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. His research interests include neural engineering, device-tissue interfaces, neurostimulation.

Download Dr. Otto’s Curriculum Vitae

Academic Positions

  • 2018-Present: Professor, the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida
  • 2018-Present: Affiliate Faculty, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, University of Florida
  • 2016-Present: Affiliate Faculty, Department of Materials Science & Engineering, University of Florida
  • 2016-Present: Affiliate Faculty, Department of Neurology, University of Florida
  • 2014-Present: Affiliate Faculty, Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida
  • 2014-2018: Associate Professor, the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida (with tenure)
  • 2012-2014: Associate Professor, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University (with tenure)
  • 2006-2012: Assistant Professor, the Department of Biological Sciences and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University
  • 2003-2006: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Program in Hearing, Balance and Chemical Senses, Kresge Hearing Research Institute, University of Michigan
  • 2001-2003: Research Staff, Neural Engineering Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering Department, University of Michigan
  • 1998-2001: Research Assistant, Neural Computation Laboratory, Bioengineering Department, Arizona State University
  • Spring 1998: Teaching Assistant, Surgical Techniques, Arizona State University
  • Spring 1998: Teaching Assistant, Heat and Mass Transfer, Arizona State University
  • Fall 1997: Teaching Assistant, Introduction to Bioengineering, Arizona State University

Education

  • Jul 2004 – Feb 2006, Post-Doctoral Fellow Department of Otolaryngology, University of Michigan
  • Aug 2003 – Jul 2004, Post-Doctoral Fellow Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan
  • Aug 2002 – May 2003, PhD Biomedical Engineering, Arizona State University
  • Aug 1997 – Aug 2002, MS Biomedical Engineering, Arizona State University
  • Aug 1993 – May 1997, BS Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University


Post-Docs

Ph.D. Students

Alexander (Xander) S Lim 
Biomedical Engineering
alexanderlim@ufl.edu
Peripheral nerve interfaces/TEENI

Alexander completed his BS in biological engineering and brain & cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016. Post graduation, he worked at the Massachusetts General Hospital with Dr. W Malik on quantitative biomarkers for neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders. His interest in peripheral nerve interfaces stems from previous collaborations with Drs. E Bizzi at MIT and N Thakor at JHU/SINAPSE. Currently, he is co-advised with Dr. Christine Schmidt (Biomimetic Materials & Neural Engineering Lab) on the collaborative tissue-engineered electrode nerve interface (TEENI) project with aims for less-invasive alternatives for functional restoration.

Fun facts: is originally from Los Angeles, is the first in his family to pursue higher education, is the oldest of five siblings, uses a Nikon (DSLR and film), and prefers to be called Xander. He is a nice person, so don’t be afraid to approach him.

LinkedIn


Hunter Hakimian
Biomedical Engineering
hakimianh13@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces and neural stimulation

Hunter completed his BS in Physics at Georgia Tech in 2017. His undergraduate research under Dr. Flavio Fenton focused on entropy analysis of cardiac tissue activity under ventricular fibrillation. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering.


Savannah Dewberry
Ph.D. student
Biomedical Engineering
ls.dewberry@ufl.edu
Neurostimulation and chronic pain

Savannah received her B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2016. Her undergraduate research under Dr. Robert Sorge focused on the behavioral psychology of nociception, with a paper establishing a novel zebrafish model for chronic pain. She worked at a start-up developing a diagnostic device for a year before coming to UF. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida with the support of the NSF graduate research fellowship. She is studying neuromodulation of chronic pain syndromes and plans to look for a post-doc position starting spring 2023. Her CV can be found here.


Ian Malone
Ph.D. student
Electrical Engineering
malonei@ufl.edu
LinkedIn Profile

GitHub Profile

Spinal cord interfaces and machine learning

Ian completed his BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida in 2016. He is now pursuing a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering, researching neuroprostheses to facilitate respiratory recovery after spinal cord injury and applying machine learning methodologies to answer associated questions.


small_sethprofileSeth Currlin
Ph.D. student
Interdisciplinary Science with specialization in Neuroscience
scurrlin@ufl.edu
Neural implants and neural stimulation

Seth earned his B.S. (2011) in Biology and M.S. (2013) in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at the University of Florida. Master’s work focused on metabolic peptide influence upon taste modulation and related neural pathways with Dr. C.D. Dotson and Dr. Sergei Zolotukhin. In 2015 Seth was accepted to the University of Florida’s Interdisciplinary Science Ph.D. program (IDP) and will specialize in Neuroscience.


eric-atkinson-100x133Eric Atkinson
Ph.D. student
Interdisciplinary Science with specialization in Neuroscience
ericwayne@ufl.edu
Tissue-device interfaces

Eric finished his Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Engineering with a minor in Biomechanics at the University of Florida in 2011. Upon graduation, he continued his work with Dr. Michael Okun analyzing electrophysiological data collected from human patients undergoing deep-brain stimulation treatment for Tourette’s syndrome. Eric then began working under Dr. Ben Dunn conducting research focusing on drug design for targets involved in infectious diseases (e.g., HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria). In 2015, he earned his Master’s of Science degree in Medical Science at the University of Florida under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Coleman. His research with Dr. Coleman examined neural plasticity changes due to chronic hypoxia in neonates. Eric is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Science with a specialization in Neuroscience through the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. His research interests focus on understanding the tissue-electrode interface of chronically implanted neural devices. He hopes to develop novel approaches to improving recording longevity.

Download Eric Atkinson’s Curriculum Vitae


Masters Students

Undergraduate Students

Erynne San Antonio
Biomedical Engineering
esanantonio@ulf.edu

Erynne is a third year biomedical engineering student at the University of Florida. She is researching the electrical and electrochemical changes between the different counter-ion molecular weights of the polymer PEDOT:PSS.


Kathleen Yang
Electrical Engineering
kathleen.yang@ufl.edu

Kathleen is a second year electrical engineering student at the University of Florida. She is currently studying voltage-induced structural changes of PEDOT:PSS, with neural electrode applications.


Renae Burke
Biomedical Engineering

Renae Burke is a fourth year double major in biomedical engineering and violin performance. She is currently working on intracortical magnetic stimulation and is interested in researching bidirectional brain-machine interfaces.


Ramya Saldanha
Biomedical Engineering
rsaldanha@ufl.edu

Ramya is a third year biomedical engineering student at the University of Florida. She is researching the effects of electrode site placement on intracortical microstimulation and is interested in attending med school after graduation.


Alyssa Massais
Biomedical Engineering
amassais@ufl.edu

Alyssa is a first year biomedical engineering student at the University of Florida. She plans to pursue her interest in neuroscience and is very excited to start working in the lab.


Nicole Veit
Biomedical Engineering
nveit@ufl.edu

Nicole is a third year biomedical engineering student with a minor in computer science. She is currently researching the role of electrode-site size on intracortical implantable devices. She is planning on pursuing a PhD and is interested in developing neural technologies for degenerative disorders.


Brandon Badamtchian
Biomedical Engineering
bbadamtchian@ufl.edu

Brandon is a third-year biomedical engineering student specializing in neural engineering. He is researching the electrical properties of shape-memory polymer nerve cuff electrodes for use as neural implants. After graduating, Brandon plans to pursue an MD/PhD program.


Aaron Czeiszperger
Biomedical Engineering

Aaron is a fifth year Biomedical Engineering student in the Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree at the University of Florida and is seeking a minor in Electrical Engineering. His work is concentrated about the foreign body response to neural implants in the peripheral nervous system.


Felicia Sedwick
Biomedical Engineering

Felicia Sedwick is a fifth year biomedical engineering student at the University of Florida. She is working on the TEENI project and will be focusing on nerve regeneration through the threads.


Nicolas Kunigk
Biomedical Engineering

Nicolas Kunigk is a third year biomedical engineering student at the University of Florida with minors in computer science and bioinformatics. He plans on pursuing a PhD and is interested in studying neuroprosthetics.


Ray Ward
Biomedical Engineering
wr4yflorida@ufl.edu

Ray Ward is a fourth year biomedical engineering student, most interested in the implications of long-term foreign body response on the application of neural implants in modern medicine. He plans on pursuing a PhD and hopes to contribute to the development of novel treatment options for patients with neurological disorder and neuropathic pain.



Alexis Brake
Biomedical Engineering / Dance
abrake@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces and immunohistochemistry

Alexis is currently in her third year as a biomedical engineering major at the University of Florida. Her current research interests are in investigating the Foreign Body Response in the African Spiny Mouse . After graduating, Alexis looks forward to attending a Ph.D./M.D. combined program and becoming a physician scientist.


small_aviAvi Matarasso
Chemical Engineering
avimatarasso@ufl.edu

Avi is a 3rd year Chemical Engineering student with an Electrical Engineering minor. Avi is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, and is currently researching histology aspects of TEENI electrode implants. His research interests include brain-computer and peripheral interfaces, electrochemical brain signals, and their interactions with debilitating brain diseases and brain disorders.


Research Staff


Alumni

Post-Docs

Ph.D. Graduates

M.S. Graduates

Undergraduate Students

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