People

Current Members

Lab Photo (2)

Principal Investigator

otto_kevin2014Dr. Kevin J. Otto
Associate Professor
kevin.otto@bme.ufl.edu
LinkedIn Profile
Twitter (@OttoKev)
Neural engineering, device-tissue interfaces, and neurostimulation
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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.

He is currently an Associate 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

  • 2012-Present 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


Dr. Francisco Delgado
Post-Doc
Biomedical Engineering
fdelgado@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces
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Francisco received his B.S. in biomedical engineering with a minor in mechanical systems design from Florida International University in Miami. After completion of his degree he moved to Gainesville to begin his doctoral research. In 2010 he joined the Epilepsy Research Lab under the leadership of Dr. Paul R. Carney; here Francisco garnered experience in the field of central nervous disorders and the tools and techniques used to study and treat them. During his tenure in the Epilepsy research lab he was awarded a prestigious CTSI TL1 fellowship, which supported his study of nanotechnological methods for the treatment of epilepsy. His work focused on the interplay of drug delivery technologies and disease, and he wrote his dissertation on the influence of tissue structure and delivery environments on treatment strategies for neurological diseases.

After graduating with his PhD, Francisco joined the Neural Prosthetics Research Lab under Dr. Kevin Otto as a postdoctoral fellow. His current research includes novel methods of stimulating and recording in the peripheral nervous system in vivo, and understanding the outcomes of these methods as they pertain to the restoration of function or improvement of learning. In the future, he hopes to extend this work to create novel technologies to interface with neurological tissues to treat disease, enhance function, and develop a better understanding of how the brain functions.



james-graham-100x133
Dr. James B. Graham
Post-Doc
Biomedical Science
jbgraham@ufl.edu
Neural tissue-device interfaces
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Dr. James B. Graham received his BA degree in biology from La Salle University in 1996 and his PhD degree in biomedical science with a double concentration in neuroscience and clinical translational science from the University of Florida in 2015.

From 2001 to 2010, he was a senior biological scientist at the University of Florida where he focused on various methods to analyze functional recovery in animal models of peripheral nerve injury. During his tenure in the department of pediatric neurology, he published several highly cited reports in well established peer reviewed scientific journals, was awarded a patent from the University of Florida Office of Technology and Licensing with his co inventor and mentor, Dr. David Muir, and was a vital leader and innovator in the development of several commercialized peripheral nerve regenerative components.

He is currently a Post-Doctoral Associate in the Neuro Prostheses Research Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Kevin J. Otto where his work focuses on developing and analyzing peripheral nerve electrical interfaces for sensory and motor applications of prosthetic devices.


Ph.D. Students

Ian Malone
Ph.D. student
Electrical Engineering
malonei@ufl.edu
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Ian completed his BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Florida in 2016. He is now pursuing a PhD in electrical engineering with interest in neural encoding and decoding to restore sensorimotor function via neural prosthetics. 

 


Morgan Urdaneta
Ph.D. student
Interdisciplinary Science with specialization in Neuroscience
morgan.urdaneta@ufl.edu
Neural Interfaces and Neurostimulation
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After a brief period of Medical School at the Universidad de Carabobo (Venezuela), Morgan received his B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from The University of North Florida in 2015. For more than three years, he worked with Dr. Amy L. Lane where he finished his Undergraduate Honors thesis on Natural Products from Marine Bacteria as Inhibitors of Fungal Biofilms. Upon graduation he worked on drug pharmacodynamics in the laboratory of Dr. Alan P. Fields at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. Morgan is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Science with a specialization in Neuroscience at the University of Florida. He’s currently interested in chronically-stable intracortical microstimulation devices and technologies, such as Micromagnetic stimulation, for closed-loop Brain Machine Interfaces.



Elliott Dirr
Ph.D. student
Biomedical Engineering
edirr@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces and neural stimulation
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Elliott received his B.S. in biomedical engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship from The Ohio State University in 2014. His undergraduate research focused on the effect of intrastriatal injection of alpha-synuclein fibrils on ultrasonic vocalizations in rats under Dr. Shelia Fleming. He is currently pursuing a M.S. in biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.



Jamie Murbach
Ph.D. Student
Materials Science and Engineering
jam8744@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces and drug delivery
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Jamie completed her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering with a concentration in polymeric materials and a minor in chemistry from Clemson University in 2016. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida.


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


kaitlynn-olczak-100x133Kaitlynn Olczak
Ph.D. student
Biomedical Engineering
kpolczak@ufl.edu
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Kaitlynn completed her BS in Biomedical Engineering, with a minor in chemistry, from the University at Buffalo in 2015.She is now pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida.


gaireJanak Gaire
Ph.D. student
Neuroscience
jgaire@ufl.edu
Tissue-device interfaces and neural implants
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Janak completed his B.S. in Biology, with a minor in chemistry from the University of North Texas in 2010. For a year, he worked with Dr. Guenter W. Gross at Center for Network Neuroscience to develop ways to increase the durability of microelectrode array plate. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Department of Neuroscience at University of Florida (UF). Before transferring to UF in August 2014, he joined the Neuroprostheses Research Laboratory at Purdue University in summer of 2012. He is interested in improving the functional longevity of the implanted devices and currently working on evaluating tissue response to brain-implanted devices.

Research Abstract:

Intracortical microelectrode devices provide a brain machine interface capable of targeting very small populations of neurons with a potential to treat many neurological disorders. These penetrating devices generally perform well for a short duration but fail to record or stimulate reliably for chronic time putatively due to reactive tissue response (RTR). The loss of chronic functional reliability is a major hurdle for successful clinical implementation. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying device failure. My research focuses on employing novel techniques and models to investigate biological mechanisms underlying device failure. I have been involved in developing novel imaging techniques (both in situ and in vivo imaging techniques) and mouse models to evaluate biological changes surrounding the implanted devices.

Download Janak Gaire’s Curriculum Vitae


Masters Students

No current students.


Undergraduate Students

Ray Ward
Biomedical Engineering
wr4yflorida@ufl.edu

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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.



Lauren Lester
Mechanical Engineering
laurenlester@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces and drug delivery
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Lauren is a first year mechanical engineering undergrad at the University of Florida with a focus on bio-mechanics. This is Lauren’s first lab setting and is very enthusiastic to get involved with research.



Alexis Brake
Biomedical Engineering / Dance
abrake@ufl.edu
Neural interfaces and immunohistochemistry
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Alexis is currently in her first year as a biomedical engineering major and dance minor at the University of Florida. She is interested in investigating the body’s immune response to neural devices and is excited to be joining the NPR lab. 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
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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.


nick-hilborn-100x133Nick Hilborn
BSc student
Biomedical Engineering
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Nick is in his third year pursuing B.S. in Biomedical Engineering major with a specialization in Neural Engineering. He is interested studying neuroprosthetics and researching possible solutions to neurological injuries. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Nick plans to pursue his masters in Biomedical Engineering.


Research Staff

Coming soon.


Alumni

Ph.D. Graduates

M.S. Graduates

Undergraduate Students

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