2018 Neural Engineering Research Symposium

2018 Neural Engineering Research Symposium

April 2-3, 2018

University of Miami Lois Pope Life Center
1095 NW 14th Terrace
Miami, FL 33136

The second Annual Neural Engineering Symposium at the University of Miami organized by the Institute for Neural Engineering (INEM), Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and A Seed for Success (SEEDS). Neural Engineering facilitates the development of new clinical technologies for the assessment of neurological function and the treatment of neurological diseases. To energize fundamental aspects of neural science, engineering and reparative medicine, and facilitate collaborations across various disciplines, the University of Miami is hosting this second research Symposium in Neural Engineering and invites you to be a part of the event.

Research Symposium aims to bring together the research, education, innovation and industry communities that can help energize fundamental aspects of neural science, engineering and reparative medicine, and facilitate collaborations across various disciplines.

Click Here to RSVP or Submit Abstract

Click Here to Visit Symposium Webpage


World-renowned keynote speakers will lead the discussion during the day-long session:

Daofen Chen, PhD

Program Director
Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience




Gregorio Valdez, PhD

Assistant Professor
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Virgina Tech

Failure to communicate: The contribution of synapses and associated molecules to motor dysfunction

 The ability to initiate and control all voluntary movements requires neurons to communicate with each other and with skeletal muscles.  In this talk, I will show that synapses in the spinal cord and in skeletal muscles degenerate early and progressively with advancing age and progression of diseases.  I will then present evidence supporting important roles for a growth factor modulating protein in preserving the integrity of synapses during aging and progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an age-related motor disease.

Audra Van Wart, PhD

Administrative Assistant Professor and Director
Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Virginia Tech

VT-BEST: Integrating career and professional development approaches into graduate and postdoctoral training

As the biomedical research workforce expands and diversifies, U.S. universities are finding a greater percentage of their graduates entering research and research-related careers outside of the academe. In order to better prepare biomedical PhDs for success across the broad range of professions they may pursue, Virginia Tech has developed the VT-BEST (Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training) program focused on transferable skill development, career exploration, and time-efficient experiential learning opportunities that create smiles, without adding miles. In this talk I will discuss early faculty feedback that shaped the program development, and highlight some key VT-BEST approaches that have received positive student feedback and integrate well into existing training structures.

Ranu Jung, PhD

Professor and Chair
Biomedical Engineering
Florida International University

Bionic Interfaces: Targeting the Restoration of Lost Neural Function.

The nervous system functions by generating patterns of neural activity which underlie sensation and perception as well as control of movement, cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and other systems. By accessing the appropriate peripheral nerve tissue or end organs, activating it in a focal targeted manner, and utilizing neuromorphic control, bionic interfaces offer targeted restoration of function lost to neurotrauma. This talk will discuss our work in advancing bionic interfaces to enhance ventilatory control after spinal cord injury or restore sensation to upper-limb amputees with a neural-enabled prosthetic hand system.

Lee Miller, PhD

Physiology/Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Northwestern University

Development of a continuously active, wireless brain computer interface to restore mobility in spinal cord injury

Although the technology of existing Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs), is remarkable, the vast majority require the user to be wired to stationary equipment and allow only intermittent control of a computer cursor or a disembodied robotic limb. The associated control algorithms must be regularly recalibrated to compensate for the changing neurons recorded by the chronically implanted microelectrode arrays. We have built upon new methods capable of extracting low-dimensional “latent signals” from wireless neural recordings to develop a novel BCI, stable over month-long periods, that we anticipate will ultimately restore voluntary hand use to patients with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Elba Serrano, PhD

Regents Professor
New Mexico University




Jack Judy, PhD

Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Florida

Revolutionizing Nerve Interfaces for the Control of Advanced Prosthetic Limbs with Microfabricated Electrode Arrays in Tissue-Engineered Scaffolds

Microfabricated electrodes are often implanted into the brain, spinal cord, or nerves in order to record or stimulate neural activity. The goal of such work is typically to advance neuroscientific understanding or to develop new therapies or solutions for nervous-systems diseases or injuries. For example, nerves are a promising target for neural interfaces used to control sophisticated robotic limbs. However, to provide robust, rapid, and precise prosthesis control and to elicit high-resolution prosthesis-related sensory percepts, a nerve interface needs many reliable and independent motor and sensory channels.

Jay Rubinstein MD, PhD

Surgeon and Professor
Head and Neck Surgery Center
University of Washington Medicine

Challenges, promise and discovery in the development of a vestibular prosthesis

The UW team is currently implanting a second generation vestibular neurostimulator in human subjects.  The device is a modified cochlear implant, originally implanted in non-human primates, then studied chronically in both monkeys and humans  Based on the data obtained, a new device design was fabricated and implanted in non-human primates.  These results led to human studies of the new design.  Results of both device iterations in both humans and monkeys will be reviewed.  Remaining challenges to routine clinical use as well as physiological discoveries obtained with the devices will be discussed.

Jose L. Contreras-Vidal

Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Washington

Context-aware Mobile Neurotechnologies to Understand the Dynamic Brain in Action and in Context

In this talk, I will review the state-of-the-art of mobile brain-body imaging (MoBI) technologies to measure and understand the brain response and other data in free behaving individuals acting in complex natural settings. I will review the challenges and advantages of using the museum as a laboratory, which offers an ideal setting to record multimodal data from tens of thousands of participants with rich demographics. I will also review advances in MoBI-based brain-machine interfaces to control wearable robots for restoring motor function to people with disabilities, and summarize some of the challenges that next-generation BMI technology have to overcome. I will end my talk by discussing some of the technical and societal impacts of research at the interface of art, science and engineering.

Contact Us

For questions, please contact the College of Engineering’s Department of Biomedical Engineering at bme.coe@miami.edu or (305) 284-2445.



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