April 3-4, 2018 | University of Miami


Welcome to 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 view Agenda

Program committee members:

Suhrud Rajguru, PhD 
Associate Professor
Biomedical Engineering

Abhishek Prasad, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biomedical Engineering

Julia Dallman, PhD
Associate Professor




Monica Perez, PhD
Associate Professor
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

W. Dalton Dietrich, PhD
Professor and Scientific Director
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Key Dates

TBA Last day to Submit Abstract  *DEADLINE EXTENDED*

TBA Last day to Register
TBA Symposium – Lois Pope Life Science Center

Abstract Submission 

Participants will receive notification of acceptance for poster presentations by TBA. 

CLICK HERE to browse abstracts scheduled for poster presentation at the Symposium. 

The poster session at this meeting is aimed to allow for the exchange of scientific discoveries and novel innovations within the neuroscience and neural engineering field. Please follow guidelines below to prepare your posters:

  • Each poster presenter will receive an identifier (poster number) and is assigned a six foot (1.8 m) by four foot (1.2 m) poster board to use for presentation.
  • Poster session will take place between: TBA


On April 3, between 9:30AM - noon, at Lois Pope 7th Floor Auditorium, supposed by SEEDS at the University of Miami and the Institute for Neural Engineering, Drs. Julia Dallman and Suhrud Rajguru will also lead a training workshop for students, postdoctoral scientists and early-career investigators. As the biomedical workforce expands and diversifies, more trainees are seeking jobs outside of academia. In this workshop, four speakers from diverse backgrounds and career paths,, Audra Van Wart, Daofen Chen, April Mann, and Gennaro D'Urso, will discuss strategies for making the most of your scientific training by building communication skills and considering diverse career pursuits.

CLICK HERE to register for the Career Workshop


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

Daofen Chen, PhD
Program Director
Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience



Jose L. Contreras-Vidal, PhD
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.

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.

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).

Crystal Noller, PhD
Post Doctoral Associate
Neurological Surgery
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Vagal Nerve Stimulation after Spinal Cord Injury

Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is an FDA-approved neuromodulation technique currently used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., epilepsy and depression). In addition to neuropsychiatric conditions, extensive research has shown that VNS can be used for other indications, such as activating the body’s “cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.” This talk will review the use of VNS in conditions characterized by elevated inflammation. The presentation will also discuss our current work examining the use of VNS to modulate inflammation after acute and chronic spinal cord injury.

Monica A. Perez, PT, PhD
Associate Professor
Neurological Surgery
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Emerging Noninvasive Approaches to Promote Recovery in Humans with Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury (SCI) impairs sensorimotor function in muscles below the level of the lesion. Non-invasive approaches suggest that the corticospinal tract represents a target to maximize residual motor output following chronic incomplete SCI.  We have used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the primary motor cortex to reinforce spinal function using principles of spike-timing dependent plasticity and to mimic the periodicity of descending volleys in the corticospinal tract in humans with and without SCI. Acute intermittent hypoxia changes corticospinal excitability and spike-timing dependent plasticity in humans, opening another avenue to target the corticospinal tract after SCI.

Abhishek Prasad, PhD
Assistant Professor
Biomedical Engineering
University of Miami

A New Model for Behavioral Motor Neuroscience Research


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.

Sheyum Syed, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Miami

Towards Understanding Sleep with Help from the Fruit Fly

How does our body know when we are sleep-deprived? Sleep deficit or excess is monitored by a sophisticated biochemical system called the sleep homeostat. Based on the duration of the last adequate sleep episode, the homeostat generates the appropriate propensity for future sleep. But despite its indispensable role in sleep regulation, the architecture and operational principles of the homeostat remain mysterious. In this talk, I will discuss our efforts in dissecting the inner workings of the homeostat through studies of sleep patterns in the fruit fly, a model organism with over a 100 years of history in basic 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.

Contact Us

Department of Biomedical Engineering
1251 Memorial Drive
McArthur Engineering Addition
Coral Gables, Florida 33146






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