Sri Sarma featured in JHU Gazette story: New early warning system for seizures

Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma of the Institute for Computational Medicine has been featured in the JHU Gazette for work recently published in Epilepsy & Behavior. The research centers on the creation of a novel framework for seizure onset detection which could be used in the future with brain implants that send electrical impulses to stop Epileptic seizures just as they begin to occur.

“These devices use algorithms—a series of mathematical steps—to figure out when to administer the treatment,” Sarma said. “They’re very good at detecting when a seizure is about to happen, but they also produce lots of false positives, sometimes hundreds in one day. If you introduce electric current to the brain too often, we don’t know what the health impacts might be. Also, too many false alarms can shorten the life of the battery that powers the device, which must be replaced surgically.”

See the full story and see a video detailing the research in Dr. Sarma’s lab on the JHU Gazette website.

The story has also been featured in JHU News Releases.

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Kevin Kahn awarded a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Travel Award

Kevin Kahn, a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Sridevi Sarma, has recently been awarded a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Collaborative Research Travel Grant. Kevin will be traveling to Cleveland Clinic with the assistance of the grant to help design and run experiments to highlight how motor related cortical areas work to make the body perform high velocity movements under loaded dynamic environments. The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private institution dedicated to advancing biomedical sciences and uses this travel grant as a means of promoting collaborations across fields and institutions.

Congratulations on your award Kevin!

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Matthew Kerr awarded a JHU ARCS Foundation Scholarship for $15,000

Matthew Kerr, a Graduate Student in the lab of Dr. Sridevi Sarma, Assistant Professor at the Institute for Computational Medicine, has been awarded the Johns Hopkins University’s 2012-2013 ARCS Foundation Scholarship. The graduate award of $15,000 may be used for education-related expenses such as tuition, books, supplies, travel to conferences, research activities as well as other needs. Matthew’s current research focuses on how the human motor system influences limb control. The military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the insurgents’ use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), have led to a dramatic increase in the number of otherwise healthy, adaptable individuals missing limbs. Prosthetic limbs that could respond to an individuals thoughts as naturally as their own body would greatly increase their quality of life. The ARCS funding will support him as he investigates how the motor system responds to unexpected perturbations in movement. By understanding and modeling how different parts of the brain influence upper-limb motor control, new insights will be gained that may greatly improve the next generation of brain-controled prosthetics.

Congratulations on your scholarship Matthew, and good luck with your research!

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Sri Sarma featured in MIT Magazine

Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma was recently highlighted in MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems News Magazine. The story by Katharine Stoel Gammon talks about Dr. Sarma’s work from the time she was a post-doc in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department at MIT and how research in the framework of control systems combined with her personal connections to Parkinson’s disease to guide the direction of her research.
 
Click here to read the full story.

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Sridevi Sarma receives $2 million National Science Foundation grant

Dr. Sridevi V. Sarma of the Institute for Computational Medicine (ICM) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant of $2,000,000 for support of the project entitled “EFRI-M3C: Robust Decoder-Compensator Architecture for Interactive Control of High-Speed and Loaded Movements”. The research involves developing a novel model-based Robust Decoder-Compensator (RDC) architecture for interactive control of fast movements in the presence of uncertainty. The RDC is a feedback interconnection that 1) decodes cortical signals to produce actuator commands that reflect motor intent, 2) corrects for spurious signals generated by the cerebellum in the absence of proprioceptive feedback, and 3) makes robust the interconnection to account for mismatches between models and reality. A unique experimental paradigm will be exploited wherein neural spike and local field potential data from patients with implantable electrodes admitted for epilepsy surgery will be collected.

Collaborators on the project John Thomas Gale, Munther A. Dahleh, and Nitish Thakor. The award is effective September 15, 2011 and expires August 31, 2015.

Congratulations to Dr. Sarma!

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Sri Sarma featured in Hopkins Medicine News

The research of Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma has recently been featured in 2 individual articles for Johns Hopkins Medicine News. The first article discusses her research with Parkinson’s Disease and the use of “computational tools to understand and fine-tune deep brain stimulation” (click here to view). The second news story highlights Sri’s personal connection to Parkinson’s disease that shaped her research in electrical engineering and its applications to the disease (click here to read).

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Matthew Kerr receives a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Matthew Kerr, a newly appointed PhD student in the lab of Dr. Sridevi Sarma, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship provides a stipend of $30,000 per year for three years and eligibility to apply for supercomputing time. Selection for the award was based on “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as [the] potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise.”

Matthew’s research focuses on two aspects of neural decoding. “The first is understanding the brain as a network and using that knowledge to anticipate the onset of neural conditions such as seizures. The second is determining how the motor cortex encodes movement and applying that knowledge toward improving upper limb prostheses.”

Congratulations on your Fellowship award Matthew!

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Sri Sarma recipient of CAREER Award from the NSF

Sri Sarma, is the recipient of a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation. The CAREER award, given to faculty members at the beginning of their academic careers, is one of NSF’s most competitive awards and emphasizes high-quality research and novel education initiatives.

Sri’s CAREER research involves the modeling and control of neuronal networks in the brain with applications to the treatment of Parkinson’s disease using deep brain stimulation. Her project includes the construction of a general approach for modeling complex neuronal networks where interactions occur between different brain nuclei, the design of computationally efficient control strategies for such networks, and applying these methodologies to the problem of restoring pathological network dynamics arising from Parkinson’s disease with deep brain stimulation. This work has the potential to impact the interface between control systems and neuroscience and create new opportunities for medical treatment of neurological disorders.

The full details of the award can be found on the NSF website here.

The CAREER award is a terrific achievement for Sri and I invite you to you join me in congratulating her on this well-deserved honor.

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Sridevi Sarma Included in latest edition of Women in Science

Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma was chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for inclusion in their latest Women in Science booklet. The article includes a brief overview of neuroscience and the groundbreaking work which Sri is pursuing for the NCSL and Institute for Computational Medicine (ICM) in biomedical engineering.

From the introduction: “In this latest Women in Science booklet, kindly sponsored once again by the L’Oreal Corporate Foundation, we meet 16 women in five different areas of biology research: Virology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, Microbiology, and Immunology. Although this list does not cover all areas of research, the essays about the scientists in these fields will give you an idea of the differences, and similarities, between their jobs. They will also give you some insight into their personal triumphs and struggles as these women have strived to build successful and meaningful careers for themselves.”

To view a pdf of the full booklet, Click here.

Congratulations to Sri on her recognition!

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Course in Dynamical Systems to be offered by ICM this fall

Introduction to Dynamical Systems (Course number – BME/ME/ECE: 580.616) will be available this fall with Assistant Professor Sridevi Sarma of the NCSL, Institute for Computational Medicine and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. The course examines linear, discrete- continuous-time, and multi-input-output systems in control and related areas. Least squares and matrix perturbation problems are considered. Topics covered include state-space models, stability, controllability, observability, transfer function matrices, realization theory, feedback compensators, state feedback, optimal regulation, observers, observer-based compensators, measures of control performance, and robustness issues using singular values of transfer functions.

More information about curriculum available through the ICM can be found in the education section of the ICM site (link).

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