Keynote Lecture

The conference will open on Sunday evening with a keynote lecture. After more than two year of social distancing and isolation, we are please to have professor Joy Hirsch  talking about the effect of social interactions on brain activity and her ability to study it as a whole by measuring the activity of multiple brains simultaneously. 

Joy Hirsch

Joy Hirsch PhD is the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT USA; Sr. Investigator in the Haskins Laboratory, New Haven CT, USA; and Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at University College London, UK. She is currently the Director of the Brain Function Laboratory at Yale University and the Principal Investigator of research that aims to understand the neural mechanisms that underlie dynamic two-person interactions. Prior to joining the faculty at Yale, she was the founder and head of the fMRI Research Center at Columbia University in NY where her research focused on neuroimaging studies aimed at understanding the neural mechanisms for cognitive and perceptual functions as well as mapping essential functions for patients scheduled for neurosurgical procedures. By retooling this background in fMRI and neuroscience, she and her lab members have pioneered hyperscanning techniques (neuroimaging of two people simultaneously) using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in order to understand the neural underpinnings of live social and communicative processes that occur in natural settings. Her foundational research serves as a cornerstone for the new “neuroscience of two” and the emerging theoretical frameworks that generate novel research directions and insights into the neurological bases for our social brain. Professor Hirsch is a popular teacher, an international lecturer on the brain and its functions; she and her students have published more than 150 research papers on the brain and she is an author on a recently published book titled, Body, Brain, Behavior: Three views and a Conversation that addresses the goal of creating connections between diverse academic disciplines in neuroscience.

Guest Speaker

Dr. Bruce Tromberg, Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is our guest speaker. Dr. Tromberg will present his vision for the NIH NIBIB program. He will also talk about his pioneering work on diffuse optics and will discuss future opportunities for fNIRS technologies.

Bruce Tromberg

Dr. Tromberg is the Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he oversees an approximately $400 million per year portfolio of research programs focused on developing, translating, and commercializing engineering, physical science, and computational technologies in biology and medicine. In addition, he leads NIBIB’s Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx Tech) program, a ~$1.5 billion initiative to increase SARS-COV-2 testing capacity and performance.

Prior to joining NIH in January 2019, he was a professor of biomedical engineering and surgery at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). During this time he served as director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic (BLIMC) (2003-2018) and the Laser Microbeam and Medical Program (LAMMP), an NIH National Biomedical Technology Center at the BLIMC (1997-2018).

Dr. Tromberg specializes in the development of optics and photonics technologies for biomedical imaging and therapy. He has co-authored more than 450 publications and holds 24 patents in new technology development as well as bench-to-bedside clinical translation, validation, and commercialization of devices. He has trained more than 80 students and fellows, is co-founder of the biophotonics company, Modulim, Inc, and has served on numerous advisory boards in academia, industry, government, and private foundations.

Dr. Tromberg received his undergraduate training in chemistry from Vanderbilt University (1979) and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Tennessee (1988) where he was a U.S. Department of Energy/Oak Ridge Associated Universities Fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was a Hewitt Foundation Photomedicine Fellow at the BLIMC and joined the UC Irvine faculty in 1990. He has received several awards, including the R&D 100 award, the Michael S. Feld Biophotonics Award from The Optical Society (OSA), the Britton Chance Biomedical Optics Award from the International Society of Optical Engineering (SPIE), the Horace Furumoto Innovator Award from the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS), and is a Fellow of the OSA, SPIE, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers (AIMBE), and the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Special Session: 
Neuroergonomics – fNIRS on the go

The understanding of the brain functioning and its utilization for real world applications is the next frontier. Existing studies with traditional neuroimaging approaches have accumulated overwhelming knowledge but are limited in scope, i.e. only in artificial lab settings and with simplified parametric tasks. As an interdisciplinary new field, neuroergonomics aims to fill this gap: Understanding the brain in the wild, its activity during unrestricted real-world tasks in everyday life contexts, and its relationship to action, behavior, body, and environment. New generation ultra-portable wearable fNIRS sensors are already positioned to go outside of the lab, but now for continuous measurements over longer periods and less constrained setups.

This session will explore the latest developments in this growing research area, from enabling technologies and methods to emerging field and clinical applications.

Hasan Ayaz

Chair and Speaker, Drexel University, School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Philadelphia, PA

Neuroergonomics and Emerging Applications for fNIRS

Dr. Hasan Ayaz is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering (with tenure) and Psychological and Brain Sciences (with courtesy) at Drexel University, adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and associate fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and a Provost Solutions Fellow at the Drexel Solutions Institute. For two decades, he has worked on the development of miniaturized continuous wave near infrared spectroscopy systems specialized for neuroimaging. He has developed brain monitoring tools that are routinely utilized for clinical and field research worldwide at university, government and corporate labs and has led the software development of the first optical-brain-monitoring medical device, Infrascanner, a portable-handheld instrument that utilizes near infrared to detect hematoma in head trauma patients, currently deployed in 42 countries/6 continents in both civilian and military hospitals.

Dr. Ayaz’s research involves understanding human brain function using mobile neuroimaging and physiological biosensing in realistic and real-world environments with complex cognitive tasks, across the lifespan and from healthy (typical to specialized groups such as pilots, medical students) to diverse clinical conditions (such as addiction, autism, and traumatic brain injury). His research aims to design, develop, and utilize (i.e., to measure->elucidate->enable) next generation brain imaging for neuroergonomic applications over a broad spectrum from aerospace to healthcare. He organized and chaired multiple international conferences on this and is co-founding Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Neuroergonomics dedicated to mobile neurotechnology and studying brain at work and everyday life.

Meltem Izzetoglu

Speaker, Villanova University, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Villanova, PA

Enabling Methods: Signal Processing for fNIRS on the Go

Dr. Meltem Izzetoglu is a faculty member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Villanova University, Villanova, PA. She is also affiliated with The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY. Dr. Izzetoglu has background in both electrical and biomedical engineering fields coupled with experience and interest in design, development, and evaluation of highly portable optical brain imaging systems for field applications ranging from medical to basic science research tailored to specific domains. She has been involved in the translation of two near infrared spectroscopy-based brain imaging devices from lab to field and clinical use. Over the last decade, Dr. Izzetoglu has been focusing on the development of wearable bio-optical sensors, physical and digital head models, signal conditioning algorithms, data analytics, and metrics. Her current projects include investigation of cognitive control of mobility (walking and driving) in young and aging populations, assessment of cognitive enhancement, cognitive decline and expertise development, detection of cerebral hemorrhage and edema development in traumatic brain injury, and monitoring of local tissue oximetry and anesthetic depth.

Alexander von Lühmann

Speaker, NIRx, Germany

Enabling Methods: Miniaturized Hardware/Mobile Sensor

Dr. Alexander von Lühmann is currently the director of the research and development division at NIRx. He is also visiting researcher at the Neurophotonics Center of Boston University and visiting researcher at the Machine Learning department of Berlin Institute of Technology. Before joining NIRx, Alex was post-doc at Boston University Neurophotonics Center researcher and visiting researcher at the Martinos Center of Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA and Chief Technology Officer at Crely Healthcare Pte. Ltd, a Singapore-US-based biomedical startup. His research and development focus on multimodal diffuse optical instruments and multimodal signal processing towards neurotechnology applications in the everyday world. Specifically, he is interested in hybrid wearable and miniaturized CW and TD-based fNIRS instrumentation that incorporates other physiology, such as EEG, with multimodal signal processing and machine learning to explain signal variance and increase the robustness of single-trial neural activation estimates for Neuroergonomics and Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) applications.

Ranjana Mehta

Speaker, Texas A&M University, TX

Brain Performance: Field Application

Dr. Ranjana Mehta is an associate professor and Mike and Sugar Barnes Career Development Faculty Fellow II in the Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Presidential Impact Fellow at Texas A&M University and an Early Career Research Fellow with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. She is a leading expert in neuroergonomics, the study of brain and behavior at work, and her current human factors research program pushes the boundaries of the mind-motor-machine nexus to understand and support human performance when interacting with emerging and wearable technologies (e.g., exoskeletons, robotics) in safety-critical environments of offshore energy and emergency response using ambulatory brain-behavior techniques, such as fNIRS, eye tracking, and physiological monitoring.

Wei-Peng Teo

Speaker, Singapore National Institute of Education, Singapore

Brain Health: Clinical Application

Dr. Wei-Peng Teo is currently an Assistant Professor of Motor Behavior at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He currently heads the Motor Behavior Laboratory at the National Institute of Education. Dr Teo’s research focuses on understanding the central adaptations of exercise, ageing and neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s dementia) on the brain. To do this, he uses an array of neuroimaging and neurostimulation techniques such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy, transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation to uncover the relationship between cognition and movement.