As a biomedical engineering student, I belive research is fundamental to become an expert in medical topic and apply concepts learned in classes. As a Grand Challenge Scholar, I explored the grand challenge of “Reverse Engineering the Brain." I joined the Human Mobility Lab, led by Dr. Claire Honeycutt, the summer of my sophomore year. I designed and proposed my own research question to restore mobility in fingers after a stroke by evaluating involuntary movements using the startle reflex. I created a user-friendly interface to test typing reaction time and determine the most accurate electrode placement to record finger kinetics. The successful completion of this interface allowed for the collection and analysis of electromyography data on 20 subjects.
In fall 2016, I received a travel grant to attend the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Annual Meeting and present my research. Later that semester, I also received the GCSP travel grant to present a poster at the Science and Engineering Symposium at the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) national conference.
The work done at the Human Mobility Lab would not have been possible without the support of the GCSP research stipend (Fall 2015) and the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (Spring 2016, Spring 2017). The conclusion of my research will be through the defense of my honor thesis titled “The presence of startle evoked finger movements.”
During the last couple of years, I had to overcome the typical struggles reasearch entitles. Failing was not an option. However, I enjoyed being able to see the transitions of my project and come up with clear conclusion from the results of my experiments. I learned that by trying to solve a specific questions, other questions will arise. Research is not a straight or direct path. As a grand challenge scholar, I developed my critical thinking and my research techniques in motor planning experiments. My research experience at ASU has pushed me purse a PhD in biomedical engineering along with a degree in physical therapy. Combining these two degrees will allow me to bridge the gap in clinical rehabiliation research. Understanding how the brain works is not an easy task. Nonetheless, I want to keep exploring ways to reverse engineer the brain to recover mobility in individuals with disabilities and neurological disorders.