Personnel


Scott Lempka, PhD – Principal Investigator

Scott Lempka, PhD, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1982. Scott earned the B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Saint Louis University in 2004 and the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. His dissertation work focused on the use of computational and experimental techniques to characterize the interface between neural stimulation and recording electrodes and the surrounding tissue. He performed his postdoctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in the area of neurostimulation for chronic pain management. In 2017, Dr. Lempka moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.

Dr. Lempka is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Director of the Neuromodulation Laboratory. The Neuromodulation Lab implements engineering approaches, such as computational modeling, to study the mechanism of action of clinical neuromodulation therapies for chronic pain management and other neurological disorders. The fundamental goal of the research program is to innovate future neuromostimulation technologies that dramatically improve patients’ lives.

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Vishwanath Sankarasubramanian, PhD – Research Fellow

Vishwanath Sankarasubramanian, PhD, hails from Chennai, India. Vish earned the MSc degree in Biomedical Engineering from Aachen University of Technology, Germany in 2006 and the PhD degree from the University of Twente, Netherlands in 2013. His doctoral work focused on the use of computer models to understand the bio-electric effects of spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain management and its potential therapeutic mechanisms of action. Vish then performed postdoctoral training at the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University (2014-2016) in the field of neurostimulation for pain and stroke. In 2016, Vish joined the Neuromodulation Laboratory at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Vish’s research attempts to characterize the mechanisms of action of popular clinical neurostimulation therapies for chronic pain management via mechanistic human studies. This research will help provide the knowledge necessary to address shortcomings in current neurostimulation therapies and to innovate novel neurostimulation technologies that can dramatically improve clinical outcomes.


Ehsan Mirzakhalili, PhD – Research Fellow

Ehsan Mirzakhalili, PhD, is from Tehran, Iran. Ehsan earned his BSc and MSc degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tehran. He moved to Ann Arbor in 2013 to start his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan. During his PhD, he studied the dynamics of neuronal systems at various scales ranging from nanoscale axonal transport by kinesin motor proteins, to mesoscale firing rate models of neuronal populations.

In 2018, Ehsan joined the Neuromodulation Laboratory at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor for his postdoctoral training. His research focuses on using computational models and experimental data to understand how the dynamics and connectivity of the brain are involved in chronic pain. Such understanding can help guide current neurostimulation techniques to be more effective.


Vanessa Pruitt, MSW – Study Coordinator

Vanessa Pruitt, the Study Coordinator for the Neuromodulation Lab, is from Stockton, California. Vanessa earned a B.A. in Counseling Psychology from Prescott College in 2015, and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan in April 2018. While in school, Vanessa worked in a laboratory dedicated to combatting youth depression. After graduating, Vanessa worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs as a Research Associate for several clinical research projects ranging from diabetes to cancer and chronic pain.

 


Robert Graham, MSE – Graduate Student

Robert (Bobby) Graham is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering who grew up in Chestertown, Maryland. In 2016, Bobby got his BS in Bioengineering from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Bobby earned his MSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2018. His research focuses on developing computational models of neurostimulation for chronic pain. The ultimate goal is to use these models to better understand the mechanisms of electrical stimulation induced pain relief, towards innovating stimulation technologies to improve patient outcomes.

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Hans Zander, MSE – Graduate Student

Hans Zander is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering from St. Paul, Minnesota. Hans graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BBmE in Biomedical Engineering in 2016, and from the University of Michigan with an MSE in Biomedical Engineering in 2018. The focus of his research is to use computational models of the spinal cord to understand the mechanisms of action behind spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain. The overall goal of this research is to improve clinical outcomes for patients undergoing spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain by better understanding/improving stimulation parameters and electrode design.

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Evan Rogers, MSE – Graduate Student

Evan Rogers is a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering from Jupiter, Florida. Evan received his BSE in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2017, and his MSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2019. The focus of Evan’s research is computational modeling of spinal cord stimulation. The overall goal of his research is to better understand the mechanisms of spinal cord stimulation as well as come up with ways to optimize the therapy and improve therapeutic outcomes.

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Lianna Shimoun, BSE – Graduate Student

Lianna Shimoun is an MSE student in Biomedical Engineering from Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She graduated with her BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in December 2019. Her research focuses on developing detailed computer models of clinical neuromodulation therapies to treat neurological disorders. The overall goal of her research is to understand the underlying neurophysiology governing the therapeutic benefit of neuromodulation therapies, towards improving patient outcomes.

 

 


Kelly Crumley, BSE – Rotating Graduate Student

Kelly Crumley is a rotating PhD student in Biomedical Engineering from Mount Airy, Maryland. She received her BSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan in April 2020. During her bachelor’s, she worked on a project studying macular degeneration and other diseases of the retina and choroid, as well as microporous scaffold formation for the treatment of diabetes. The overall goal of her research is to develop patient-specific models of neuromodulation therapies to improve patient outcomes.


Meagan Brucker, BSc – Graduate Student

Meagan Brucker is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering from Leavenworth, Kansas. She graduated with her BSc in Computer Engineering from Kansas State University in May 2020. The overall goal of her research is to develop patient-specific models of neurostimulation therapies for chronic pain, to maximize pain relief in all patients.

 

 


Amolak Singh Jhand, BSE – Graduate Student

Amolak Singh Jhand is an MSE student in Biomedical Engineering from Farmington Hills, Michigan. He received his BSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan in April 2020. His research focuses on using computational methods to investigate the effectiveness of neurostimulation for chronic pain. The overall goal of his research is to improve patient outcomes by developing a better understanding of the mechanisms of action underlying electrical stimulation-induced pain relief.

 

 


Luis Ruiz, BS – PREP Scholar

Luis Ruiz is a UM Postbac Research Education Program (PREP) Scholar from St. Louis, Missouri. Luis received his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2020. His research focuses on using computational models to study clinical neurostimulation therapies that modulate pelvic organ function. The overall goal of his research is to understand the underlying neurophysiology of these therapies towards improving patient outcomes.

 

 


Alumni

Name Role in Neuromodulation Lab Current/last known position
Hannah Soifer, MSE Master’s student, BME Assistant Electrical Engineer, Burns & McDonnell
Katrina Yeomans Undergraduate student, BME Undergraduate student, BME
Alice Tracey Undergraduate student, BME Undergraduate student, BME
Carlos Anaya, MSE Master’s student, BME R&D Engineer, Medtronic