Link Fellowship Awardees For 2011

Simulation and Training


Tricia Gibo


Tricia Gibo
John Hopkins University
Virtual Environments for Studying the Role of the Cerebellum in Movement Control and Training

Tricia Gibo is a Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins University. She is currently advised by Dr. Allison Okamura (Haptics Lab, Mechanical Engineering Department) and co-advised by Dr. Amy Bastian (Motion Analysis Lab, Neuroscience Department). Tricia received her B.S. (2007, University of Southern California) and M.S. (2009, Johns Hopkins University) in Mechanical Engineering. She was also a previous NSF Graduate Research Fellow and NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellow, during which she conducted research at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Department of Motor Control and Rehabilitation (Japan).

As a Link Foundation Fellow in Advanced Simulation and Training, Tricia’s research project is titled “Virtual Environments for Studying the Role of the Cerebellum in Movement Control and Training.” This work considers fundamental questions about the role of the cerebellum in human motor control and learning, with application to movement rehabilitation training, through the use of virtual environments and robotics. The cerebellum is thought to play a role in determining and/or controlling muscle activity and appropriately altering complex activation patterns to adapt movement to new dynamics and environments. Damage to the cerebellum results in uncoordinated motor control (ataxia) and a limited ability to adapt movement when new dynamics are introduced. In this project, Tricia will develop controllers for an exoskeleton arm device, through which users will interact with virtual environments. The virtual environments will be specifically designed to help answer the following questions: (1) how does the gradual introduction of dynamics affect one’s ability to effectively learn a task, and (2) are simulated environments that reduce the complexity of motor control requirements helpful training environments for cerebellar patients?


Kevin Lister


Kevin Lister
University of Maryland, College Park
Development of a reality-Based, Haptics-Enabled Simulator for Tool-Tissue Interactions

Kevin Lister is currently a Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of Maryland, College Park.  He is working in the Robotics, Automation and Medical Systems (RAMS) Laboratory directed by Dr. Jaydev Desai.  Mr. Lister’s research project is entitled:  Development of a Reality-Based, Haptics-Enabled Simulator for Tool-Tissue Interactions.

Medical training systems have the potential to reduce the number or surgical errors annually occurring in the United States by providing the ability to offer more comprehensive training to medical residents.  To obtain the highest benefit from a surgical training system, the simulator should be designed to mimic a real-life surgical task.  To this end, the current project aims to develop a simulation system for probing and scalpel cutting of liver tissue centering on reality-based models.  The use of these models will greatly increase the graphical and haptic realism providing medial residents with a platform to improve upon their surgical skills.  To achieve real-time simulation rates with the detailed models, the simulator will be developed to run on a graphical processing unit to increase the overall efficiency.


Enilda Romero


Enilda Romero
Old Dominion University
Training Effects of Adaptive Emotive Responses from Animated Agents in Simulation Environments

Enilda Romero is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Instructional Design & Technology program at Old Dominion University.  Prior to coming to Old Dominion University, Mrs. Romero earned both a B.S. (2007) in Business Administration and a M.S. (2008) in Instructional Design & Technology from Emporia State University.  Mrs. Romero works under the advisement of Dr. Ginger Watson on research projects related to computer-based modeling and simulation in education and training. Additionally, she provides support in the daily operations of the Cognition & Learning Lab at the Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center.

As a Link Fellow in Advanced Simulation and Training, Mrs. Romero focuses her research on the Training Effects of Adaptive Emotive Responses from Animated Agents in Simulation Environments. This research assesses the difference in training outcomes (engagement, mental effort, emotional response, performance, and attitudes) as a result of well-developed, adaptive and emotionally expressive human-like agents. In this research project, Mrs. Romero uses objective, physiological measures such as eye tracking, EEG, and an emotion Face Reader system.