Link Foundation Fellowships Newsletter

Inside this Issue


Meet this Year's Fellowship Recipients

Link Fellowship Awardees For 2015

Advanced Simulation and Training

ImageName: Li Gang
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Center for Human/Robotics/Vehicle Integration and Performance
School: Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Project: Interactive Training of Teleoperated Robotic System for Real-time MRI-guided Steerable Needle Intervention
Research Advisor: Dr. Gregory S. Fischer

Mr. Li Gang is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA. His research interests focus on medical robotics, image-guided therapy, electromechanical design and robot control.  The goal of his current research is to improve the learning curve and increase procedural accuracy in performing tissue biopsy, delivery of therapeutic agents and tumor ablation by providing simulation and training for teleoperated steerable needle interventions with interactive visual-haptic feedback.  Gang Li received the BS degree and MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China, in 2008 and 2011, respectively.


ImageName: Anand Malpani
Department: Computer Science
School: Johns Hopkins University  
Project: Directed Feedback for Simulation-based Training in Robot-assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery
Research Advisor: Dr. Gregory D. Hager

Mr. Anand Malpani is a PhD candidate in the Computer Science program at Johns Hopkins University. Most of his graduate school work and thesis revolve around the theme of evaluation and feedback methods in robotic surgery training. His current research focuses on building a simulation-based training framework to provide directed feedback to the medical trainees, based on machine learning algorithms that analyze their task performance.  He works under the guidance Dr. Gregory Hager along with other collaborators from the engineering as well as medical schools. He graduated with a Bachelor of Technology in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in 2010 and a Master of Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2013.


ImageName: Heather Panic
Department: Neuroscience, Graduate School of Arts and Science
School: Brandeis University 
Project: The Effects of Visual-Vestibular Interactions on Navigation Tasks in Virtual Environments
Research Advisor: Dr. James R. Lackner

Ms. Heather Panic is a PhD candidate in Neuroscience at Brandeis University. She studies spatial orientation and navigation at the Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory directed by Dr. James Lackner and Dr. Paul DiZio. Her research interests include visual-vestibular integration, disorientation in pilots and astronauts, and uses of virtual reality in training. Heather received a BS in Computer Science from Louisiana Tech University in 1997 and an MS in Neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2012. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, she worked as a research scientist developing software to train military operations planners.

Her current research focuses on understanding how sensory cues are combined during complex tasks such as navigation or vehicle control. Virtual environments are increasingly used as a safe, cost-effective way to train first responders and military units to search buildings and urban environments, but they often produce a mismatch between visual and vestibular (balance and orientation) cues. Her current research will investigate the degree to which these conflicting cues affect training for navigational tasks and how training can be improved to minimize these errors.