Prof. Dagmar Sternad
Distinguished University Professor
Ph.D., University of Connecticut, Storrs, Experimental Psychology
Free University of Amsterdam, Human Movement Science
M.S., University of Connecticut, Storrs, Experimental Psychology
B.S., M.A., Technical University of Munich and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany, Movement Science and English Linguistics & Literature
Dagmar grew up in the Bavarian Alps and studied in Munich, Germany. Having been an athlete and dancer from as early as she can remember, she has had an unwavering passion and curiosity for how humans move. After her final university exams, she visited the University of Connecticut for a ‘few months’ to learn more about rhythmic movements – this was more than 30 years ago … After completing her PhD at UConn, she took up a faculty position at Penn State and after 13 years moved to Northeastern University. From her early interest in highly skilled aesthetic movements, she has now also extended her inquiries into impaired movement coordination. Her research has also created bridges to human-robot interaction and movement control in robots.
Ph.D., American University of Beirut, Beirut, Mechanical Engineering
B. Eng., American University of Beirut, Beirut, Mechanical Engineering
Salah is from Beirut, Lebanon. His central research interest is to understand the acquisition and control of skilled human sensorimotor behavior, with the goal of using that knowledge to endow robots with dexterous capabilities for physical interaction and object manipulation. When Salah is not in the lab, he enjoys playing ‘real football’, which is a sport known by the term ‘soccer’ to Americans. He also loves having deep philosophical conversations about life with his two toddlers.
Ph.D., Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
B.S./M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.
Mohsen is from Isfahan, Iran. His research focuses on the computational aspects of motor control and motor learning. Specifically, he is interested in computational models of behavior that can explain complex and skillful object manipulation in humans and monkeys. Mohsen has a (rusty) black belt in Karate, and enjoys Persian poetry, reading novels, and having deep philosophical conversations with Salah’s two toddlers!
Ph.D., Cognitive Sciences, Grenoble Alpes University, France
M.S., Human Movement Science, University of Montpellier, France
M.S. Method for Complex Data Analysis, University of Cergy-Pontoise, France
B.S., Economics and Statistics, Toulouse school of Economics, France
Hélène grew up in southern France and has studied in several different French cities. During her first master’s degree, she investigated the kinematic differences between instrumental and artistic motion in the living arts. She also worked on how humanoid robots in interpersonal coordination tasks may increase physical activity of schizophrenic patients. For her Ph.D. degree she studied the interactions between speech, breathing and limb movements. Currently, Hélène is working on a project that investigates how timing in skilled action influences temporal perception, in collaboration with Prof. Joo-Hyun Song at Brown University. In addition to her studies, Hélène has received training in drama and acting, and she enjoys taking dance classes in her free time.
M.S., Columbia University, New York City, Biomedical Engineering
B.S., Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Electrical Engineering
Rashida Nayeem is from Hartford, Connecticut. Her primary research interests are investigating human control of underactuated nonlinear objects and the strategies humans use to stabilize these objects. She is currently collaborating on a project with Dr. David Lin of Massachusetts General Hospital, analyzing EEG signals and kinematic data in acute stroke patients as they move a complex object. In her spare time Rashida enjoys practicing yoga, skiing and reading. A fun fact about her is that she loves sharks and has been shark cage diving in Cape Town, South Africa.
B.S., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, Mechanical Engineering
Mahdiar was born in Shiraz, Iran, but grew up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. His current research is on physical human robot interaction. Using motor control principles, Mahdi explores methods to improve trajectory planning for robots when performing a task in physical collaboration with a human. He is a recipient of the 21st Century Leaders Award from UMass Amherst. In his free time he enjoys riding his bike and he loves to print new gadgets on his 3-D printer. In August 2019 he completed his first ever century bike ride (100 miles).
M.S., Northeastern University, Bioengineering
B.S./M.S., Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia, Physics and Biomedical Engineering
Aleksei is from Russia beyond the Ural. Aleksei came to the US as a Fulbright Foreign Graduate Fellow. His master’s thesis has been on ‘tool use’, specifically on how humans crack a whip, a somewhat crazy, but also perfect example for the immense dexterity that humans can display. Given the fascinating challenges in this high-dimensional motor skill, he continues with this research for his graduate degree. From the many results from his analyses, Aleksei aims to discover the underlying mechanisms of human motor control. In his spare time Aleksei enjoys dancing, hiking and photography. In the near future he hopes to adopt a dog.
Krishna Sarvani "Vani" Desabhotla
B.S., University of Houston, Houston, Honors Biomedical Engineering
Vani comes from Houston, Texas. Her research interests include exploring motor control and learning, and brain-machine interfaces. Her undergraduate research work was focused on automating brace design and EEG-based brain-computer interfaces. In her free time, Vani likes to go on long walks, practice yoga, and read speculative fiction about how science shapes our society. Before coming to Boston, Houston was the coldest place Vani has lived in.
Nora is from Flagstaff, Arizona. As an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, she took an interdisciplinary approach towards engineering. Nora has an interest in using computational techniques such as machine learning and signal processing methods to better understand questions pertaining to human movement and motor control. She received the Clare Booth Fellowship to work as a research assistant in the Action Lab. Outside of her academic pursuits, Nora is a competitive runner in cross country and track. Her favorite racing event is the 3000m steeplechase, which involves jumping over multiple barriers as well as a water pit!
Undergraduate research assistant, Behavioral Neuroscience and Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sidharth Annapragada is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He pursues a dual B.S. in electrical-computer engineering and behavioral neuroscience at Northeastern University. He plans to complete his degree in 2024. His experience includes mechanical design, embedded firmware, and software development for robotics. He is interested in gaining a better understanding of the brain through an engineering lens, and in applying neuroscience to engineering. In his spare time, Sid likes to rock climb and read. He has cooked every dish from the book series Redwall but also loves to create unique foods.
Jayne Kimber White
Undergraduate research assistant, Behavioral Neuroscience
Jayne Kimber White is from Boston, Massachusetts. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree in behavioral neuroscience at Northeastern University. She plans to complete her degree in the fall of 2024. Her experiences include EKG, fMRI, and post-concussion studies. She is interested in gaining a better understanding of the fine motor aspect of behavior as well as applying this knowledge towards her interests in executive function disorders, specifically post-concussion. In her spare time, she likes to read and exercise. One of her favorite things to do is explore the city with her friends and family.
Undergraduate research assistant, Behavioral Neuroscience and Computer Science
Sabra is from Bethesda, Maryland. She is finishing her undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University, with plans to graduate in May 2023. She joined the Action Lab as an Undergraduate Research Fellow investigating the role of motor adaptation with assistive and rehabilitative devices. When not in the lab, she enjoys camping, listening to audiobooks, playing board games, and eating pomegranates.
Undergraduate research assistant, Electrical Engineering
Rachel Rakushkin is from Boston, Massachusetts. She is pursuing an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Behavioral Neuroscience. Rachel is interested in the advantages that technology offers in experimental studies to answer questions about human movement. As a former rhythmic gymnast, Rachel appreciates and hopes to learn more about the innate and learned motor skills that humans can execute. Outside of the lab, she enjoys being a part of Northeastern’s Club Triathlon Team, reading alongside her friend’s cat, hiking in good weather, and practicing yoga. She also hopes to build a lodge one day soon.
Undergraduate Alumni, Now Research Technician at Stanford University
B.S., Northeastern University, Behavioral Neuroscience
Sabrina joined the Action Lab to pursue research on motor challenges in individuals with autism. Over the past three years, she has explored motor control and computational techniques to understand the predictive impairments of the disorder. She received the Schafer Research Scholarship to work full time as a research coop in the Action Lab. Sabrina now aims to pursue an MD-PhD and hopes to contribute to the ongoing clinical and basic research of neurodegenerative diseases. Being originally from
Brazil, you can always find Sabrina wearing the thickest winter gear on campus.
Graduate Student Alumni, Now Graduate Student at Lesley University
B.S., Northeastern University, Psychology
Genie is from Whangarei, New Zealand. She had graduated with Summa Cum Laude in her bachelors degree in Psychology at Northeastern. She has a passion for mental health, art, and animals that inspires her practice as a behavioral therapist. She works with non-verbal clients with a diagnosis of ASD. With this interest and training, she participates in our studies on autism. She uses her cultural and emotional competence to be a great teacher, therapist, researcher, and friend. She enjoys spending time taking her three cats for walks and trying new dancing and yoga techniques. She loves to talk so don’t be afraid to reach out!
Reza Sharif Razavian
Postdoctoral Alumni, Now Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University
Ph.D./MASc, University of Waterloo, Canada, Systems Design Engineering
B.S., Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, Mechanical Engineering
Reza is from Tehran, Iran. In his research work he seeks to find out if robots can be like humans or can humans be studied as robots? He borrows from control theory and dynamical system analysis tools to better understand how humans move and interact with their environment. Reciprocally, the gained insights may lead to more agile and dexterous robots. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow supported by the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research fellowship. Outside the lab Reza enjoys hiking and woodworking. A fun fact is that Reza has a (very) sweet tooth and loves baking cake for his labmates.
M.S. Alumni, Now Clinical Research Associate at Syneos Health
M.S., Northeastern University, Biology
B.S., University of Connecticut, Physiology and Neurobiology
Carissa joined our lab in the middle of the pandemic. She is interested in motor control in neurologically impaired populations. She has joined our research on autism, conducting a study that tests predictive abilities in individuals with autism. In her spare time, she likes to travel, dance, and practice card throwing. So far, she has been successful and traveled to 20 different countries within 5 continents.
Postdoctoral Alumni. Now Junior Research Professor at the Policlinico at University of Tor Vergata in Rome
Ph.D., Tor Vergata University, Rome, Neuroscience
M.S., Sapienza University, Rome, Neuroscience
B.S., Sapienza University, Rome, Physics
Marta is from Italy. She is interested in neuromuscular mechanisms at multiple scales, from postural control and human-human interaction in professional dancers to reaching and catching in clinical populations. Her approach includes virtual environments and computational modeling. She is a recipient of the Society for Neural Control 2020 Scholarship and she has applied her experience as a Virtual Reality Design Intern at Facebook Reality Labs. She enjoys doing puzzles, practicing yoga and she is a ‘Friends’ pundit, her roommates even call her Monica!
Ph.D. Alumni. Now Senior Research Scientist at Dräger Medical Devices in Andover, MA
Ph.D., Northeastern University, Bioengineering
M.S., University of Akron, Akron, Biomedical Engineering
B.E., University of Mumbai, Mumbai, Biomedical Engineering
Ian Zuzarte is from Mumbai, India. His graduate work focuses on movements in preterm infants. He developed algorithms to quantify movement from the plethysmography signal obtained and then use the movement for predicting life-threatening events such as apnea in preterm infants. He also investigated the effects of stochastic vibration on preterm infants and opioid-exposed infants. He is co-advised by Prof. David Paydarfar, of the University of Texas at Austin. Ian’s hobbies include cooking, travelling, hiking and playing boardgames. A fun fact about Ian is that he has a Portuguese last name but he cannot speak any Portuguese and has never been to Portugal.
REU research assistant, Biology at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama
Christina is a resident of Long Beach, MS, and is currently studying Biology as an undergraduate student at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. She is joining our lab for the summer as a part of her internship with Northeastern’s Biology REU. Within the lab, she is assisting with projects relating to markerless motion capture, visuomotor control, predictive abilities in children with autism, and whip-tracking. Her hobbies include ballet, piano, drawing, and baking. She is excited about exploring Boston and experiencing all that it has to offer!
REU research assistant, Nutrition Health and Society at Brown University
Rachel is an Army ROTC cadet at Brown University studying Food, Society, and Health. Her research as a summer 2021 Biology REU intern focuses on pioneering a standardized experimental design to study the visuomotor system while walking. She is also involved in multiple projects that are researching the predictive abilities of children with autism, validation of markerless motion capture systems, and motion capture of a bullwhip — a high-speed flexible object. She enjoys thrifting, weightlifting, and going on runs to explore Boston!
Reza Sharif Razavian
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Northern Arizona University
Junior Research Professor
Policlinico Tor Vergata: Fondazione PTV
Assistant Professor, Kinesiology
University of Texas at San Antonio
Masaki O. Abe
Hokkaido University, Japan
Seoul National University, South Korea
Nikita A. Kuznetsov
Louisiana State University, USA
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
CNRS, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Nancy, France
Trinity College of Dublin, Ireland
Aymar De Rugy
Centre de la Recherche Nationale Scientifique (CNRS), France
Won Joon Sohn
Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California Irvine
Clinical Research Associate
Senior Research Scientist
Drager Medical Devices, Andover, MA
Meghan E. Huber
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
University of California – Riverside
Associate Professor, Psychology
University of Idaho
Beijing University, China
William J. Dean
Senior Software Analyst
North Carolina State University
Daito-Bunka University, Japan
University of Giessen, Germany
Smartwatt Energy, Chicago, USA
Old Dominion University, USA
Cambridge Health Associates
Nutrition Health and Society at Brown University
Biology at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama
Systems Engineer II
BD, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
Ophthamologist at Boston Childrens Hospital
Graduate student, Computer Science Harvard University
Cleveland Clinic Medical School
Ph.D. student, Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Harvard Medical School
Medical School, San Francisco
Ph.D. Student, Computer Science
Johns Hopkins University