While many high school students were spending their summer vacations hanging out at beaches and parks, Daniella Martinez and Catarina Vale were hard at work in FIU’s Adaptive Neural Systems Laboratory.
Daniella and Catarina are both senior biomedical students from TERRA Environmental Research Institute who want to pursue college degrees in biomedical engineering. ANS, part of FIU’s Summer Research Internship (SRI) program, provides high school students the opportunity to actively participate in lab experiments and engage with mentors from various professional fields.
Working under the mentorship of College of Engineering & Computing Interim Dean Ranu Jung and her ANS Lab team, Daniella and Catarina conducted research that could potentially have a great impact in improving the quality of life for people with traumatic spinal cord injuries and amputees in need of prosthetic limbs.
Catarina, who won first place at the SRI Mini-Symposium poster presentations, assisted in animal studies for a project that aims to develop an adaptive controller for diaphragmatic stimulation technology. This research could assist in respiratory rehabilitation after high cervical spinal cord injury in humans. This was the second consecutive year Catarina has worked on this project.
Daniella’s research focused on assessing the use of a 3-D tracking system to map patient-specific brain activity acquired through non-invasive near infrared technology in human subjects. Evaluation of sensory information in brain activity collected from the subject while performing everyday tasks will assist in the development of prosthetic limbs that can provide sensory feedback.
Congratulations to both Catarina and Daniella for their work this summer!