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TPAN Fellow Spotlights

Current F31 Fellows

Vibha Viswanathan

Short Bio:

Vibha received a B.E. degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Anna University, India in 2006. She then completed a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2007, specializing in Signal Processing and Statistics. Following this, she worked at The MathWorks for seven years, where she developed, tested, and provided application support for core MATLAB mathematical algorithms, and MATLAB tools for Signal and Image Processing. In 2015, she joined Boston University as a Research Fellow, where she was introduced to Auditory Neuroscience and studied the neural mechanisms of auditory selective attention. She joined Purdue University as a Ph.D. student in Fall 2016, where she currently investigates neural coding of speech in noise and speech intelligibility modeling, using a combination of computational modeling, electroencephalography, and behavioral experiments. In her spare time, she enjoys nature, music, and spending time with family and friends. 

Quote:

"TPAN and the Auditory Neuroscience community at Purdue have exposed me to the wide range of approaches used in neuroscience research, and the different scales at which the auditory system can be studied. By supplementing my engineering background with this training, I wish to pursue a research career that integratively studies the neuroscience of human audition along with applications to the clinic and audio signal processing inspired by the brain."

 

Current T32 Fellows

Laura Roa

Short Bio:

Laura received her B.S.E in biomedical engineering from Arizona State University and is now a second year PhD student in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Laura works in the Nano Neurotech Lab headed by Dr. Krishna Jayant and is studying how complex spectrotemporal features are encoded at the individual and clustered spine level in the primary auditory cortex. Outside of research, Laura is the president of the BME graduate student association and enjoys distance running, gardening, and reading. 

Quote:

"I am grateful to the TPAN for giving me the opportunity to both develop my interdisciplinary project and work outside of my department in a highly diverse group of researchers and collaborators. Being a part of the multi-faceted auditory neuroscience community at Purdue will not only lend me the broader understanding I need to enrich my work in the primary auditory cortex, but also the mentorship and tools I need to succeed as a graduate student researcher. I am excited and proud to belong to such a distinguished group of hearing science faculty and researchers." 

 

Morgan Chaney

Short Bio:

Morgan received her B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Indiana State University. She started her Ph.D. with Purdue University’s Biological Sciences department in Fall 2019. Within the department she works with the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology research group,  specializing in sensory ecology. She is co-advised by Jeffrey Lucas and Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, studying the auditory and visual systems of birds. Her current project is using the polymorphic white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) to examine the physiological response to morph-specific acoustic and visual stimuli. Morgan spends her free time catching up on the latest video games, bird watching, and pampering her two (very fluffy) cats.

Quote:

"My research interests have gone through some rather drastic changes since I started college, but I don’t think I could have ever anticipated that I would be in this position today. I’ve only been here for a year and I have already been taken aback by the outstanding faculty and research that is associated with Purdue’s auditory neuroscience group. I’m tremendously proud and grateful that I get to participate in the TPAN. Intertwining ecology with auditory neuroscience opens so many doors for potential research and I’m excited to learn the skills needed to tackle them." 

 

Andrew Sivaprakasam

Short Bio:

Andrew is currently in the graduate phase of the joint Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) between Indiana University School of Medicine and the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. He received his B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed work in the Orthopaedic Biodynamics Laboratory and Human Engineering Research Laboratories. While on his interview at Purdue, he found that work happening at SLHS was fascinating and combined his research interests with his passion for sound and music. This led to a collaborative mentorship between Dr. Mike Heinz (Auditory Neurophysiology and Modeling Lab) and Dr. Hari Bharadwaj (SNAPLab). His current projects focus on non-invasive assays for diagnosing Cochlear Synaptopathy (CS), with the end goal of determining a clinically applicable tool. When not in the lab or jamming out on the violin, Andrew enjoys photography and running.

Quote:

"When I first toured Lyles-Porter Hall, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Here was a place that had everything needed to look at the same clinical issue from a variety of perspectives, get a good idea of the underlying electrophysiology, and begin working on solutions. Additionally, the students and faculty here were among the most encouraging that I have ever met-- always willing to teach, if you are willing to learn. The TPAN will help me accomplish my goals, and will provide resources that will enable me to seek out opportunities and further mentorship and guidance that will help me succeed as a physician-engineer." 

 

Joseph Fernandez

Short Bio:

Joseph is a third year student in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences Program (IBSc), a joint program through the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the Basic Medical Sciences Department.  He received his B.S. in Psychology (Neuroscience) from Yale University. His research examines the effects of mild blast induced traumatic brain injury (mbTBI) on the central auditory pathway. Many patients with mbTBI suffer from a variety of chronic auditory and behavioral deficits, however, the mechanisms underlying these impairments are poorly understood. As such, Joseph is interested in understanding the mechanisms of secondary oxidative and inflammatory damage following mbTBI, and how these correlate with functional deficits in auditory processing, creating a spatio-temporal road map of the post injury brain. When not researching, Joseph loves to travel, is an avid gardener, and can often be found whipping up a new creation in the kitchen. 

Quote:

"Both my program and my project are inherently interdisciplinary in nature, and I knew the TPAN was exactly the type of program that fits within my personal view of research. Namely, the most impactful results are achieved through interdisciplinary training and research. As such, I am constantly striving to improve my research techniques by learning from a diverse group of researchers, and the TPAN provides me with an excellent opportunity to do this. With the TPAN I am certain I will hone my understanding of my research both in terms of auditory processing and CNS injury mechanisms, through the help of a varied and excellent community of hearing science researchers."

 

 

Previous T32 Fellows

William Salloom

Short Bio:

Will is an integrative neuroscience PhD candidate in the Purdue University Life Sciences program (PULSe). Will earned a BA in psychology, emphasizing behavioral neuroscience and biology, at California State University Northridge. He currently works in Beth Strickland’s (PI - SLHS) Psychoacoustics Lab, where he studies the behavioral effects of two auditory efferent systems that can adjust the dynamic range of the peripheral auditory system in response to sound. These systems are the medial olivocochlear reflex (MOCR) and the middle-ear muscle reflex (MEMR). More recently, Will has begun to collaborate with Hari Bharadwaj (SLHS/BME – SNAP Lab) to combine physiological measurements of these systems, and compare them to the behavioral data. Will is also a Los Angeles Lakers fan, enjoys animal documentaries, and loves BBQ. 

Quote:

"I am proud to be part of TPAN and the growing auditory neuroscience community at Purdue. The TPAN program provides fundamental training and coursework for an increasingly diverse field. I feel that this strategy is strong, as auditory neuroscience graduate students come from a range of different disciplines and backgrounds, yet there are underlying principles in the field. Furthermore, the auditory neuroscience faculty here at Purdue are incredibly supportive of the growth and success of their students."

 

Matthew Thompson

Short Bio:

Matt received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne and his M.S. in biomedical engineering from Purdue. He is now a Ph.D. student studying early signals guiding cochlear development from a systems biology approach using quantitative fluorescent imaging data to inform, validate, and characterize dynamical models of biochemical networks. Outside time spent on research, he enjoys life with his wife, two-year-old daughter, and friends. 

Quote:

"Hearing science is not where I imagined ending up as an undergraduate, but the indirect path I took to developing an interest in quantitative biology research has introduced me to a fascinating and highly complex system that’s the subject of a diverse range of research at Purdue. The hearing science community is spectacular, and faculty demonstrate genuine interest in students’ success. This is made clear through their talented teaching, involved mentorship, and approachable demeanor. Acceptance into the TPAN has helped me to gain a much broader and more complete understanding of the context in which the subject of my project sits that I would not have benefited from outside the program."

 

Ravinderjit  Singh

   

Short Bio: 

Ravinderjit is a fourth year student in the medical scientist training program (MSTP), a dual degree program (MD & PhD) between IU and Purdue. He received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. Ravinderjit works in the SNAP Lab to combine behavioral and physiological data to better understand the mechanisms of auditory source separation and binaural hearing. In his spare time, Ravinderjit enjoys playing basketball and watching college and professional sports. 

Quote:

"One aspect of the TPAN that I have very much enjoyed is how it helped immerse me into the hearing community at Purdue. I am personally interested in the sensory encoding of hearing in the nervous system, but at Purdue, hearing is studied in many other ways than just that. The exposure to the diverse types of hearing research going on at Purdue has helped me better understand my own work as well as inform new ideas and projects I can pursue."