Mentorship Model and Training
You are assigned an ECU faculty mentor and a home institution mentor
Program mentors have come from seven departments and five colleges across ECU
Mentors average 3-4 face-to-face meetings per week
Dr. Stacey Meardon
Dr. Meardon is a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy. She and her students study neuromuscular and biomechanical factors that contribute to injury during physical activity. The overarching goal of her research is to prevent injury in active populations in order to optimize long term bone and joint health and remove barriers to physical activity. Her research is directed toward identifying factors that result in injury and elevated tissue stress during physical activity in order to identify targets for intervention that modify risk factors, reduce pain, and improve function. She is also interested in postural control, movement variability and coordination and contribute to injury.
Dr. Nick Murray
Dr. Nick Murray is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology whose research within Visual Motor Lab (VML) involves projects that examine visual attention, arousal, mental workload, and visual processing through neuroimaging. The goal of our research program is to understand how vision and cognition control and modulate motor behavior. This research is based on the use of eye movement recordings, biometrics, and psychophysiological recordings including EMG, EEG, and ECG as well as other measures to examine cognitive function in information rich environments. The lab is designed to measure human motor behavior in dynamic situations through in-field assessment, virtual simulations or in more static, self-paced laboratory tasks. Our secondary focus includes research to determine how visual search behavior influences motor dysfunction such as Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease. At the core of this research is to investigate the links between the perceptual (processing) and motor systems (output). To accomplish this goal, we examine the antecedents and consequences of an individual’s ability to function in dynamic situations based on physiological changes that can either facilitate or debilitate performance.
Dr. Zac Domire
Dr. Zachary Domire is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology. He serves as the Director of the Biomechanics graduate program. He also is a mentor for the American Society of Biomechanics Mentor Program, grant reviewer for United States Department of Defense, Israel Science Foundation, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, peer reviewer for 21 scientific journals, member of the International Program Committee of icSPORTS 2013 “International Congress on Sports Science Research and Technology Support”, and presented a tutorial on Magnetic Resonance Elastography as a tool to study skeletal muscle at the 2008 North American Congress on Biomechanics
Dr. James Lin
Dr. James Lin is a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy. His research interests include cortical control of sensory integration during balance and walking tasks. He is also interested in utilizing new technologies in his research, especially virtual reality, to study the sensory integration among visual, vestibular, and somatosensory inputs for balance and gait control. His project involves a functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, a virtual reality headset built-in with the eye-tracking system to investigate how visual and auditory attention affect postural control and the cortical control of sensory integration under the dual-task paradigm.
Dr. Chris Mizelle
Dr. Chris Mizelle is a faculty member with the Department of Kinesiology. His research interests are based in multimodal neuroimaging and behavioral neuroscience, and are focused on understanding brain function when observing and performing complex action, and also in sensory-motor and sensory-sensory integration. He is also interested in identifying the effects of natural aging and neurological disease on motor- and sensory-related processes. To achieve these research goals, he is currently using EEG and structural MRI to model brain activation. He also has experience working with undergraduate and graduate students at ECU, as well as the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dr. Alexander Murashov
Dr. Alexander Murashov is a Professor of the Department of Physiology at East Carolina University. He graduated from the 2nd Medical Institute Moscow, Russia in 1983, and received his doctorate in Physiology in 1987 from the Institute of Physiology Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. He was a Postdoctoral Scientist from 1992-1995 at Columbia University in the laboratory of Dr. Debra J. Wolgemuth, and Associate Research Scientist until 1999. Since then, Dr. Murashov has served on the faculty of the East Carolina University School of Medicine, NC, where he is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology. Dr. Murashov’s research is focused on the regeneration of the mammalian nervous system; specifically, mechanisms of axon growth and synaptic loss in Alzheimer’s disease. His current research focuses on transgenerational mechanisms of offspring susceptibility to obesity and diabetes. Dr. Murashov was one of the first who demonstrated the role of exercise in the transgenerational epigenetic programming of metabolic traits.
Dr. Brian Sylcott
Dr. Brian Sylcott is a faculty member in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. He teaches courses in the mechanical engineer curriculum as well as the design sequence. Dr. Sylcott’s research focuses on design theory and methodology, using a combination stated preference and physiological response data from human subjects to positively affect design outcomes. His research experience spans a variety of physiological response data including Galvanic Skin Response, Heart Rate, Eye-tracking, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and their integration with virtual reality environments. His work aims to gain a better understanding of the mechanics behind how individuals design things and the responses different populations have when interacting with designed artifacts.
Dr. Ryan Wedge
Dr. Ryan Wedge is a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy who is interested in the mechanics and energetics of how people walk with and without an injury. Walking is dictated by multiple objectives (e.g., minimizing energy expenditure, not falling) and the relative importance of each objective most likely changes after an injury. His research is aimed at understanding what objectives are most important to the system, and then optimizing interventions (e.g., rehabilitation, devices) to improve function.
Dr. Matthew Walenski
Dr. Matthew Walenski is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at East Carolina University. He is the director of the Language, Memory, and Brain laboratory. His research examines language and its relation to memory systems and their roots in the brain, with a focus on the comprehension and production of words and sentences. He favors the use of temporally sensitive experimental methods to probe language processing as it unfolds in real time. He studies these issues in healthy adults and in adults with acquired neurogenic disorders.
Dr. Fatemeh Bahmani
Dr. Fatemeh Bahmani is a post-doctoral scholar in the department of Engineering. She has expertise in classical fluid mechanics and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Her research interests revolve around fluid flow from aerodynamics and high speed flow to flow in small scale and biofluid dynamics. At ECU her research focuses on fluid-structure interaction simulation of cardiovascular system. She combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational fluid dynamics to model blood flow in pulmonary arteries.
Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam
Dr. Tarek Abdel-Salam is a Professor in the Department of Engineering. His research interests include solar energy, solar assisted heat pumps, wind energy, alternative fuels, supersonic mixing and combustion, atomization, sprays and fuel injection, thermal-fluids systems, Web-based laboratories, distance education, and educational effectiveness in engineering education. He has reviewed manuscripts and proposals for 15 different organizations including the Journal of Energy and is an active member of 5 professional societies including ASHRAE, SAE, ASME, and ASEE.
Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras
Dr. Lisandra de Castro Bras is a faculty member in the Physiology Department in the Brody School of Medicine. She and her group study the mechanisms underlying scar formation post-myocardial infarction (MI) to identify triggers that lead to cardiac dysfunction and develop strategies to diagnose, slow, or reverse the progression to heart failure. Our lab uses multidimensional, translational, and proteomic approaches to investigate the mechanisms whereby tissue remodels and regenerates post injury.
We are particularly interested in the proteolytic formation of extracellular matrix (ECM) peptides that are biologically active (matricryptins) and regulate the healing cascade following myocardial injury. We have recently identified collagen-derived peptides that are generated post-MI and modulate the inflammatory, angiogenic, and fibrotic responses. Currently, we are investigating the potential therapeutical use of these peptides in settings of impaired cardiac healing, such as diabetes.
Dr. Paul DeVita
Dr. Paul DeVita is a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology. He has been a funded researcher (both P.I. and co-investigator) on six external grants investigating knee joint forces and locomotion biomechanics in people with knee osteoarthritis, knee ACL injury, and healthy and injured runners. He is an active member of the NIH Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences study section and an American Society of Biomechanics faculty mentor to doctoral students since 2010. He has directly recruited and trained over 100 undergraduate students to work in the ECU Biomechanics Laboratory and mentored seven Undergraduate research grant winners at ECU.
Dr. Stephanie George
Dr. Stephanie George is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. Her research interests include computational modeling of the cardiovascular system using MRI, pulmonary hypertension with sickle cell disease, and heart failure patient monitoring. She currently serves as a faculty mentor to the Society of Women Engineers chapter and Biomedical Engineering Society chapter. She has presented research to regional high school students at ECU’s Engineering and Technology Day and conducted demonstrations for middle school girls at our STEM2 Girls Day Out Program. As part of her involvement in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Bioengineering Division, she has reviewed abstracts and judged poster presentations for the undergraduate research competition at the summer bioengineering conference (2012-2013) and has also reviewed undergraduate papers for the Proceedings of the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (2012).
Dr. William “Ed” Howard
Dr. William “Ed” Howard is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. His research interests include design analysis and manufacturing of advanced composite structures, engineering design processes (including modern design tools such as solid modeling, rapid prototyping, finite element analysis, and motion analysis), and engineering education and high school outreach activities. He also has experience working with undergraduates on a NSF REU program for Solid Freeform Fabrication at Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Dr. Nathan Hudson
Dr. Nathan Hudson is a faculty member in the Department of Physics who studies the exciting field of molecular biophysics. Work in the Hudson lab uses techniques including protein engineering, centrifuge force microscopy, FRET and microfluidics to understand how mechanical force regulates biological function. Projects involve measuring the biomechanical properties of blood coagulation proteins and determining the force-depending binding kinetics of adhesion molecules. There are both graduate- and undergraduate-level projects in the lab and numerous students have won awards for their research with Dr. Hudson.
Dr. Anthony Kulas
Dr. Tony Kulas is a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology. His research interests include how trunk biomechanics influence lower extremity biomechanics during dynamic tasks, material properties of muscle and how they relate to lower extremity injury, and how mechanical factors are related to lower extremity injury. He has reviewed manuscripts and proposals for 4 different organizations including the Journal of Applied Biomechanics and is an active member of several professional societies including ASB, ACSM, and NATA.
Dr. Karen Litwa
Dr. Karen Litwa is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at East Carolina University where she researches how synapses form between neurons. Dr. Litwa is a first-generation college graduate, who fell in love with research during a summer undergraduate research experience at the University of Pittsburgh. Always a lover of detail, she was fascinated with the single cell eukaryote, baker’s yeast. Realizing how little we understood about yeast motivated here to pursue scientific research. During her PhD in Cell Biology at Emory University and post-doc at the University of Virginia, she researched synapses. As a post-doc, she started to use human cortical spheroid (or mini-brains as they are more fondly called) to unravel the complexities of human brain development. Dr. Litwa also serves as the president of the Eastern Carolina Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, co-chairs the Laser Technologies Application Group, and organizes science outreach, including Nerd Nite events and science art exhibits. She is passionate about building a diverse research program. She also loves running!
Dr. Barbara Muller-Borer
Dr. Barbara Muller-Borer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. Her research interests include cardiac electrophysiology, cell-to-cell communication, stem-cell based therapies, and computational biology. She has served as the Vice Chair of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center Intellectual Exchange Group for Laser Capture Microdissection (Laser TAG), executive committee member of the North Carolina Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Society, a preceptor for ECU Brody School of Medicine High School Medical Honors Program, and as an executive committee member and presenter of Go Science Greenville.
Dr. Michelle Oyen
Dr. Michelle Oyen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. Prior to joining ECU in 2018, she was based at the Cambridge University Engineering Department in Cambridge, England. Michelle has degrees in Materials Science and Engineering (BS), Engineering Mechanics (MS), and a PhD in Biophysical Sciences. Her research interests are biomaterials, biomechanics, tissue engineering, and in the emerging field of using bioengineering tools for studying pregnancy.
Dr. Jamie Perry
Dr. Jamie Perry is a licensed speech language pathologist and speech scientist. She is an associate professor at East Carolina University where she conducts research using magnetic resonance imaging and 3D computer technology to study the anatomy, speech, and surgical approaches used to treat cleft palate. Her research is funded through the National Institute of Health. Her current collaborative work aims to examine the how variations in presurgical anatomy effect postsurgical speech outcomes in children born with cleft palate. Dr. Perry serves on the cleft palate craniofacial team at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC. She is the director of the Speech Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at East Carolina University. Dr. Perry serves as the coordinator for the resonance disorders clinic where she provides speech evaluations and therapy to individuals with errors related to cleft palate and resonance disorders. Dr. Perry also provides support and training through surgical mission trips to third world countries.
Dr. Kathrin Rothermich
Dr. Kathrin Rothermich a faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Dr. Rothermich has over 15 years of research experience in cognitive neuroscience, communication disorders, and neurolinguistics. She is also the director of the Social Communication and Neuroscience Lab investigating the influence of acoustic and pragmatic information on speech comprehension in healthy and brain-damaged populations (e.g., people with Parkinson’s Disease). To this end, she uses behavioral methods, computational modeling, electrophysiology, eye tracking, and electrical brain stimulation. The goal of her research is to gain knowledge of how humans communicate socially via the analysis of acoustic, social, cognitive, and neural correlates of speech.
Dr. Teresa Ryan
Dr. Teresa Ryan’s broad research interests include acoustics, complex systems, and engineering education. Her current projects include the study of nearly periodic arrays of resonators for several applications including ultrasensitive mass detection and modification of system resonant responses when the array is used as an attachment (energy sink) on a primary resonant structure. In addition, she is modeling acoustic propagation in complex scenes such as littoral or surf-zone environment.
Dr. Ali Vahdati
Dr. Ali Vahdati is a faculty member in the Department of Engineering. His research is focused in the areas of multi-scale biomechanical testing and multi-physics computational modeling of natural and synthetic biomaterials for applications in precision medicine. He utilizes computer modeling (virtual experiments) and experimental techniques to study the interaction of implants with native tissue, to predict the outcome of subject-specific surgical techniques and to prevent and diagnose mechanically-induced pathologies of soft and calcified tissues.
Dr. Jason Yao
Dr. Jason Yao is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering. His research interests fall in the areas of wireless/wearable medical sensors, sensor networks for home environments, telemedicine, and industrial process monitoring and control. His educational research interests are laboratory/project-driven learning, integration of research into undergraduate education, and development of electronic learning-tools for future engineering education. He has performed manuscript reviews for 12 different organizations, participated in the Summer Ventures program for high school students, and is an active member in four professional societies.
Dr. Zhen Zhu
Dr. Zhen Zhu is a faculty member in the Department of Engineering whose research areas include unmanned systems; sensor integration; computer vision, laser, GPS, radio and inertial navigation systems. He was a senior research engineer and a principal investigator with Northrop Grumman Corporation, where he lead several major research programs sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Prior to that he worked on research projects funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), NASA and the Air Force Office and Scientific Research (AFOSR) at Ohio University. He has developed various systems and algorithms for automatic navigation and guidance of manned and unmanned aircraft. He plans to bring his experiences in electrical and aerospace engineering into teaching and research at ECU.