School of Engineering


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  • Matthew Petrucci

    Matthew Petrucci

    Research Engineer

    BioMatt obtained a MS in mechanical engineering and PhD in neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a BS/BA in mechanical engineering from the University of San Diego. His dissertation research primarily focused on improving gait initiation in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and freezing of gait (FOG) using a powered ankle foot orthosis. During his graduate career, he also worked on projects that examined the application of a powered ankle foot orthosis for gait assistance in persons with multiple sclerosis and perception vs. action coupling in firefighters wearing protective gear. He was awarded a MnDRIVE Neuromodulation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2016 to develop quantitative measures of the mechanical and neurophysiological components of rigidity in PD. In 2017, he was awarded the Parkinson’s Study Group Mentored Clinical Research Award to evaluate an automated closed-looped algorithm to rapidly optimize deep brain stimulation settings for people with PD.

  • Manu Prakash

    Manu Prakash

    Associate Professor of Bioengineering and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment

    BioWe use interdisciplinary approaches including theory and experiments to understand how computation is embodied in biological matter. Examples include cognition in single cell protists and morphological computing in animals with no neurons and origins of complex behavior in multi-cellular systems. Broadly, we invent new tools for studying non-model organisms with significant focus on life in the ocean - addressing fundamental questions such as how do cells sense pressure or gravity? Finally, we are dedicated towards inventing and distributing “frugal science” tools to democratize access to science (previous inventions used worldwide: Foldscope, Abuzz), diagnostics of deadly diseases like malaria and convening global citizen science communities to tackle planetary scale environmental challenges such as mosquito surveillance or plankton surveillance by citizen sailors mapping the ocean in the age of Anthropocene.