Throughout my undergraduate and graduate programs, I have been involved in various projects and research efforts.
Read about some of them below!
Medical Instrument Design
Senior Design Project 2021-22
Designed and tested a prototype surgical instrument to measure sternal force during the treatment of Pectus Excavatum (PE). This simple instrument design is feasible to use in the operating room and has the potential to create a new standardized method of determining treatment for PE patients, thereby reducing complications and improving patient outcomes.
Click on the box to view more.
Morgan Lab Research
Vanderbilt University Summer Experience
Purdue University Graduate Showcase 2021 Poster Presenter and Honorable Mention
Publication: Sainburg LE, Little AA, Johnson GW, Janson AP, Levine KK, González HFJ, Rogers BP, Chang C, Englot DJ, Morgan VL. Characterization of resting functional MRI activity alterations across epileptic foci and networks. Cereb Cortex. 2022 Feb 12:bhac035. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhac035. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35149867.
Click on the box to view publication and poster.
Multiscale Model of Diabetes
Modeling myofilament glycation and reduced cardiovagal baroreflex sensitivity in a MATLAB multiscale diabetic model of the left ventricle. Outputs of the model agree with physiological observations, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and cardiac output.
Click on the box to read more.
Marketplace New Haven Website
My Design For America group spent the last year developing a website to feature New Haven small businesses. With help from Town Green New Haven, the site is now live and can be viewed here: https://www.marketplacenhv.com/.
Click the box to read more.
For the course BENG463: Immunoengineering, I proposed the development of a tolerogenic drug for peanut allergy. Using pUCDA nanoparticles containing peanut butter (antigen), rapamycin (immunomodulator), and anti-DEC205 (localizer), TherPB aims to build up immune tolerance towards peanut butter allergies.
Click the box to view project slides.
Biomechanics: Traction Forces
Cells and tissues can generate mechanical forcers in order to migrate or change shape. By studying the forces that cells generate in response to various environmental conditions, we obtained a deeper understanding of cell mechanics, elasticity, and adhesion.
Click the box to read more.
Strive, a health app for women
CBIT Healthcare Hackathon 2021
During a 48-hour virtual hackathon, I worked with a diverse team to create Strive, a free mobile app that demystifies birth control and empowers women to take contraception into their own hands. The app uses machine learning and AI to recommend a birth control pill type and to track and predict side effects.
Click the box to read more.
Project: Analyzing effective brain connectivity using intracranial EEG signals during deep brain stimulation
During the 2020-21 academic year, I worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Nicholas Turk-Browne’s cognitive neuroscience lab.
I assisted with data collection from epilepsy patients at Yale New Haven Hospital while they completed motor tasks, memory tasks, or receive Deep Brain Stimulations (DBS). Afterwards, I performed data analysis on the electroencephalogram (EEG) data. I use MATLAB, Linux, and GitHub to analyze patient datasets.
Cortico-cortical evoked potentials (CCEP) mapping allows for direct measurement of neuronal propagation. Measuring averaged CCEPs at various locations in the brain directly in response to a localized electrical stimulation can provide insight into brain connectivity and directionality.
Using collected EEG data, I wrote custom MATLAB scripts to detect and visualize significant CCEPs throughout the brain network.
Project: Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuations (ALFF) in Epileptic White Matter Using fMRI
Mentor: Lucas Sainburg
Principal Investigator: Victoria Morgan, PhD
Funding: NIH R01 NS108445 and NIH R01 NS110130
Amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF) can be used to detect epileptic grey matter regions using resting-state fMRI. In order to investigate ALFF differences in white matter, fMRI and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) data were combined for 45 mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (mTLE) patients and 93 controls. Results indicate higher ALFF values in white matter tracts connecting epileptic grey matter regions (which also display higher ALFF values), suggesting a direct ‘spread’ of ALFF and thus, spread of the epileptic zone (EZ).
Increased ALFF values were detected in white matter tracts connecting epileptic temporal regions, which themselves have higher grey matter ALFF values in patients compared to controls. This suggests that the ALFF signal is ‘spread’ directly from one region to another, rather than an associative relationship. Future studies could incorporate additional regions of interest and other clinical metrics, such as EEG or network studies. A temporal study could be conducted to infer directionality.
My main area of interest is in neuroengineering. Taking neuroscience courses have allowed me to appreciate all that we know about the brain and even more so, all that we do not know.
I seek to apply engineering to neuroscience to help understand, diagnose, treat, and mitigate effects of neurological diseases. My previous work in the Turk-Browne lab and Morgan lab has increased my interest in the subject of seizure and stroke recovery as well.
I believe biomedical engineering has the potential to non-invasively predict, localize, and treat these diseases and in doing so, improve the quality of life of affected individuals.
Statement of Interest