Fellowship Alumni

Alfred E. Mann Innovation in Engineering Doctoral Fellowships

Samantha McBirney

Samantha McBirney is a PhD candidate at USC, graduating in May 2018. She was a student in Professor Andrea Armani’s research group. Her research interests included developing novel optical sensors to study blast-induced neurotrauma and to detect catheter-related bloodstream infections before a patient becomes symptomatic, among other things. See Samantha’s latest discovery to detect staph infections earlier in this article.

Samantha was also very passionate about empowering young women to pursue STEM, as she was involved in several different outreach groups that focus on mentoring young women interested in STEM-related fields.


Dave Kale

Dave Kale was a fourth-year PhD student in Computer Science, working on learning latent space representations of health and illness from multimodal clinical data, including sensor time series, lab tests, text, and codes. His advisor was Professor Greg Ver Steeg of the Information Sciences Institute.

Most recently, Dave was among a small number of researchers investigating whether deep neural networks, which represent the state of the art in a variety of applications, can be successfully applied to clinical data and problems.

Dave was affiliated with the Laura P. and Leland K. Whittier Virtual Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (VPICU) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the USC Center for Body Computing. He is a co-founder of Podimetrics and was a judge in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE Competition.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Symbolic Systems and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Matthew Black

Matthew Black received his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Matt’s thesis under Professor Shri Narayanan was on the development of a quantitative, automated framework that emulated human observational processes to describe subjective human judgments made on speech signals. It concentrated on real-world problems with societal significance: children’s literacy, marital therapy, and autism. This pioneering work represented a major step toward a shift in engineering from modeling and recognizing objective human behaviors to quantifying subtler and abstract ones, a central theme to the emerging area of behavioral signal processing.

Dr. Black is Co-Founder and CEO of Behavioral Informatix.

Daniel Bone

Daniel Bone received his PhD in Electrical Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. His research concerned human-centered signal processing and machine learning with an emphasis on developing engineering techniques and systems to characterize and eventually treat developmental disorders such as Autism (which has a high prevalence of 1 in 68). He worked with Dr. Shrikanth Narayanan and was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the interdisciplinary Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL) at USC.

He received Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2009, and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from USC in 2011. He was an NSF GK-12 Body Engineering Fellow during 2012-2013.

Danny has first-authored five journal papers, nine conference papers, and one book chapter. He has led and been a part of two teams that won international engineering competitions (Interspeech 2011, 2015). His work has been featured on KPCC off-ramp, SFARI.org, and USC media.

Dr. Bone is a Senior Scientist at yomdle, inc. in Los Angeles, where he researches and develops novel products that incorporate state-of-the-art speech processing and computer vision methodologies.

Ta-Shun Chu

Ta-Shun Chu worked on developing a miniature CMOS sensor chip to remotely detect pulse rate blood pressure and pulmonary ventilation rates of multiple individuals simultaneously. This work was done in the laboratory of Dr. Hossein Hashemi (Assistant Professor, Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering). Ta-Shun incorporated advances in radio frequency integrated circuit design that he spearheaded in Dr. Hashemi’s laboratory into his vision of a working prototype of the biometric sensor.

Professor Chu joined the Department of Electrical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu, Taiwan, as an Assistant Professor.

Joyita Dutta

Joyita Dutta worked to develop a novel 3-D in vivo imaging system for fluorescence tomography. This work was done in the laboratory of Dr. Richard M. Leahy (Professor, Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering) in collaboration with Dr. Simon Cherry at the University of California, Davis. She was developing theoretical computational methods for forward modeling and image reconstruction that could improve image resolution. Her approach to developing this system was both theoretical and practical.

Professor Dutta is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts and an Instructor in Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Erica Greene

Erica Greene developed novel statistical machine learning methods to analyze and develop predictive models of fMRI scans in Dr. Fei Sha’s (Assistant Professor, Computer Science) laboratory. The goal of the research was to reveal scalable, accurate, and robust models of functional networks in the human brain using resting state fMRI data. She applied techniques from statistical machine learning such as graphical models to improve the state-of-the-art techniques by incorporating multivariate relationships among individual voxels. Multitask learning was incorporated as a tool to improve the robustness of her model.

Ms. Greene is a Developer at The New York Times. She is currently working with the newsroom data team.

Markus Hauschild

Markus Hauschild, as a biomedical engineering graduate student in Dr. Gerald Loeb’s lab, designed and implemented real-time computational platforms for the simulation of musculoskeletal and mechanical systems in stereoscopic 3D virtual reality environments.

Markus earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2010. He received his Master of Science Degree in Medical Device and Diagnostic Engineering from USC in 2006. He advanced neural prosthetics and brain-machine interfaces while at the California Institute of Technology as a graduate student and postdoctoral scientist.

Currently, Dr. Hauschild assists both corporate and institutional clients with prosecuting patents in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical device, and information technology industries at Osha Liang LLP.

Hsiu-Sheng Hsu

Hsiu-Sheng Hsu worked on developing a label-free microlaser sensor platform in Dr. Andrea Armani’s (Assistant Professor, Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) laboratory. The novelty in this technology was in the development of an “active” optical resonant microcavity technology. This technology’s capability characterized the structural dynamics of biomolecules, their functional implications without labeling the biomolecule in real time.

Dr. Hsu is an Engineer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited.

Philip Kwong

Philip Kwong developed paper-based microfluidic devices for use in “lab-on-a-chip” and “point-of-care” applications. His research was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Malancha Gupta (Assistant Professor, The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science). Polymeric architectures on paper were created using the initiated chemical vapor deposition (iCVD) process with use of metal salt inhibitors to direct polymer growth.

Dr. Kwong is a Senior Applications Engineer at TruTag Technologies in Kapolei, HI.

Simin Mehrabani

Simin Mehrabani received her PhD in Chemical Engineering in Professor Andrea M. Armani’s research group. Her research was focused on the development of environmental monitoring optical sensors based on whispering gallery mode optical microresonators.

Dr. Mehrabani is an Air Quality Engineer at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Alfred E. Mann Biomedical Engineering Doctoral Fellowships

Ruchi Deshpande

Ruchi Deshpande pursued her PhD under Dr. Brent Liu’s guidance, at the Image Processing and Informatics Laboratory. Her focus was developing an informatics system to provide decision support for treatment planning in radiation therapy of head and neck cancer. The system features knowledge-driven data mining algorithms that assist clinicians in selecting and evaluating IMRT dose constraints, so as to minimize the radiation dose exposure of healthy organs.

Angelica Cobo

Angelica Cobo pursued her PhD under the lead of her advisor, Professor Ellis Meng, in USC’s Biomedical Microsystems Laboratory (BML) on the study of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) for application to the human body and other biological systems (bioMEMS).

Her research entailed the design, fabrication, and characterization of implantable polymer-based bioMEMS, devices made of soft plastics that can safely be implanted within the body for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. The main topics in her doctoral research focused on the development of an implantable wireless drug delivery device for management of chronic diseases and rare childhood cancers, and a peripheral nerve interface for restoration of sensorimotor function in amputees.

Arvind Iyer

Arvind Iyer used computational models of the early visual system to characterize neural encoding schemes which could inform image enhancement and annotation approaches for visual rehabilitative technologies, at the Visual Processing Laboratory under the guidance of Professor Norberto M. Grzywacz.

Dr. Iyer is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Anika Joseph

Anika Joseph received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering – Biomedical Imaging. She investigated the use of hyperspectral image processing and analysis of tissues for pathological diagnosis at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Farkas (Director, Minimally Invasive Surgical Technologies Institute).

Dr. Joseph is a clinical manager, global marketing at ArjoHuntleigh.

Jay Mung

Jay Mung received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Jesse Yen was his advisor and they collaborated with Dr. Fred Weaver. His dissertation title was Ultrasound-based Localization System for Endovascular Aortic Aneurysm Repair.

Dr. Mung is in Health Technologies at Apple.