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Two New Star Faculty Bring Excellence in Neuroengineering

November 3, 2016

Amy Orsborn

Amy Orsborn

Azadeh Yazdan-Shamorad

Azadeh Yazdan-Shamorad

The Department of Electrical Engineering is proud to announce the recruitment of two new faculty members in neuroengineering. Amy Orsborn and Azadeh Yazdan-Shahmorad join the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering as tenure-track assistant professors.

The two faculty bring robust expertise in neuroengineering and neural computation. They will join outstanding UW teams in brain-machine interfaces, neuronal plasticity and neuronal learning. In addition to the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Bioengineering, the faculty will collaborate with top, high-impact partners, including: UW’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), University of Washington Institute for Neuroengineering (UWIN), the Washington Research Foundation (WRF), the Washington National Primate Research Center (WaNPRC), UW’s Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute and UW’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.

“For the last couple of years, we have been looking to hire extraordinary faculty members in the area of rehabilitation technologies and devices for spinal cord injury and stroke,” Electrical Engineering Professor and Chair Radha Poovendran said. “These transformative faculty hires will strengthen our ongoing work at UW, led by Rajesh Rao [director of CSNE] and Chet Moritz [associate professor of rehabilitation medicine]. We acknowledge the support of the Claire Booth Luce Foundation and the Washington Research Foundation in these hiring efforts. The barrier to collaboration is indeed zero at UW.”

Through these multiple collaborations, the UW is inventing and improving treatments for patients with a variety of neural and mobility problems, such as stroke, paralysis, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy.

One of many projects involves Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Engineering Josh Smith, who leads an international team of researchers to develop an implantable wireless device that can assess, stimulate and block the activity of nerves that control organs. As a part of the the GlaxoSmithKline Bioelectronics Innovation Challenge, the team is working on an implantable device that could help restore bladder function for people with spinal cord injuries or millions of others who suffer from incontinence.

The University of Washington is an internationally recognized leader in innovation. In neuroengineering, the Department of Electrical Engineering and the department’s several other partners, offers the opportune place for exceptional research discovery. These recruits bring a new expertise in groundbreaking technologies for brain recording and manipulation. This partnership will develop new devices and approaches to understand and intervene in nervous system function.

This collaboration will also help develop a strong base of future researchers. Through these new hires, electrical engineering students will obtain additional opportunities for academic growth. New collaborative projects in neuroengineering and immunoengineering offer students a unique range of skills, tools and expertise.

Amy Orsborn will join the EE faculty from New York University in January 2018. Azadeh Yazdan-Shahmorad will join the EE faculty from the University of California, San Francisco in September 2017.