Sebastian Correa, a junior bioengineering student in the lab of McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Douglas Weber, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs (RNEL), attended the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) National Convention in Phoenix and received the first place award at the Engineering Science Symposium poster competition.
Mr. Correa presented a poster on using a high-density electromyography (HDEMG) electrode sleeve array to analyze surface EMG from individuals who have sustained spinal cord injury.
“We use the HDEMG sleeve to record EMG signals from a patient’s forearm while they do several hand movements and then process and classify these movements,” Mr. Correa explained. “The purpose of the project is to optimize the methods of processing and classifying the data to enable individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury the ability to accurately control assistive devices through the use of EMG signals found on affected limbs.”
Jordyn Ting, a bioengineering graduate student in the RNEL Labs, has helped mentor Mr. Correa during his undergraduate research. Her work involves studying spared muscle and motor unit activity in individuals with tetraplegia with the goal of restoring intuitive control of hand function through non-invasive methods.
“Sebastian’s work has helped to identify some of the key analysis steps necessary in analyzing muscle activity from individuals with spinal cord injuries,” said Ms. Ting. “We will continue to build upon this foundation in future work on the project.”
Mr. Correa received a $1,000 award for his achievement among a competitive group of both graduate and undergraduate students. The presentations covered a variety of topics from a broad range of STEM fields with a focus on “engineering grand challenges.”
“Sebastian was competing against PhD students from around the country, but still managed to bring home the top prize,” said Dr. Weber. “He and Jordyn worked very hard on this research, and it’s wonderful to see their efforts rewarded.”
Illustration: University of Pittsburgh (Mr. Correa) and McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Dr. Weber).