Carnegie Mellon University


Principal Investigator

Jana M. Kainerstorfer, PhD



Prof. Kainerstorfer received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Vienna, Austria in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. She has an extensive background in optical imaging, with an emphasis on Near-Infrared Spectroscopy and Imaging. She has particular experience in developing instruments as well as data analysis of optical data. Her lab’s research focus is based on optical imaging for clinical applications with emphasis spanning two primary areas: 1) Instrument and measurement protocol development of non-invasive optical imaging which can yield biomarkers for disease diagnostics and monitoring, and 2) Translation of such imaging tools to answer clinical questions where microvascular imaging can be of use for understanding a pathophysiology or monitoring of disease

Post Doctoral Collaborators- 

Alexander Ruesch, PhD.



Alexander Ruesch is a postdoctoral research fellow working with Prof. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham in the Neuroscience Institute at CMU, in close collaboration with Prof. Jana Kainerstorfer. Alex received his B.Sc. at the University of Applied Sciences in Bremerhaven, Germany and his M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Lübeck, Germany. He then pursued a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from CMU. His Ph.D. research focused on the development of computational tools to use diffuse optical measurement methods to estimate intracranial pressure and cerebral autoregulation non-invasively. Now, he is developing instrumentation that allows him to observe the functional activity of auditory processing in marine mammals, using functional near-infrared spectroscopy and electroencephalography. Alex’ aims to advance the field of auditory neuroscience and the medical innovations it creates buy better understanding the outstanding auditory processing in marine life.

Deepshikha Acharya, PhD.



Deepshikha Acharya is a Postdoctoral researcher working with Prof. Matthew Smith . She received her Ph.D. and M.Sc in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and she received her B.E. in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from Delhi University. Currently she is researching cerebral metabolism of oxygen and neurovascular coupling under extreme changes in cerebral pressure using NIRS, EEG, and DCS and understanding changes in neural signals. Aside from her research Deepshikha enjoys cooking, reading, and exploring restaurants. Her favorite aspect about the lab is the culture, she describes it as collaborative, fun, and diverse. She also enjoys the exposure that the lab provides to a wide range of projects using NIRS to solve scientific problems.

Jason Yang, PhD.



Jason Yang is a Postdoctoral researcher and self-described as, "Supreme Overlord of the Photons." He received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University and his M.Eng. along with his B.Sc. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Currently he is studying optical instrumentation development, cerebral hemodynamics; specifically the relationship between cerebrovascular impedance and autoregulation and how to boost the sensitivity and usability for near infrared diffuse optical measurements. Outside of his research his interest include photography, fixing computers, baking apple pies, and trying to perfect clam chowder. Jason describes the lab as brilliant and resourceful. He has met some of his best friends in Pittsburgh and says that the crew will be his friends for life.

Jiaming Cao, PhD



Jiaming Cao is a Postdoctoral Research Associate co-advised by Prof. Pulkit Grover. Jiaming received his M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2017 and he received his B.Sc. in Electronic Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China 2015. Currently, he is researching brain imaging fNIRS/DOT and EEG, focusing on improving the algorithms used therein. He is also involved in transcranial electrical stimulation of the brain and neural accessibility in fNIRS in collaboration with Prof. Sossena Wood. Outside of his research, Jiaming enjoys film photography, cooking, and music. Jiaming enjoys the collaborative spirit, closeness of colleagues, and the diverse academic and cultural backgrounds that exist within the lab.

Doctoral Collaborators-

Bradley Scammon



Bradley Scammon is a Ph.D. candidate. He received his B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Clemson University. Currently he is researching optical and electrical hardware that provides non-invasive access to neural and hemodynamic biomarkers. Aside from his research he enjoys camping, backpacking, climbing and anything outdoors. He describes the lab as collaborative, capable, and entertaining. He enjoys the broad diversity of expertise in his peers, which makes for a well-rounded, adaptable lab.

Deepa Issar



Deepa Issar is a Ph.D. candidate of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.Sc. at the University of Pittsburgh in 2018. Currently she is researching neural, vascular, and systemic signatures of cognitive state using NIRS and electrophysiology in collaboration with Prof. Matthew Smith. Outside of her studies, she enjoys spending time with her dog. She enjoys the collaborative spirit of the lab and working with the other students.

Eli Bulger



Eli Bulger is a Ph.D. candidate of Biomedical Engineering, co-advised by Prof. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham. He received his B.Sc. in Nanotechnology Engineering from University of Waterloo. Currently he is researching non-invasive characterization of neural and vascular markers during attention and non-invasive multi-modal source reconstruction. Eli enjoys playing piano, writing, and various outdoors activities. What Eli enjoys most about the lab is the diversity in research and the great people. He describes it as, "collaborative, diverse and photogenic."

Emily Skog



Emily Skog is a Ph.D. candidate of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.Sc. in Biological Engineering from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Currently she is researching how systemic changes in the body affect neuronal signals in the brain in non-human primates. She also collaborates with Prof. Matthew Smith. Emily enjoys running in her spare time and if she had chose to not become a scientist, she would have studied literature. What Emily enjoys most about the lab is, "the spirit of collaboration between everyone. Students come from very different backgrounds but there is no hesitance to help out."

Jingyi Wu



Jingyi Wu is a 3rd year Ph.D. candidate. He received his M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering and his B.Sc. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently he is researching transabdominal fetal pulse oximetry, investigating analytical models for multi-layer near-infrared spectroscopy, Monte-Carlo and NIRFASTer photon simulations, and signal processing and machine learning. Jingyi enjoys playing table tennis, badminton, league of legends, piano, and card magic in his spare time. He describes the lab as, "diverse, versatile, and supportive."

Osama Elgabori



Osama Elgabori is a first year Ph.D. candidate. He received his B.Sc. in Physics from Wesleyan University. Currently he is developing a sensor to measure hemoglobin concentration and oxygen saturation across an artificial lung in real time in coolaboration with Prof. Keith Cook. Outside of his studies he enjoys watching anime and occasionally crime shows. He enjoys how the lab emphasizes team-work and provides multiple channels for seeking help to overcome obstacles. Osama describes the lab as welcoming, motivated, and communicative.

Graduate Students - 

Gopika Satish



Gopika Satish is a first year graduate student. She received her B.Tech. in Biomedical Engineering from Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, India. Currently she is researching non-invasive fetal oxygenation using Near-Infrared simulation. In her free time she enjoys listening to music or playing the ukulele. She describes the lab as nurturing, collaborative, and diverse. Gopika states, "Weekly lab meetings and discussions helped me learn more about the field of work."

Juan Cortes



Juan Cortes is a graduate student of Biomedical Engineering. He received his B.Sc. in Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Currently he is researching neurovascular coupling changes across the brain with tilt-induced intracranial pressure changes in collaboration with Prof. Alberto Vasquez. In his spare time, Juan enjoys playing chess and videogames. What he enjoys most about the culture of the lab is the collaborative hard-working environment and the support from his peers. Jaun states, "I also enjoy how everyone is open to receiving and giving constructive feedback. It always feels like everyone is in it together."

Liyuan Ma



Liyuan Ma is a first year graduate student. She received her B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering at Xi'an Jiaotong University in China. Currently she is researching Neurovascular coupling and how brain activities are affected by cardiac cycle phases in colaboration with Prof. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham. Liyuan loves music and singing. Fun fact: Liyuan used to be on her school's chorus. Liyuan's favorite thing about the lab is how everyone is so friendly and helpful, "there is always someone around to save you when you meet difficulties" she stated.

Maanasa Guru Adimurthy 



Maanasa Guru is a first year graduate student. She received her B.Sci. in Biomedical Engineering from Sri Sivasubramaniya Nadar (SSN) College of Engineering in Chennai, India. Currently she is researching brain activation during audiovisual binding using fNIRS and EEG. She is co-advised by Prof. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham and Prof. Christopher Brown from University of Pittsburgh. Maanasa is a trained Indian Classical Music (Carnatic) singer and plays the ukulele. She loves playing and watching different sports and trying different cuisines. Her favorite thing about the lab in her own words is, "learning from all the seniors in the lab. Their knowledge and expertise are impeccable. They are kind and humble and very helpful to all the students who are starting out new."

Yutian Qin



Yutian Qin is a graduate student of Biomedical Engineering. She received her B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Tandon School of Engineering, New York University. Currently she is researching the simulation of joint electroencephalography(EEG) and near-infrared spectroscopy(NIRs) for auditory perception in collaboration with Prof. Barbara Shinn-Cunningham. Yutian is a music enthusiast and enjoys listening, playing, and researching music when she is not involved in her studies. She describes the lab as academically rigorous, helpful and energetic. Yutian thinks the lab is the perfect place to grow and become a great researcher and appreciates that everyone in the lab is willing to help when she encounters problems.

Undergraduate Students -

Zeynep Ozkaya



Zeynep Ozkaya is an undergraduate Student in the Lab. She is currently researching the relationship between heart rate variability and intracranial pressure to use heart rate variability as a biomarker for traumatic brain injury. Zeynep loves to knit and describes the lab as supportive, welcoming, and eccentric. She states, "Everyone is always very willing to offer help or discuss an issue, even if they have tons of other work."

Visiting Students -

Nikita Kedia



Nikita Kedia is a Medical student in the Physician Scientist Training Program. Her previous degree is a B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering. Currently she is researching cerebral auto-regulation at the respiration frequency and developing a non-invasive biomarker for monitoring changes in intracranial compliance for patients with Chiari Malformations undergoing de-compressive surgery. Nikita enjoys running and weightlifting and is currently practicing biking and swimming in hopes of completing a triathlon. She describes that lab as collaborative, innovative, and curious. She really enjoys that her research is patient facing so she can see how her work would translate into a clinical setting.

Staff -

  • Filip Relander
  • Imani Emanuel


Postdoctoral Alumni

  • Sossena Wood
  • Syeda Tabassum

Ph.D. Alumni

  • Alexander Ruesch
  • Constance Robbins
  • Deepshikha Acharya
  • Jason Yang
  • Jiaming Cao

M.S. Alumni

  • Abeselom Fanta
  • Ankita Mukherjea
  • Bradley Scammon
  • Filip Relander
  • Harsha Sridhar
  • Jiaming Cao
  • Jingyi Wu
  • Karthik Nambiar

B.S. Alumni

  • Arushi Patel
  • Dong Hun Kim
  • Elisabeth Iszauk
  • Erin Kavanagh
  • Jingyi Wu
  • Juan Cortes
  • Liliana Santizo Deleon
  • Manny Hur
  • Mohini Banerjee
  • Molly Baumhauer
  • Noa Park
  • Pearl Franz
  • Philip Farr
  • Rebecca Kang
  • Samantha Lavelle
  • Shinjini Ray
  • Udyaaksh Khera
  • Yilin Yang
  • YuanYuan Fu