Gelsy Torres-Oviedo, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Bioengineering
Tel. 412-624-2660 (office)
Curriculum Vitae

Prof. Torres-Oviedo started her faculty position in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 2012. Prior to that, she completed her postdoctoral training in Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University in 2007 and she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001 with a B.S. in Physics.

Dr. Torres-Oviedo is interested in understanding learning mechanisms underlying the adaptation of gait and how to stimulate them to rehabilitate the gait of patients with cortical lesions. She uses psychophysical experiments and computational tools for investigating how prior motor experiences influence how we learn and how we generalize new motor patterns to novel situations. Outside the lab, Dr. Torres-Oviedo enjoys playing with her daughter, indoor and outdoor jogging , and watching movies with her husband.


Nico Nicolas Velasquez, M.S Lab Engineer


Nicolas graduated from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, France in 2014, with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. After working for a year at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN), in the Detectors Technologies department, he moved to the United States in 2015 to pursue his master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh. He graduated in December 2016 with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, with a specialization on biomechanics. His masters research was conducted in the lab, and focused on the explicit control of step timing during gait in a split belt environment. After graduating, he joined the lab full time to continue his research as well as to work as a lab engineer.

Nicolas is interested in understanding the relationship between different aspects of gait, and applying biomechanical principles to ultimately help improve rehabilitation processes for people suffering from walking impairment.  Outside the lab, Nicolas enjoys playing sports, cooking and travelling. 


Marcela Gonzalez-Rubio, B.S. Research Intern


Marcela received her Biomedical Engineering degree from the Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito and Universidad del Rosario Bogotá, Colombia in 2017. She moved to Pittsburgh on September 2017 to work on Sensorimotor Learning Laboratory as a research intern under Dr. Torres-Oviedo at the University of Pittsburgh.

Marcela is interested in gait analysis, specifically, biomechanical characterization of gait and how say characterization help assess rehabilitation techniques for patients who are suffering from gait impairments. One of these techniques being adaptation of gait by introduction of perturbations while walking on a treadmill. Outside of the lab, Marcela enjoys reading, travelling, and dancing.



Digna de Kam, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate


Digna obtained her doctoral degree from the Radboud University in Nijmegen in 2017. In her thesis entitled “Postural instability in people with chronic stroke and Parkinson’s disease: Dynamic perspectives” she aimed to better understand underlying mechanisms of balance problems in people with neurological disorders. As a part of her PhD project, Digna visited the Torres-Oviedo lab in 2014 to learn computational techniques that would enable her to characterize muscle coordination deficits underlying balance problems in stroke survivors.

Digna returned to the lab after finishing her thesis in 2017. She currently studies the ability of healthy individuals and stroke survivors to learn new walking patterns on a treadmill and the generalization of those patterns to overground walking. In addition, she is involved in a project that addresses the effect of walking asymmetrically on the effort of walking in stroke survivors. Digna’s ultimate goal is to translate basic knowledge of locomotor learning and control into clinically meaningful interventions to improve the quality of gait in neurological populations such as people after stroke.

Pablo Iturralde, M.S. Graduate Student


Pablo received his Electrical Engineer degree from the Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay in 2009, with a focus on Telecommunications and Signal Processing. In 2012 he received his Master's in EE degree from the same university. His dissertation topic was "Signal Processing in Ultrasound Imaging and Temporal Inversion".

In 2012 he moved to the U.S.A to start his PhD in the Bioengineering program at the University of Pittsburgh, pursuing the Neural Engineering track. He is a Fulbright Scholar. Since 2014 he is also a trainee at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition's Graduate Training Program. His current interests lie in understanding the nervous system as the controller of human movement, and particularly locomotion, from a systems perspective. This includes understanding how proprioceptive information is integrated, how this information is processed to generate motor outputs and how the redundancy of degrees of freedom in the musculo-skeletal system is accounted for. Ultimately, Pablo hopes this understanding will lead to more efficient and effective rehabilitation therapies and technologies for people with motor impairments.

Carly Sombric, B.S. Graduate Student


Carly completed her BS in Biomedical Engineering in 2013 with a focus on biomechanics at the University of Rochester. Carly is pursuing her Ph.D. in Bioengineering in th Sensorimotor Laboratory under Dr. Torres-Oviedo at the University of Pittsburgh.

Carly is interested in the interpretation and response of human gait to proprioceptive stimuli. She is specifically interested in applications in gait control through stimuli manipulation. When not in the lab, Carly enjoys baking for lab meetings, visual art, and animals.

Yashar Yashar Aucie, B.S. Graduate Student


Yashar Aucie is a Bioengineering PhD student in the Sensorimotor Laboratory and is supported by GAANN (Graduate Assistantships in Areas of National Needs) fellowship. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in March 2015 with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Bioengineering with a concentration in biomechanics, and a minor in Mechanical Engineering.

Yashar’s current work involves using a pair of motorized shoes to induce split-belt like perturbation. He is interested to see if using this device can help to increase the transfer of movements from one environment to another. 


Alessandro Salatiello Alessandro Salatiello, M.S., Graduate Student


Alessandro earned his Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pavia (Italy) after defending a thesis focused on brain-driven wheelchairs. He then worked as an Early Stage Marie Curie Researcher at BitBrain Technologies (Zaragoza, Spain) on the development of a hybrid, non-invasive BCI for mind wandering detection. He joined the Lab in August 2016 and is currently a Neural Engineering track student, pursuing his Ph.D. in Bioengineering. 

Dulce Picture Dulce Mariscal, B.S. Graduate Student


Dulce moved from Venezuela to Puerto Rico where she received her degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad Del Turabo. After she finished her undergraduate degree, she decided to take the opportunity to be exposed to research and moved to Pittsburgh to work as a research intern under the supervision of Dr. Torres-Oviedo. Once she finished her internship, Dulce decided to continue her studies and is now in the lab as a PhD in the Bioengineering program, pursuing the Neural Engineering track.


During her internship Dulce worked on different projects, but her main focus was on understanding the effect of different cognitive conditions in the ways people learn and transfer walking patterns. Now as a PhD student, Dulce is interested in characterizing aspects of split-belt walking that can be generalizable to different environments. Outside of the lab, Dulce enjoys playing soccer, swimming and outdoor activities.