Sensorimotor Learning Laboratory

Group photo outside

Alumni


Carly portrait

Carly Sombric, Ph.D.

Data Scientist, DICK'S Sporting Goods

Email: cjs180@pitt.edu

Doctoral Dissertation: Effects of Biomechanical and Cognitive Factors on Locomotor Learning. 2019.


yashar portrait

Yashar Aucie, B.S., Ph.D.

Biomechanics Associate, Exponent

Email: yaa21@pitt.edu

Doctoral Dissertation: Factors modulating the generalization of human locomotor adaptation. 2021.


Pablo Iturralde

Pablo Iturralde, PhD, MS.  

Assistant Professor, Director EE Program, Universidad Católica del Uruguay

Email: pai7@pitt.edu

Doctoral Dissertation: Mathematical Characterization of Sensory Inputs and the Adaptation of Motor Outputs in Split-belt Walking. 2020


Nicolas Velasquez

Nicolas Velasquez, M.S Lab Engineer

Email: nfv4@pitt.edu

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. 


Digna de Kam

Digna de Kam, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate

Email: did35@pitt.edu

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.


Alessandro Salatiello

Alessandro Salatiello, M.S., PhD student at the University of Tübingen

Email: als414@pitt.edu

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 until December 2017. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Neural Information Processing at the University of Tübingen


Ricky Hollenbach

Ricky Hollenbach, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ricky Hollenbach is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. He is in his junior year studying mechanical engineering with minors in mathematics and German. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began voluntary research at the laboratory in January of 2016. Ricky is planning on attending graduate school in mechanical engineering in the field of either control systems or thermo-fluids. Outside of research, Ricky is very active on campus as a resident assistant, a teaching assistant, a member of the student government cabinet, and an officer of Tau Beta Pi Honors Engineering Society.


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William Anderton, M.S. Lab Engineer

Email: wda5@pitt.edu

William Anderton earned his Master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Mechanical Engineering in April 2016. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering at Brigham Young University from 2005-2012. He worked for a year doing Orthopedic research at Allegheny General Hospital. In August 2013, William joined the HMRL lab.

William is interested in applying mechanical engineering principles to help the victims of various neurological and bio-mechanical disorders. His main interests/skills are in control theory and nuclear/radio-logical engineering. In addition to engineering, William also enjoys programming, mountain biking, genealogy, and church.


Erin Yingling

Erin Yingling

Undergraduate Researcher

Erin is currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. She plans to graduate in May 2017 with a BS in Bioengineering with a concentration in biomechanics and a minor in Mechanical Engineering. She began working in the Human Movement Research Laboratory in September of 2015.


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Harrison Harker

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: hmh30@pitt.edu

Harrison graduated from the University of Pittsburgh majoring in bioengineering with a minor in neuroscience (Spring 2015). He plans to continue doing research at the graduate level after completion of his undergraduate education.

Harrison is involved with a study entitled "Understanding Locomotor Plasticity in Older Adults" where he investigated the ability of adults age 65 and older to adapt their gait and to transfer learned walking patterns to different contexts. In his free time, Harrison enjoys playing racquetball and tennis, watching movies, and playing board games.


Jonathan Calvert

Jonathan Calvert

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: jsc53@pitt.edu

Jonathan has completed undergraduate degrees in bioengineering major with minors in mathematics and mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh (Spring 2015). Jonathan has worked under the mentor-ship of Dr. Torres-Oviedo since Fall 2012, and has worked in the Human Movement Research Laboratory since Spring 2013.

Jonathan is interested in the biomechanics that contribute to the structure and function of the human body. Of particular interest to Jonathan, is elucidating the motor control systems that impact the biomechanics of everyday life. Outside of the lab, Jonathan enjoys listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with his friends and family.


Tom portrait with a giraffe statue

Thomas Rotella

Undergraduate Researcher

Email: twr4@pitt.edu

Thomas graduated from the University of Pittsburgh majoring in bioengineering with a minor in neuroscience. He will graduate in April of 2014 with a B.S. in degree and plans to work in industry for a year or two before returning to academia to continue his studies and research in bioengineering and neuroscience.

Thomas is involved with a study where a simple cognitive task is used to essentially distract young healthy subjects from the adaptation occurring while walking on the treadmill. The hypothesis is that this "distraction" will improve transfer of learning to over ground walking. Thomas also enjoys playing on the Pitt Men's Club Soccer Team, watching movies, and traveling.


Erin Yingling

Erin Yingling

Undergraduate Researcher

Erin is currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh. She plans to graduate in May 2017 with a BS in Bioengineering with a concentration in biomechanics and a minor in Mechanical Engineering. She began working in the Human Movement Research Laboratory in September of 2015.


Ricky Hollenbach

Ricky Hollenbach, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Ricky Hollenbach is an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. He is in his junior year studying mechanical engineering with minors in mathematics and German. He is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began voluntary research at the laboratory in January of 2016. Ricky is planning on attending graduate school in mechanical engineering in the field of either control systems or thermo-fluids. Outside of research, Ricky is very active on campus as a resident assistant, a teaching assistant, a member of the student government cabinet, and an officer of Tau Beta Pi Honors Engineering Society.


Michelle portrait

Michelle Botyrius

Undergraduate Researcher 

Michelle Botyrius plans to graduate in December 2016. Her school work focused on a concentration in medical device engineering and a minor in Industrial Engineering. Following the completion of her undergraduate career, Michelle hopes to attend a design-oriented master's program and then work for a biotechnology startup focusing on neuro-rehabilitative treatments for patients with neurological deficits. In the HMRL Lab, Michelle worked on a study that investigates the influences of walking speed and age on the transfer of a novel treadmill-induced gait pattern to a normal walking condition.