University of Southern California
Mrs T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory | News

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Our new USC SMART-VR Center is Hiring a Student VR Developer!

Jun 12, 2018

We’re hiring and looking for a motivated graduate or undergraduate USC student to join our team! Please spread the word!

Position: Virtual Reality Developer
Location: USC Center for the Health Professions, Health Sciences Campus
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Pay: $20/hr
Time Commitment: 40 hours/week during the summer
20 hours/week during the academic year

We are currently recruiting a developer to work on multiple projects within the newly formed SensoriMotor
Assessment and Rehabilitation Training in Virtual Reality (SMART-VR) Center within the USC Division of
Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy. The SMART-VR Center is an interdisciplinary group of research labs
who use interactive technologies to improve motor and cognitive function across multiple clinical
populations such as stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease.

Within this context, the candidate would work on each of the following three projects.
• A VR-based mobility training system for people with Parkinson’s disease
• An EEG-based brain computer interface that helps people with severe stroke improve the
function of their affected arm
• A VR-based aerobic and cognitive training system for people with Alzheimer’s disease

Responsibilities: The primary responsibilities will be to assist in the development of virtual reality and
game-based interventions for movement assessment and rehabilitation. This includes creating virtual
environments, 2) processing feedback from various sensors to control the user’s interaction with the virtual
environment, and 3) working with therapists and researchers to generate novel gameplay experiences.
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities: Applicants should have 1) documented experience using the
Unity game engine, 2) a desire to apply virtual reality development skills to clinical problems, 3) proficient
knowledge of C++ and C#, 4) interpersonal skills to communicate effectively with colleagues from other
disciplines, and 5) an ability to learn quickly and independently.

Minimum Education: Master’s students and qualified undergraduate students in their junior or senior year
are welcome to apply.

Interested individuals should contact Dr. James Finley via email and provide a current resume.
James M. Finley, PhD
Assistant Professor
Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Neuroscience Graduate Program
Department of Biomedical Engineering
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
323-442-4837 (office)

Celebrating NPNL Accomplishments!

May 7, 2018

We can’t believe it’s already the end of the spring semester, and another great academic year. We haven’t been great about updating our website this year (but do update our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram sometimes so be sure to check those out smile), but we have so many exciting things to celebrate!

Congratulations to our wonderful NPNL lab members for not only being awesome, kind, brilliant, and hard working, but also for the following accomplishments:

- Julia: Awarded the USC Rose Hills PhD Fellowship; 1st Place at the American Heart Association Hackathon; NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention
- Octavio: Received the USC-CONACyT PhD fellowship
- Kaori (Lily): Received 2nd place poster in OS/OT at the School of Dentistry Research Day; was accepted to Neurohackademy 2018; was selected for an oral presentation at the OT Summit 2018
- David S: Received a USC OS/OT Division AOTA travel award and OTAC student leadership award, the Tony Memorial Scholarship, a Hispanic Scholarship Fund scholarship, and the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship
- Allie: Received a USC OS/OT Division AOTA travel award and OTAC student leadership award, completed her Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, was endorsed by USC for the Marshall Scholarship, and was accepted to the USC OTD program with a residency at Keck
- Jennifer: Had her Critically Appraised Paper accepted for online publication in AOTA’s Evidence Exchange and was accepted to the USC OTD program with a residency at Keck

We also had over 100 downloads on our ATLAS dataset in less than 3 months of the paper coming out, David K did some great testing and showed great results with our REINVENT system, we got lots of exciting papers accepted and submitted for review and some nice grants and press, ran over 100 participants across our various studies (including our most intricate one yet with TMS followed by tDCS/fMRI run by Stephanie), welcomed (and will be welcoming) some exciting new lab members and collaborators, including our newest MS in Computer Science Student Amit, who has been helping with our big data neuroimaging projects, and had a fun time doing an online statistical learning class with our friends in Dr. James Finley’s lab! It’s been a great year, and we are so thankful to everyone for their hard work and fun attitudes!

NPNL in the Press

Mar 20, 2018

We’ve gotten some fun press for our work with REINVENT and big data neuroimaging lately!

Thanks to PC Magazine for this great article about our work with REINVENT!

And, thanks to many outlets for featuring our newly released large open-source stroke MRI and lesion mask dataset (ATLAS): Radiology Business, Health Data Management, and USC News.

It’s always great to see our work get press so more people can learn about what we’re doing smile

NPNL Job Opportunity

Nov 21, 2017

UPDATE: This position has been filled - thanks for the interest!

The Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (NPNL) of the University of Southern California, directed by Dr. Sook-Lei Liew, is now looking for a Postdoctoral Fellow with expertise in brain computer interfaces, electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG) and/or virtual reality (VR).

The laboratory is devoted to the study of neuroplasticity and motor learning in healthy individuals and individuals after stroke. The overall aim is to understand mechanisms of brain plasticity and to apply this knowledge to the development of novel interventions to enhance motor recovery after stroke. The laboratory utilizes neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)), and behavioral and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electric stimulation (tES, including tDCS, tAS, and tRNS). A key portion of research, which will be the focus for this postdoctoral position, involves brain computer interfaces using EEG, EMG, and VR. Research will also entail working with a number of community and clinical partners throughout Los Angeles, California. More information about the NPNL can be found on our website.

The ideal candidate should have, or will soon have, a doctoral degree in a relevant scientific discipline for the Postdoctoral Fellowship. The successful applicant should be highly motivated, organized, quick to learn, and possess strong written and verbal communication skills. Technical knowledge with Matlab and other programming languages (python, Linux, C++, C#) and environments (Unity), an understanding of research methodology, and experience with EEG data acquisition and analysis, brain computer interfaces, and/or machine learning is strongly preferred.

This position is a full-time, one-year fixed-term position and can start as early as November 2017. Click here to apply.

Contribute to a Special Issue in Frontiers in Neuroinformatics!

Nov 1, 2017

Dr. Sook-Lei Liew is editing a Special Issue for Frontiers in Neuroinformatics entitled “Collaborative Efforts for Understanding the Human Brain” with Dr. Neda Jahanshad and Dr. Lianne Schmaal. Manuscripts on efforts for supporting collaborative brain imaging or genomics studies (e.g., using data across at least 2 sites) are welcome and due January 15, 2018. See the announcement for more information:

https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/5902/collaborative-efforts-for-understanding-the-human-brain

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