The NIFTI leadership team is made up of the Director, faculty leads from each participating university, and the Assistant Director of Operations.
Director; Institute Lead, University of Washington
Tom Daniel holds the Komen Endowed Chair in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington, and serves as co-director of the University of Washington Institute for Neuroengineering. His research programs focus on biomechanics and sensory systems, addressing questions about the physics, engineering and neural control of movement in biology. Dr. Daniel’s awards include a MacArthur Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and awards for teaching and mentoring at the UW.
Institute Lead, University of Maryland
Pamela Abshire is an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on better understanding the tradeoffs between performance and resources in natural and engineered systems. Dr. Abshire’s awards include the ISR Outstanding Systems Engineering Faculty Award and the University of Maryland Invention of the Year Award.
Institute Lead, University of Colorado Boulder
Sean Humbert is the McLagan Endowed Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is also Director of the MAST Collaborative Technology Alliance Center on Microsystem Mechanics. His research interests are the intersection of dynamics, control, and estimation theory with bio-inspired sensing and locomotion. Dr. Humbert’s awards include the AIAA National Capital Section Hal Andrews Young Scientist/Engineer Award and an ARO Young Investigator Award.
Institute Lead, Johns Hopkins University
Cynthia Moss is a Professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Neuroscience Program at the Johns Hopkins University and is affiliated with the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland. Her research program is directed at understanding sensory information processing and adaptive motor control. Dr. Moss’s awards include the University of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Research and Creativity and the ISR Outstanding Systems Engineering Faculty Award.
Institute Lead, Case Western Reserve University
Mark Willis is a Professor in the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University. His research focuses on how flying and walking insects track odor plumes to locate important resources like food and mates. He uses animal behavior experiments, simulation modeling, and mobile robots to test ideas about how animals track odors through complex environments. Dr. Willis’s awards include numerous nominations for excellence in teaching and mentoring at Case Western Reserve University.
Institute Lead, Carnegie Mellon University
Sarah Bergbreiter is a Professor in the department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research uses microsystems, microfabrication, and novel materials as tools to improve robotics, including the development of soft sensors that detect mechanical strain or pressure. Dr. Bergbreiter’s awards include a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers Award.
Assistant Director of Operations
Alison Mehravari holds a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Neuroscience from Middlebury College. She combines her scientific background and organizational mastery to manage the operations for both NIFTI and the University of Washington Institute for Neuroengineering. Dr. Mehravari’s awards include an ARCS Foundation Fellowship and an NIH Individual Predoctoral Fellowship.