Bio-Inspired Sciences and Technologies
Research Statement
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ramin Pashaie, T: (414) 229-2273, e-mail:
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  Neuroscience is not essentially a new emerging branch of science but historically stems  from human curiosity to unravel the deepest mysteries of himself when he struggled with big  questions such as the meaning of life or even the meaning of meaning. Perhaps, because of  the fundamentalism that is hidden in these questions, scientists who devoted their lives to  understanding of the brain and the mind came from a variety of different disciplines, from  biology and psychology to mathematics, physics, and engineering. Despite all the historical  challenges, the scientific approach to understanding the structure, function, biochemistry,  and physiology of the nervous system is relatively new endeavor.   Brain is an assembly of billions of coupled nerve cells where each cell functions as a  nonlinear complex processing element. Subpopulations of neurons build up self-organizing  networks or topographic computational maps that develop over time and adapt for certain  parallel data processing. To unravel mysteries of signal processing in the brain, we should  build a profound image of the structure and functionality of such networks.  This knowledge  leads us to: 1. Promote our understanding of nervous system, brain functionalities, and  discovery of new treatments for psychiatric disorders, 2. Engineer systems that compensate  or bypass injured/dysfunctional nervous circuits for neuroprosthetics and brain-machine  interface (BMI) applications, 3. Complement the architecture of conventional computers by  adding the superiority of performing higher-level operations such as perception, cognition,  and intelligent acts. Understanding the brain requires advanced technologies for imaging and  modulation/recording of neuronal activities. Currently, we have focused on development of  new paradigms to control and simultaneously image neural activities in large-scaled  networks of the brain using the tools of photonics, electronics, and molecular genetics.     BIST Lab is the second home for a group of young investigators with diverse educational  backgrounds that work together as a team to develop new instrumentations and technologies for the study of nervous system and the brain. We use enabling technologies such as  electronics, optics, electromagnetics, photonics, plus signal processing and software  engineering to implement our new ideas for brain functional imaging or modulation of neural  activities to study the dynamics of the brain microcircuits. Activities at BIST Lab covers cross  disciplinary fields including engineering, mathematics and physics, neuroscience, molecular  genetics, and computational neuroscience.
Optoelectronics and Biophotonics for Brain Studies. Our research agenda is to use our engineering skills to develop new instrumentation for the study of the brain. We  want to understand how the brain processes information and how we can control, manipulate, and monitor activities in the brain.