Bio-Inspired Sciences and Technologies
Research Statement
Principal Investigator: Dr. Ramin Pashaie, T: (414) 229-2273, e-mail:
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Optoelectronics and
Biophotonics for Brain
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.
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.