Our interdisciplinary conference features renowned scientists, engineers and artists from a variety of disciplines, including cancer research, medical technology, modern dance and conceptual art.
UMR 7023 CNRS, France
Asaf is a researcher in the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) in Paris. Trained in formal linguistics and cognitive neuroscience (PhD MIT), Asaf’s research has focused over the last 10 years on dance performance and spectating, collective improvisation and group creativity. His research brings together experimental protocols from the cognitive sciences, physiological measures and experiential reports. His most recent project makes use of shared virtual reality. For Asaf, dance and improvisation are not objects of scientific investigation bur rather tools or epistemological framework for the study of cognition and intersubjectivity. He has organized a number of international transdciplinary events around dance and improvisation. Since 2018 Asaf is a member of the eur ArTec executive committee. ArTec is a new graduate program in research-creation based in Paris 8 (https://eur-artec.fr/).
Asaf practices Contact Improvisation for over 25 years and has been teaching, performing and facilitating events internationally over 20 years. He is also a certified Rolfing practitioner.
Art WorldMark Baldwin
Mark's career includes a distinguished association with Rambert, one of the world’s leading dance companies, where he first danced with the company in 1979 and again from 1983 – 1993. He established Mark Baldwin Dance Company (1993 – 2001) during which time he created over 40 works for his own company and The Royal Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Scottish Ballet (where he was resident choreographer in 1996), London City Ballet, Cisne Negro Dance Company (Brazil), Modern Dance Company of Argentina, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Staatsoper Berlin, and Rambert.
In 2002, Mark returned to Rambert to take up the post of Director where he remained until 2018. During this time, the company won 15 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, two Olivier Awards and five Olivier Award nominations. In 2016, Mark was awarded an OBE for his services to dance, and in 2019 he received the Critics’ Circle De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. Mark choreographed Inala for Ladysmith Black Mambazo a large scale show for one of South Africa's most important Zulu music groups in 2014. Restaged for Soweto Gospel Choir in 2019 to play London's West End, London's Royal Albert Hall and a tour to China. His art exhibition Embodied Knowledge opened in January 2019 at Bermondsey Project Space London. Mark is Patron of the London Studio Centre and BBO Dance and a board member of Elmhurst Ballet School. The Royal Academy in London and Royal Society both held events to celebrate Nicola Clayton FRSA and Mark Baldwin having worked together for over 10 years.
Art WorldGregoire Blanc
Grégoire Blanc is a young French musician, mostly known for his work involving the theremin - this very unusual musical instrument invented in the 1920s by the brilliant Russian scientist, Лев Термен. Holding two Master’s Degrees, one from the leading engineering school of Arts et Métiers and another one in sciences applied to music offered at Sorbonne University by IRCAM he decided to pursue a career in music. With its characteristic sound and its astonishing expressivity, the theremin has a huge potential, from classical music to contemporary creations, film scores, etc. Grégoire Blanc is renowned as a promising artist, and is regularly invited to perform in various contexts: orchestral performances, classical concerts, lectures, studio recordings, all around the world, from Canada to Kazakhstan. https://www.gregoireblanc.com
Professor of Composition and Theory, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University, Artistic Director, Musiqa
Anthony Brandt is a Professor of Composition and Theory at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and Artistic Director of the new music ensemble Musiqa, winner of two national awards for adventurous programming. Dr. Brandt’s catalogue includes three chamber operas, as well as orchestral, chamber, vocal, theater, dance, and television scores. Dr. Brandt and neuroscientist David Eagleman have co-authored The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World, which has been published in thirteen countries and inspired the Netflix documentary The Creative Brain. Dr. Brandt writes frequently about music cognition and creativity, and is currently a co-investigator in two neuroimaging studies involving music.
Art WorldMegan Bridge
Megan Bridge is an internationally touring dancer, choreographer, producer, and dance scholar based in Philadelphia. She is the co-director of Fidget, a platform for her collaborative work with composer, designer, and musicologist Peter Price.
She is particularly interested in the historical lineages and discursive frameworks that situate her work. Her teaching practice is focused on improvisation and contemporary Western dance. She is currently an adjunct faculty member in the dance departments at Stockton University and Temple University, where she has taught a variety of studio and lecture classes. She regularly teaches and performs as a guest artist at Universities throughout the Philadelphia area.
Bridge has worked with Jerome Bel, Willi Dorner, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Susan Rethorst, and Group Motion, and has studied with Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, and Lisa Nelson. She holds a BFA in dance from SUNY Purchase, and an MFA in dance from Temple University where she received a Professional Achievement Award and a Professional Dance Educator Award.
Bridge has presented her choreography at The Philadelphia Museum of Art, FringeArts, and many other venues throughout Philadelphia and the United States. On tour, Bridge’s performances have taken her to New York, Vienna, Berlin, Bogotá, Plovdiv, Tbilisi, Skopje, Rennes, Dresden, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, Kraków, Lublin, Bytom, Poznań, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Johannesburg, and Zurich.
In 2013 she was named “Best of Philly” for stage performance by Philadelphia Magazine. She has received funding support from American Dance Abroad, USArtists International, and more. She has published articles in Dance Chronicle, Dance Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and at thINKingDANCE.net.
Steven Brown is the director of the NeuroArts Lab in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and associated with the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind and the LIVE Lab. The lab is devoted to developing a holistic understanding of the neural, cognitive and evolutionary foundations of the arts, creativity, and aesthetics, including: music, dance, the dramatic arts, the visual arts. A unique evolutionary focus of the lab is a revival of comparative musicology studies, including an exploration of the geography and cultural evolution of world musical styles.
Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies/Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences, Director of the BRAiN lab, Colorado State University, USA
Aga Burzynska holds degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology from International Max Planck Research Schools in Gottingen and Berlin, Germany. She studies brain aging using Magnetic Resonance Imaging, with a focus on the mechanisms of decline and plasticity in the white matter. She investigates the potential of exercise interventions, including dance, for maintaining or improving brain health to prevent dementia. She has also studied the structural and functional brain correlates of professional dance training in young adults. Overall, her work seeks to identify modifiable risk and protective factors for brain aging, which include physical activity, sedentariness, and different occupational exposures.
Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience. City, University of London (UK)
Beatriz Calvo-Merino is a cognitive neuroscientist trained at University College London and Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Her research focuses on understanding the influence of observer’s visual and motor experience in action, emotion and aesthetic perception. Collaborations with dancers are core element of her research. In 2018 she received the Baumgarten Award for her contributions to the field, from the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics. In 2020 she won the early career prize awarded by the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. She is currently director of the postgraduate programmes MSc Clinical Social and Cognitive Neuroscience and PhD Psychology and Social Neuroscience at City, University of London.
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt
Julia F Christensen is a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt, Germany, and author of Tanzen Ist Die Beste Medizin (2018), or ‘Dance is the Best Medicine’, forthcoming in English in 2022.
Professor Nicky Clayton FRS is the Professor of Comparative Cognition in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK, and Visiting Professor at the Nanging University’s Institute of Technology, Beijing University of Language and Culture and Honorary Professor at Hangzhou Diangi University, China. She is interested in the processes of thinking with and without words, and comparisons between the cognitive abilities of corvids, cephalopods and children. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2010. She is also Scientist-in-Residence at Rambert (formerly Ballet Rambert), a position held since 2011. Her H index is 84.
AcademiaJose L. Contreras-Vidal
Neuroengineer and pioneer in development of brain-machine interfaces for rehabilitation and restoration of movement and brain-art interfaces;
Cullen Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Houston;
Full Affiliate, Houston Methodist Hospital Research Institute;
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Sciences and Engineering, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
Director, Human-Machine Interface Systems, The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), Memorial Hermann, Houston, Texas
Dr. Pepe Contreras-Vidal is Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the National Science Foundation-funded Research Center for Building Reliable Advances and Innovations in Neurotechnology (IUCRC BRAIN) at the University of Houston. He was a visiting Professor at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris, France; and has been a Fellow of the City of Paris (France), the Human Frontiers Science Program (Switzerland), NATO (Trieste), and the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO). Dr. Contreras-Vidal was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) for significant contributions to medical and biological engineering, including contributions to brain-machine interfaces (BMI) and wearable exoskeletons to restore motor function in individuals with spinal cord injury, stroke and other movement disabilities. His work at the nexus of art and science is opening new windows to study the neural basis of aesthetic perception and creativity in children and adults, and the development of innovative brain-art interfaces. His laboratory for Non-invasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems has collaborated with professional dancers, musicians, creative writers, film directors, visual and other performing artists to understand the brain response to the arts and creativity, while developing artistic neural interfaces. In addition to the current LiveWire collaboration, Dr. Contreras-Vidal is collaborating with visual abstract artist Geraldine Interiano Wise at the intersection of artificial intelligence, art and neuroengineering.
Dr. Contreras-Vidal have edited the book Mobile Brain-Body Imaging and the Neuroscience of Art, Innovation and Creativity to identify the challenges and opportunities for engaging the creative arts, design practices, science, engineering and technology to promote creativity and innovation leading to novel approaches to solving complex challenges in science, education and medicine. Dr. Contreras-Vidal is a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research (NABMRR) and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Mission Connect – A TIRR Foundation, the Houston Methodist Foundation, the Cullen Foundation, the University of Houston Technology Gap Fund, industry, and philanthropy. His research has appeared in The Economist, Nature, Der Spiegel, NPR, Scientific American, and Wall Street Journal among others.
Art WorldRachel Culver
Rachel Culver is a dance artist based in Austin, TX performing with NobleMotion Dance, Ventana Ballet, Sea Legs Dance, and various freelance projects throughout Texas. Formerly, she danced with Nicolay Dance Works and as an apprentice with Bruce Wood Dance. Culver holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Sam Houston State University. While studying at SHSU, Rachel had the pleasure of working with many guest choreographers including Maurice Causey, Gerard Theoret, and Gregory Nuber. Hailing from Elida, NM, she studied classical and contemporary ballet and spent her summers training with the Kirov Academy of Ballet, among others.
AcademiaHanne De Jaegher
Hanne De Jaegher is a philosopher of mind and of cognitive science. Her very first interest was in what thinking is and how it works. Early on, she realized that for understanding this, I needed to investigate how we think and play together. Now, she investigates the connections between how we interact, how we understand each other, how we understand the world (together), and how all that makes us who we are. Broadly, she is interested in studying the role of social interaction processes in subjectivity and intersubjectivity.
Art WorldBrittany Deveau
Brittany Deveau is a native Texan working as a movement artist in the Houston area. Ms. Deveau is a founding dancer and collaborator of NobleMotion Dance in her 13th season with the company. She is also entering her sixth season with Houston’s premiere Dance Theatre Company, Open Dance Project. She has also had the pleasure of working on numerous independent projects with artists: Jennifer Mabus, Laura Harrell, Aimed Dance, and Recked Productions. Her choreography has been presented by NMD, Dance Italia, and Big Rig Dance Coop. Ms. Deveau is a certified Pilates instructor and Alumni of Sam Houston State University where she received her MFA.
Université de Montréal
Guillaume Dumas is an Assistant Professor of Computational Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal, and the Principle Investigator of the Precision Psychiatry and Social Physiology laboratory at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. He holds the IVADO professorship for “AI in Mental Health”, and the FRQS J1 in “AI and Digital Health”.
Professor of Science & Technology Studies, and of Anthropology at the University of California Davis
Joseph Dumit is Director of the Institute for Social Sciences, Chair of Performance Studies, and Professor of Science & Technology Studies, and of Anthropology at the University of California Davis. He is co-founder of the ModLab for game studies and game development (currently making a game on fracking), working with the KeckCAVES on 3D development for science and the arts, and developing a new "data studies" program for undergraduates. His most recent book is on pharmaceutical marketing and clinical trials called Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press, 2012). Previously he wrote about neuroscientists making brain images, Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004), and co-edited three books: with Gary Lee Downey, Cyborgs & Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies; with Robbie Davis-Floyd, Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots, and with Regula Burri, Biomedicine as Culture. He was an editor of the journal Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry. He is currently writing about flowcharts, neuroscience and computers; movement and improvisation; and social science methods. More detail here: http://dumit.net/joe/ and cv here: http://dumit.net/cv/
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Emmeline Edwards, Ph.D., is Director of the Division of Extramural Research of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). In that capacity, she is responsible for development of scientific programs or areas of science that fulfill NCCIH’s mission as well as planning, implementation, and policy. Prior to joining NCCIH, Dr. Edwards served as Deputy Director of the Extramural Program at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Before coming to NIH, Dr. Edwards earned her Ph.D. in Neurochemistry from Fordham University, did postdoctoral research in behavioral pharmacology and neuroscience at the State University of New York, and was a tenured associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland. Her research there focused on the neural mechanisms of complex behaviors and characterization of a genetic model of affective disorders. She also served as chair of the Graduate Studies and Research Committee and as a member of the Dean’s Executive Council at the University of Maryland.
Currently, Dr. Edwards is chair of Women in World Neuroscience (WWN), an independent mentoring and networking organization with the primary mission of identifying, promoting, and implementing mentoring and networking opportunities for women neuroscientists across the world.
AcademiaChristopher P. Fagundes
Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences, Rice University
Working in the area of psychoneuroimmunology, Dr. Fagundes uses theories and methods from clinical, social, and developmental health psychology to examine how stress “gets under the skin” to impact diseases of older adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive decline. He is also interested in how the immune system regulates neuronal function in ways that influence mood and health behaviors. He has authored more than 100 articles and book chapters. His theoretical work has focused on the adoption of attachment theory to understand how attachment security can buffer the negative consequences of current and past life stressors. He is developing theoretically-based interventions to improve the negative physical health consequences of stress. As a principal investigator, his current grant portfolio consists of two longitudinal observational studies funded by the National Institute of Health, and one clinical trial funded by the National Endowment of Arts. He is a co-investigator on two additional NIH grants using mobile health sensing technology to identify when people are most at risk for poor health behaviors. He was named a “Rising Star” by the Association of Psychological Science. He was the recipient of the Robert Ader New Investigator Award from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, the Neal E. Miller New Investigator Award from the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the Excellence in Health Psychology Research Award by an Early Career Professional from Division 38 of the American Psychological Association, and the Herbert Weiner Early Career Award from the American Psychosomatic Society.
Forum Dança, Lisboa, Portugal
João Fiadeiro belongs to the generation of choreographers that emerged towards the end of the 1980s and, following the American post-modern movement as well as the French and Belgian Nouvelle Danse movements, gave rise to the Nova Dança Portuguesa [New Portuguese Dance]. A large part of his education and training was carried out between Lisbon, New York and Berlin. He then joined the Companhia de Dança de Lisboa [Lisbon Dance Company] (1986-88) and the Gulbenkian Ballet (1989-90).
In 1990 he founded the RE.AL Company that supported the creation and diffusion of his own shows, regularly presented all over Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and South America, and also represented and coached emerging artists, as well as transdisciplinar artists during the LAB/Projectos em movimento [LAB/Moving Projects].
In 2008 he suspended his activity as a choreographer and author, turning his focus to projects where the process – opposing to the product – becomes the central object, a shift that conditioned his activity and the program developed by Atelier Real, the structure of which he is the artistic director.
The Real Time Composition method, that was first designed to support the writing and the dramaturgical composition of his works, has in the meanwhile become a theoretical-practical tool and platform to understand and rethink decision, representation and cooperation, both in art and in life. This research develops in cooperation with many other disciplines, such as economy, neurobiology and complex systems sciences, and it has lead João Fiadeiro to coordinate workshops in Masters and PhDs in several national and international schools and universities.
Center of Logic, Epistemology and History of Science, at the State University of Campinas (CLE- Unicamp), in Brazil
I'm a Brazilian philosopher working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center of Logic, Epistemology and History of Science, at the State University of Campinas (CLE- Unicamp), in Brazil. My academic history is mainly on the Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Neuroscience, Metaphilosophy and Epistemology. My current research focus is on the Philosophy of Mind, more specifically on Enactivism and Language. I've been working on developments of Enactivism regarding its ontology, its conception of language and its consequences to epistemology, and on gender related social interactions under an enactive perspective. My work on enactivism and language is building on improvisational practices to better understand participatory sense-making and on the evolution of sign using. Previously, I've worked on the Philosophy of Cognitive Neuroscience as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of São Paulo - FFLCH-USP, and as a visiting researcher at the Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics - CINN, at the University of Reading, in the United Kingdom. I also take part in initiatives to promote the work of women philosophers and to foster interdisciplinary and collaborative research.
University of Vienna
Tecumseh Fitch is trained as a biologist and cognitive scientist, and is an expert in acoustic communication in vertebrates. He performs experimental work with species including humans, fish, birds, reptiles and mammals, and works in both the lab and the field. After a post-doc at MIT, Fitch taught at Harvard (US) and St Andrews (UK), before joining the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna as a professor in June 2009. Fitch's research has two main strands: his work in bioacoustics has focused on understanding the mechanisms of vertebrate vocal production, and on using this understanding to generate realistic synthetic vocal stimuli for field and laboratory playback experiments. His work in biolinguistics and biomusicology has focused on the evolution of human speech, music and language, using the comparative approach to determine which mechanisms underlying these human faculties are shared with other species.
Art WorldLa’Rodney Freeman
La’Rodney Freeman has been performing since he was 5 years old, starting out as a thespian. He first began dancing under Anna Ashy as a member of Alief Jazz Ballet. He then decided to pursue his BFA in Dance at Sam Houston State University. He has worked with choreographers Jennifer Pontius, Dana Nicolay, Jonathan Charles, Harrison Guy, Khaleah London, and Maurice Causey. LaRodney is in his 8th season with NobleMotion Dance and his 6th year with HOPESTONE Dance. La’Rodney has also performed with Social Movement Contemporary Dance under Elijah Alhadji Gibson and FRAME Dance under Lydia Hance.
Program Manager, Cognitive Neuroscience Program, SBE Directorate, National Science Foundation | Visiting Scholar, Center for Neural Science, New York University
Jonathan Fritz received undergraduate degrees in Mathematics from York University (Canada) and in Physiology, Psychology and Philosophy from Oxford University (England) and his PhD in Neuroscience at Brown University studying the neural basis of echolocation. His postdoctoral research at NIH was on acoustic communication and auditory memory. He joined Shihab Shamma in the Neural Systems Laboratory at the University of Maryland from 2000-2019 where his work focused on the role of neural plasticity in auditory perception, attention, learning and memory. He joined the National Science Foundation as a Program Manager in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2020. Although he has never engaged in research on the neurobiology of dance, he has always been fascinated by the expressiveness and joy of dance and creative movement, danced in two performing folkdance groups in graduate school, and has enthusiastically contributed to organization of this Workshop.
Art WorldMargit Galanter
Margit Galanter is a dance poet, educator, and cultural instigator living on Huchiun, unceded Chochenyo Ohlone land, also known as California, East Bay. Margit have had the fortune to practice Lisa Nelson’s Tuning Scores since 1996. Shx is fascinated by the inextricable relations made evident through subtle movement, dialogue, and perceptual vibrancy, and hir syncretic approach is based on decades of practice in movement/art lineages such as the Tuning Scores, the Feldenkrais Method, Suprapto Suryodarmo’s Amerta Movement, and Wild Goose Qigong. Margit collaborates with queer, feminist, indigenous, critical race studies, as well as earth-erotic, intercultural, and embodied approaches. This mosaic of inquiry and action is assembled and offered through the vivid grove — a live art school for moving, learning, creative evolution, and collective liberatory practices. They have written multiple articles, chapters, co-edited the book Embodied Lives and is currently a doctoral student at University of California at Davis in Performance Studies.
AcademiaMadeleine E. Hackney
Associate Professor of Medicine
Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology
Research Health Scientist
Atlanta VA Health Care System, Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation
Investigator, Birmingham/Atlanta VA GRECC
Dr. Madeleine E. Hackney, Ph.D, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Movement Science from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a Research Health Scientist at the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and Associate professor of Medicine, in the division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Hackney aims to optimize physical rehabilitative strategies, in terms of movement pattern and timing, dosage, duration, intensity and the role of a partner to enhance balance, mobility and quality of life for older adults with movement disorders. She believes better understanding of neural mechanisms underlying rehabilitative strategies will further these goals. She has received funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the NIH, the NSF, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Parkinson Foundation and the CDC. She frequently reviews grant applications for the VA and the NIH, and recently revised for the National Endowment for the Arts. Her research has received media coverage in the New York Times, Scientific American, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, National Public Radio and in Musicophilia, by Oliver Sachs. Dr. Hackney has presented her work about exercise and dance for those with PD and older adults nationally and internationally, including at the Karolinska Institute Nobel Forum, in Tel Aviv, Hong Kong, and Kyoto. Recently she presented webinars for conferences in Italy and Denmark. She was awarded the Selma Jeanne Cohen Dance Lectureship from the Fulbright Foundation in 2016.
Chief, Human Motor Control Section, NINDS, NIH
Dr. Hallett is an NIH Distinguished Investigator and the Chief of the Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, Bethesda. He is currently past President of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology and the President of the newly founded Functional Neurological Disorder Society. His work mainly deals with principles of motor control and the pathophysiology of movement disorders. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of Dance for Parkinson Disease.
Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden & University of Sydney
Kristina Höök is a professor in Interaction Design at KTH (and I used to be the director of the Mobile Life centre). Her research interests include affective interaction, somaesthetic design, internet of things and anything that makes life with technology more meaningful, enjoyable, creative and aesthetically appealing.
Art WorldShohei Iwahama
Shohei Iwahama, named Houston Press' 100 Creatives 2013 and a recipient of the Minnesota SAGE Award 2015 as an Outstanding Dance Performer. In 2014, he joined James Sewell Ballet (JSB) in Minneapolis, MN, and performed with them for four seasons. While working with JSB, he had the privilege of performing works by guest artists such as Sharon Eyal of L-E-V from Israel and Norbert De La Cruz III. Shohei has also worked with Aimed Dance, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, Earthen Vessels, FrenetiCore, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Minneapolis Ballet Dancers. He is currently an MFA candidate at Sam Houston State University and a founding company member of NobleMotion Dance.
Federal AgenciesSunil Iyengar
Director, Office of Research & Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts
Sunil Iyengar directs the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Under his leadership, the office has produced dozens of research reports, hosted periodic research events and webinars, led strategic plan development for the agency, and established research and data partnerships with the U.S Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies. His office also conducts program evaluations and performance measurement for the NEA. Working with his team, Iyengar has created and pursued a long-term research agenda (based partly on an arts “system map” his office helped to design), founded a national data repository for the arts, and launched two awards programs for arts researchers, including the NEA Research Labs initiative. He chairs a federal Interagency Task Force on the Arts and Human Development. He contributes a monthly research post and podcast to the NEA website and to ArtsJournal.
Iyengar and his team have collaborated with organizations such as the Brookings Institution, the National Academy of Sciences, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Association of American Medical Colleges to explore the arts in relation to such topics as health and well-being, economic development, and STEM and medicine. His office provides research consultative support to Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Most recently, he has led a research funding partnership with NIH as part of Sound Health, an initiative of the Kennedy Center and NIH in association with the Arts Endowment. He also has helped establish the Sound Health Network, a partnership with the University of California San Francisco.
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Professor, The Rockefeller University
Jarvis, PhD is the head of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language and professor at The Rockefeller University. He is also a scientific investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Dr. Jarvis uses song-learning birds and other species as models to study the molecular and genetic mechanisms that underlie vocal learning, including how humans learn spoken language. He is interested in how their brains, and ours, have evolved to produce this complex behavior. Dr. Jarvis is the recipient of key awards and honors for his achievements, including one of the highest awards given by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) -- the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, and one of the highest given by the National Science Foundation (NSF) -- the NSF Alan T. Waterman Award.
Art WorldLarke C. Johnson
Larke, a Chicago native, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 10 months old. Her diagnosis did not hinder her desire to be a ballerina. She began taking ballet lessons through an adaptive program with Shirley Ryan Ability Lab (formerly RIC) at age 5. In 2016, she secured a role in Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker. After that production, she began to take private lessons at Joffrey and continues to perform with the company. In the summer of 2019, she served as a student volunteer in a class for young dancers with autism. In addition to ballet, Larke enjoys horseback riding, swimming, and running.
Professor of Cognitive Science & Director of Research, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Western Sydney University, Australia
Peter Keller holds degrees in Music and Psychology from the University of New South Wales in Australia. He is Professor of Cognitive Science and Director of Research in the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University. Previously, he led a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany), held a European Institutes for Advanced Study Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and served as Editor of the interdisciplinary journal ‘Empirical Musicology Review.’ His research addresses the psychological and neurophysiological underpinnings of human interaction in musical contexts.
Art WorldColette Kerwick
Colette Kerwick attended New Mexico State University her choreography was selected twice for adjudication at the American College Dance Association and as an alternate for the National conference. She is currently in her fourth season dancing with NobleMotion Dance, where she is also the co-director of NMD2. Additionally, she has her MFA in Dance at Sam Houston State University where she also works as an Adjunct Professor. Colette has trained at ADF, José Limon, Lux Boreal and Dance Italia, where she performed repertory by Ohad Naharin, and Kidd Pivot. Colette has also had the privilege of performing and presenting her own work in Dance Gallery Festival NY and Texas.
The Center for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication at the Italian Institute of Technology
Julien Laroche, PhD, is a psychologist, a researcher in cognitive sciences, and a musician. For the past 2 decades, he has been creating a circulation between his scientific experiments and his artistic experiences, whether in academia, in the industry or on stage. He works across disciplines with a core interest in the dynamics of interaction between persons and the coordination of their movements. He more particularly focused on music and dance contexts, and more especially on improvisation as a privileged window on creative processes. He currently holds a post-doc position at the Italian Institute of Technology, at the Center for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication in Ferrara.
Art WorldHeidi Latsky
Artistic/ Executive Director, Heidi Latsky Dance
Heidi Latsky Dance is a New York-based, female-run organization dedicated to the creation of relevant, immersive performance art that is accessible to all. HLD was founded in 2001 and has gone through different creative phases. Currently, the focus is on expanding into interactive technology through collaborations with entities like Google’s Creative Lab, Fashion Institute of Technology and Evolving Technologies.
Latsky has always leaned towards a humanistic approach, with the first ten years of her choreographic career focused on evening-length works that examined aspects of humanity that deeply affected her. Her critically acclaimed DISJOINTED (2006) for instance was a trio with a Greek chorus of 25 that dealt with her mother’s long bout with illness and the repercussions of her death.
In 2006, Boston-based disabled interdisciplinary artist Lisa Bufano commissioned Latsky to create a 25-minute solo. Bufano’s vulnerability and fierceness set a new standard for all Latsky’s dancers and ultimately the nature of her choreography. This collaboration was the catalyst for an artistic shift towards inclusivity and unconventional diversity, sparking a ten-year period of work titled The GIMP Project.
Art WorldDavid Leventhal
Program Director, Dance for PD® | Mark Morris Dance Group
David Leventhal is a founding teacher and Program Director for Dance for PD®, a program of the Mark Morris Dance Group that has now been used as a model for classes in more than 300 communities in 25 countries. He leads classes for people with Parkinson's disease around the world and trains other teachers in the Dance for PD® approach around the world. He's conceived and co-produced five volumes of a successful At Home instructional video series for the program and has been instrumental in initiating and designing innovative projects involving live streaming and Moving Through Glass, a dance-based Google Glass App for people with Parkinson's. Leventhal designed and currently teaches a pioneering dance-based elective course that is part of the Narrative Medicine curriculum at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. He's featured in the award-winning 2014 documentary Capturing Grace directed by Dave Iverson. Leventhal serves on the Board of Directors of the Davis Phinney Foundation and Dance & Creative Wellness Foundation and on the Advisory Board for the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center Arts & Humanities Program. He's a charter member of IADMS' Dance for Health Committee.
As a dancer, he performed with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2011, appearing in principal roles in Mark Morris' The Hard Nut, L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, and Prokofiev's Romeo & Juliet, on Motifs of Shakespeare. Leventhal received a 2010 Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for his performing career with Mark Morris. He graduated from Brown University with honors in English Literature.
Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden & University of Sydney
Lian Loke is Head of Design at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Lian teaches design thinking, interaction design and design research in the Bachelor of Design Computing and Master of Interaction Design and Electronic Arts, and coordinates research training for Higher Degree by Research students. She is a member of the Design Lab, the Affective Interactions Lab and the Urban Interfaces Lab.
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Dr. Citlali López-Ortiz received a BS-Physics from UNAM, MA in Dance-Biomechanics, from SUNY-Brockport, and a PhD in Kinesiology-Biomechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her postdoc at Northwestern University (NIH-NRSA T32/F32) focused on the pathophysiology of movement disorders. She holds a Classical Ballet Teacher Certification from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. She has been a Research Scientist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Research Assistant Professor at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation/Northwestern University, Teaching Artist at the Joffrey Ballet Academy, and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign She founded and directs the NeurDanceLab LLC.
AcademiaAston K. McCullough
Assistant Professor of Dance Science, Department of Music & Dance, College of Humanities & Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Dr. McCullough studies human activity, especially dance, in relation to health across the lifespan. He develops, programs, and evaluates methods/signal processing algorithms for measuring human activity using sensors (cameras, wearable devices, and others). Dually, he implements qualitative research frameworks to better understand the perceived benefits of dance on health. McCullough directs Laboratory for the Scientific Study of Dance (LAB:SYNC) at UMass Amherst, and LAB:SYNC serves as an appointed Research Lab for the National Endowment for the Arts. McCullough is a contemporary/improvisational dancer and dancemaker who has performed, and created original works, live and on film in the US and abroad.
Ph.D. & M.Phil., Kinesiology, Columbia University; M.S., Applied Statistics, Columbia University Teachers College; M.A., Dance Education, New York University; B.A., Liberal Arts, Sarah Lawrence College; Diploma, Dance Studies, Laban Dance Conservatoire; NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Art WorldLindsey McGill
Lindsey McGill began her formal dance training under Elizabeth and Rosemary Molak in Orange County, California and continued training at the Houston Ballet Academy under the direction of Ben Stevenson, Clara Cravey and Priscilla Nathan Murphy. Lindsey has worked with Jane Weiner’s Hope Stone Dance, Michele Brangwen Dance Ensemble, iMEE, Dominic Walsh Dance Theater, O Dance, NobleMotion Dance, The Next Stage Project, KDNY and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2. She has also had opportunities to dance in projects by a number of independent artists including Jhon R. Stronks, Paola Georgudis, Teresa Chapman, Amy Ell’s Vault, and Freneticore. Lindsey is in her third season dancing with NobleMotion Dance.
Art WorldLisa Nelson
Lisa Nelson, choreographer, improvisational performer, videographer, and editor/publisher explores the role of the senses in the performance and observation of movement. Her practice of Tuning Scores is an approach to real-time editing and communication, and posits the imagination as an integrative sense. She's received encouragements through Bessie Dance & Performance Award, Alpert Award in the Arts, and United States Artist Award.
Art WorldAndy Noble
Andy Noble is a professor at Sam Houston State University and Co-Artistic Director of NobleMotion Dance, awarded Houston’s Best Dance Company. Andy collaborated with Academy Award winner John Ridley to create original choreography for the Emmy Award Winning ABC TV show American Crime. His work has been presented at New York’s The Alvin Ailey Theater, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Seattle’s On the Boards, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C to name a few. Andy has been recognized as among Houston’s 100 Most Creatives and he teaches every summer at Dance Italia, an international festival in Lucca, Italy.
Art WorldDionne Noble
Dionne Noble is co-artistic director of NobleMotion Dance and an Associate Professor of Dance at Sam Houston State University where she directs the graduate program. Additionally, she has served as faculty at Florida State University, University of South Florida, and Western Washington University. Dionne received a BA in dance from the University of South Florida and a MFA in modern dance with an emphasis in dance and technology from the University of Utah. Dionne was named one of Houston’s 100 Creatives of 2013 by the Houston Press and her choreographic work was featured on ABC’s television series “American Crime.”
Art WorldTyler Orcutt
Tyler Orcutt, a dance artist based near Houston, is currently an MFA candidate at Sam Houston State University. Former dancer with Repertory Dance Theatre (RDT) from 2012-2020, Tyler has toured the west coast performing in lead roles choreographed by Modern Dance pioneers Humphrey, Limón, Shawn, McKayle, and Cunningham. With RDT, he also worked with current choreographers Bebe Miller, Lar Lubovitch, Danielle Agami, Tiffany Rae-Fisher, and Zvi Gotheiner, among many others. He has guested with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, St. Petersburg Opera and Moving Current Dance Collective. He most recently joined NobleMotion Dance in the summer of 2020. Tyler holds a BFA in dance from The University of South Florida.
Centre for the Science of the Creative and Performing Arts, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London
I am a cognitive neuroscientist and dancer studying human movement, applying principles from dance and choreography to study how the brain works. I studied performing dance at the Folkwang University of the Arts and Psychology at the University of Düsseldorf, both in Germany. After completion of my PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience on the neural correlates of sound meaning, I joined German Dance Company NEUER TANZ/VA WÖLFL as a full-time performer. Since 2009, I have lived and worked in London, first as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL before becoming a Lecturer in Psychology at Brunel University, London. I joined the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths in 2015. Currently, I am Principal Investigator of NEUROLIVE, a 5-year EU-funded research project studying live experiences in dance and the performing arts more generally. I am also Co-Director of the MSc in Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics and Creativity at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Professor of Psychology, Tufts University
Aniruddh (Ani) Patel is a Professor of Psychology at Tufts University, where he studies the cognitive, neural, and evolutionary foundations of musicality. His areas of emphasis include music-language relations (the topic of his 2008 book, Music, Language, and the Brain, Oxford Univ. Press) rhythmic processing, and cross-species studies of music cognition. A wide variety of methods are used in this research, including brain imaging, behavioral experiments, theoretical analyses, acoustic research, and comparative studies with nonhuman animals. Dr. Patel is a Fellow in the Brain, Mind, and Consciousness program in the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR).
Professor in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University and a founding member of the Montreal Laboratory for Brain Music and Sound (BRAMS)
Dr. Penhune received her BA degree in Philosophy from Wellesley College in 1981. Upon realizing that the brain could be more fruitfully studied from the laboratory than from an armchair, she completed a PhD in Psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute of McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Michael Petrides. Her doctoral research examined interhemispheric differences in the anatomy of auditory cortex and the neural basis of rhythm perception and production. She then pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at Laval University with Dr. Julien Doyon focused on the neural basis of motor sequence learning. Dr. Penhune joined the Department of Psychology at Concordia University in 2000.
The research in Dr. Penhune’s laboratory explores the neural basis of human motor skill learning and performance, with an emphasis on the impact of development and expertise. She uses structural and functional neuroimaging techniques to examine the brain networks involved in learning, and to explore auditory-motor integration in the context of the perception and production of rhythm and melody. This research program takes a broad developmental perspective, including studies in children and older adults, as well as individuals with musical training. Important current lines of research include investigating the neural basis of auditory-motor interactions, the impact of early musical training on behaviour and brain structure, and transfer from music training to language skills. Her research on dance has focused on the impact of long-term dance training on brain structure and connectivity.
Work in Dr. Penhune’s lab is funded by both national and provincial agencies, including the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Research, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Fonds de recherche du Québec and the Grammy Foundation.
New York University & Ernst Struengmann Institute for Neuroscience
David Poeppel is the Scientific Director of the Ernst Struengmann Institute for Neuroscience Frankfurt, Germany and a Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at NYU. Trained at MIT in cognitive science, linguistics, and neuroscience, Poeppel did his post-doctoral training at the University of California San Francisco, where he focused on functional brain imaging. Until 2008, he was a professor at the University of Maryland College Park, where he ran the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language laboratory. He has been a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin), the American Academy Berlin, and a guest professor at numerous institutions. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Art WorldLauren Serrano
Lauren Serrano is originally from Orange County, California. She received her B.F.A in Dance from University of California Santa Barbara and her Masters in Dance Education from the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College in New York City. She is honored to have worked with artists such as Andrea Schermolly, Yusha Sorzano, Christopher Pilafian, Jennifer Muller, Mike Esperanza, Stephanie Miracle, Brandon Whited, Joshua Manculich, Andy and Dionne Noble, and Edgar Zendejas. Lauren is currently a Graduate Assistant at Sam Houston State University pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts. Lauren is in her 2nd season dancing for NobleMotion and the Co-Artistic Director of NMD2.
Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & Institute for Systems Research, University of Maryland College Park, MD, USA, and Département d'études cognitives, Ecole Normale Supérieure, PSL, Paris, France
Shihab Shamma has been conducting research in auditory perception and cognition, cortical physiology, role of attention and behavior in learning and plasticity, computational neuroscience, and neuromorphic engineering. One focus has been on studying the neurophysiology and computational principles underlying the processing and recognition of complex sounds such as speech and music in the auditory system, and the way sensorimotor interactions facilitate learning and development of complex behaviors. He has also been developing and applying signal processing algorithms inspired by neural processing in systems ranging from music and speech representation, to diagnostics in industrial manufacturing, to aVLSI neuromorphic implementations.
AcademiaChristina T. Soriano
Associate Provost for the Arts and Interdisciplinary Initiatives; Associate Professor of Dance, Wake Forest University
Since 2012, Christina has regularly taught a community dance class in Winston-Salem, NC to people living with Parkinson’s Disease and their carepartners, and has been involved in three scientific studies that look at the ways improvisational dance can help the mobility and balance of people living with neurodegenerative disease. She has received funding from the National Parkinson Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, and most recently the NIH to conduct a randomized clinical trial, testing her improvisational dance method in a community of adults living with Mild Cognitive Impairment and their care partners. Her published work has appeared in the Journal of Dance Education, Research in Dance Education, Dance Magazine, Theatre Journal, the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, The Journal of Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics and Frontiers in Neurology. In her role as an associate provost, she is working with colleagues across the university to enhance the visibility of the arts at and beyond Wake Forest, and help forge interdisciplinary connections with many community partners. She is also very involved in an annual, interdisciplinary symposium: Wake Forest’s Aging Re-Imagined, which brings together the work of artists and scientists around the topic of Healthy Aging.
AcademiaLavinia Teixeira de Aguiar Machado Lacerda
Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil
Pós-Doutorado em Psiquiatria e Psicologia Médica, pela Universidade Federal de São Paulo (2018). Doutora e Mestre em Ciências da Saúde pela Universidade Federal de Sergipe (2014-2010). Especialista em Biomecânica e Cinesioterapia Funcional (2006) e graduação em Fisioterapia pela Universidade Tiradentes (2004). Técnica em Locução e Radiodifusão pela Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia (UFESBA) (2000). Bailarina Profissional e coreógrafa pelo Sindicato dos Artistas e Técnicos em Espetáculos de Diversões do Estado de Sergipe (SATED/SE) (1992). Atualmente é professora adjunta do Departamento de Educação em Saúde da Universidade Federal de Sergipe (UFS) e do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Rede Nacional para o Ensino de Ciências Ambientais (PROFCIAMB). Chefe da Divisão Acadêmica do Campus de Lagarto (UFS). Coordenadora da unidade receptora do Programa de Doutorado Interinstitucional em Artes Cênicas entre UFS e USP. É pesquisadora e colaboradora nos seguintes grupos de pesquisa: Dor e Motricidade (LAPENE - Laboratório de Pesquisa em Neurociência) e Núcleo de Pesquisa de Atenção Primária em Saúde. É membro da Associação Brasileira de Fisioterapia Neurofuncional (ABRAFIN) e da American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA). Tem experiência nas áreas de educação neurofuncional e dança, atuando principalmente nos seguintes temas: consciência e educação corporal, dança, fisioterapia e pessoas com deficiência.
McCamish Foundation Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering, Emory University and Georgia Tech
Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy, Emory University
Co-Director, GaTech and Emory Neural Engineering Centers
Lena Ting directs the Neuromechanical Laboratory at Emory University, focusing on complex, whole body movements such as walking and balance in healthy and neurologically impaired individuals, as well as skilled movements involved in dance and sport. Her work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing from neuroscience, biomechanics, rehabilitation, computation, robotics, and physiology. Her lab has developed several computational methods to characterize and understand individual differences in movement and movement control, and how these change in neurological disorders, as well as with rehabilitation and training.
Art WorldEvelyn Toh
Evelyn Toh is a dance artist, teacher, and choreographer, based in Houston, TX. She obtained her MFA in Dance from Sam Houston State University and graduated magna cum laude with her BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory as a National Arts Council Overseas Scholar. Evelyn has performed for numerous companies, including John Mead Dance Company, Nimbus Dance Works, MOMIX, and T.H.E Dance Company. Evelyn’s choreographic work has been presented at Barnstorm Dance Festival, T.H.E Dance Company’s New Vision, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, and Dance Gallery Festival. She is currently in her 5th season with NobleMotion Dance while teaching at Sam Houston State University.
AcademiaBetty K. Tuller
Program Director, National Science Foundation
Betty Tuller is Director of the Perception, Action, and Cognition Program at the National Science Foundation. Previously, she was a Professor at Florida Atlantic University. Her major research interests lie in understanding the dynamics of language, movement, and cognitive systems. Tuller is an elected fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Psychonomic Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and received a Professorial Excellence Award from the State of Florida. She is also a long-time patron of dance and always dances when no one is watching.
Harvard Medical School
Peter Wayne, PhD is the Bernard Osher Associate Professor of Medicine in the Field of Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies at Harvard Medical School (HMS), and serves as the Director for the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, jointly based HMS and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a researcher and practitioner in the field of integrative medicine. The primary focus of Dr. Wayne’s research is evaluating how mind-body and related integrative medicine practices clinically impact aging and chronic health conditions, and understanding the physiological and psychological mechanisms underlying observed therapeutic effects. He has served as a principal or co-investigator on more than 25 NIH-funded studies. His research has evaluated the impact of therapies such as Tai Chi, acupuncture and chiropractic on diverse medical issues including balance disorders, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, cancer, back and neck pain, migraine headaches and healthy aging. Dr. Wayne has more than 40 years of training experience in Tai Chi and Qigong, and is an internationally recognized teacher of these practices. He is author of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, which received an Award of Excellence in Medical Communication by the American Medical Writers Association.
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
Lise Worthen-Chaudhari, PhD, MFA connects health science to the creative arts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Seeking to make sensorimotor recovery following central nervous system injury more engaging, data-driven, and evidence-based, Worthen-Chaudhari applies principles from dance, biomechanics, and motor learning to improve human neurorecovery. Her work is funded by the National Institutes of Health and has been commercialized by Columbus-based start-up, Rekovo.
A former professional contemporary dancer, Worthen-Chaudhari is an Assistant Professor in OSU’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Director of Dodd Hall's Motion Analysis and Recovery Biomechanics Laboratory (MARBL). She is a faculty affiliate of OSU's Neurological Institute and Chronic Brain Injury Discovery Themes Initiative. Worthen-Chaudhari has served in leadership roles for the American Society of Biomechanics (Program Committee) and The American College of Rehabilitation Medicine (founding member of the Arts & Neuroscience Networking group) and teaches within the OSU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Art WorldGregory Youdan Jr.
Gregory Youdan Jr., MA, MS is a visiting research scholar at Brown University. As a dancer, Greg toured domestically and internationally with the NY Baroque Dance Company, Sokolow Theatre/Dance and Heidi Latsky Dance, where he now serves as a board member. He serves as co-chair for the research committee of the National Organization for Arts in Health (NOAH), development committee for the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) and the advisory council for Dance Data Project (DDP). He is a Westheimer Fellow and teaching artist through Mark Morris Dance Group’s Dance for PD® program. Greg is a graduate of the dance program at Hofstra University and holds dual masters degrees in Motor Learning and Applied Statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Academia Medical Centers Art World Industry Media Federal Agencies
List of Trainees
Graduate TraineesKomal Kukkal
University of Houston
Komal Kukkar is originally from Abohar, India and is currently based in Houston, Texas. He received his bachelor’s in physical therapy in 2007, MS in Kinesiology (Major-Biomechanics and Motor Control) from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2013 and MS in Data Science from Maryville University at St. Louis in 2021. He worked as a Physical Therapist for 8 years in New York City rehabilitating kids with Autism as well as stroke patients. In addition, he started teaching physical therapy students as well as conducting research on Autism in 2015. With continued interest in motor control research and machine learning, he joined the University of Houston doctoral program in Kinesiology in August 2021 under the advisory of Dr. Pranav Parikh. In addition to the full funding, he is a recipient of the Presidential Fellowship. His main research interests include Stroke fall risk prevention, Neuromechanics and Motor Control, Machine Learning and Predictive Modeling.
Undergraduate engineering and computer science student, Georgia Insitute of Technology, Robotics Musicianship Lab at Georgia Tech, ATL Satrangi
Rima Peddi is a second-year undergraduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology studying mechanical engineering and computer science. As a dancer, she found a union of her passions in Georgia Tech’s Robotics Musicianship Lab. She has been dancing since the age of four and is trained in Bollywood, hip hop, and jazz. Currently, she dances on a competitive collegiate dance team titled ATL Satrangi and conducts research on the capabilities of robots to perform, dance, and establish trust with humans. She continues to bridge her studies of mechanics with her knowledge of choreography, dance, and music to produce new forms of movement, human-robot interaction, and robot-robot interaction.
Postdoctoral FellowsMauricio Ramirez Moreno
University of Houston
Mauricio Ramírez is originally from Monterrey, Mexico, and is currently based in Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelor in Mechatronics Engineering in 2010, and MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2015 and 2019 from CINVESTAV Monterrey (Mexico). In 2019, he started teaching university level courses in the Biomedical and Mechatronics Engineering Programs at Tecnologico de Monterrey (Mexico) and performed collaborative research activities with students and professors. Since the summer of 2020, Dr. Ramírez serves as a postdoctoral researcher at the NSF IUCRC BRAIN Center at Tecnologico de Monterrey, where he also acts as Program Manager. Since the fall of 2021, he is performing an international research stay as Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Houston, in the Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, directed by Prof. Jose Contreras-Vidal, in the fields of hyperscanning and brain-machine interfaces. His main research interests include Brain Computer Interfaces, Neuroengineering, Robotics, Biomechanics and Machine Learning.
Graduate TraineesNishant Rao
University of Houston
Nishant Rao is a PhD student at the University of Houston, with a major in Motor Behavior. Originally from India, he is based in Houston, where he carries out his studies. Nishant's research interest lies in understanding neural basis of sensorimotor control and learning. Nishant's ongoing projects are aimed at characterizing mechanisms that underlie routine tasks such as grasping, learning to control digit forces, and maintaining upright balance in healthy and clinical populations. Nishant has been actively involved in the NSF IUCRC BRAIN Center as REU Graduate Mentor, and has served in several events as promoting STEM education. In a broader context, Nishant plans to bridge the understanding in cognitive and sensorimotor neuroscience with effective rehabilitation among patients with neurological disorders. He is a graduate research assistant at the University of Houston Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory, directed by Prof. Jose Contreras-Vidal.
Graduate TraineesNoor Tasnim
PhD Student, Graduate Program in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health, Virginia Tech
Noor Tasnim graduated from Duke University in 2018 with dual-honors in Evolutionary Anthropology and Global Health. At Duke, he was a visual arts instructor for Arts for Life North Carolina and member of a hip-hop inspired collegiate dance team. His involvement in dance helped shape an interest in barefoot locomotion and lower limb injuries. In 2017, he examined differences in foot shape between men and women in Mandena, Madagascar and showed that orthopedic problems, already well documented in the West, were a global phenomenon reaching even remote agrarian communities. In 2020, he was selected as a Luce Scholar and spent a year studying human biomechanics at Ewha Womans University (South Korea) and The University of Tokyo (Japan). He also spent this time training in various styles of dance, specializing in Popping and Animation. As a member of the Embodied Brain Lab at Virginia Tech (PI: Dr. Julia Basso), he connects his research interests in human biomechanics, cognition, and neurophysiology with his passion for dance to improve socio-emotional and musculoskeletal health.
Graduate TraineesLydia Wu
Graduate Student, Rice University
Lydia Wu is a graduate student in the Psychological Sciences Department at Rice University within the Health Psychology & Behavioral Medicine and Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience research interest groups. She graduated from Wheaton College (IL) in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Psychology. With a research background in behavioral neuroscience and health psychology, she enjoys learning about the biology that underlies psychological phenomenon. She is specifically interested in mechanisms underlying mental and physical health outcomes, with particular research interests in neuro-immune interactions and the role that inflammation, stress, and psychosocial factors play in the onset and exacerbation of psychological disorders such as depression.
Postdoctoral Fellows Graduate Trainees Students