General Exam Completed!

Today I successfully presented my dissertation proposal to my thesis committee and passed my general exam, giving me the oh-so-prestigious title of Ph.D. Candidate–sometimes known as ABD (all but dissertation). Big thanks to my labmates who came to support me in reaching this milestone, and especially for catching some pictures of my presentation (see my game-face below).




Paper Accepted at NER 2017

A paper I coauthored with my labmate Brady Houston about our work on novel classifier-based closed-loop DBS for essential tremor has been accepted for publication at the 8th International IEEE EMBS Neural Engineering Conference (NER 2017); he’ll be presenting our work in Shanghai, China!

B. C. Houston, M. C. Thompson, J. G. Ojemann, A. L. Ko, H. J. Chizeck, “Classifier-Based Closed-Loop Deep Brain Stimulation for Essential Tremor,” 8th International IEEE EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, May 2017, Shanghai, China.

Presentation at Neuroscience and Ethics Engagement Symposium

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending and presenting in an symposium on ethics integration, “Neuroscience and Ethics Engagement: From Gray Matters to an NSF Engineering Research Center,” at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE). Discussion focused on need areas for neuroethics outlined in the Gray Matters report from the President’s Bioethics Commission, NIH funding opportunities in neuroethics, and the approaches of two research centers engaged in neuroethics work, the CSNE at the University of Washington and the National Core for Neuroethics at the University of British Columbia. The symposium also highlighted different modes of ethics engagement such as embedded ethicist and ethics consultation models.


My presentation, “Incentivizing Ethics Engagement for Engineering Students,” was both a reflection on my experience as a member of a team with embedded ethicist Tim Brown and a response to Erik Fisher from Arizona State University, who presented on “Ethicists as Part of a Research Team.” I discussed factors that would lead engineering graduate students to engage in ethics collaborations, with an emphasis on ways that faculty and institutions could incentivize that engagement by providing time and monetary resources; classes and workshops to teach ethics skills; and career advice and role models demonstrating transdisciplinary career opportunities for engineers in neuroethics.



Two Conferences in Two Weeks! IEEE Systems, Man & Cybernetics and Grace Hopper Celebration

Despite my love for Seattle, this October treats me to not one but two conferences! Last week I had the pleasure of attending IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics in Budapest, Hungary (pictures below, obviously). I was presenting my paper titled “Demonstration of a Stable, Chronic Brain-Computer Interface Using a Deep Brain Stimulator.” In addition, I served as a representative for IEEE’s Society for Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) at the IEEE Brain Initiative Meeting, and as co-chair for two sessions at the BMI Workshop. I saw a lot of cool research and got to learn all about the IEEE standards development process during the BMI Standards Workshop on 10/9. For a conference I had never attended, the community was incredibly welcoming and I really hope I can be involved for 2017. Lastly, I can’t forget to recognize my many sources of travel funding: IEEE Brain Initiative Student Travel Grant, IEEE SMC’s Student Travel Grant, and CSNE Student Leadership Committee’s Travel Grant. I live by your support!


This week I’m back in the US to attend Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2016 in Houston, Texas. After attending last year I had a better idea of what to expect, but I’m no less excited to be surrounded by nearly 15,000 talented women in CSE and related fields. Today’s keynote by Dr. Latanya Sweeney from Harvard was an inspiring blend of ethics, policy and CSE, and later I attended a great session about interrupting bias in my daily life.

I’m also thrilled to have the opportunity to present my workshop for students, “Talking About Your Best Self: Speaking Highly of Your Own Work and Accomplishments,” which I developed with my collaborator Harini Gunabalan. I had a really positive response when I piloted the workshop with my own department, and the prospect of sharing my ideas with up to 60 young women is really incredible. More credit is due to my travel funding for getting me here: the UW EE department is so supportive of their women attending GHC every year, and additionally the Graduate & Professional Student Senate at UW.

The rest of the conference is sure to be a blast–those who didn’t manage to get a ticket can tune in to the live stream here!


Workshop for students accepted to Grace Hopper Celebration 2016

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to attend Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) 2015 in Houston, Texas. I attended as a GHC Scholar and I found the conference to be an incredibly supportive community of talented, successful women with great advice and resources to offer.

This year I am thrilled to be an accepted presenter at GHC 2016 (again in Houston), where my original workshop “Talking About Your Best Self: Speaking Highly of Your Own Work and Accomplishments” will be featured as a Student Opportunity Lab (SOL). SOLs are geared towards equipping students with “practical techniques and tools that can help them achieve their career goals.” I know that presenting and owning my very real achievements in a compelling way is something I still tackle on a daily basis, and I’m excited to help other women grow more comfortable with this essential skill. Many thanks to my co-speaker, Harini Gunabalan, who worked with me to put the proposal together and will be leading the workshop with me at GHC 2016.


Paper accepted to IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics

I’m excited to share that our paper, “Demonstration of a Stable Chronic Electrocorticography-Based Brain-Computer Interface Using a Deep Brain Stimulator” (M. C. Thompson, J. Herron, T. Brown, J. Ojemann, A. L. Ko, H. J. Chizeck) was accepted to the IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, which will be in October 2016 in Budapest. I’ll be presenting my work at the Brain-Machine Interface Workshop going on during the main conference. Many thanks to my co-writers for helping me with this accomplishment!


Presenting poster at the 6th International BCI Meeting in Asilomar, CA

This week I’ve had the pleasure of attending the 6th International BCI Meeting in Asilomar, California, and presenting a poster for my abstract titled “Demonstration of a Chronic Brain-Computer Interface using a Deep Brain Stimulator.” I’ve seen tons of really incredible research, but highlights for me including both improvements for motor-imagery training paradigms from Camille Jeunet and a recommendation to rethink how imagined versus attempted movement are used in BCIs from Jason Farquhar. I was fortunate to receive an NSF Student Travel Award from the conference organizers to support my trip. Here I am with my poster:


Unrelated to all the cool research, Asilomar is stunning!