At the Intersection of Neuroscience and Immersive Computing: Transient Membrane Behavior

Friday, October 13, 2017, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm PDTiCal
11th floor large conference room
This event is open to the public.
AI Seminar Interview talk
Erick Moen

Understanding how biology responds to stimuli is one of the most challenging, yet fundamental, questions in biophysics. An in-depth analysis of this relationship would allow for the development of more powerful biomedical tools and could provide a roadmap for more intelligent artificial systems. To conduct this type of research, though, we need tools to ask increasingly incisive questions of the cell membrane, the epicenter of cell function. In light of these needs, this talk will describe a nonlinear optical measurement technique developed to rapidly detect subtle changes in cell membrane structure. The method is tested in multiple cell lines and the in vitro results are validated against a complementary model of the cell membrane. The measurement technique is then used to explore transmembrane potential and investigate the mechanisms underlying neuronal stimulation and inhibition. The talk will conclude with an overview of concurrent efforts to develop a multi-faceted virtual reality (VR) suite for immersive scientific computing and data visualization. While this work is broadly applicable to a number of fields, the approach is used here to help better understand results from in silico studies of dynamic membrane behavior. As time allows, I will discuss how specific aspects of this research could be improved by machine learning approaches and how the projects can be extended from the single-cell level to networked systems. 

Personal Bio:

Erick Moen is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with both the Integrated Media Systems Center (IMSC) and the Center for Cyber-Physical Systems and the Internet of Things (CCI) at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. He is multidisciplinary scientist who develops new ways to measure and understand biology through nonlinear optics, high-performance computing, and virtual reality. In addition to his primary lines of research, his interests extend to resonator physics, sensor technology, and artificial intelligence.

Dr. Moen received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from USC. He also holds M.S. degrees in both Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Last year, he was named a Ming Hsieh Institute Scholar (awarded to the top students in the department). Dr. Moen also serves as a consultant for the Entertainment Technology Center at USC – holding the mirror for an organization helping Hollywood “see around corners.” Prior to entering graduate school, he converted a Porsche 914 into a rolling testbed for electric vehicle research and spent time in industry as a principal of a building design and engineering firm.


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