Postdoc Highlight: Ryan Downey

Ryan Downey, Ph.D.

Lab: Human Neuromechanics Laboratory

Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL

Degree: Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering

Year you became a Gator: 2005

From which institutions do you hold degrees?
University of Florida (BS, MS, PhD) and Politecnico di Milano (MS)

Research focus:
My research focuses on mobile brain imaging. I record electrical brain activity with high-density EEG during whole body movement. I then use novel signal processing methods to analyze the data and learn how the human brain controls movement. As part of a large collaborative grant called Mind in Motion, I am currently studying the mobility decline of adults over 70 years old. My aim is to see how well I can explain and predict mobility decline in older adults by examining their brain activity as they walk over terrain of varying difficulty levels. Not only will this research lead to greater insight into how the brain controls walking, but it will also help us quantify the effectiveness of interventions that try to improve the neural control of walking.

What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the thought that one day I will be able to take all of the experience and tools I have gained over the years and apply them to directly help people with physical disabilities. I ultimately would like to develop new technology that assists individuals as they perform activities of daily living, actively monitors their progress, and responds in a way that promotes continued improvement.

What attracted you to UF BME?
While I loved every minute of being a student at UF, the main reason I returned was because my current advisor, Dr. Daniel Ferris, was doing ground breaking research in mobile brain imaging that no else was doing and I desperately wanted to be a part of it.

What I love about Gainesville:
I love the wonderful group of people I get to work with every day.

Honors & Awards:
NIH Clinical Loan Repayment Program Award; Best Dissertation Award; O. Hugo Schuck Best Paper Award; IEEE Control Systems Society Technology Award