Prof. Riccardo Poli
BCI Lab Coordinator

Riccardo Poli is a full professor in School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering of the University of Essex where he is the director of postgraduate research studies, the coordinator of the BCI-NE Lab and the UK team leader in our recent US-UK MURI grant (see projects section for more info). Prof Poli is a biomedical engineer (by first degree, PhD and subsequent research) and an expert in genetic and evolutionary computation, and more generally machine learning and computational intelligence. He has over 320 refereed publications (and two books), of which 60+ in bioengineering, BCI and related areas and the rest in computational intelligence. Prof Poli is an advisory board member of Evolutionary Computation and was an associate editor of the Journal of Genetic Programming and Evolvable Machines published by Springer, of the Applied Soft Computing Journal published by Elsevier and of Swarm Intelligence published by Springer, until early 2014 when he resigned from these roles to free up research time. Prof Poli has been chair of numerous international conferences, a tutorial/keynote speaker at 30+ international conferences and Summer schools, a programme committee member of approximately 80 international workshops and conferences and a reviewer for 15 international journals. As PI and Co-I he received funding for approximately €5M in his career. According to Google Scholar he has well over 20,000 citations and an H-index of 54. His work on collaborative BCIs has recently appeared in the New Scientist, the Financial Times magazine and many others.

Prof. Francisco Sepulveda

Francisco Sepulveda is a full Professor of Neural Engineering and Intelligent Systems. He was the coordinator for 10 years and a co-Founder of the Essex BCI group. He has been involved in efforts that have secured c£2.5million in external funds from the UK’s Research Councils, HEFCE, and MTHR, including receiving an EPSRC First Grant for early career researchers. Since 2004, the Essex BCI-NE group has become the largest in the UK and has attracted more funding than all other UK-based BCI groups combined. Prior to joining the University in 2002, Dr. Sepulveda was an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Aalborg University, Denmark, where he was involved in projects on the use of implanted cuff electrodes for the extraction of afferent signals related to joint angles and foot pressure, and in pattern recognition applied to implanted EMG for control of hand prostheses. He received his PhD Summa Cum Laude in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Campinas, Brazil (with a fellowship at the Bioengineering Unit, University of Strathclyde, UK) in 1996, an MSc (with Distinction) in Bioengineering from Clemson University (USA) in 1990, and a BSc in Nuclear Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1988, having received the ‘The Outstanding Student’ award at graduation. His PhD was on the development of an artificial neural controller for FES-generated gait in individuals with spinal cord injury, which gave him the best paper award at the World Congress on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering in 1994. In the UK, he has been very active in public dissemination of science, with many appearances in the media and public venue. Dr. Sepulveda has more than 160 peer reviewed publications (>120 in neural engineering), is a member of the Peer Review College of the EPSRC and of the editorial board of Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Dr. Luca Citi

Dr Luca Citi's primary research focus is on the application of machine learning and statistics to neural signal decoding. He has a laurea degree (corresponding to a MSc) in Electronic Engineering with major in Biomedical Engineering from Università di Firenze (Italy). He joined the Essex BCI lab for the first time in 2004 as a visiting student. Under the supervision of Prof Riccardo Poli, he worked on his master's thesis about an ERP-based brain-computer interface mouse. In 2009, he obtained his PhD under the supervision of Prof Silvestro Micera and Dr Oliver Tonet at IMT Lucca and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa, Italy). The topic of the PhD was the development of an algorithm to translate the neural activity recorded from the nerve residuum of an amputee into control commands for a robotic hand prosthesis. Afterwards, he worked for three years as post-doctoral researcher in the “Neuroscience Statistics” laboratory led by Prof Emery Brown at MGH / Harvard Medical School and MIT (Cambridge, USA), where he accumulated a wealth of experience on the point-process analysis of biological signals, including neural spike trains. He worked with Dr Riccardo Barbieri on the study of heart-rate variability and computational physiology. They entered the “PhysioNet 2012 challenge”, a machine learning competition about the prediction of in-hospital mortality, and their algorithm came first and second in the two events organized. Since 2012, Dr Citi is a lecturer in computational intelligence at the university of Essex and a member of the Essex BCI lab. In 2014, Dr Citi was selected to participate to the 2nd Heidelberg laureate forum where young researchers met Abel, Fields and Turing laureates for a week of scientific exchange.

Prof. John Q. Gan

John Q. Gan received the BSc degree in electronic engineering from Northwestern Polytechnic University, China, in 1982 and the MEng degree in automatic control and the PhD degree in biomedical electronics from Southeast University, China, in 1985 and 1991, respectively. He is a professor in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering of the University of Essex. His research interests include neurofuzzy computation, machine learning, machine intelligence, brain-computer interface, robotics and intelligent systems, pattern recognition, signal processing, data fusion, computer vision and multimodal human-machine interaction. He has coauthored a book and published more than 200 research papers. He is an associate editor for the IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics—Part B and serves on the editorial board of other journals. He is a senior member of the IEEE.

Dr. Ian Daly

Ian Daly received the M.Eng. degree in Computer science and the Ph.D. degree in Cybernetics from the University of Reading, Reading, U.K. Between May 2011 – 2013 he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Laboratory of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria, where he researched Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for individuals with stroke and cerebral palsy. He was then a post-doctoral researcher in the University of Reading until October 2016 when he joined the University of Essex (and the BCI-NE lab) as a Lecturer. His research interests focus on BCIs, nonlinear dynamics, machine learning, signal processing, bio-signal analysis, meta-heuristic search techniques, and connectivity analysis in the EEG and fMRI. He is also interested in the neurophysiological correlates of motor control, emotion, and stimuli perception and how they differ between healthy individuals and individuals with neurological and physiological impairments.

Dr. Alba Garcia Seco de Herrera

I am a Lecturer at the School of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering (CSEE) at the University of Essex, I held a postdoctoral fellow at the National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health (NLM/NIH), USA. I received my doctorate degree in Computer Science from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, in 2015. I received a Master's in Science in Telemedicine and Bioengineering from the Technical University of Madrid in 2009 and a Diploma in Mathematics at the Complutense University in Madrid in 2008.

Dr. Dimitri Ognibene

Dr Dimitri Ognibene has joined University of Essex as Lecturer in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence in October 2017. In February 2015 he received from University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain) and FP7 Marie Curie Actions COFUND Grants Programme a UPFellows Research Grant worth €150k awarded to one winner over more than one hundred participants on the topic of Embodied Bounded Rational Agents, focusing on the development of algorithms for  intelligent social agents with bounded computational and sensory resources.  Before he has been developing algorithms for active vision in industrial robotic tasks as a Research Associate (RA) at Centre for Robotics Research, Kings College London; devising Bayesian methods and robotic models for attention in social and dynamic environments as a RA at the Personal Robotics Laboratory in Imperial College London; studying interaction between active vision and autonomous learning in neuro-robotic models as a RA at Institute of Cognitive Science and Technologies of the Italian Research Council (ISTC CNR). He also collaborated with Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging (UCL) to address the exploration issue in the currently dominant neurocomputational modelling paradigm. Dr Ognibene has also been Visiting Researcher at Bounded Resource Reasoning Laboratory in UMass and at University of Reykjavik (Iceland) exploring the symmetries between active sensor control and active computation or metareasoning. Dr Ognibene presented his work in several international conferences on artificial intelligence (IJCAI), adaptation (SAB), and development (ICDL) and published on international peer-reviewed journals. Dr Ognibene was invited to speak at the International Symposium for Attention in Cognitive Systems (2013 and 2014) as well as in other various neuroscience, robotics and machine-learning international venues. In 2017, he organised a workshop on Active Vision in Human Robot Collaboration at ICIAP2017. Dr Ognibene is Associate Editor of Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, and has been part of the Program Committee of several conferences and symposia.

Dr. Caterina Cinel
Research Fellow

My research interests include attention, multisensory perception, memory, brain-computer interfaces and assisted living. I obtained my first degree in Cognitive Psychology from University of Padova (Italy), where I started doing neuropsychology research based on single-case studies (aphasia and number processing). I then continued my studies at the University of Birmingham (UK), first as an Erasmus student, then with a master degree in Cognitive Science and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology. During that time (1996-2001) I investigated feature binding in visual and cross-modal perception in normal and brain-damaged population. Since 2002 I work at the University of Essex as a research assistant. Here I am currently investigating mechanisms of retrieval and forgetting in the Psychology Department and I am also a member of the BCI group (since 2004). With the BCI group I have contributed at the development of P300-based BCIs (BCI speller and mouse) and am now engaged at exploring collaborative BCI based on EEG and other physiological measures. I am also involved in a study investigating the possibility of reducing Parkinson’s disease tremor through brainwave entrainment.

Dr. Ana Matran-Fernandez
Artificial Intelligence Industry Fellow

Ana obtained her BEng + MEng in Telecommunication Engineering from the Universidad de Valladolid (Spain) and her MSc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Surrey (awarded Distinction). Ana joined the BCI-NE lab in 2012 to do her PhD in the topic of collaborative BCIs under the supervision of Prof. Riccardo Poli. As part of her PhD she visited NASA JPL as a fellow researcher. She worked as a senior research officer in the H2020 DeTOP European project before joining IADS as an AI Industry Fellow. In 2015, Ana co-founded EyeWink Ltd, a start-up that aims at commercialising a wearable that allows users to control other devices using eye winks and blinks. Ana is also an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Dr. Saugat Bhattacharyya
Senior Research Officer

Saugat obtained his bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from West Bengal University of Technology, India in the year 2009 followed by post-graduation in Biomedical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India in the year 2011. Later, he was awarded his Ph.D. for working in the topic of Brain-Computer Interfacing and Robotic Control from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India in the year 2015. During the tenure of his Ph.D., he visited the DEMAR project team, INRIA, Montpellier, France in 2014 for a period of 9 months as part of the Erasmus Mundus-Svaagata Project Fellowship. Subsequently, he joined the BCI-LIFT project, CAMIN project team, INRIA, Montpellier, France at the end of 2015 as post-doctoral researcher. He is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the Decision Making Lab, BCI-NE Group, School of Computer Science & Electronics Engineering, University of Essex. He is also an associate member of the Institute of Engineers (India).

Dr. Haider Raza
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Haider Raza received the bachelor's degree in Computer Science & Engineering from the Integral University, India, in 2008, the master's degree in Computer Engineering from the Manav Rachna International University, India, in 2011, and the PhD degree in computer science from Ulster University, Derry~Londonderry, U.K., in 2016, PhD title "Adaptive learning for modelling non-stationarity in EEG-based brain-computer interfacing". He worked (Dec 2015 to June 2016) as Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) for both Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Electroencephalography (EEG) systems at University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK. Later, he worked (July 2016 to Nov 2017) as a Research Officer (Data Science) in the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research, Swansea University Medical School, U.K. Since, Nov-2017, he is currently a Research Fellow at Institute for Analytics and Data Science, Essex University UK. His research interests include machine learning, non-stationary learning, BCI for neuro-rehabilitation, domain adaptation, and deep learning.

Dr. Alberto Garcia-Vellisca
Senior Research Officer

Alberto Garcia-Vellisca became an Electronic Engineering at the Complutense University of Madrid and obtained a PhD in Biomedical Technology from the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid. In 2016, he took part in the event "Multistability and Tipping: From Mathematics and Physics to Climate and Brain" at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden (Germany). He joined the BCI-NE Lab in 2017 as a postdoctoral researcher in the SenseBack project. He is currently working as a senior research officer for the DeTOP project.

Dr. Tasos Papastylianou
Senior Research Officer

Tasos is a clinician and computer scientist turned biomedical engineer; his research interests are a direct result of his combined clinical and academic experience. He obtained his DPhil in 2017 at the University of Oxford in the field of biomedical engineering and biomedical image analysis, under the 'CDT in Healthcare Innovation' programme; his thesis dealt with the validation and uncertainty of fuzzy and probabilistic segmentations in medical imaging. He also holds a Neuroscience BSc, a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery (MBChB), and a Masters in Advanced Computer Science (Machine Learning and Data Mining) from the University of Bristol. He has worked as a clinician in the NHS in a variety of disciplines. During his DPhil he co-founded Sentimoto Ltd, a company dealing with novel biomedical signal analysis and health monitoring from mobile and wearable devices aimed at older adults. He is currently working on the Nevermind Project at the University of Essex, looking at the role of biological signals in the management and prediction of depression secondary to a range of primary clinical conditions.

Dr. Jacobo Fernandez-Vargas
Senior Research Officer

Jacobo Fernandez Vargas received the B.Sc. and M.S degrees in Computer Science from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain). Then, obtained his PhD in Engineering from Chiba University (Japan) in 2018 with a thesis based on the prediction of the position of position of the hand using multimodal EEG+EMG recordings. Since then, he has done a postdoc and collaborated with Tsukuba University, Tokyo University and Kyoto University (Japan), focused on the detection of Sense of Agency from fMRI and EcoG recordings. From 2018 he works in the University of Essex as senior research officer on studies based on detection of the decision making using EEG.

Amir Jahangiri
Research Officer and PhD Student

Amir Jahangiri is currently a Research Officer and a PhD student at Essex. Previously he obtained an MSc in RF/ Microwave Engineering with distinction at Essex with a project entitled "Theory, design, manufacturing, testing, and troubleshooting of a 3.2 GHz smart patch antenna". He also has a BSc in Optoelectronics and Communication Systems.

Miguel Capllonch
PhD Student

Miguel Capllonch is a PhD student doing research on modelling the interaction between electronic implants and peripheral nerves in neural implants. His research is within the EPSRC project 'Enabling Technologies for Sensory Feedback in Next-Generation Assistive Devices' (a.k.a. SenseBack).

Milan Rybar
PhD student

Milan Rybar received his master degree in Theoretical computer science with a focus on artificial intelligence in 2015 and his bachelor degree in General computer science in 2012 from Charles University in Prague. He also spent one year at the University of Paderborn in Germany while working on his master thesis via Erasmus exchange program. After his graduation, he joined startup SpaceKnow in its early stage in October 2015 as machine learning researcher and software engineer where he focused on deep learning methods for semantic segmentation in satellite imagery. He left SpaceKnow at the end of 2017 to focus more on scientific research. He started his PhD at the University of Essex in April 2018 under the supervision of Dr. Ian Daly and Prof. Riccardo Poli. He works on a brain-computer interface based on identifying activity in the brain related to semantic concepts.

Eirini Christinaki
PhD Student

Eirini Christinaki holds a B.Sc in Applied Informatics & Multimedia (2013) and M.Sc in Informatics & Multimedia (2016) from Technological Educational Institute of Crete (Greece). She is currently a PhD student in Computer Science at University of Essex and her research focuses on Machine Learning and Biomedical Signal Processing. In particular, she works on transfer learning techniques for online learning and prediction from sparse and multimodal biomedical data. Her PhD is funded through the NEVERMIND Horizon 2020 project.

Andrei Iacob
PhD Student

Andrei Iacob is a PhD student jointly part of the IGGI doctoral training centre and the BCI-NE lab. The purpose of his research is enhancing human-game interaction by using brain signals in order to recognize the user’s affective state (affective computing – emotion detection / recognition) or his/her intentions (brain controllers – SSVEP, P300). He hopes to discover brain signal indicatives of certain affective states, and ways games can adapt to these states. Andrei is a Romanian student who finished his Computer Science degree at the University of Essex before joining IGGI. During his high school he participated in a number of coding competitions, the most notable being the “Inventica” contest where his team achieved first place, with a security system based on face recognition.