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.
Dr. Francisco Sepulveda
Dr F. Sepulveda is a Reader in Brain-Computer Interfaces 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 120 peer reviewed publications (>100 in neural engineering) and is a member of the Peer Review College of the EPSRC.
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. Diego Perez-Liebana
Diego Perez-Liebana is a Lecturer in Computer Games and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Essex (UK), where he achieved a PhD in Computer Science (2015). He has published in the domain of Game AI, with interests on Reinforcement Learning and Evolutionary Computation. He organized several Game AI competitions, such as the Physical Travelling Salesman Problem and the General Video Game AI competitions, held in IEEE conferences. He's now a member of the Essex Brainstormers team, which participates in the BCI Race as part of the Cybathlon 2016 competition.
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
Senior Research Officer
Ana Matran-Fernandez is a PhD student in the BCI-NE laboratory in the University of Essex. She obtained her undergraduate degree as a Telecommunications Engineer from the Universidad de Valladolid (Spain) and her MSc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Surrey (UK). She started her PhD in Essex in 2012, and her research (supervised by Dr Riccardo Poli) focuses on collaborative BCIs and visual search. She visited NASA JPL as a fellow researcher in 2013. She is working as an senior research officer for the DeTOP project, developing algorithms for the control of a prosthetic hand through signals from neural electrodes.
Dr. Xinyang Li
Senior Research Officer
Xinyang Li received the Ph.D. degree from NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, in 2014, and the B.E. degree from Beihang University, China, in 2010. She is working on the NEVERMIND project and her current research interests include brain computer interface, machine learning and neuro-technology.
Davide Valeriani
Senior Research Officer
Davide Valeriani obtained a BSc degree in 2010 and an MSc in 2013 (both summa cum laude) in Computer Engineering from the University of Parma, with a main focus on robotics. Davide joined the Essex BCI group in 2013, when he started his PhD with a project on collaborative Brain-Computer Interfaces for group decision making, under the supervision of Prof. Riccardo Poli and Dr. Caterina Cinel. He submitted his thesis in February 2017 and concurrently started working as a post-doctoral researcher in the MURI project. In the past, he has worked as Graduate Laboratory Assistant for many courses and has been a member of the Essex Brainstormers. In 2015, Davide co-founded EyeWink Ltd, a startup which aim is to develop and commercialise a wearable device that allows users to control their smartphones with eye winks and blinks. He served as programme chair of the 7th Computer Science and Electronic Engineering Conference (CEEC'15). He is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a student member of IEEE and EMBS.
Dr. Qichun Zhang
Senior Research Officer
Qichun ’Kit’ Zhang was awarded PhD degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from University of Manchester, UK, in 2016. He also received MSc in Control Theory and Control Engineering in 2010 and BEng in Automation in 2008, respectively, from Northeastern University, China. Before joining the BCI-NE group as a senior research officer at the University of Essex, UK, he was an academic visitor at Control Systems Centre, University of Manchester from 2011-2013. His current research interests include stochastic systems, probabilistic coupling analysis, decoupling control, performance optimisation and computational modelling for peripheral nervous systems. He has published widely in the above areas. He holds the membership of IET, IEEE and EMBS.
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.
Dimitrios Andreou
MPhil Student
Dimitrios Andreou received a joined honors BSc in Computing and Mathematics from Essex University, UK. He visited NASA-JPL (California, USA) for a month, worked as a GLA/GTA (Graduate Laboratory Assistant, Graduate Teaching Assistant respectively) for 2 years in the School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering of Essex University in the large scale software development and extreme programming module. He is currently pursuing an MPhil on Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs), mainly working on brain signal temporal derivatives and clustering.
Youngjae Song
PhD Student
Youngjae Song is a PhD student interested in the problem of onset detection. This is one of the main issues to overcome to move self-paced BCIs outside the lab.
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).
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.
Christian O’Connell
PhD Student (External Member)
Christian O'Connell received his BSc (2013) and MSc (2014) in Computer Science from the University of Essex. His Master's thesis focused upon the topic of feature extraction using neural networks in motor imagery domains. Since 2014 he has been a PhD student at the University of Cambridge and continues to work in the field of signal processing.