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Principal investigator

Giovannucci, Andrea. Dr. Giovannucci is an Assistant Professor in Neural Engineering at the UNC/NCSU department of Bioengineering. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Giovannucci was a machine learning data scientist at the Flatiron Institute (Simons Foundation) and a postdoctoral fellow (experimental neuroscience) at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Giovannucci obtained his PhD in artificial intelligence from the Autonoma University of Barcelona and the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of Bellaterra (IIIA-CSIC), Spain. Dr. Giovannucci is affiliated with the UNC/NCSU joint Bioengineering department, the Closed-loop Engineering for Advanced Rehabilitation (CLEAR) and the UNC Neuroscience Center.




Heffley, William (Jake!). Dr. Heffley is a post-doc at UNC. He studied Neuroscience at Baylor University. Dr. Heffley obtained his PhD from the Duke University Neurobiology department where he studied the function of cerebellar climbing fibers. In the Giovannucci lab, Dr. Heffley will use all-optical methods to investigate how brain-wide circuits interact with the cerebellum to mediate behavior.





Graduate students


Cai, Changjia. Changjia obtained his master in Statistics and Operations Research from UNC in 2019. Prior coming to UNC, Changjia obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics at Fudan University, China. Since January 2019, he has been working as a research intern in the NEL lab. Given his background in statistics, he focuses on voltage imaging analysis, spike deconvolution and computational neuroscience.




Research technicians

Tabet, Jimmy. Jimmy Tabet is a Civil Engineer from NCSU that is interested in deploying unsupervised and supervised machine learning algorithms to analyze behavior and neural activity. His ultimate goal is to obtain an Md-PhD to deploy new devices and tools to enhance human health.





Undergraduate students


Khire, Maddison. Maddison is a rising sophomore at UNC Chapel Hill. He is majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. He is interested in using neural networks to understand motor learning and brain functionality. His ultimate goal is to further human health with the use of technology.






Cynthia, Dong. Cynthia is a rising senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Chemistry. She is interested in using computational methods to help scientists better understand the inner workings of the brain. In the laboratory she is applying machine learning and data science to the analysis of fluorescence imaging data.





Lab alumni


Martinez Lopez, Susana. Susana earned the title of Associate and Associate in Engineering from Wake Technical Community College in 2018. She is currently studying to earn a Bachelor in Science degree on Biomedical and Health Science Engineering  and a Minor in Neuroscience, through the joint program of UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. She is expected to graduate in the Spring 2021.



Kolagani, Ramya. Ramya Kolagani is a rising senior at UNC Chapel Hill. She is majoring in Neuroscience with a double minor in Chemistry and Anthropology. She is interested in utilizing knowledge gained from motor learning mechanisms to eventually apply to and test drug therapies.





Paladugu, Sudheesha. Sudheesha Paladugu is a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill. She is majoring in Health Policy and Management in Gillings School of Global Public Health with minors in Chemistry and Biology. She is interested in studying cerebro-cerebellar loops that underlie learning signals and behavior.





Bennet, Catherine. Catherine Bennett is a rising senior at UNC Chapel Hill. She is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and has minors in Neuroscience and Chemistry. She is interested in the neural networks that underlie learning and how this information can be applied in clinical therapies.




Labrozzi, Gabrielle. Gabrielle Labrozzi is a rising senior at UNC Chapel Hill. She is majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Neuroscience. She is interested in rehabilitation engineering with an ultimate goal of working with children and prosthetics. Now graduate student in the biomedical engineering department at Case Western University.




Ringelberg, Nicholas. Nick is a student in the MD/PhD Program at UNC School of Medicine. He completed a BA in Biological Sciences at Cornell University, and subsequently held a position as a post-baccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health. Nick is broadly interested in the mechanisms of learning and decision-making, and how these circuits are disrupted in mental illness. When he isn’t in the lab or acquiring endless medical knowledge, Nick sings in a chamber choir and participates in a running club where he tries his best. Now PhD student at UNC in the Philpot Lab.



Turner, Joseph. Joseph is an undergraduate student in Biomedical Engineering at North Carolina State University. As a part of UNC’s Summer Of Learning And Research (SOLAR) program, Joseph has been provided the opportunity to work in the NEL lab.




Rucho, Ross. Ross Rucho is a rising senior at UNC Chapel Hill. He is double majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science. He is interested in the mechanics of neural systems and how they can be manipulated to improve medicine and healthcare. Ultimately, he wants to understand the fundamental components that give rise to intelligent behavior and consciousness.



Li, Yongjia. Yongjia Li is a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill. She has double major in Computer Science and Math, with a minor in Cognitive Science. She’s interested in combining neuroscience with computer science, and also open to many other interdisciplinary fields yet to explore.