Staff Spotlight

(2017) INC Staff

INC's First Annual Hike N' Lunch Event

INC's First Annual Hike N' Lunch Event - Joint Symposium de-brief admin meeting and lunch.

INC Staff

INC staff at the Torrey Pines Glider Port overlooking the Pacific Ocean


(2016) Lily Marapao

Lily Marapao, Human Resource Manager, is retiring from UCSD after 31 years

Lily MarapaoLily began working at UCSD in 1985 in the Accounting Office (now Business and Financial Services) as Secretary to the Accounting Officer Frank Cvar. She transferred to the Payroll Division after that, and then joined INC in 2001 as the first administrative career employee hired under former MSO John Staight.

Lily has seen INC go through many changes in the 15 years that she has been here. "I am so proud of what INC has done and how its existence has made such an impact on research and the multi-disciplinary collaborators it has successfully brought together. It has been a privilege to have been associated with INC and its many prestigious scientists and researchers in the field of neural computation. Managing the administrative facets of a growing research unit within UCSD is both humbling and challenging at the same time, and has enabled me to further my career. For this opportunity I am very grateful. I will miss the friends I have made at INC and being part of a great team!"

Lily's retirement plans include a month long Southeast Asia tour (Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia), taking art and philosophy classes, volunteering for a literacy program, and sculpting.

Happy retirement Lily!


(3/7/16) Rhonda McCoy

INC 2015-16 Fall Quarter Gold Star Award Winner

Rhonda has been chosen as the 2015-16 Fall Qrtr, INC Gold Star Award Recipient. Rhonda is the SCCN Sponsored Projects Analyst. She was selected because:

"Rhonda is an example of extraordinary determination and strong work ethic. She goes out of her way to make sure INC is successful. She is constantly working on proposals for the SCCN, and often with only days of advance notice. While many of the INC staff are gone for the day, Rhonda is often behind her closed door working diligently ...

She also goes out of her way to provide exceptional customer service to co-workers. She gives 200% on every proposal submission, helping to increase chances of awards for her department. Honestly, if it wasn't for her dedication and persistence, there would be a a lot of employees and researchers without funding."

She is a true roll model for all at INC.

Congratulations Rhonda!




(04/10/15) Khushbu Gokalgandhi

INC 2015 Winter Quarter Gold Star Award Program Winner

Khushbu has been chosen as the 2015 Winter Qrtr, INC Gold Star Award Recipient.
Khushbu is the INC Administrative Assistant.
She was selected due to her cost savings approach and team effort.
Khushbu always has a positive attitude, can do spirit and willingness to help anytime with all tasks ranging from the smallest to the most difficult and time sensitive. All with a smile on her face.

She is a true roll model for all at INC.

Congratulations Khushbu!





(11/10/14) Luisa Flores

INC 2014 Fall Quarter Gold Star Award Program Winner

Extra Projects:

Luisa Flores was nominated by her peers and awarded the 2014 INC Gold Star Award Winner for the Fall Quarter.

Luisa Flores is a fund manager for INC. Luisa primarily manages the NSF Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center award as well as the NIH Training Grant.
Luisa's peers voted her as the summer quarter Gold Star Winner with the statement that Luisa goes above and beyond the call of duty on a regular basis, helping teammates with extra projects and pulling together complex budgets quickly and accurately. Staff also commented that Luisa always stops whatever she is doing in order to help in any way, always cheerful in the office. Always a pleasure to work with.

Congratulations Luisa!





(08/19/14) Kate Shanks

INC 2014 Spring Quarter Gold Star Award Program Winner

Extra Projects:

Since I have been here, Kate has taken on the WHOLE organization of crucial, large events: All Hands Mtg, NSF Site Visit, and now she is the lead coordinator for the Dart Neuro Science Seminar Series. She has taken on these large projects, in spite of all the other 'meatballs' on her plate, and has done an amazing job organizing a team, event logistics, and day-of planning and prepping. Both AHM and NSF SV went off seamlessly, with Kate being friendly, outgoing and helpful to both staff, and all the PI's as well...from arranging their travel, accommodations, transportation, to making sure they felt at home and comfortable once they were at the event/meeting. She was able to anticipate all their needs, and handled all logistics and planning! Kate does everything with a smile and no complaining. She is a work horse and does her job effectively, efficiently and always happily!



(01/10/13) Gabriela Cruz

Newsletter editor Tomoki Tsuchida sitst down with INC's new staff member, Gabriela Cruz.


Bridging neuroscience and occupational science

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you decided to work with Dr. Scott Makeig?

I'm from Chile, and my background is in occupational therapy. Occupational therapy focuses on helping people to re-engage with their meaningful activities and life roles, which may have been affected because of social, physical, psychiatric or neurological problems. Currently, I'm dedicated to study cognitive rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury.

My first contact with electroencephalography (EEG) was during my master studies at the Universidad de Chile. My thesis was about sleep and memory in rats. However, my main interest is cognition in humans and how to complement rehabilitation and clinical work with neuroscience. I went on to the University of Glasgow in Scotland to pursue a PhD with Jonathan Evans, who is a really good neuropsychologist and works specifically in rehabilitation of executive functions while utilizing new technologies. He is very focused in applying his research to clinical work. I decided to go there, because I thought he could help me bridge neuroscience and clinical work. I started my first EEG experiments with humans in Kerry Kilborn's laboratory. EEG is very suitable for clinical work, and I think it has a big potential for rehabilitation.

I met Scott Makeig at a workshop in 2011. I knew about him before, because I had read his papers and liked all the work he had done. I talked to him about some experiments that I wanted to do but couldn't because of the limitations of the EEG technology I was using at Glasgow.

In a classical EEG setting, you have to sit in front of a computer, trying not to move except for the fingers – a situation very different from real life. I told him I would like to experiment in a more realistic setting, and he said that would fit very well with MoBILAB, the Mobile Brain/Body Imaging laboratory being developed at UCSD .

How long have you been at UCSD?

I arrived in December 2012, so I have been here for a little more than a month. So far, I've been working with a group of people, including Makoto Miyakoshi and Tomas Ward. The first experiment we're trying is a very simple one with stroke patients, to see if it's possible to use the MoBILAB for clinical population. After that, the idea is to start more complex experiments that involve the study of memory, executive function and motivated actions. I'm mainly interested in prospective memory, which is what my PhD is about.

What is prospective memory?

Prospective memory is the ability to execute an intended intention after a delay. For instance, we're having this interview now, but you may have to make a phone call later. So you store that intention now, and later, at an appropriate moment, you have to be able to retrieve that intention and perform it. It involves the ability to remember the content of an intention and identify the proper moment to perform that intention, like a mental to-do list. Some people with brain injuries struggle with this, although it can happen to healthy people as well, particularly when there is too much to do. My plan here is to analyze the data I collected in Glasgow in a prospective memory paradigm and start new experiments that explore neural correlate of prospective memory function in ecological conditions.

How long are you planning to be at UCSD, and how do you like San Diego?

I will be here until August this year. I'm in the third year of the four-year PhD program, so I have to go back to Glasgow and finish.

I really like San Diego so far. The city is spread out, so the first thing I realized was that I needed a car to get to anywhere from where I'm living. I have a bicycle now, though, so I cycle to most places around university. It's great, because there's a lot of nature, and you don't really feel like you're inside a city. I love the beach and the fact it's always sunny. It's quite different Scotland; Scotland is beautiful, but it's also very cold and dark, especially in the winter.

What is your plan after the PhD? I don't know yet, but I would like to continue to connect research and clinical work. I'll maybe do a post doc abroad and then I'll go back to Chile to contribute to the development of occupational therapy and neuroscience in my country. Most of the research in occupational therapy comes from the United States and Europe. I would like to support the research in my country, particularly in the field of cognitive rehabilitation.

I'm also interested in continuing to close the gap between experimental research and daily life. Although memory and executive functions are essential in daily activities, clinical and psychological tests often do not really measure the performance in real life. For example, you may be able to perform a memory test and do very well, but you may be very bad at remembering daily events – or vice versa. I think that assessments and experimental approaches commonly used in neuroscience should start to be more ecologically valid. Because most experiments need to be very controlled, they're often very simplified real-life phenomena; but for the same reason, they're also very different from real life. In contrast, in the MoBILAB, we're experimenting in an environment involving movement and more real-life situations. I think that is the future for EEG studies.




(01/04/12) Cheolsoo Park

Cheolsoo Park came to INC from Imperial College, London to do a joint postdoc with Howard Poizner (INC) and Todd Coleman (Biomedical Engineering). His Ph.D. research was on brain computer interfaces and neuroscience, in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His interests involve the following areas:

- Biomedical Signal Processing
- Brain Computer Interface (BCI)
- Neuroscience
- Multivariate Signal Processing
- Time-Frequency Analysis
- Statistical Signal Processing

(01/25/11) He Crane Huang

Announcing!  TDLC has a new Graduate Researcher.  Crane received her masters from the UCSD mathematics department, where her primary focus was statistics. Currently, she is a third year Cognitive Science graduate student. Crane is interested in understanding computational models of optimal decision making in dynamic environments and associated brain processes.

(01/25/11) Diosalyn Alonzo

Announcing!  TDLC has a new REU Student  Diosalyn is a fourth year double-major in Biochemistry/Cellbiology and Psychology, who recently joined the lab within the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program of the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC). Diosalyn in interested in the interaction between covert brain processes and overt behavior, and is currently working on EEG, movement, and decision-making.


(10/20/2010) Chanda L. Carey

Announcing!  INC now has a dedicated Webmaster/Newsletter Editor. And with the San Diegan’s MA from the Art Center College of Design plus pursuit of a PhD in art history/theory/criticism, Chanda Carey has big plans. Among them, to deepen her familiarity with INC research and researchers.
Chanda is herself a researcher, in UCSD’s Center for Computing Research in the Arts, and her dual office is in Calit2. As her research crosses many cultures and disciplines, the gregarious and articulate Chanda is highly sought as a speaker. Earlier this month she presented a paper in Italy.
Here Chanda’s goal is to bring a tighter focus to both the esthetic and practical design of the INC website and, together with the INC team, to develop up-to-the-minute newsletter content.
Please say “Welcome, Chanda” and send your news or suggestions:

(09/28/2010) Jamie Lukos

Jamie Lukos has recently joined INC after completing her PhD at Arizona State University under the direction of Dr. Marco Santello in the Neural Control of Movement laboratory. Her dissertation focused on the human decision making processes underlying grasp planning, anticipatory control of digit placement and force coordination, and motor learning of complex hand-object interactions. By studying the sophisticated human hand and its intricate, yet purposeful behaviors, we can gain an insightful glimpse into the planning and execution of the sensorimotor system. Now working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Howard Poizner’s laboratory at UCSD, Jamie looks to share her expertise of the behavioral neuroscience of human grasping with the INC community to help enhance our understanding of the neural mechanisms responsible for motor control and learning. Jamie will be studying the motor behavior of healthy individuals as well as in clinical populations (i.e., Parkinson’s disease and stroke patients) to understand human brain function with and without neural deficits with the use of state-of-the-art neural imaging techniques, virtual reality environments, eye tracking devices, robotic manipulandum, and motion capture systems.

(08/30/2010) Lily Marapao

Lily Marapao came to UCSD in June of 1985 starting as the Executive Secretary to the Assistant Vice Chancellor - Financial Services, which is now Controller - Business & Financial Services (BFS), before transferring to the Payroll Division of BFS as a Payroll Specialist at the Sub 2 Desk where she managed payroll for all of UCSD's positive-time reported employees. In September 2001, she transferred to the Institute for Neural Computation and was the first staff member to be hired at that time as an Administrative Assistant. At that time, INC only had about 10 members, and today she manages all human resources for INC/CRL/KIBM which is, to date, about 90 staff/faculty/students - and still growing! She also is the secretary for UCSD's Pan-Asian Staff Association. She stays busy spending time with her two daughters, riding on a Harley, music and traveling (and writing reviews for Trip Advisor).

Lily is 2nd from left on our staff retreat.

(07/20/2010) Christian Kothe

Christian Kothe came to the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience (SCCN), INC, from the Berlin Technical University to work on using brain/body measures to better understand the nature of the distributed brain dynamics supporting our behavior and experience, and to learn how to better use these measures in computer-based systems for various purposes, including monitoring the cognition of operators of complex systems, medical diagnoses, home health care monitoring, etc. Such systems, often called brain-computer interface (BCI) systems, are the subject of increasing study here, in Europe, and elsewhere.

Christian is preparing to release a Matlab toolbox, BCILAB, for building and using BCI models for various purposes. BCILAB will inter-connect with EEGLAB, the Swartz Center's software environment for electrophysiological data analysis that is now used in many laboratories around the world. BCILAB will be the latest of over two dozen diverse EEGLAB plug-in tools and toolboxes that have been made available by authors from many laboratories. Christian is paying particular attention to making BCILAB comprehensive and as easy to use as possible. He is also designing it to be easily extensible so as to include new computational methods and measures as they are developed at INC and elsewhere.

Recently, Christian demonstrate the use of BCILAB in conjunction with the DataRiver software by Andrey Vankov (SCCN, INC) to design and run a BCI system that classified the EEG signals of a 'brainist' who successively imagined the feeling of several musical intervals (two-tone chords) during a public performance. The BCI correctly classified 5 of 5 imagined emotional states, thereby prompting a computer to play the imagined sounds as a part of a live musical composition by SCCN director Scott Makeig in a performance at the Fourth International Brain-Computer Interface Meeting in Carmel.