Meet Our Students


Ashlyn Aiello received her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering (Nanotechnology) and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University. She currently conducts research in the Neuromotor Recovery Laboratory with Dr. Lou Awad to develop and evaluate personalized rehabilitation technologies for walking after neurological injury. Her work focuses on the feasibility of adaptive functional electrical stimulation neuroprosthesis and how this technology alters walking mechanics and energetics in people affected by stroke.
Andy Alvarez Andy Alvarez is a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program and a research assistant within the Neuromotor Recovery Lab. In the lab, he leads the motion capture data acquisition and subsequent biomechanical analysis. His interests are focused on the biomechanics of gait and rehabilitation interventions. Before starting at BU, he received his B.S. and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Miami, where he conducted research in orthopedic biomechanics and motion capture technologies as part of the Biomechanics Research Lab.
Maria Ayoub received her BS in kinesiology from the University of Maryland, College Park and spent her undergraduate years as a research assistant in the UMD Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Laboratory. She presently works in the Motor Development Lab with Dr. Simone Gill, studying motor development and performance both across the lifespan and among populations exhibiting motor and cognitive differences. Maria’s current work focuses on the interaction between motor performance and cognition during dual-task walking in autistic and non-autistic children. She plans to utilize Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) to
quantify cognitive effort during various dual-task conditions.
Hosea Boakye received his BSc in Physical Therapy and MPH from the University of Ghana. He possesses a decade of clinical experience, during which he worked as a physical therapist at LEKMA Hospital and Nyaho Medical Centre, both located in Accra, Ghana. During this time, his focus was on musculoskeletal rehabilitation with special interest in knee osteoarthritis. Hosea works with his mentor Dr. Deepak Kumar, in the Movement and Applied Imaging Lab to design physical and mental health interventions for adults with knee osteoarthritis as well as digital health.
Chiwhan Choi earned a degree in physical therapy at Korea University and graduated with a master’s degree in public health from The Catholic University of Korea. He worked for more than ten years at Seoul National University Hospital as a physical therapist and is a licensed physical therapist in New York. He currently works in the Motor Development Lab with Dr. Simone Gill. His research interest is characterizing the biomechanical basis of daily activities for the population with balance impairments and how they adapt to the various environmental context in the real world to understand underlying motor control processes. He is a member of the American Society of Biomechanics (ASB).
Jie Fei is a Rehabilitation Sciences Ph.D. student in the Neuromotor Recovery Laboratory, mentored by Dr. Lou Awad at Boston University. Jie received his master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, he has around two years of industry experience in medical devices at Johnson & Johnson. Jie is passionate about developing and validating advanced rehabilitation strategies and tools tailored for individuals affected by neurological diseases that result in movement disorders. This involves the integration of various neurorehabilitation technologies, including soft robotic exosuits, functional electrical stimulation (FES), inertial measurement units (IMUs), electromyography (EMGs), 3D motion capture systems, video games, and more. In his leisure time, he enjoys movies, DIY projects, hiking, and exploring unknown worlds.
Dr. Arti Gandhi received her B.S in Psychology from Michigan State University and her Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from BU. She works with Dr. Daniel Fulford in the Approach, Motivation, Participation (AMP) lab where she investigates social functioning impairments among people with psychosis. Her work focuses on using ecological momentary assessments (EMA) to examine how social motivation deficits unfold in daily life among people with Schizophrenia. Her long-term goal is to improve the efficacy of smartphone applications for remote treatment and assessment of social functioning impairments in this population. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, exercising, and discovering as many green spaces throughout Boston as she can.
Laura Keegan received her BA in psychology with a minor in cognitive sciences from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. During her undergraduate career she worked as a research assistant in the UMass Boston Baby Lab. She is currently a first year PhD student working in the Motor Development Lab with her mentor Dr. Simone Gill. Laura’s research interests include understanding the intersection of motor development and cognition in neurotypical and neurodiverse infant populations.
HyunJoon Kim received his BS in sports science and MA in human movement science from Incheon National University. During his master’s program, HyunJoon focused on meta-analyses, bimanual force control in individuals with neurological impairments (i.e., aging, stroke, and substance use disorder), and non-invasive brain stimulation. Currently, he works in the Development, Experience, and Motor Recovery Lab with Dr. Claudio Ferre. His goals are to develop activity-based rehabilitation protocols and to explore optimal brain stimulation protocols to improve the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy.
Yeook Kim is an occupational therapist in South Korea and the US. She is a PhD student working with Dr. Gael Orsmond on a project for family-based future planning in autism adulthood in the Families and Autism Research Lab (FAR). Yeook earned her MS and CScD in Occupational Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh. She is passionate about working with at-risk children and youth; she has volunteered in developing countries and with individuals with disabilities, refugees, and immigrants. Her research interests include understanding the dynamic interactions between families of autistic individuals and their contextual factors across cultures and promoting their social participation in their community.
Avery Kratzer received her B.S.E. in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Princeton University. She currently works with Dr. Cara Lewis in the Human Adaptation Laboratory. Her research interests focus on the relationship between bone morphology and movement patterns in female athletes.
Sharada Krishnan received her BS and MA in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She works with Dr. Gael Orsmond in the Families and Autism Research Lab on research related to school-based services and the transition to adulthood for autistic youth. Sharada’s research interests focus on strengths-based approaches to promote psychological well-being in autistic individuals across the lifespan.
Soyoung Lee graduated from Yonsei University in Seoul, where she earned her B.S and M.S in physical education & sports rehabilitation. Her background in kinesiology led her to explore joint and gait biomechanics in people with knee osteoarthritis in BU, working under the mentorship of Dr. Deepak Kumar in the Movement Applied Imaging Laboratory. Her current research interest is to explore the central mechanism of chronic pain and its relation to altered motor function and gait biomechanics in the knee osteoarthritis population.
Ria Rao received her undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering from Texas A&M University. She was a 2019 Venture for America fellow and worked as senior project manager at Mobility Designed, a mobility assistance startup, for the duration of her fellowship. She currently works with Dr. Cara Lewis in the Human Adaptation Lab at Boston University. Ria is interested in studying how solutions to lower limb loss or impairment such as prosthetic devices or walking aids affect hip pain and gait for device users.
Nirali Shah is a physical therapist from India, and is currently a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at Sargent. She works with her mentor, Dr. Deepak Kumar, in the Movement and Applied Imaging Lab to examine the use of digital health for adults with knee osteoarthritis and to investigate the use of mindfulness for chronic pain in knee osteoarthritis. She has actively been a part of two research projects that investigated (i) Factors related to physical activity in inactive adults with knee osteoarthritis, and (ii) Mindful walking intervention to improve walking quality and quantity in adults with knee osteoarthritis. Nirali’s long-term goals are to advance clinical practice in physical therapy through her research. She received the 2019 Ryan Summer Scholar Award at Sargent, and her work has been accepted for presentation at 2019 Osteoarthritis and Cartilage International Conference in Vienna.
Dr. Regina Sloutsky is a research physical therapist and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD student in the Neuromotor Recovery Laboratory, mentored by Dr. Lou Awad. She earned her BS in Health Sciences and doctor of Physical Therapy degrees from Sargent College, and practiced as a clinician across the healthcare spectrum for several years. Her academic and clinical background fueled her passion for translational research and developing rehabilitation technologies and interventions for neurologic patient populations. Regina is currently investigating the effects of a soft wearable robotic exosuit on cortical activity and walking automaticity for individuals post-stroke.
Xiwen Su received her BS in biological sciences from Beijing Normal University and her MS in kinesiology with a public health minor from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Currently, she is working in the Development, Experience, and Motor Recovery Lab (DEMR), with Dr. Claudio Ferre. Xiwen is interested in evaluating the benefits of various types of early interventions during childhood for children with or at risk of neuromuscular disorders.
Alexa Trolley-Hanson received both her B.S and M.S. degrees in occupational therapy from the University of New Hampshire. She has over fifteen years of clinical experience in pediatrics, and adult mental and behavioral health. Alexa also worked as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the University of New Hampshire’s Occupational Therapy program where she helped develop OT programs in community mental health and recovery centers. She is currently working in the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation with Dr. Marianne Farkas, Dr. Kim Mueser, and Dr. Susan McGurk. Alexa’s research interests include utilizing implementation science and cognitive remediation to help people with serious mental illness achieve their recovery goals.
Ruoxi Wang received her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and her master’s degree in Precision Engineering from the University of Tokyo. Before joining BU, she worked in Asama-Yamashita Lab for Service Robotics at UTokyo, where she conducted research on quantifying neuromuscular and biomechanical changes in sit-to-stand during subacute stroke rehabilitation using musculoskeletal modelling, movement simulation, and clinical experiments. Ruoxi is interested in human biomechanics in fundamental movements and neural basis for motor control under pathological conditions. She is currently a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program, working with Dr. Louis Awad in the Neuromotor Recovery Lab.
Evan Yarnall is an Ph.D. student in the Development Experience and Motor Recovery Lab. His lab work focuses on investigating motor development in infants with non-invasive brain imaging such as fNIRS and TMS. He has a B.S. in Kinesiology and a minor in neuroscience research from Temple University in Philadelphia. He previously worked as a clinical research coordinator and research technician and conducted outcomes research on treatments for a variety of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions, as well as evaluated digital medicine tools for sleep quality.

 Fang-Yu Syu received her MS in physical therapy and assistive technology from Nation Yang-Ming University. Currently, she is working in the Human Adaptation Laboratory with Dr. Lewis at Boston University. Her current research interest is to explore the impact of hip pathology and sports injuries on lower extremities biomechanics in athletes.

Dr. Jenna Zajac received her bachelor of health science and doctor of physical therapy degrees from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. Currently, she works at the Center for Neurorehabilitation with Dr. Terry Ellis. Her work includes leading research assessments, treating clinical patients, and participating in the development and facilitation of research studies. Jenna’s research interests include neuroplasticity and motor learning in human movement and the translation of evidence-based rehabilitation strategies into the clinic and community settings. Currently, Dr. Zajac is investigating the effects of music on enhancing walking ability in persons with Parkinson disease. In addition, she has presented at national conferences including the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting and International Movement Disorders Congress. Her long-term goal is to utilize wearable sensors and movement analysis to implement ecologically valid interventions aimed to improve the performance of elite runners and other athletes.