Grace Hwang,PHD

Program Manager, Neurological Health and Human Performance

Specialization: Noninvasive label-free techniques for stimulating and recording neural activity at high spatiotemporal resolutions


Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

11100 Johns Hopkins Road

Laurel, MD 20723


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I study noninvasive methods for functional neural measurements with the goal to drive the development of brain-computer interface (BCI) applications for both healthy people and clinical populations.

The primary focus of this research is the optical scattering that accompanies electrophysiological signals like local field potentials (LFPs). Changes in scattering properties due to brain activity are known as “fast intrinsic optical signals” (fIOS) and these signals have been demonstrated to reflect neuronal activity in vitro and in vivo. Invasive recordings, such as penetrating electrodes in patients with intractable neurological diseases, have been used to detect critical LFP signatures such as modulation of high-gamma frequencies (60-150Hz) that reflect tapping, grasping, and other behaviors that support advanced BCI applications. However, optical correlates of neural activity allow us to combine the temporal resolution of LFP recordings with the broad applicability and ease-of-use of optical imaging to noninvasively track collective neuronal dynamics in real time. The development of fIOS recording technologies requires very high spatiotemporal resolution and high sensitivity, which current methods have not yet fully realized. My research will advance optical (recording) and focused ultrasound (stimulation) technologies by achieving functional mapping in in vitro slice preparations and in vivo animal behavioral experiments. 


To advance neuroscience discovery by uniting neuroscience, engineering and computational data science to understand the structure and function of the brain.