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John Seymour

TBBL is laser focused on the translation of implantable sensing and stimulating technology in humans, including brain-computer interfaces. More broadly, my interests are in the area of advanced neurotechnology for clinical use or neuroscience. My research has addressed topics including reduced tissue reactivity and improved electrical, mechanical, and optical characteristics of bioelectronic devices. I earned my B.S. with Honors in Engineering Physics from (the) Ohio State University and my M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan. My industry experience includes working at Battelle Memorial and later NeuroNexus as a Principal Scientist. I also served as research faculty in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan prior to joining UTHealth Houston.

Outside work and family, I’m trying to improve my mountain biking, fishing, photography, gardening skills. A long way to go!


Amada Abrego Mancilla

Lab Manager, Lab Engineer

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I joined the lab in January 2020 as a lab Engineering Assistant. During my Master’s in Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rice University, I studied the vestibular contributions to the navigational circuit at Dora Angelaki and David Dickman’s labs. I also received a Master’s in Bioengineering from Rice University and a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Monterrey Tech, Mexico.

When not doing science, I love to bake and pamper my dogs.


Jace Willis

Postdoctoral Fellow

I hold a B.S. in Physics with Honors from Tarleton State University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University (2023). My interest in neural interfaces began with an retinal implant exhibit in 2005 and has since expanded to encompass a wide range of experimental and clinical neurotechnology. I strongly believe that advancing neural interfacing is crucial to the development of effective therapies for a number of neurological diseases and disorders. At TBBL, I am thrilled to utilize my expertise in physics and biology to optimize custom neuroelectronic applications through computational brain and device modeling.


Beyond my professional pursuits, I find joy in hiking state and national parks, engaging in strategy games, honing my miniature painting skills, and practicing marksmanship.

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Xiaokang Bai

Research Engineer

I completed my BS in Physics from China and later came to the US to finish my MS study in Bioengineering from Northeastern University. Before joining TBBL, I had multiple research and working experiences from university labs, medical device company, and hospital. With the strong interests in developing novel BioMEMS devices and systems by adopting microfabrication and nanotechnology approaches, I feel excited to conduct scientific demonstrations and engineering realizations in nascent brain science areas with animal models and clinical trials. I am applying my physics modeling and simulation, data analytics, signal processing, and other computing skill to achieve the above goals.


Priyan Pathirana

Graduate Student, Rice

I grew up in Albany, NY but studied at Boston University where in 2021, I received my B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. My work has taken me as far as Tanzania designing devices to assess the quality of Malarial lateral flow assays under Dr. Muhammad Zaman. Most recently I worked at Beth Israel Lahey Hospital with Dr. Ara Nazarian Boston studying dynamic soft tissue mechanics of tendons. I am excited to be here as a Rice University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering MS/PhD student studying novel nanofabrication techniques and translational neural electrodes.

Outside of my work, I love cooking all types of cuisines and playing guitar!


Ryan Shores

ECE Graduate Student

 I have come to TBBL after spending 7 years doing neuroscience research in animal models in New York City. In 2019 I completed my BA in Neuroscience at Columbia University and have since done multiple independent projects using techniques such as in vivo calcium imaging and synthetic receptor models. During this time, I discovered my passion for neural electronics which ultimately brought me to TBBL. I intend to use my background as an integrative neuroscientist and my extensive experience in small animal neurosurgery to become a neural engineer that can contribute on both ends. Outside of the lab I enjoy coding, tinkering, playing music and training in the martial arts.

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Efrain Brizuela

Neuroelectronics Technician

I served 5 years active duty in the United States Marine Corps. My military occupation specialty was ground electronics maintenance. I learned Basic and advanced electronics through the Marine Corps Communications Electronics School. My work would include anything from micro soldering, radio programming, or prototype testing with civilian engineers. I’m excited to contribute my skills and experience with electronics to advance neurotechnology.


I’m an adrenaline junky when not at work. I love working out, hiking, rock climbing, and anything adventurous. I’m Currently working on getting my sky diving license!

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Ian Rundle

Undergraduate Researcher, Rice

I am a junior undergrad working towards a B.A. in computer science and mathematics at Rice University, and I joined the lab in 2022. I work with the data subgroup to develop algorithms to optimize electrode placement in the brain. From working here, I have learned so much about neuroscience and physics while honing my software development skills.


In my spare time, I love going on runs, skating around campus, hiking, and racing drones. I also work on software development for the Rice rocketry club and Rice Electric Vehicle.

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