I am a Professor of Cognitive and Information sciences at the University of California, Merced. UC Merced is the tenth and newest campus of the University of California system. I also serve as the Director of the newly planned Center for Human Adaptive Systems and Environments (CHASE).
I received my PhD (1996-2000) at the University of Connecticut in the dynamical systems approach to human perception, cognition and action with Prof. Michael Turvey . Following my doctoral degree, I was a post-doctoral fellow (2000-2002) at the University of Montreal with Prof. Anatol Feldman, working on Neurophysiological approaches to movement organization. From 2002-2004, I received advanced training in Cognitive Neuroscience and action dynamics as a research fellow in the Behavioral Brain Sciences Centre at the University of Birmingham, UK with Prof. Alan Wing.
Before joining UC Merced, I was an Associate Professor at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada with appointments in Neuroscience, Kinesiology and Psychology (2008-2013). Prior to this appointment, I was an Assistant Professor and University Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, Canada at the School of Human Kinetics. I was also affiliated with the Center for Neural Dynamics and Computation (2004-2008).
- MSc (Tech) BITS, Pilani, India (1992).
- PhD (Experimental Psychology), University of Connecticut (2000).
- Intensive course in Transcranial Brain Stimulation, BIDMC, Harvard Medical School (2014)
- Visiting Fellowship fMRI, Martinos Imaging Centre, Harvard University (2007)
- Connectionist modeling Summer School, Oxford University, UK (2002)
- Cognitive Neuroscience Summer Institute, Dartmouth College, NH (1999)
- Santa Fe Institute Complex Systems summer school, Santa Fe, NM (1998)
Academic Employment history:
- 1996-2000: Graduate Research Assistant, University of Connecticut.
- 2000-2002: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Neuroscience, University of Montreal, Canada.
- 2002-2004: Research Fellow, Behavioral & Brain Sciences Centre, University of Birmingham, England.
- 2004-2007: Assistant Professor, Centre for Neural Dynamics, University of Ottawa, Canada
- 2008-2013: Associate Professor, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
- 2010: Invited Professor, University of Montpellier, France (on sabbatical/research leave from McMaster).
- 2013- present: Professor, Cognitive and Information Sciences, University of California, Merced.
Honors & Awards:
- 2004: Ig Nobel Prize in physics
- 2007: Dean's award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Ottawa.
- 2007: Provost's award for Excellence in Education, University of Ottawa.
- 2008, 2009, 2012: McMaster Student Union Nominee for Excellence in Teaching, McMaster University
- Academic Editor, PLoS ONE (2011-present)
- Editorial Board, Human Movement Science (2011-present)
- Panelist, National Science Foundation (several panels)
- Ad hoc: reviewer for several journals in Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, Physics and Biology.
Current and Recent Grant Support:
National Science Foundation, DGE - 1633722 National Research Traineeship Award (NRT) (9/2016-8/2021)
NRT-DESE Intelligent Adaptive Systems: Training computational and data-analytic skills for academia and industry
PI: Ramesh Balasubramaniam; Co-PIs (Chris Kello, Stefano Carpin, Suzanne Sindi)
Total costs: $ 2,921,681.00
National Science Foundation, BCS -1626505 Major Resources & Instrumentation (MRI) (9/2016-8/2019)
Acquisition of robotic tools for studying brain, behavior and embodied cognition
PI: Ramesh Balasubramaniam; Co-PIs (Michael Spivey, Stefano Carpin)
Total costs: $261,152 (NSF award = $182,806.00).
National Science Foundation, BCS-1460633 (6/2015-5/2018).
(UC Merced PI: Ramesh Balasubramaniam)
Collaborative Research: Brain Mechanisms of Rhythm Perception: The Impact of the Motor System on Auditory Perception.
Partner Institution: UC San Diego, Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience, John Iversen & Scott Makeig.
Total costs: $599,816 (UC Merced costs: $233,051).
Blum Center for Economic Development; Awarded June 2014-2016.
Rhythmic skills and reading: an intervention study in the San Joaquin valley, $30,000 (PI: Ramesh Balasubramaniam)
University of California, Office of the President: Research Catalyst Award $300,000 (PI: Scott Makeig, UCSD)
NETWORK FOR RESEARCH ON MUSIC EXPERIENCE AND COMMUNICATION (UC San Diego, Merced, Davis, Los Angeles).
National Science Foundation, SMA-1251685,
Workshop and Summer School on Dynamics of Language and Music, $49,520 (total), (PI: Chris Kello), 2012-13.
Description of Research:
I study the neural and behavioral basis of motor coordination. My research seeks to understand how the nervous system can assemble two or more moving body parts (say the eye and hand) and bring them into a meaningful relationship with the environment. Action is the most fundamental way we have of interacting with our environments. A vast range of human endeavors including speech, writing, art, music, even pressing a key in a cognitive science experiment, involve the motor system. Thus any theory of cognitive science would be incomplete without a nuanced understanding of how actions are organized.
The primary aim of my research is to understand the organization of human action, with the eventual goal of developing a comprehensive theory of embodied cognition. My research program uses methods from complex dynamical systems, control systems engineering, robotics, neuroimaging and statistical physics to study human movement production at the Cognitive, Neurophysiological and Ecological levels of analysis.
Actions are organized at many time-scales and distributed spatial levels. From the activity of a single neuron to the global behavior of the brain working in concert with the body, there are interaction dominant dynamics at multiple levels. My research program is geared towards understanding the functioning of the motor system at all scales of experimentation and analysis. This line of work borrows from principles of complex systems, where the behavior of a system of many components is significantly different, yet simpler than the behavior of the components themselves.
My research employs sophisticated tools from robotics and 3D motion capture combined with brain imaging technologies. While most of the experimental work is fundamental in nature, I have also worked with patients with neurological impairments and participants with expert skills. The experiments are typically also complemented by computational models of the underlying cognitive and behavioral processes.
You can find more specific information about the nature of the work we do by browsing through the papers section on this website.