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 Center for Human Adaptive Systems and Environments (CHASE).
Much of my work has been in the area of rhythm processing and the ability that humans exhibit in synchronizing their actions to external auditory and visual events. In recent years, I have been focused on the role of the motor system in music perception and cognition.
- 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)
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
University of California Service:
- 2021-22 Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP), UC Merced
- 2021-22, Member, University Committee on Academic Personnel (UCAP), UC Systemwide Senate
- 2020-21 Vice-Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel (CAP), UC Merced
- 2019-21 Faculty equity advisor, UC Merced
- 2019-20 Member, Academic Council, UC Systemwide Senate
- 2019-20 Member, Academic Planning Council, UCOP
- 2019-20 Chair, Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs (CCGA), UC systemwide Senate
- 2019-20 Member, Teaching evaluation Task Force (TETF), UC Systemwide Senate
- 2019-20 Member, UCPB Task Force on Agriculture and Natural resources, UC Systemwide Senate
- 2018-19 Vice-Chair, CCGA, UC Systemwide Senate
- 2016-17, Member, CCGA, UC Systemwide Senate
- 2016-17, Chair, Graduate Council, UC Merced
- 2015-16, Vice-Chair, Graduate Council, UC Merced.
- 2015-21, Chair, Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Research Ethics, UC Merced.
- 2015-20, Chair, Cognitive & Information Sciences graduate program.
- Academic Editor, PLoS ONE (2011-present)
- Editorial Board, Human Movement Science (2011-present)
- Panelist, National Science Foundation (several panels 2006-present)
- Ad hoc: reviewer for several journals in Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, Physics and Biology.
Current and Recent Grant Support:
National Science Foundation, CMMI 1744637 (8/2017-8/2019)
Workshop on the Dynamic Interaction of Embodied Human and Machine Intelligence. Funded by M3X - Mind, Machine, and Motor,
and Perception, Action & Cognition.
PI: Ramesh Balasubramaniam, Total costs: $49,995
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.