satish nair


Mizzou Engineering camps allow students to explore STEM opportunities

Mizzou Engineering hosted six summer camps designed to showcase opportunities in STEM.


REU: Students learn to use computational resources across disciplines

Undergraduates from across the country learned how to utilize computational resources in their respective fields during a 10-week program at Mizzou.


Robotics Challenge, summer camps inspire younger students to study STEM

More than 150 elementary students from across Missouri built robots out of LEGOs and gained a better understanding of engineering during the Mizzou Robotics Design Challenge held in April.

Graphic of computerized brain

Undergraduates present brain research at Neuroscience 2021

Mizzou Engineering students joined neuroscientists from around the world last month to exchange ideas and new discoveries about the human brain.


Unlocking the mysteries of the brain

Researchers in the Neural Engineering Lab at Mizzou Engineering are collaborating with neuroscientists to develop computational models aimed to boost our understanding of how the human brain works — a massive feat considering there are roughly 86 billion neurons in each of our heads.

A highly renowned researcher took a few minutes out of his busy schedule this week to address graduate students in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. Satish S Nair is an EECS professor, director of the Neural Engineering Lab and one of the first researchers to begin using engineering principles to better understand the complex circuits of the brain. During a monthly EECS Graduate Student Association (GSA) virtual meeting, Nair gave an overview of his work, then provided students with some tips to boost their own productivity. Participating in the EECS organization is a good first start, he said, as it develops leadership and other practical skills. Nair also recommended minimizing distractions while working or even relaxing. “Distractors disrupt processes in the brain,” he said. “If you have 10 programs running, how can you focus on any one? If you think about that in terms of your laptop, if you open a lot of stuff, it crashes. That translates to your own brain.” Taking walks, enjoying hobbies and avoiding upsetting media are also keys to living a happy, productive life, he said. “We don’t talk about that enough, and we don’t value it enough.” Lightening Talk Nair was the featured “Lightening Talk” guest at this month’s EECS GSA meeting. Modeled after popular TED Talks, these presentations give faculty, students and invited guests an opportunity to share interesting research, projects or hobbies, said Lia Howe, outgoing president of EECS GSA. Nair Following his formal presentation, attendees had the opportunity to tap into Nair’s brain and discuss his work in the context of their own projects. For instance one student wanted to know how studying brain models compares to his research around the autonomous systems that power drones. The brain is more complex, but researchers are getting closer to starting to understand its hardware and its operating system, Nair said. He is currently working on a project analyzing data from a collaborator who inserts high-density neural probes  into rodent brains to solve the mystery. The probes’ sensors can monitor close to 300 neurons and records the spikes each neuron emits. Similar to radar technology, researchers are using those signals to get more information about what actually happens in the brain when, say, a rodent is deciding whether to risk potential danger in exchange for the reward of a food pellet. “Psychology says based on a behavior, we believe something is going on, but now we are able to get data,” he said. “But what language are neurons talking? What is their hardware? How are they configured? We’re in the beginning stages of understanding that.” In the meantime, he encouraged engineering students to continue to look to psychologists and psychology books for answers, and potential interdisciplinary projects in the area. 'GEECS' The EECS Graduate Student Association—informally known as the “GEECS”— helps foster professional and social relationships among those pursuing master’s and PhD degrees. Meetings are held monthly. Prior to social distancing restrictions, the group also held special events such as trivia nights and fundraisers. This semester, the organization improvised and offered game nights virtually, Howe said. This week was Howe’s last meeting as president. She’s graduating this month with a Master of Science in Computer Engineering. Trevor Bajkowski, who is working on a PhD in computer science, will transition from serving as vice president to president this coming semester. Howe encourages all EECS graduate students to get involved in the organization. “EECS GSA, or GEECS, is a great group to connect with other graduate students and faculty,” she said. “It is a low-commitment organization, where we want everyone to have fun. GEECS loves to meet new students.” Interested in studying neural engineering? Consider earning an undergraduate certificate in Neural Engineering-Signals or Neural Engineering-Systems or a graduate certificate in Neural Engineering-Signals, Systems & Machine Learning.

Professor Shares Insights into Neural Engineering

A highly renowned researcher took a few minutes out of his busy schedule this week to address graduate students in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. Satish S Nair is an EECS professor, director of the Neural Engineering Lab and one of the first researchers to begin using engineering principles to better understand the…

A wastewater treatment plant. Researchers hope to predict and promote algae growth at plants such as this one to purify water sources.

Mizzou Engineering Team Develops New Model to Predict Algae Growth

Two Mizzou Engineering departments have teamed up to develop a new computer model that will predict algae growth. The research has the potential to increase algae production—and that could lead to cleaner water supplies.

A graphic image showing circuits within the brain. Mizzou now offers certificates in neural engineering.

Mizzou Engineering Offers Certificates in Neural Engineering

Neural engineering—the study of the brain’s complex circuits—is a growing field leading to major medical breakthroughs. Now, students can tap into the field with certificates in neural engineering at Mizzou Engineering.

A graphic shows interaction between a human and an AI advisor

Mizzou Engineers Develop New AI Advisor

Want your smartphone to find a restaurant? No problem. Want artificial intelligence to help you plan a healthy diet on a grocery budget of $400 a month? You’re on your own. But research around artificial intelligence happening at Mizzou Engineering may change that. Associate Professor Prasad Calyam and his students from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science are developing an AI advisor that could help smartphones talk you through the tough questions.

Model of a skull and brain

Feeling anxiety? Reverse-engineering the brain could help

The anxiety you may be feeling right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic stems back to our prehistoric need to survive. Biologists have explored this principle for decades. Those breathing techniques that your mobile app, HR office or best friend might be recommending? They can help—psychology studies have proven this. But what’s happening inside your brain during those deep breaths? That’s a problem for engineering.