Sandeep Avvaru Receives MnDrive Graduate Fellowship in Neuromodulation

Doctoral candidate Sandeep Avvaru has been awarded the MnDrive Graduate Fellowship in Neuromodulation. The fellowship recognizes and advances excellence in graduate training by providing financial support to outstanding doctoral students specializing in neuromodulation.

Sandeep’s doctoral research focuses on the analysis and introduction of changes in neural activity to enhance cognitive control through deep brain stimulation (DBS). To that end he is working on identifying and understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive control. Currently, neuropsychiatric disorders are among the leading causes of disability in the United States, with one in five American adults experiencing some form of  mental health disorder. Yet existing treatments have low effectiveness; some estimates mark them as low as fifty percent. Sandeep hopes that with better knowledge of the cognitive control process will come improved and more effective treatment options. 

Having always been fascinated by the inner workings of the brain and the nervous system, research in the area seems a natural fit for Sandeep. His doctoral research topic is supported by his broader interests in signal processing, computational neuroscience, neuromodulation and machine learning, all of which have helped him unravel and understand how the brain functions. He is conducting his research under the guidance of Prof. Keshab Parhi from ECE, and Prof. Alik Widge from the Department of Psychiatry.

Sandeep earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar in 2013 in Electrical Engineering. He went on to earn his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in spring 2019 and is currently a doctoral candidate in Prof. Keshab Parhi’s research group.

The purpose of the MnDRIVE Graduate Fellowship in Neuromodulation is to promote excellence in graduate training by providing funding to outstanding doctoral students specializing in neuromodulation. This fellowship is funded by the Brain Conditions area of the Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) initiative. It expands the University’s partnerships with industries and will bring neuromodulation innovations to market, benefiting patients and advancing the state’s economy.

The fellowship award is for one year and supports the recipient financially while they are  engaged in the research training program described in their application.