New Investigator Projects

ORCATECH's New Investigators include doctoral-level graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and early career investigators.

Early Career Investigator Projects

Daniel Austin, Ph.D., is a recent graduate of the OHSU Department of Biomedical Engineering. As a research instructor in the Department of Neurology, his current work focuses on fusing multiple data streams captured in a person’s own home (walking speed, sleep, time spent out-of-home, computer use, mobility, etc.) into a cohesive behavioral model to assess current health levels and predict future adverse health outcomes. Two current projects include: 1) Assessment of a person’s current pain level and affect from a behavioral model, and 2) Understanding the behavioral correlates of older adults’ transitions to advanced care (e.g., when a person transitions from living independently to having a nurse regularly visit the home) and assessing the risk of future transitions from change in behavior over time. A full list of Daniel's publications can be found on Google Scholar. 

Zach Beattie, Ph.D., is a recent graduate of the OHSU Department of Biomedical Engineering. As a senior research associate in the Department of Psychiatry, Zach is researching the use of force sensors placed under the supports of the bed to unobtrusively detect sleep apnea and other health characteristics.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Projects

Adriana Seelye, Ph.D., currently a postdoctoral fellow with ORCATECH, is completing a project entitled, "Constructing unobtrusive objective measures of everyday cognition and function." The goal of her current research project is to develop a computer use activity as one component of a novel, everyday cognition assessment suite embedded in a pervasive computing environment. She aims to determine which markers embedded within the activity are most sensitive to early decline or changes in health status, and to demonstrate the activity’s feasibility as a real-world objective measure of everyday cognition for cognitively intact older adults and those with mild cognitive impairment.

Graduate Research

Julia Leach is working to integrate a balance assessment system into ORCATECH’s in-home technological platform to extract frequent, longitudinal, objective measures of postural sway (both in elders who are cognitively intact and elders with mild cognitive impairment, or MCI). The objectives of her dissertation research are to determine how abnormalities and longitudinal changes in postural sway relate to cognitive decline and falls in older adults with MCI.

Johanna Petersen: Using unobtrusive sensors in the home, Johanna is developing methods to detect loneliness in seniors as they begin to become lonely. By developing methods to monitor behaviors relating to loneliness, Johanna will be able to identify changes in behavior that signify an individual is experiencing loneliness. She is also working to validate an intervention to help reduce loneliness so identified seniors can be enrolled in a program that meets their specific needs.