Blackrock Microsystems team members
In working with Blackrock Microsystems, you have access to one of the most experienced ephys teams in the world. Their cumulative experience includes:
- 92 years of ephys
- 356+ different set-ups in rodent, primate and human ephys research
- Seven PhDs, five Master’s degrees and 23 Bachelor’s degrees
- Delivery of 2,160 electrode arrays comprising more than 207,360 individual microelectrodes
Our expertise is truly international – we are happy to discuss your research ideas and potential challenges with you in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Blackrock Team Bios
Sales and Support Team—USA
Kian Torab, MSc.
VP of Technical Consulting & Strategy
Kian finished his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, in biomedical engineering. He then moved to Utah to join the lab of Dr. Bradley Greger to complete his graduate studies. His thesis topic was focused on developing visual prosthetics in blind human patients. Kian has years of experience in non-human primate electrophysiology, using the Utah Array in recording and micro-stimulation projects. In order to better service our European customers, Kian temporarily decamped his entire household to Germany and learned to enjoy Koelsch, Sauerbraten (horse) and Karneval. In return, Kian—who has the largest network of cousins—introduced Blackrock to the flare of Persian culture. email@example.com
Nick Halper, BSc.
Support Engineering Manager
Nick completed his undergraduate degree at Westminster College in neuroscience and chemistry, where his research focused on the role of various signaling pathways in microglial activation and subsequent cytotoxicity. He then moved on to work under Dr. David Strayer and Dr. Jason Watson at the University of Utah Cognitive Science Lab. Nick has helped over 50 separate labs incorporate Blackrock’s systems into their research. In a parallel life, Nick would have been a guitar player for a hugely successful death metal band or the next generation Jamie Oliver with tattoos. How he even finds time to pursue these hobbies today, we do not know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Shuai Wang, PhD.
Senior Technical Sales Consultant
Shuai Wang completed his Bachelor’s degree at Nanchang U, China, in Life Sciences and then earned his Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from the Institute of Neurobiology at Fudan University in China. His doctoral research was on neural coding of effort-reward decision-making. He has conducted or assisted in numerous electorde-array implantations and ephys experiments on various animal models including mouse, rat, cat and non-human primate etc. in different labs. Shuai joined Blackrock Microsystems in 2013 and now mainly focuses on the Asian-Pacific market. Since moving to Utah, Shuai is a total skiing enthusiast and his bowling celebrations put NFL touchdown celebrations to shame. email@example.com
Joey Garzarelli, B.S.
Technical Sales Consultant
Joey completed his undergraduate studies at Westminster College in neuroscience, where he researched the relationship between negative attentional bias and genetic variability in nicotine dependent populations. He then went to work with Dr. Andrea White, Dr. Brian Mickey, and Dr. Sara Weisenbach in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah. He learned about Blackrock during a neuromodulation conference at the University of Utah and knew it was the place for him to be! He enjoys properly engineered cars, travelling, and being outdoors, where no mountain is steep enough – as long as there’s no snow on the ground and it’s above 60° F (good thing we are in Utah then). firstname.lastname@example.org
Taylor Ziegler, B.S.
Technical Sales Consultant
Taylor graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Biology/Neuroscience. During her junior year, she designed and carried out her own experiments in a cancer biology lab whereby examining the competitive relationship between resistant and non-resistant breast cancer cells. The first time she held a human brain in her hands, she shed actual tears whilst pondering how a person’s entire existence can be summed within a single organ. Taylor’s favorite part of Blackrock, besides playing soccer at lunch, is the opportunity to speak with researchers and clinicians about their research and how we can provide new, improved solutions to advance the fields of neuroscience. email@example.com.
Stephen Hou, M.S.
Stephen received his B.S. in biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, then went on to complete an M.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Florida. In graduate school, he worked in Dr Ayse Gunduz’s brain mapping laboratory assisting on a project studying EEG signals in Parkinson’s disease patients receiving deep brain stimulation to the pedunculopontine nucleus. Upon graduating, Stephen broke his lifelong East Coast residency, moving to Salt Lake City to join the Blackrock Microsystems team. Utah’s ample trails and elevation gain are ably assisting him in pursuing his goal of running endurance race distances that make 26.2 miles seem like a stroll in the park. firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Palis, BSc.
Greg completed his Undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester where he optimized hardware and software systems for stem cell bio-reactors and other experimental paradigms. He believes the human brain is the most fascinating thing in existence and that Blackrock’s tools provide the best opportunity for further discovery. Greg enjoys working closely with researchers and clinicians to get the most out of the current generation of hardware and software, while working with engineers to influence the next generation of revolutionary research tools. When Greg isn’t in the lab, you’ll find him climbing, biking, hiking, or flying. email@example.com
Sales and Support Team—Europe
Sherman Wiebe, PhD. MBA
Senior Technical Advisor Blackrock Microsystems Europe
Sherman has over 17 years of experience in the neuroscience research field. He earned degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, followed by a PhD in Neuroscience from New York University where he studied the role of the hippocampus in olfactory memory in freely-behaving rodents. He also holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Sherman held multiple positions at Plexon Inc, first as sales manager, then as director of world-wide sales and marketing, and finally as Managing Director of Plexon Europe. Subsequently, Sherman founded NeuronautX, a scientific consultancy firm based in Brussels. Since 2016, Sherman is a key advisor for Blackrock Microsystems in Europe. Sherman’s clearest thinking occurs during the long runs which have already led him to four completed marathons in the last years. Not even the fact that he is based in Brussels, the capital of beer and fine chocolates, could keep him from this achievement. firstname.lastname@example.org
Engineering and Electrode Team
Rob Franklin, PhD.
Director of Product Development
Rob earned his PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he developed electrodes for in vivo neurotransmitter sensing. Following his PhD studies, Rob began his work at Blackrock Microsystems where he has directed a team of engineers in the design and development of implantable, wireless neural interface electronics and novel silicon electrodes for recording and stimulation in the brain. His recent work focuses on custom solutions, high-channel-count neural recording systems and clinical applications for Blackrock’s technology. Rob’s enthusiasm and commitment knows no bounds, whether it is showing his support for the environment by braving US highways with an electric vehicle or his team spirit by playing soccer when really he would prefer football tackling us all. email@example.com
Rajmohan Bhandari, PhD.
Director of Electrode Business
Raj received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Utah and MTech degree in solid-state materials from Indian Institute of Technology. He is currently Array Manager in Blackrock Microsystems and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering of University of Utah. He has been involved in prototyping and manufacturing of various micro fabrication, neural interface technologies and devices. Raj is the author of several scientific and engineering publications has three patents and several others pending in the USPTO. Raj is a specialist in implantable devices and systems, MEMS, and grants. Raj has introduced the Blackrock team to the merits of cricket (a tall order when considering it is played for five days without necessarily identifying a winner), Indian food and tea. firstname.lastname@example.org