University of Southern California

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Principal Investigator

Jason J. Kutch, PhD

Jason J. Kutch, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the University of Southern California. He teaches neuroscience in the USC Doctor of Physical Therapy program, and is the director of the Applied Mathematical Physiology Laboratory (AMPL) at USC. He is also a board member of the International Pelvic Pain Society. Dr. Kutch received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University in 2001, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 2008. Dr. Kutch’s work focuses on revealing neural mechanisms of pelvic floor muscle control and applying these findings to design new treatments for disorders of pelvic floor muscle function.

Jason Kutch's full CV


Clinical Research Faculty

Daniel Kirages, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

Dr. Kirages is an Instructor of Clinical Physical Therapy at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, where he has a hybrid schedule of both clinical practice and academic teaching. It is within the private practice of the Division, USC Physical Therapy Associates, where he attends to a diversified patient load, addressing orthopedic and pelvic health disorders. While in the classroom he serves as course coordinator for Basics of Patient Management and as a primary instructor for Clinical Management of Musculoskeletal Dysfunction within the first year of the entry-level DPT program. Dr. Kirages is a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT). He is significantly involved with advanced professional education through his teaching and clinical mentorship within the USC Residency in Orthopedic Physical Therapy. Dr. Kirages may also be found researching topics associated with pelvic health, teaching continuing education courses or giving lectures at a variety of academic institutions or healthcare facilities nationally and internationally. The research topics are related to mechanisms and intervention for pelvic pain and bladder/bowel voiding dysfunctions.

Email kirages at usc dot edu

Skulpan Asavasopon, MPT, PhD

Skulpan Asavasopon’s research interests revolve around understanding the neural correlates of chronic pain, muscle synergies, and affective/cognitive behavioral traits. The hope is to be able to interpret these neural correlates and develop a useful classification system for patients with chronic pain.

Email sasavasopon at llu dot edu

Post-doctoral Researchers

Moheb S. Yani, BS, MA, PhD

Moheb S. Yani’s research interests include considering chronic pain as a disease process; in particular, he is interested in CNS (central nervous system) mechanisms associated with UCPPS (urologic chronic pelvic pain syndromes). Currently, Moheb is interested in understanding the function of the medial motor cortex in controlling pelvic floor musculature during the storage phase of micturition and its possible contribution to UCPPS.


Amy Hegarty, PhD

Dr. Hegarty is working with Dr. Kutch and Dr. Lori Michener to use neuroimaging and functional testing to understand the neuromuscular contribution to shoulder pain and its therapy.


Graduate Students

Sonja Fenske, PhD Student

Sonja is investigating the anatomy of brain connections underlying control of muscle syneriges, and how dysfunction in these connections could underly development and maintainence of chronic pain.

Email sfenske at usc dot edu

Alaa Albishi, PhD Student

Alaa is co-advised by Beth Fisher in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at USC. Alaa is working on brain stimulation, functional imaging, and electrical recording related to how multiple motor cortical areas collaborate to control movement.

Email albishi at usc dot edu

Undergraduate Students

None at present, please contact if interested.

High School Students

None at present, please contact if interested.


Sarine Babikian, PhD

Sarine was primarily advised by Eva Kanso in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at USC. In collaboration with AMPL, Sarine investigated neural mechanisms and mechanical consequences of task-irrelevant variation in movement performance. Sarine is currently a data scientist at Glooko.

Alex Reyes, PhD

Alex was primarily advised by Francisco Valero-Cuevas at USC. In collaboration with AMPL, Alex investigated neural mechanisms involved in manipulating unstable objects. Alex is currently a contractor providing Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) support to IARPA.

Manku Rana, PhD

Manku Rana was in AMPL 2012-2015, and she greatly improved our understanding the cortical control of pelvic floor muscles in healthy individuals and UCPPS patients, using neuroimaging, sonography and electrophysiology. Dr. Rana is currently a Healthcare Econ Consultant at UnitedHealth Group.

Harjot Hansra, Undergraduate for BS, Neuroscience

Harjot Hansra was a USC undergraduate working with Manku Rana and Moheb Yani on their experiments.

Stephanie Salome, High School Senior

Stephanie is was a senior attending Bravo Medical Magnet H.S. She was in the EHA program known as the Engineering for Health Academy, an academy that offers an advanced course of study that is focused on biomedical engineering.

Jonathan J. Mak, High School Senior

Jonathan J. Mak worked with Professor Kutch in new research regarding Pelvic Floor Muscle and Neural Connections. Looking to find out the impact of

Louise D. Cosand, PhD

Louise was primarily mentored by John Monterosso in the USC Department of Psychology. She greatly helped launch AMPL into the field of human neuroimaging. Louise is currently working as Regional Medical Scientist at Indivior

Carlos Gomes, High School

Carlos Gomez is in the United States Air Force Professional Officer Course. He is currently a student at California State Polytechnic University,Pomona.