University of Southern California

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Principal Investigator

Jason J. Kutch, PhD

Jason Kutch received a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton University in 2001 and his Ph.D. in Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics in 2008 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was mentored by Tony Bloch (Mathematics), Art Kuo (Mechanical & Biomedical Engineering), and Zev Rymer (Northwestern University Physiology and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). From 2008-2010 he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate, and from 2010-2011 he was a Research Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) working with Francisco Valero-Cuevas. In his doctoral and post-doctoral work, Dr. Kutch focused on combined computational and experimental approaches to understanding human multi-muscle coordination and muscle synergies. In August 2011, he became Assistant Professor of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at USC, where he founded the Applied Mathematical Physiology Laboratory (AMPL). The AMPL is focused on understanding the neural mechanisms for muscle activation, engineering of non-invasive systems to study human motor function, and neuromuscular disorders, particularly chronic pain. Dr. Kutch is currently a co-investigator in the NIH-funded Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network, with a particular focus on understanding brain network mechanisms of altered pelvic floor muscle control in individuals with chronic pelvic pain. Dr. Kutch is also on the advisory board of the International Pelvic Pain Society (IPPS).

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 Candidate

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.

Email shawkyya at usc dot edu

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 Candidate

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.

Email sarine.babikian at gmail dot com

Manku Rana, PhD

Manku Rana was in AMPL 2012-2015, and her 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 working in healthcare analysis.

Harjot Hansra, Undergraduate for BS, Neuroscience

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

Email hhansra at usc dot edu

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.

Email stephaniesalome1221 at gmail dot com

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 sleep on the body.

Email jjonathanmak at gmail dot com

Louise D. Cosand, PhD

Louise D. Cosand is currently working in the Medical Affairs field at Xenoport, Inc.

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.