Skip to main content

Student Spotlight - Russell Hardesty

PhD Candidate - Neuroscience

Russ Hardesty

Laboratory of Dr. Valeriya Gritsenko

I grew up south of Pittsburgh in a small town called Eighty Four, Pennsylvania. I attended college at Case Western Reserve University and completed a major in Biomedical Engineering. As an undergraduate, I worked as a research assistant in a biosensing laboratory, testing novel instrumentation to detect and quantify oxygen concentrations in three-dimensional tumor models. Upon graduation, I was employed at the University of Pittsburgh, where I worked as a research associate for the Microbicide Trials Network. This position was my first exposure to research in human trials. Our work comprised of evaluating potential HIV prophylactic treatments, and I was responsible for determining the development and prevalence of antiretroviral drug resistance in clinical trials.

Upon entering graduate school, I decided to combine my passion for engineering with my newly developed interest in biomedical research. My current work, under the tutelage of Dr. Valeriya Gritsenko, enables me to employ engineering approaches to address questions in biology and medicine. My research is focused on understanding the neural mechanisms of motor control (how the brain controls and coordinates movement) and how that system goes awry during pathological states, such as after a stroke. We combine experimental studies using human participants with computational modeling approaches to infer neural strategies of movement. Through a better understanding of these neural mechanisms and their impairment after stroke, we may be able to better inform rehabilitative interventions.

As a graduate student, I have had the privilege of being an inventor on a provisionally-filed patent, author on a peer-reviewed publication, and award recipient of the WVU Rising Star Award for the Neuroscience program. I have also had the opportunity to present my research at several national and international conferences, including the Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago, San Diego, and Washington D.C.  as well as the Neural Control of Movement conference in Dublin, Ireland. Through the support of my colleagues and mentor, I have also been able to attend additional training courses at the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies in Albany, NY.

Outside of the laboratory, I enjoy watching sports (Go Pens and Steelers!), movies, working out, hanging out with my girlfriend and family, and generally being lazy. My favorite historical science figure is Michael Faraday.

Russ Hardesty T32

Russ and Abby

Gritsenko Lab