A Little Bit About Me

Hi! My name is Ashley Dalrymple. I am a Biomedical Engineer and Neuroscientist. My favourite part of the nervous system is the spinal cord! My research interests are neural interfaces, sensorimotor systems, machine learning, and spinal plasticity.

My Science Journey

I grew up in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada. I didn’t have much exposure to STEM but I had a great Physics and Calculus teacher that really inspired me (thanks Mr. Way!). In 2007, the summer before grade 12, I attended Shad Valley International at Trent University. Shad changed my life by exposing me to countless learning opportunities and inspiring people. Shad is the reason why I pursued engineering.

I am a first generation nerd. No one in my entire family had received a bachelors degree. I studied electrical biomedical engineering at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. I loved the combination of medicine and engineering and couldn’t see myself doing anything different. At the U of A, I was President of the Electrical Engineering Club, a presenter for Orientation, and volunteered and worked at DiscoverE (check out my Outreach page!).

I decided to pursue graduate school after attending the Alberta Biomedical Engineering Conference in my fourth year of undergrad. I volunteered at the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS) meeting in my fifth year of undergrad, where I was hooked on the field of electrical stimulation. In 2013, I started my PhD under the supervision of Vivian Mushahwar. My thesis, titled Machine Learning to Characterize Motor Patterns and Restore Walking after Neural Injury, describes my research using machine learning to classify motor signals recorded from the developing spinal cord, as well as to produce speed-adaptive stepping and personalized control of overground walking using intraspinal microstimulation in a spinal cord injury model (check out my Publications page!).

After defending my PhD in December of 2018, I moved to Melbourne, VIC, Australia to work at the Bionics Institute with Rob Shepherd and James Fallon. At the Bionics Institute I worked with cochlear implants – specifically on testing various coating materials for improving electrochemical performance, and assessing stimulation safety limits. In the fall of 2019, I relocated again to the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA to work with Doug Weber and Lee Fisher at the Rehab Neural Engineering Labs (RNEL). In 2020, I relocated to Carnegie Mellon University with Doug Weber and the NeuroMechatronics Lab, but continued to work on the research I started when I joined RNEL. I worked with the Injectrode to test its recruitment properties for dorsal root ganglia stimulation, used transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation to reduce phantom limb pain in lower-limb amputees, used spinal cord stimulation to restore sensation in lower-limb amputees, and worked in the early stages of the early feasibility study for the Stentrode, a stent-based vascular brain-computer interface to allow people with ALS to communicate.

Starting March 2023, I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT, USA. I have a joint appointment with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. My lab focuses on applying neural interfaces to the rehabilitation of walking, restoring sensation, and reducing pain, as well as for studying sensorimotor systems and spinal plasticity. I work in both animal and human models, spanning exploratory, proof-of-concept, pre-clinical, and clinical studies. I am passionate about learning, mentoring, teaching, and doing high-impact and high-quality science and engineering.

My Neuroscience Lineage

We all come from Sherrington one way or another, don’t we?