Biomedical Signals, Systems and Analysis (Bio-SSA) Laboratory

Led by Meltem Izzetoglu, associate research professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Biomedical Signals, Systems and Analysis (Bio-SSA) Laboratory’s mission is to study the functioning of human brain and body by acquiring signals of bio-optical, bio-electric, bio-mechanical and bio-acoustic origin using biomedical sensors, devices and signal processing algorithms based on engineering, math, physics, and physiological principles.

In the Bio-SSA Lab, research is focused on brain imaging for cognitive activity and physiological monitoring using optical methods. Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) can monitor changes in oxygenated- and deoxygenated-hemoglobin, which can be related to cognitive activity and other physiological changes continuously and noninvasively using the attenuation of light in the near infrared range within the tissue. Using the advantages fNIRS technology such as portability, affordability, ease of application and noninvasiveness, brain imaging in every day environments, in the field and clinics is being explored in the Bio-SSA Lab on healthy and diseased/disabled populations of all ages.

Major research topics include:

  • Human performance assessment
  • Monitoring of learning and training
  • Reading and mathematical thinking assessment
  • Cognitive aging
  • Anesthesia monitoring
  • Working memory
  • Attentional domain processing

In addition to cognitive activity assessment studies, other research areas involve brain physiology monitoring, including cerebral oximetry, hematoma detection and edema monitoring on laboratory models (phantoms), animal (piglets) and human tests. Next generation fNIRS system, sensor and analysis algorithm development, phantom modeling and protocol generation for continuous, reliable, comfortable and versatile brain monitoring constitute an integral and central part of all these major research initiatives.

In addition to brain imaging research, in the Bio-SSA Lab other biomedical signals of bio-electric, bio-mechanic and bio-acoustic origins are also studied. Measurements of electrophysiological signals from the brain using electroencephalogram (EEG), the heart using electrocardiogram (ECG) and the muscles using electromyogram (EMG) and their processing techniques are studied and taught in various biomedical engineering classes. Using pulse plethysmography (PPG), pulse volume and blood pressure signals and using a digital stethoscope heart sounds are also being collected and analyzed. The signals collected from the body and the brain are compared, correlated and fused in different applications under imposed conditions such as after exercise and at different postures.

Bio-SSA Facilities

  • Portable functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system: fNIR Imager, 2000C, fNIR Devices, LLC) – 18 optodes
  • Wireless functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) system: fNIR Imager, 1200W, fNIR Devices, LLC – 4 optodes
  • iWorx Bioinstrumentation Physiology Teaching Kit (iWorx Systems, Inc) with:
    • ECG
    • EEG
    • EMG
    • Pulse Plethysmograph
    • Spirometer
    • Stethoscope
    • Blood Pressure Cuff
    • Hand Dynamometer
    • Temperature Sensor
  • Stimulus Presentation Program: Neuropsychological Assessment Research (NAR) Program
  • Laptop Computers


Director: Meltem Izzetoglu, PhD

Dr. Izzetoglu earned her doctorate in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Drexel University, where she served as an associate research professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering. She was also an adjunct faculty member at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY, and in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rowan University in Glasboro, NJ.

Dr. Izzetoglu has served as the signal processing engineer of an interdisciplinary engineering and scientific team that designed and developed next generation, low cost, portable, wireless fNIRS designs, dynamic and realistic testing environments and fNIRS analysis algorithms that can be used in brain activity monitoring in healthy and diseased populations.

Collaborating with scientists, researchers, engineers, neuroscientists, psychologists, educators, clinicians, and nurses regionally, nationally and internationally, Dr. Izzetoglu has helped build bridges between experts in brain research to work together in finding solutions to unmet needs, research or clinical problems.

Current students:

Brianna Conte ’19 EE, Villanova University
Kellimarie Cooper ’20 EE, Villanova University
Lei Wang, PhD student, School of Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Open positions:

The Bio-SSA Lab is currently seeking master’s and PhD level students to work on topics involving optical brain imaging with applications to cognitive activity monitoring for human performance assessment in healthy and diseased/disabled populations and during learning and training for augmented cognition. Research will involve:

  • Hardware and software development for next generation fNIRS systems
  • Sensors and analysis methods
  • Data collection and analysis with applications to cognitive activity and physiological brain monitoring       


Dr. Meltem Izzetoglu

Dr. Meltem Izzetoglu
Electrical and Computer Engineering