Helena Mentis, Ph.D.

Helena Mentis is a professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the director of the BIM Lab. Her research interests span the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. She has conducted research on surgical telemedicine systems to support surgeon remote collaboration and education, movement sensor systems for Parkinson’s patients to see and discuss activity and bodily experience with their healthcare providers, and browser plugins for those with dementia to negotiate online safety with their partners, among others. She has also employed a variety of methods in her work, but primarily performs participant observations and interviews throughout a design research process.


Lab Manager

Mark Berczynski, M.S.

Mark Berczynski is a lecturer in the Engineering and Computing Education Program UMBC and lab manager of the BIM Lab. His research interests include human-computer interaction (HCI), medical informatics, and cyber security. In addition to managing the operations of the lab, he provides technical support to undergraduate researchers and facilitates in the documentation, prototyping, and development of new and ongoing projects.


PhD Students

Jwawon Seo, M.S., Fall 2019-Present

Jwawon Seo is a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing at UMBC. Though he is open to a wide variety of research within HCI, his main research interest is closely related to communication and collaboration with augmented reality (AR) technology. He is currently conducting research to investigate the effect of awareness mechanisms in collaborative AR using Microsoft Hololens. He is enthusiastic about learning cutting-edge technology such as AR, VR, and deep learning. Jwawon has a variety of backgrounds. Not only he used to work as a Unity developer to create virtual reality (VR) educational applications and interactive AR applications but also he got master’s degree in bioinformatics.



Yi Xuan (Wendy) Khoo, B.A., Fall 2020-Present

Wendy is a Ph.D student in Human-Centered Computing at UMBC. Her research interests lie in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and health informatics. While exploring interested topics in HCI, her aim is to design technologies to improve the health and wellness of society. She has conducted research in HCI and accessibility to investigate the quality of life for people experiencing vision loss and the design of VR game for youth with visual impairments.



Master’s Students

None at the moment.


Undergraduate Students

None at the moment.



Azin Semsar, M.S., Fall 2018-Summer2022

Azin Semsar is a Ph.D. student in Human-Centered Computing (HCC) at UMBC. Her main research interest lies in the field of computer-supported cooperative work and its application in health care and education. Currently, she is conducting research to investigate the costs and benefits of using telementoring systems in remote surgical mentoring, particularly their effect on communication and collaboration. She previously has conducted research within the broader field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) at Sharif University of Technology (Iran), with the focus in human interaction with smart environments.


Adegboyega Akinsiku, M.S., Fall 2016-Spring 2023

Ade is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing at UMBC. He has a special interest, not limited to, in ubiquitous/pervasive computing and the use of embedded systems within appropriate and assistive technology. He is currently conducting research to investigate the feasibility and benefits of low overhead telerehabilitation systems that are highly portable, affordable, and effective for patients in low-resource communities. Ade has a strong passion to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to future collegiate students, not only within academia, but within entrepreneurship. Ade has interned/conducted research at Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines), Intel Corporation, IBM Research, and African Leadership University (Mauritius).


Frances Watson, Fall 2019-Spring 2021

Frances is began in the lab in Fall 2019 as a junior Computer Science major. She has been working on the telehealth projects and has recently focused on the studies of telerehabilitation. Recently she was awarded a UMBC Undergraduate Research Award (URA) for the study “Understanding Effects of Telemedicine Physiatry on Underserved Communities During COVID19 Pandemic”.


Tobi Majekodunmi, Fall 2020-Spring 2021

Tobi is a mechanical engineering major and M’31 Meyerhoff Scholar. As an USM LSAMP Undergraduate Research Fellow he joined the lab in Fall 2020 to conduct research that will improve the quality of telehealth and telerehabilitation systems. He is now heading to MIT for the Mechanical Engineering PhD program


Nora Mcdonald, Ph.D., September 2019-Spring 2021

Nora Mcdonald was a postdoctoral researcher in the BIM Lab. Her research interests are broadly in social justice and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). She uses primarily qualitative and ethnographic methods to study technology bias, algorithm fairness and ethics in education and industry, and privacy for vulnerable individuals. She is particularly interested in safeguarding privacy for vulnerable individuals who seek more privacy online, why they do it, and how they are treated when they do with a particular focus on how norm-based theories may be inadequate to understand the challenges they face. Her vision for her work is to support more inclusive and ethical technology design.


Ignacio Avellino, Ph.D., January-December 2020

Ignacio Avellino was a postdoctoral in the lab, and now works as a CNRS permanent researcher at ISIR. His research interests lie at the intersection of remote collaboration (CSCW), interaction and health. His contributions include empirical studies, such as observing the effects of using interactive systems in the operating room on collaboration to inform the design of such systems; as well as technical development, such as the design, implementation and evaluation of interaction techniques to manipulate robotic surgical tools. He was part of the the Surgical Telementoring project, where he developed a collaborative technology that builds on Dr. Menti’s work on remote shaping of the view between a remote mentor and a local operating surgeon. The tool was evaluated by PhD student Azin. He is also interested in methodological contributions especially in transparency for qualitative research.


Miral Ahmad, Summer 2020

Miral is a sophomore Information Systems student. She has been working on the MCI and Cybersecurity project, primarily assisting with the sentiment analysis of online guidance for older adults to stay safe online. She is a USM Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation scholar and began in the lab in Summer 2020.


Esthi Erickson, Summer 2020

Esthi was a rising junior studying computer science and sustainability at University of Minnesota when she came to the BIMLab as a 2020 CRA-W DREU intern. She worked closely with Postdoctoral Fellow, Ignacio Avellino and Ph. D Student Azin Semsar surveying health practitioners about their experiences with telehealth as impacted by COVID-19.


Hannah McGowan, B.S., Summer 2017-Summer 2019

Hannah has been working on the telestration and telementoring projects, primarily focusing on how the Microsoft Kinect is perceived as an instructional teaching aid in surgical training, by examining questionnaires of stress, cognitive load, performance and quality of instruction. Her research interests include how psychology and technology go hand in hand, by examining how adding technology shapes attention and behavior. In the fall, she plans on pursing a Masters in Cognitive Psychology in Europe.


Johnlemuel Casilag, Fall 2019

Johnlemuel is currently pursuing a B.S. with a major in computer science. One of the projects he is working on is the development of a telestration application for laparoscopic surgeries with a focus on telementorship and collaboration. He is working on utilizing the Microsoft Hololens for telestration and telementoring as well. His research interests lie where computer science excels, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. After graduation, he is interested in becoming a full stack developer.


Miguel Arana, Fall 2019

Miguel Arana is a junior in Information Systems at UMBC. Currently as a Research Assistant, he is working with a team in building a web video conference application that enables real-time communication between mentor and student surgeons. Things he likes to do include working out, eating sweets, and being productive. As a student aiming to work in the tech industry after graduation, he is still deciding which path he wants to take, but he has his eyes on Cybersecurity or Network Administration. He is an eager learner and always tries to be good at something. Regardless of where he ends up in life, he strives to do his best in learning something new and becoming a better version of himself.


Yuanyuan Feng, M.S., PhD, 2014-2019

Yuanyuan Feng is a PhD candidate in the Information Systems Department at UMBC. Her research interests are in the areas of human computer interaction (HCI), computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), and health informatics. The objective of her research is to enhance team members’ experience and performance in their collaboration on complex, physical tasks. She investigates how expertise acquisition is achieved and improved in co-located and distributed teams with the use of advanced technologies in surgical environment. She leverages qualitative and quantitative methods in analyzing and interpreting a variety of data – videos, interviews, eye movements, surveys, and gaits.


Yasmin Graham, BS., 2017-2019

Yasmin’s first project in the lab focused on creating a telerehabilitation system for home-based physical therapy for stroke survivors in low-resource communities. She conducted patient observations and documented critical aspects of physical therapy, noting areas that need improvement. Her current project involves understanding the emotional awareness of emergency health services (EHS) trainees in the UMBC EHS paramedics program. The end goal of this project is to develop a stress reflection system that would help the trainees identify and reflect on their stress triggers during simulation-based training, and so improve future performance. Starting Fall 2019, she begins pursuing her PhD in a joint University of California, San Francisco/University of California, Berkeley Bioengineering Program.


Galina Madjaroff, M.A., PhD, 2014-2018

Galina Madjaroff is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and a Clinical Associate Professor at the Erickson School for Aging Studies at UMBC. Galina received her Doctorate in Human Centered Computing (HCC) which focused on Identifying the Care Activities that Were Supported by Home Based Technology for Care Partners After the Onset of Cognitive Impairment, under the supervision of her advisor Dr. Helena Mentis. Galina’s current projects focus on exploring how the use of Voice User Interface Agents can improve quality of life of care partners and persons with dementia. Galina has published on various topics including Person-Centered Technology and Quality of Life, Narratives of Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Their Caregivers and Supporting Caregivers and Care Recipients after the Onset of Cognitive Impairment with Home Based Technology. Most recently Dr. Madjaroff and Dr. Mentis were awarded a three-year National Science Foundation Grant to explore Negotiating Cyber Systems Access for Older Adults with Mild Neurocognitive Disorder.


Jordan Ramsey, B.S., 2014-2018

Jordan Ramsey was a Computer Engineering undergraduate student working on the “Touchless Interaction in the Surgical Theater” project, helping to develop a gestural surgery telestration program using the Microsoft Kinect. She was also a member of the Meyerhoff scholars program. She is now an Electrical Engineering graduate student at The Ohio State University.


Katie Li, Summer 2017

Katie was a rising senior computer science major at Pomona College when she came to the BIMLab as a 2017 CRA-W DREU intern. She worked closely with PhD students Yuanyuan Feng and Azin Semsar on developing and deploying the telestration system for in situ surgical education. After the BIMLab she took a turn working with genomic data (no ‘people data’ 😀 ) and is applying to medical schools to specialize in neurology or geriatrics.





Jacqueline Mun, Summer 2017

Jackie was a rising Junior in Computer Science at Vassar College when she came to the BIMLab as a 2017 CRA-W DREU intern. She worked closely with PhD students Yuanyuan Feng and Azin Semsar on deploying the telestration system for in situ surgical education as well as collecting and analyzing data from observations, physiological sensors, and the eye-tracker.




Bhushan Sontakke, Spring 2017

Bhushan Sontakke was a graduate student pursuing his Masters in Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research interests involved improving the healthcare industry with the help of Information Technology. He worked on the project “Telestration in Surgical Training”, helping to enhance the telestration program, performing Data Analysis, and running the study at Anne Arundel Medical Center.


Ganesh Pradhan, Spring 2017

Ganesh Pradhan was pursuing his masters in Information Systems from University of Maryland Baltimore County. His research interest was in designing, prototyping and developing new systems to better aid the healthcare industry using new and advanced technologies. He was conducting research on the project “Stroke Tele-Rehabilitation”, where he was looking into an efficient, cost effective system that will help clinicians and therapists to better gauge the progress of the stroke patients by analyzing the data of the patients movements.



Jatin Chhikara, Spring-Summer 2016

During his time at BIMLab, Jatin worked on the Communication Support System in Laparoscopic Surgery to evaluate the perceived usefulness and acceptance of the system among senior surgeons and surgical trainees. He is passionate about how emerging technologies impact user-centered design and new ways to adapt those technologies to make our lives easier. He has a strong background working with surgeons and physicians to tackle the challenges they face in healthcare. After graduating, he started working for Unitedhealth group as a Senior UX Designer and Researcher and is the local leader for the Interaction Design Foundation, Austin.




Veeha Khanna, Summer 2015

Veeha was a junior in Computer Science at NC State University and came to the BIMLab as a 2015 CRA-W DREU intern. She worked closely with PhD student Yuanyuan Feng on her project and helped deploy the Myo/Kinect project. At her school she is a CSC Ambassador and advocates for more women in the field. Post- graduation she plans on getting her masters, in what is still undecided. Fun facts about Veeha is that she is double-jointed at her elbow and she loves taking pictures.



Meredith Evans, Summer-Fall 2015

Meredith was a senior Information Systems major at UMBC who worked in the BIMLab Summer and Fall of 2015. She helped a lot in moving the Kinect telestration program forward and at graduation received the Outstanding Senior in Information Systems award.

Courtney Pharr, Summer 2014

Courtney was a rising sophomore in Computer Science at Clark University when she came to the BIMLab as a 2014 CRA-W DREU intern. She worked closely with PhD student Rita Shewbridge on her project developing and deploying a sensor for Parkinson’s movement assessment. Her experiences made such an impact on her that she switched to the pre-med track majoring in biology and minoring in public health and bioinformatics. She plans to attend medical school after graduation.