Bio-X SIGF Graduate Student Fellow and Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2012 (William and Lynda Steere Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow) and 2009 (Bio-X Bowes Fellow)
Home Department: Bioengineering
Faculty Advisors: Scott Delp (Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering), Karl Deisseroth (Bioengineering, Psychiatry), and Ada Poon (Electrical Engineering)

Research Title: Optogenetic control of neurons beyond the brain: Modulating pain and motor function

Research Description: Kate is developing methods to control muscle and pain by using optical stimulation to specifically activate and inhibit motor and pain neurons. This project combines the fields of electrical engineering, material science, neuroscience, and molecular biology. Research in this field will improve the tools available to study the complex fields of motor control and pain and may someday improve the available therapies for people with paralysis, movement disorders, and intractable pain conditions.


Kate is the director of scientific affairs at Enspectra Health. The company’s technology, minimally invasive cellular imaging, was supported as an academic project by a Stanford Bio-X grant when it was early stage and high-risk, and is now being commercialized to improve human health.