Principal Investigator
Curtis L Johnson, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering (affiliated)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (affiliated)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (affiliated)
Biomechanics and Movement Science Program (affiliated)
Department of Biomedical Research, Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children (affiliated)

Dr. Johnson directs the Mechanical Neuroimaging Lab. He is an MR physicist that specializes in imaging the mechanical properties of the brain using magnetic resonance elastography. He graduated with his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 2007, and got his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. His awards include being named a Junior Fellow of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the Young Investigator Award at the IEEE EMBS BRAIN Grand Challenges conference, and the Early Career Researcher Award from the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials.

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Lucy Hiscox, PhD
Biomedical Engineering

Lucy started as a postdoctoral research associate in the lab in 2018. She completed her BSc in Psychology at Cardiff University in 2012 and her PhD in Clinical Neuroscience at University of Edinburgh in 2017. During her PhD she used MRE to study the hippocampus and memory in Alzheimer’s disease. At UD she is continuing her research in how mechanical properties reflect brain health and cognitive function in older adults in response to therapy. Lucy is originally from Bristol, England, where she played lead guitar in an awesome band!


Alexis Merritt
Lab Coordinator

Alexis graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2018. In her undergrad she aided the Price lab in post-traumatic osteoarthritis research and now assists the Mechanical Neuroimaging lab as a lab coordinator. When she’s not on campus Alexis spends her free time relaxing with her cat, and taking her dog to local parks and pet-friendly restaurants.


Graduate Students

Dan Smith
Biomedical Engineering

Dan is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering after graduating from UD with his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2016. Dan’s current projects include developing protocols and actuators for multi-excitation MR elastography for analyzing anisotropic properties of fibrous tissue. He will apply this methodology to analyze white matter changes in traumatic brain injuries in hockey players as well as a tool to analyze muscular tissue injury and recovery. Dan enjoys biking, playing club frisbee, and hiking in his free time.

Peyton Delgorio
Biomedical Engineering

Peyton is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at UD and is currently working to measure the viscoelastic properties of the hippocampus using high-resolution MRE for applications in aging and disease. She graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with Bachelor of Science degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering in 2017. Outside of the lab, Peyton enjoys ice skating, reading, and traveling. Peyton is the recipient of the 2019 Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award from the University of Delaware.

Grace McIlvain
Biomedical Engineering

Grace is a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering at UD, and previously completed her BS in Biomedical Engineering and MBA at UD. As an undergraduate she worked as a Summer Scholar in the lab, graduated in 2017 with her Bachelors then her MBA in 2018 and rejoined the lab for her PhD. Grace is currently working on developing techniques for fast brain MRE of children with developmental disorders.


Melissa DiFabio
Biomechanics and Movement Science

Melissa is a PhD student in Biomechanics and Movement Science at the University of Delaware and is using a multimodal neuroimaging approach to study the effects of sports-related repetitive head impacts on brain structure and function. She graduated with her BS in athletic training from Boston University in 2012 and her MEd in Kinesiology from the University of Virginia in 2015. As her research suggests, Melissa is an avid sports fan and works as an athletic trainer for the UD hockey program. She also enjoys running and skiing.

 Tyler Williams
Biomedical Engineering

Tyler began his studies as a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering after graduating from Penn State in 2019 with a B.S in Biomedical Engineering and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include osteoarthritis, degenerative disorders, and high field MRI. His current projects include developing pre-clinical magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) procedures and writing programs for anisotropic MRE data processing. Tyler hopes to apply these modalities to study degenerative disorders in rodent brains. He is also a recipient of the Unidel Distinguished Graduate Scholars Award. Outside the lab, Tyler is an avid musician, golfer, and gamer.

Diego A. Caban-Rivera
Biomedical Engineering

Diego is a PhD student in the Biomedical Engineering department and completed his BS in Biomedical Engineering at Penn State University with a Minor in Engineering Mechanics. As an undergrad at PSU-Abington he was a two-season starter for the division 3 men’s varsity soccer team. Moreover, he collaborated with the Gait Optimization Lab at PSU-University Park in 2018 determining the effects of ankle stiffness in a neuro-musculoskeletal model of lower limb amputees. He is currently working on developing an MRI compatible actuation device for MRE to be used in Multi-Excitation protocols. Diego enjoys outdoor running, a multitude of sports, infrequently playing the guitar, and hosting events in which he shows off his cooking repertoire.

Undergraduate Students

Ariel Hannum
Biomedical Engineering
Emily Magoon
Biomedical Engineering
Rebecca Clements
Biomedical Engineering
Emma Tinney
Nicholas Tansey
Biomedical Engineering
Akram Ahamed
Biomedical Engineering
David Bichera
Biomedical Engineering

Lab Alumni
Charlotte Chaze, MS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware
Grace McIlvain, BS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware; 2016 Summer Scholar, Honors Senior Thesis
Alex Kulyk, BS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware; 2016 Summer Scholar
Christian Thompson, BS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware; 2016 Summer Scholar
Emily Ebeling, BS in Physics, Truman State University; 2017 Center for Biomechanical Engineering Research REU Student
Constance Barfoe, BS in Integrated Studies, Delaware State University; 2017 Center for Neuroscience Research REU Student
Cassie Cooper, BS in Cognitive Science, University of Delaware 2019
Nana Marfo, BS in Neuroscience, University of Delaware 2019
Ray Duda, BS in Biomedical Engineering, University of Delaware 2019
Gabby Villermaux, BS in Neuroscience and Nutrition, University of Delaware 2020

MNL & Friends

Christmas Party 2016
Summer Party 2018
Undergraduate Research Symposium 2018