Samantha R. Santacruz, Ph.D.

Samantha R. Santacruz joined the Biomedical Engineering (BME) department at the University of Texas, Austin, in October 2018. Previously she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, working with Dr. Jose Carmena. Her research focuses on developing systems-based neurotherapies to both treat neural pathologies and to better understand the neural mechanisms responsible through data-driven models and analysis. Dr. Santacruz received her B.A. degree with honors in Applied Mathematics with an emphasis in Systems Theory from UC Berkeley in 2006, her M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 2010, and her Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering at Rice University in 2014. She was awarded the Best Thesis Award for her doctoral work on engineering new methods of deep brain stimulation. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Schlumberger, and Texas Instruments.


Lab Philosophy

The overarching goal of the lab is to make a definitive impact on our understanding of how the brain works and how we can interface with the brain in order to treat neurological disorders. In order to achieve this, it's necessary to create a lab environment that is inclusive and encourages curiosity, enthusiasm, communication, and perseverance in the face of set-backs. I believe that all lab members have a responsibility to demonstrate the highest level of scientific integrity, to engage in scientific discourse, and to be passionate about their projects. I also believe that the most productive lab is also a happy one, and that a supportive and collegial lab culture is integral to developing such an environment.

Lab Members

 Enrique Contreras Hernandez, PhD

Enrique joins the Santacruz Lab with 10 years of biomedical research experience, including prior work on in vivo electrophysiological extracellular recordings of single-unit neural activity and mathematical analysis of biological potentials. He received his Ph.D.  in Cell and Molecular Neurobiology in 2015 from Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, and then completed his first postdoctoral position at the University of Pennsylvania investigating sensory feedback and neuroprosthetics.


Hannah Stealey

Hannah began her graduate student in Fall 2018 in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and shortly after joined the Santacruz Lab. She completed her B.S. in Biological Engineering, with an emphasis in Biomedical Engineering, from Mississippi State University in May 2018, where she was on the President's Honor Roll for all four years. Hannah has prior research experience investigating traumatic brain injury, but is currently working on novel paradigms to study neural circuitry and behaviors impacted by neuropsychiatric disorders.


Sean Brady

Sean began as an undergraduate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Fall 2018. His research in the lab focuses on creating an image processing pipeline for data visualization of MR and CT images.



 Max Dauber

Max began as an undergraduate in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering in Fall 2017. His research in the lab focuses on developing software tools to control electrophysiological and behavioral experiments.



Dennis Fur

Dennis began as an undergraduate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Fall 2018. His research in the lab focuses on creating an image processing pipeline for data visualization of MR and CT images .




Shruti Kumar

Jacob Urbina

We're hiring!

The lab is currently looking for post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates.

Post-doc Positions

The lab is currently hiring for multiple post-doc positions. Applicants should have an interest in NHP electrophysiology and/or neural interface design.

Graduate students

The lab is currently hiring graduate students in the Biomedical Engineering program, as well as interested students in ECE and Neuroscience. A strong background in computational mathematics and programming is desired.

Undergraduate Students

The lab is currently hiring undergraduate students who are interested in 10 hrs/week research experience.