The T.E.C.I. Center Team

The T.E.C.I. Center is a multidisciplinary team of researchers dedicated to the design and implementation of advanced engineering technologies that facilitate data acquisition relating to clinical performance. Directed by Dr. Carla Pugh, the T.E.C.I. Center joined Stanford Medicine's Department of Surgery in March 2018. 

Carla M. Pugh, MD, PhD, FACS


Dr. Carla Pugh is a Professor of Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her clinical area of expertise is Acute Care Surgery. Dr. Pugh obtained her undergraduate degree at U.C. Berkeley in Neurobiology and her medical degree at Howard University School of Medicine. Upon completion of her surgical training at Howard University Hospital, she went to Stanford University and obtained a PhD in Education. She is the first surgeon in the United States to obtain a PhD in Education. Her goal is to use technology to change the face of medical and surgical education.

Dr. Pugh holds three patents on the use of sensor and data acquisition technology to measure and characterize hands-on clinical skills. Currently, over two hundred medical and nursing schools are using one of her sensor enabled training tools for their students and trainees. Her work has received numerous awards from medical and engineering organizations. In 2011, Dr. Pugh received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from President Barak Obama at the White House. She is considered to be a leading, international expert on the use of sensors and motion tracking technologies for performance measurement. In 2014, she was invited to give a TEDMED talk on the potential uses of technology to transform how we measure clinical skills in medicine. Recently, Dr. Pugh was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and the American College of Surgeons Academy of Master Surgeon Educators.


Hossein Mohamadipanah, PhD

Senior Research Engineer

Dr. Hossein Mohamadipanah serves as a Senior Research Engineer in T.E.C.I Center. Dr. Mohamadipanah completed his master’s degree in robotics at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran before earning his PhD in medical robotics and machine learning at Oklahoma State University in 2014. Upon joining Dr. Pugh’s research team in September 2015, he has been focused on writing grant proposals for national funding agencies. He also has been involved in data analysis of multiple virtual reality environments and medical simulators (e.g. coronary artery bypass graft, robotic hysterectomy, laparoscopic ventral hernia repair, etc.) to discern optimum hand movement of expert surgeons during operations to develop learning objectives for surgical trainees. Dr. Mohamadipanah is interested in developing machine learning algorithms to address surgical challenges.

Cassidi Goll

Marketing & Administrative Coordinator

Cassidi Goll graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2017, receiving her BA from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications in Public Relations and Strategic Communications, with a Certificate in Entrepreneurship. As a student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Cassidi developed an affinity for healthcare marketing and communications through her work with The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), Susan G. Komen of South Central Wisconsin, Donate Life Wisconsin, as well as UW Health’s Organ Procurement Division. Shortly after meeting Dr. Carla Pugh in January 2017 at a Women’s Health Expo in Madison, WI, Cassidi joined Dr. Pugh’s research team at the University of Wisconsin – Madison as a Marketing and Communications Specialist. With the transition from UW-Madison to Stanford University, Cassidi has taken on the role as the Marketing and Administrative Coordinator in the T.E.C.I. Center where she facilitates connections with academic, industry, and research professionals. Additionally, Cassidi has been involved in several data collections. As a healthcare communicator, Cassidi is interested in exploring optimal multi-channel methods for reaching healthcare professionals, medical students and patients in a feverish digital environment.


Brett Wise


Brett Wise graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, receiving his BS in Neurobiology. After working with Dr. Pugh’s lab under a NIH funded R01 grant as an undergraduate, he was hired on as a full-time researcher. When Dr. Pugh made the transition from UW-Madison to Stanford, Brett jumped at the opportunity to follow her to California. His responsibilities in the TECI Center include developing and fabricating simulators such as a bleeding pelvic tumor model and pediatric clubfoot casting model, as well as assisting with data analysis and data collections. A few of the current projects occupying his time include the SBIR tourniquet training system, data analysis of the previous DoD grant plus active studies, development of wearable fabric sensors, and working to understand how Virtual Reality can impact the medical field. In his free time, Brett enjoys golfing, spending time outdoors and traveling with family or friends.


LaDonna Kearse, MD

Resident Researcher

Dr. LaDonna Kearse graduated from the University of Maryland - College Park with a BA in Biological Sciences and concentration in Neurobiology & Physiology, before earning her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in 2018. She has completed two years of General Surgery residency training at Howard University Hospital. Her current interests include the integration of technology and simulation to enhance surgical training, develop individualized learning pathways, and improve patient outcomes. In her spare time, Dr. Kearse enjoys exploring new art ventures, traveling, and being an avid foodie.

Kayla Huemer

Masters Student Researcher

Kayla joined the TECI Center team Fall of 2020 as a MS student in Bioengineering at Stanford. Before joining the TECI Center, Kayla graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. She then spent a year in India developing a low-cost medical technology for diabetic patients while on a Fulbright grant. Using her skills in electrical fabrication and wearables, she began to implement the device in clinic but felt the idea was running up against a data analytics wall. Specifically, she knew AI and ML could bring novelty to the data interpretation and true power to the device - an experience which directly inspired her to pursue her masters. Now at Stanford studying AI in healthcare, Kayla is excited to join the TECI Center team to combine her experience in fabrication and wearables with her desire to leverage ML and AI in the healthcare space. She feels extremely fortunate to have been offered a spot on the TECI Center team and feels right at home with the Wisconsin comradery!

Su Yang

Research Engineer

Su Yang graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, receiving his BS in Electrical Engineering with a sub focus in Computer Science. Su’s technical background consists of designing and fabricating sensor hardware used in medical simulators and coding the software used to capture data.

Calvin Perumalla, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Calvin Perumalla joined the TECI Center team as a postdoctoral researcher in February 2021. He received his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida. His graduate research work involved building a novel cardiac rhythm monitor with enhanced diagnostic capabilities. He was also involved in building machine learning models to detect cardiac abnormalities. Dr. Perumalla later spent two years working at a late-stage startup where he was involved in building AI models to detect anomalies in computer networks. He is passionate about using AI to improve the quality of human life and his current research interests include Computer Vision, Image Segmentation and Surgical Data Science.