Gregory Gerling headshot
GG

Gregory J. Gerling

Associate Professor
Unit: School of Engineering and Applied Science
Department: Department of Systems and Information Engineering
Office location and address
Olsson Hall, 101D
151 Engineer's Way
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Education
B.S. ​Computer Science, University of Iowa, 1998
M.S. Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa, 2001
Ph.D. ​​Industrial Engineering, University of Iowa, 2005
Biography

I am an Associate Professor in Systems and Information Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering, at the University of Virginia. My group's research interests are in general related to the fields of haptics, computational neuroscience, human factors and ergonomics, biomechanics, and human–machine interaction. My primary domain is that surrounding human health. Our research is highly collaborative and interdisciplinary. My lab builds and analyzes computational models using solid mechanics, differential equations and statistical techniques, designs and prototypes devices using electronics, software and silicone-elastomers, and conducts psychophysical experiments.  I have a substantial background in the skin and receptor physiology related to touch sensation – specifically mechanosensitive peripheral afferents.

Research overview: At points where it is difficult or impossible to directly observe skin mechanics, physiology, or neural responses, computational models have helped elucidate tactile encoding strategies of single peripheral neurons and populations. We have modeled the end organ architecture of the slowly adapting type I afferent, which innervates clusters of Merkel cells, to show how their subgrouping into spike initiation zones can impact the elicited neural response. We have also done systematic measurements of the hyper- and visco-elastic mechanics of the skin, with changes in weight and hair cycle in the mouse. Incorporated together, the models indicate that the skin and end organ receptor structure are intertwined in producing trains of action potentials.  At the behavioral level, a thorough understanding of tactile cues in early, peripheral stages is key to deciphering the whole perceptual chain, as well as engineering sensors and human-machine interfaces.

I have been either the principal investigator on over $4M in university- and federally-funded grants from the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, and other agencies and companies.  I am a senior member of the IEEE and have mentored more than 20 PhD and MS students, and published over 50 journal and conference papers.  I am currently serving as the co-chair of the IEEE Haptics Symposium for 2018 and 2020. Before entering academia, I had industry experience at Motorola, NASA Ames Research Center, and Rockwell Collins; and have consulted with companies in the field of healthcare. I have taught human-machine interaction and user experience design for several years.  In my undergraduate teaching, one of my goals is to work with industry clients to orient students toward acquiring real-world experience.

CHS: Small: Deciphering the tactile contact interaction cues vital for designing naturalistic compliance displays
Source: U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)
August 15, 2019 – July 31, 2022
CRCNS: Neural Representations of Object Compliance in the Periphery
Source: U.S. NIH Institute of Neurological Disorders & Str
August 15, 2017 – May 31, 2022
User Experience Design to Synchronize Government Acquisition Strategy and Schedule (ACQ-SYNC)
Source: The Mitre Corporation
August 27, 2019 – May 17, 2020
Machine replication of human touch primitives that underlie emotional touch communication
Source: Linkoping University
August 01, 2018 – December 31, 2019
Operant assay to measure vibration detection in mice
Source: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of
October 01, 2017 – September 30, 2018
Computational modeling of peripheral nerve responses to evaluate communication through touch
Source: Linkoping University
November 01, 2017 – May 31, 2018
EN-SE Peripheral Mechanisms Governing Tactile Encoding During Normal Target Remodeling
Source: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of
September 29, 2013 – July 31, 2017
EN-SE Design, Contruction and Evaluation of Clinical Tactile Assessment Devices
Source: Columbia University
February 01, 2016 – January 31, 2017
EN-SE Field test evaluation of MealMinder
Source: Medical Decisions Network
July 01, 2015 – June 30, 2016
Reliability & Effectiveness of a Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interface
Source: Board of Regents of the University of Michigan
September 30, 2011 – May 31, 2014
CRCNS: Modeling Impact of Receptor Arrangement on Spike Initiation in Touch
Source: The Trustees of Columbia University in the City of
September 15, 2010 – August 31, 2013
Systems Engineering Focus on Clinical Informatics
Source: U.S. NIH Library of Medicine
July 01, 2008 – June 30, 2013
SYS 3023: Human Machine Interface
Credits: 3
An introduction to the fundamentals for the analysis, design and evaluation of human-centered systems. For example, user interaction can be designed to leverage the strengths of people in controlling automation and analyzing data. Course topics include Task, User and Work Domain Analysis, User Interface Design Principles, Human Cognition and Information Processing (Top-Down Design), Human Perception (Bottom-Up Design), and Usability Testing. Prerequisite: SYS 2001 and major in Systems Engineering
SYS 4024: User Experience Design
Credits: 3
A case-based approach to the design of user interfaces with a focus on iterative project experiences. Display design concepts are related to ecological factors, situational awareness, attention, vision, and information processing. Project cases are tied to real-world problems of decision support on mobile platforms, large scale command and control, and data visualization, among others. Prerequisites: SYS 3023 or CS 3205 or Instructor Permission
SYS 4053: Systems Design I
Credits: 3
A design project extending throughout the fall semester. Involves the study of an actual open-ended situation, including problem formulation, data collection, analysis and interpretation, model building for the purpose of evaluating design options, model analysis, and generation of solutions. Includes an appropriate computer laboratory experience. Prerequisite: SYS 3021, 3060, and fourth-year standing in the Systems Engineering major.
SYS 4054: Systems Design II
Credits: 3
A design project extending throughout the spring semester. Involves the study of an actual open-ended situation, including problem formulation, data collection, analysis and interpretation, model building for the purpose of evaluating design options, model analysis, and generation of solutions. Includes an appropriate computer laboratory experience. SYS 4053 and fourth-year standing in Systems Engineering major.
SYS 4995: Supervised Projects in Systems Engineering
Credits: 1–6
Independent study or project research under the guidance of a faculty member. Offered as required. Prerequisite: As specified for each offering.
SYS 6007: Human Factors I
Credits: 3
An introduction to the analysis, design and evaluation of human-centered systems. User interaction can be designed to leverage the strengths of people in controlling automation and analyzing data. Topics include Task, User and Work Domain Analysis, User Interface Design Principles, Human Cognition and Information Processing, Human Perception, and Usability Testing. Graduate version includes separate project review sessions.
SYS 6024: User Experience Design
Credits: 3
A case-based approach to the design of user interfaces with a focus on iterative project experiences. Display design concepts are related to ecological factors, situational awareness, attention, vision, and information processing. Project cases are tied to real-world problems of decision support on mobile platforms, large scale command and control, and data visualization, among others. Graduate version includes 4-5 advanced discussion sessions.
SYS 6064: Applied Human Factors Engineering
Credits: 3
This topic covers principles of human factors engineering, understanding and designing systems that take into account human capabilities and limitations from cognitive, physical, and social perspectives. Models of human performance and human-machine interaction are covered as well as methods of design and evaluation. Prerequisite: Basic statistics knowledge (ANOVA, linear regression)
SYS 6097: Graduate Teaching Instruction
Credits: 1–12
For master's students.
SYS 8995: Supervised Project Research
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of student commitment to project research for Master of Engineering degree under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Registration may be repeated as necessary.
SYS 8999: Non-Topical Research, Masters
Credits: 1–12
Formal record of student commitment to master's research under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Registration may be repeated as necessary.
MAE 8999: Master's Thesis Research, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Credits: 1–12
Formal documentation of faculty supervision of thesis research. Each full-time, resident Master of Science student in mechanical and aerospace engineering is required to register for this course for the number of credits equal to the difference between his or her regular course load (not counting the one-credit MAE 7510 seminar) and 12.
BME 8999: Master's Research
Credits: 1–12
Master's Research
SYS 9997: Graduate Teaching Instruction
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral students.
MAE 9999: Dissertation Research, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Credits: 1–12
Formal documentation of faculty supervision of dissertation research. Each full-time resident doctoral student in mechanical and aerospace engineering is required to register for this course for the number of credits equal to the difference between his or her regular course load (not counting the one-credit MAE 8591 seminar) and 12.
SYS 9999: Dissertation
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral students.