MEET THE blackrock team Working with Blackrock Microsystems avails you of one of the most experienced, educated and forward-thinking ephys teams in the world.

Blackrock Microsystems team members

In working with Blackrock Microsystems, you have access to one of the most experienced ephys teams in the world. Their cumulative experience includes:

  • 92 years of ephys
  • 356+ different set-ups in rodent, primate and human ephys research
  • Seven PhDs, five Master’s degrees and 23 Bachelor’s degrees
  • Delivery of 2,160 electrode arrays comprising more than 207,360 individual microelectrodes

Our expertise is truly international – we are happy to discuss your research ideas and potential challenges with you in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

Blackrock Team Bios

Sales and Support Team—USA

Kian Torab, MSc

VP of Technical Consulting & Strategy
Kian finished his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, in biomedical engineering. He then moved to Utah to join the lab of Dr. Bradley Greger to complete his graduate studies. His thesis topic was focused on developing visual prosthetics in blind human patients. Kian has years of experience in non-human primate electrophysiology, using the Utah Array in recording and micro-stimulation projects. In order to better service our European customers, Kian temporarily decamped his entire household to Germany and learned to enjoy Koelsch, Sauerbraten (horse) and Karneval. In return, Kian—who has the largest network of cousins—introduced Blackrock to the flare of Persian culture.

Shuai Wang, PhD

Senior Technical Sales Consultant
Shuai Wang completed his Bachelor’s degree at Nanchang U, China, in Life Sciences and then earned his Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from the Institute of Neurobiology at Fudan University in China. His doctoral research was on neural coding of effort-reward decision-making. He has conducted or assisted in numerous electorde-array implantations and ephys experiments on various animal models including mouse, rat, cat and non-human primate etc. in different labs. Shuai joined Blackrock Microsystems in 2013 and now mainly focuses on the Asian-Pacific market. Since moving to Utah, Shuai is a total skiing enthusiast and his bowling celebrations put NFL touchdown celebrations to shame.

Greg Palis, BSc

Technical Sales Consultant
Greg completed his Undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Rochester where he optimized hardware and software systems for stem cell bio-reactors and other experimental paradigms. He believes the human brain is the most fascinating thing in existence and that Blackrock’s tools provide the best opportunity for further discovery. Greg enjoys working closely with researchers and clinicians to get the most out of the current generation of hardware and software, while working with engineers to influence the next generation of revolutionary research tools. When Greg isn’t in the lab, you’ll find him climbing, biking, hiking, or flying.

Stephen Hou, MS

Support Engineer
Stephen received his B.S. in biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, then went on to complete an M.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Florida. In graduate school, he worked in Dr Ayse Gunduz’s brain mapping laboratory assisting on a project studying EEG signals in Parkinson’s disease patients receiving deep brain stimulation to the pedunculopontine nucleus. Upon graduating, Stephen broke his lifelong East Coast residency, moving to Salt Lake City to join the Blackrock Microsystems team. Utah’s ample trails and elevation gain are ably assisting him in pursuing his goal of running endurance race distances that make 26.2 miles seem like a stroll in the park.

David Kluger, PhD

Support Engineer
David completed his undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Northwestern University, then earned his PhD in bioengineering and biomedical engineering from the University of Utah. His research focused on using Utah Slant Arrays to treat pain caused by peripheral neuropathy and for closed-loop control of prosthetic limbs. David has years of hands-on experience in human research using Utah Arrays, making him an invaluable asset to the support team. When he’s not assisting customers in their research or playing soccer during lunch, you’ll find him rock climbing, snowboarding, or rocking out at a concert.

Jeff Tsang

Support Engineer
Jeff Tsang spent 18 years in the Bay State before deciding he needed a change in scenery. He completed his B.S. in bioengineering at Rice University in Houston and briefly worked at Epic Systems in Wisconsin before deciding to return to Boston and attend Boston University for an M.S. in biomedical engineering. During his time at BU, he fostered an interest in electrophysiology in Laura Lewis’s lab working on utilizing wire loop motion sensors for artifact reduction in simultaneous EEG-fMRI. Now, he uses his experience in technical services and ephys at Blackrock Microsystems as the newest addition to the Support Team. When he’s not troubleshooting ephys systems, he can be found eating a kick in a capoeira roda or scratching the 8-ball in a pool game.

Sales and Support Team—Europe

Sherman Wiebe, PhD, MBA

Senior Technical Advisor Blackrock Microsystems Europe
Sherman has over 17 years of experience in the neuroscience research field. He earned degrees in physics and mathematics from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, followed by a PhD in Neuroscience from New York University where he studied the role of the hippocampus in olfactory memory in freely-behaving rodents. He also holds an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Sherman held multiple positions at Plexon Inc, first as sales manager, then as director of world-wide sales and marketing, and finally as Managing Director of Plexon Europe. Subsequently, Sherman founded NeuronautX, a scientific consultancy firm based in Brussels. Since 2016, Sherman is a key advisor for Blackrock Microsystems in Europe. Sherman’s clearest thinking occurs during the long runs which have already led him to four completed marathons in the last years. Not even the fact that he is based in Brussels, the capital of beer and fine chocolates, could keep him from this achievement.

Electrode Team

Rajmohan Bhandari, PhD

Director of Electrode Business
Raj received his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Utah and MTech degree in solid-state materials from Indian Institute of Technology. He is currently Array Manager in Blackrock Microsystems and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering of University of Utah. He has been involved in prototyping and manufacturing of various micro fabrication, neural interface technologies and devices. Raj is the author of several scientific and engineering publications has three patents and several others pending in the USPTO. Raj is a specialist in implantable devices and systems, MEMS, and grants. Raj has introduced the Blackrock team to the merits of cricket (a tall order when considering it is played for five days without necessarily identifying a winner), Indian food and tea.


Kristen McIntosh, BS

Operations Manager: Manufacturing
Kristen completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Utah where she researched optimization of hyaluronic acid-based hydrogels for applications in tissue engineering. Following her undergraduate studies, Kristen began work at Blackrock Microsystems within the R&D department and has since risen up the ranks to take on the position of Operations Manager over Electronics Manufacturing. Her work focuses on maximizing efficiency and productivity while maintaining Blackrock’s highest quality standards. No matter how pressing, no matter how tall the task, no matter how unreasonable the ask, Kristen somehow manages to stay calm and navigate matters to success. When not hard at work, you’ll find her playing tennis, chasing after her 3 kids or relaxing with a good book.

Business Development and Clinical Projects

Rob Franklin, PhD

Director of Blackrock Innovations
Rob earned his PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he developed electrodes for in vivo neurotransmitter sensing. Following his PhD studies, Rob began his work at Blackrock Microsystems where he has directed a team of engineers in the design and development of implantable, wireless neural interface electronics and novel silicon electrodes for recording and stimulation in the brain. His recent work focuses on custom solutions, high-channel-count neural recording systems and clinical applications for Blackrock’s technology. Rob’s enthusiasm and commitment knows no bounds, whether it is showing his support for the environment by braving US highways with an electric vehicle or his team spirit by playing soccer when really he would prefer football tackling us all.

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