Bamboo Huff
Virtual reality for surgical practice

Note: Bamboo Huff was a Business Development Fellow in 2017/18. This interview was conducted in fall 2017.

Bamboo Huff is a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis. She completed her Ph.D. in neuroscience at Peking University. Huff’s current research involves the role of the medial superior temporal cortex in visual motion, and she plans to find  a job in data science or product development in the future.

Describe your project or venture in a nutshell.

My venture is a virtual reality kit for surgical planning and practice. This kit allows surgeons, vets and researchers to view and virtually manipulate a 3D model built based on their prospective patients. These users could receive realistic tactile feedback while using VR surgical tools to plan and practice surgical procedures.

What’s important about your research or project? Where do you hope to take it?

My research studies how the motion information is processed in the dorsal extrastriate cortex, and if we can interpret specific brain activity patterns to predict the visual motion perception. This research is important in understanding how we see motions and sense our own movement. I hope this will contribute to our overall knowledge of the brain.

What are you most passionate about in your work?

I love the large spectrum of skills I get to learn and master in my research. As a neuroscientist, I do more than reading articles and doing experiments at the lab bench. Electric circuits building, computer programming, mathematical modeling, CT and MRI reconstructing, surgical operating and animal behavior studying are all part of my research. And all the effort pays off when I heard that beautiful neuron firing sound.

What was the most important thing you learned at the Entrepreneurship Academy?

I learned that I don’t have to always rely on myself. Building a good team is crucial. There is a lot of talent in my network, and I should not be shy in reaching out to them for help.

What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?

One mentor was really frank about the gain and the loss that one has to evaluate before becoming an entrepreneur. A well-prepared entrepreneur has not only a good team, a good business plan and good financial support, but also a good balance with their family.

Do you plan to participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition or “just” the workshops? How do you expect this to help you as an aspiring entrepreneur?

I am attending the workshops and I will participate in the competition if I find a good team. I hope I will get good practice from this whole process, and gain a better understanding on what it takes to bring an idea to the market.

How will your experience as a Business Development Fellow help you to change the world?

As a scientist, I see how science is expanding our vision and providing the potential to make changes. As a Business Development Fellow, I am learning how to bring ideas into reality. With the combination of the two, I hope I can use my professional knowledge and skill set to make the world a better place.