Dan Afergan

Ph.D. Candidate, Tufts University



I am a Computer Science Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University studying brain-computer interfaces under Professor Robert Jacob. I am a member of the Tufts Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Lab and I am also interested in visualization and collaborate with the Visual Analytics Lab at Tufts.

I graduated from from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Cognitive Science with minors in Psychology & Computer Science and Engineering in 2005. I received an M.S. in Computer Science from The George Washington University in 2009.

From 2005 to 2010 I worked at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in the Warfighter Human System Integration Laboratory, working on immersive virtual environment training systems for Marine Corps infantry training and researching physiological measurements of performance. In the summer of 2014, I worked at Google Cambridge on Image Search user interface engineering and researching visual refinements.

Research Interests

My main research interest is how humans use computer systems and how to assess user state and provide non-intrusive assistance.

My area of focus is using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) for real-time human performance. I use passive input from brain-sensing, where input is derived from a user's changing brain activity without conscious effort from the user, to determine trends in cognitive state that can help adapt computer systems.

By using fNIRS to measure blood flow and oxygenated/deoxygenated hemoglobin levels in the prefrontal cortex, I create machine learning models to compare the user's current state to that in a known training task in order to create adaptive interfaces.


In my free time, I am an active member of the Boston Maccabi Rugby Football Club. I run with the Boston City Sports Run Club and participate in a few races every year. I also enjoy hiking and have conquered a number of New Hampshire's 4,000 foot peaks as well as mountains as far north as Alaska's Denali National Park and as far south as Chile's Patagonia region.