Christopher Tacca

University of Kansas

Chris Tacca is a current bioengineering PhD candidate and 2018 - 2022 Madison and Lila Self Graduate Fellow at the University of Kansas researching the efficacy of virtual reality based therapy systems for isolated populations struggling with depression and anxiety. The research focuses on a common factors approach to remote therapeutic healing, specifically how to develop virtual reality experiences utilizing neurofeedback to enhance the therapeutic environment and therapeutic alliance during psychotherapy. His passion for this research comes from seeing the hurt of those close to him struggling with mental illnesses as well as a lifetime of love for designing and creating new things that can help people. Over the last four years of working on this research, he has shadowed many professional counselors, learned from experts in the field of psychology, developed a fully functioning VR psychotherapy prototype, and completed an initial proof of concept study to assess the system. His goal for this research is to make compassionate and effective mental healthcare more accessible to isolated populations. And his goal throughout his career is to bring that same inspiration into developing medical solutions that work for patients in every aspect of their lives.