Byron Yu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, and Matthew Smith of the University of Pittsburgh, have received a four-year $1 million grant to use brain-computer interfaces to understand how the sensory environment and state of mind combine to affect perception and interpretation of the world around us. Their work has implications for treating psychiatric disorders. The NSF granted 19 awards to teams from all over the United States to conduct research on neural and cognitive systems. The awards will contribute to the NSF’s support of the BRAIN initiative, a research effort created to spark the development of new neurotechnologies. Find out more.
Max G’Sell, an assistant professor of statistics, and Avniel Ghuman of the University of Pittsburgh received a National Science Foundation award for brain research. G’Sell and Ghuman will work to understand how the brain perceives and understands the actions, emotions and communications of others. The three-year, $1 million grant will allow them to understand brain circuits in a real-world setting. They will record electrical brain activity in patients undergoing neurosurgical treatment for epilepsy while they have natural interactions with friends, family, doctors and hospital staff. Ultimately, they hope to provide much greater insight into neural processes that become dysfunctional in debilitating brain disorders such as autism and post-traumatic stress disorder. Learn more.
The Desert Research Institute has named chemistry graduate student Qing Ye the runner-up for the Peter B. Wagner Memorial Award for Women in Atmospheric Sciences. The award is presented to a woman pursuing a graduate degree in atmospheric sciences or a related program at a university in the United States. Ye, a fifth-year graduate student conducting research on aerosols, tiny liquid or solid particles that pervade the atmosphere, works in CMU’s Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies and is the first student in the joint Ph.D. program in chemistry and engineering and public policy. She received the second-place award for her manuscript “Mixing of secondary organic aerosols versus relative humidity.” The work showed that semi-volatile organic compounds can readily diffuse into the billions of tiny atmospheric particles that inhabit the air, easily moving among them. Find out more.