McKelvey School Medicine

2019 McKelvey School Collaboration Initiation Grants awarded to four faculty members

Rajan Chakrabarty, Fangqiong Ling, Chuan Wang, and Patty Weisensee, all assistant professors in the McKelvey School of Engineering, have been awarded $25,000 Collaboration Initiation Grants from the school.

The program awards one-year grants to projects that facilitate collaborative research outside of and within McKelvey Engineering departments for tenure-track faculty. The grants are a pathway for faculty to apply for larger, interdisciplinary grants, to create a more synergistic project than could be achieved by one researcher in one discipline, and to demonstrate the potential to sustain the collaboration and obtain external funding. Each awardee receives $20,000 from the school and must have $5,000 in cost-sharing from their department or collaborators.

Chakrabarty, in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering, will work with Kevin Black, professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine, to study a data-driven model for real-time detection, forecasting and suppression of tics in patients with Tourette Syndrome. They plan to gather pilot data that would establish a scale for the onset of tics in patients with Tourette, which would help them provide a quantitative evaluation of the severity of the syndrome and effectiveness of treatments over time. In addition, they plan to develop an artificial intelligence system prototype, possibly with a smart phone app, that could detect and predict tics, facilitate a suppression treatment, and alleviating the lack of accessibility to treatment because of a provider shortage…

…Wang, in the Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, will work with Yong Wang, assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology at the School of Medicine, who developed an electromyometrial imaging technique that tracks electrical signal patterns to study contractions that could lead to preterm labor and birth. Yong Wang’s method uses up to 256 electrodes, which take time to attach and can be uncomfortable for the patient. Together, Wang and Wang plan to develop an ultrathin, disposable soft sensor patch using a low-cost, inkjet printing process. The patch would contain electrodes and sensors to measure the electrical and mechanical signals during contractions. In the end, they would like to develop a new wearable sensor system that would ease translation of the data from the imaging technique and allow researchers to better understand preterm birth.

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