Monday, July 2, 2018

Jan Wessel, assistant professor of neurology and of psychological and brain sciences, and UI Department of Computer Science researchers Octav Chipara and Zubair Shafiq have won five-year grants worth $750,000, $499,309 and $500,000, respectively, as part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) program that aims to help young researchers “launch careers of discovery and leadership.”

Wessel’s research, titled “Human motor inhibition: a neural race between motor emission and cognitive control,” will study how brain activity underlying motor emission (initiating an action) and motor inhibition (stopping that action) interact during the rapid stopping of action. Action-stopping is significantly impaired across many neuropsychiatric disorders.

Chipara, an assistant professor of computer science, will use his grant money to investigate software adaptation and synthesis techniques for “wearable Internet-of-Things,” devices such as  smart watches, smart glasses and hearing aids. Shafiq, also an assistant professor of computer science, will investigate implicit and explicit cooperation between network operators and content providers for quality of experience in the encrypted internet.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development program allows promising junior faculty to pursue cutting-edge research while simultaneously advancing excellence in education. This year’s awardees hail from 120 institutions in 43 states. More than 20 percent of awardees are women and about 8 percent are from underrepresented groups.