Category: Awards (Page 1 of 3)

UWIN visiting scientist Rafael Yuste wins 2018 Eliasson Global Leadership Prize

UWIN visiting scientist Rafael Yuste, winner of the Eliasson Global Leadership Prize

UWIN visiting scientist Rafael Yuste

We are excited to announce that UWIN visiting scientist Rafael Yuste has won the 2018 Eliasson Global Leadership Prize given by the Tällberg Foundation! Neuroscientist Rafael Yuste is a professor of Biological Sciences and director of the NeuroTechnology Center at Columbia University, and is currently a UWIN visiting scientist.  Dr. Yuste is an expert on advanced optical methods for in vivo neural recording and additionally has contributed significantly in the area of single neuron biophysics. His laboratory analyses structure, dynamics and coding in cortex and in the cnidarian Hydra.

The Eliasson Global Leadership Prize honors recipients who embody the ideals of Jan Eliasson, a Swedish diplomat and former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.  The foundation selects recipients whose work is “innovative, optimistic, courageous, rooted in universal values and global in implication.”  In addition to Professor Yuste’s research in advanced optical methods for in vivo neural recording in an effort to understand how neural circuits in the cerebral cortex work, he has also placed an emphasis on scientific advocacy. In 2011, Yuste proposed a large scale neuroscience project which became the basis of US BRAIN Initiative, a 12 year proposal that currently involves over 500 labs and is working to understand the neural pathways in humans and animals. As this research progressed, Yuste expanded his work into the consequences of this research, considering the possible impacts of the convergence of neuroscience and artificial intelligence and advocated to add five “NeuroRights” in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The chairman of the Tällberg Foundation, Alan Stoga, said the Prize jury recognized Professor Yuste’s  “commitment to thinking about human identity in more robust ways and his absolute urgency to encourage others to think deeply about the ethics and ethical implications of disruptive technology, particularly in neuroscience”

John Tuthill, UWIN faculty, wins 2018 McKnight Scholar Award

John Tuthill, UWIN faculty, winner of a 2018 McKnight Scholar AwardWe are proud to announce that John Tuthill, a UWIN faculty member, has won a 2018 McKnight Scholar AwardThe McKnight Scholar Awards, administered by the McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience, “encourage neuroscientists in the early stages of their careers to focus on disorders of learning and memory”.

The McKnight Scholar Awards “are granted to young scientists who are in the early stages of establishing their own independent laboratories and research careers and who have demonstrated a commitment to neuroscience. The mission of the Endowment Fund is to support innovative research that can bring science closer to the day when diseases of the brain can be accurately diagnosed, prevented, and treated.”

John Tuthill is one of six researchers awarded a 2018 McKnight Scholar Award.  His research is on the topic of “Proprioceptive Feedback Control of Locomotion in Drosophila”: “Proprioception–the body’s sense of self-movement and position–is critical, for the effective control of movement, yet little is known about how the brain’s motor circuits integrate this feedback to guide future movements. Dr. Tuthill’s lab is working to unlock the essence of motor learning in the brain by investigating how walking fruit flies learn to avoid obstacles and navigate unpredictable environments, assessing the role of sensory feedback in motor control by optogenetically manipulating proprioceptor activity. A deeper understanding of proprioceptive feedback control has the potential to transform the way in which we understand and treat movement disorders.”

Previously, Dr. Tuthill was named a 2017 Allen Institute Next Generation Leader, awarded a Sloan Fellowship, named a 2017 Searle Scholar, and received a UW Innovation Award.

UWIN faculty members Steve Brunton and Kat Steele win 2018 UW College of Engineering Awards

UW College of Engineering Award winners Steve Brunton and Kat SteeleWe are excited to announce that two UWIN faculty members have won 2018 UW College of Engineering Awards! Steve Brunton won the Junior Faculty Award and Kat Steele received the Team Award as part of the Engineering Innovation in Health teaching team.  The College of Engineering Awards “acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of the college’s teaching and research assistants, staff and faculty members.” Congratulations to Steve and Kat!

Both have previously won UW College of Engineering Awards.  In 2017, Steve won the Faculty Award for Teaching; and in 2016, Kat  won the Junior Faculty Award.

UWIN fellows Kaitlyn Casimo and Karley Benoff named two of the 2018 Husky 100!

UWIN fellows Kaitlyn Casimo and Karley Benoff, both named to the 2018 Husky 100Congratulations to UWIN graduate fellow Kaitlyn Casimo and UWIN undergraduate fellow Karley Benoff, who were named two of the 2018 Husky 100!  Each year the Husky 100 award “recognizes 100 UW undergraduate and graduate students from Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma in all areas of study who are making the most of their time at the UW”.

Students named to the Husky 100 “actively connect what happens inside and outside of the classroom and apply what they learn to make a difference on campus, in their communities and for the future. Through their passion, leadership and commitment, these students inspire all of us to shape our own Husky Experience.”

UWIN fellow Kaitlyn Casimo, one of the 2018 Husky 100Kaitlyn Casimo, UWIN graduate fellow, says: “Besides developing programs in interactive, informal science learning to make science fun for kids and adults, I’m improving the way we tell stories about science on the stage and page. When I’m not doing research on patterns of connectivity in the human brain, I’m working to bring science to new audiences in innovative and accessible ways and to teach other scientists to do the same.”

Kaitlyn was awarded a UWIN graduate fellowship in 2014 and is a Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience program, where she is a member of Jeff Ojemann’s lab in Neurological Surgery.  She studies the electrophysiology of human resting state and task based brain connectivity, working with patients undergoing epilepsy surgery. She is especially interested in changes in connectivity related to brain-computer interface use and learning. Kaitlyn received a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Pomona College, where she studied physiological responses to stress. She is a joint fellow of UWIN and the UW Computational Neuroscience Training Grant.  Kaitlyn  was named to the 2016 class of AAAS Emerging Leaders in Science & Society.

UWIN fellow Karley Benoff, one of the 2018 Husky 100Karley Benoff, UWIN undergraduate fellow, shares: “Throughout my Husky Experience, I have sought opportunities to empower people with all levels of mobility. This includes researching to develop and evaluate assistive devices, working in teams to tackle unmet clinical needs and helping establish HuskyADAPT, a student organization dedicated to improving and advocating for accessibility. As a 2018 graduate, I aspire to use my technical background and leadership experience to help advance healthcare technology.”

Karley was awarded a UWIN undergraduate fellowship in 2017 and is a Mechanical Engineering major working with Kat Steele in the ME Ability & Innovation Lab. Karley’s research focuses on designing and optimizing body-powered orthoses for individuals with neuromuscular deficits of the arm. She will test her device with participants using electromyography (EMG) signals to evaluate motor learning and user adaptation. Karley’s goal is have the final orthosis design be open source.

Kaitlyn and Karley join former UWIN undergraduate fellow Camille Birch, who was named one of 2017’s Husky 100.

UWIN faculty Andre Berndt and John Tuthill named 2017 Allen Institute Next Generation Leaders

Andre Bernt and John Tuthill, UWIN faculty named as 2017 Allen Institute Next Generation LeadersWe are excited to announce that two UWIN faculty members, Andre Berndt and John Tuthill, have been named as 2017 Allen Institute for Brain Science Next Generation Leaders!  The Allen Institute’s Next Generation Leaders are “distinguished early-career researchers who will provide feedback in both formal and informal settings to scientists at the Allen Institute”.

“We are very pleased to welcome this group of impressive researchers as advisors to the Allen Institute,” says Christof Koch, President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. “Their caliber and fresh perspectives make them invaluable to our team. We look forward to hearing their feedback as well as providing guidance as they build their own careers.”

According to the Allen Institute, “Next Generation Leaders are selected each year through a competitive application process from a pool of international applicants.”  Six researchers were appointed in the 2017 cohort; only two of the six are from the University of Washington, and both of those are UWIN faculty members!  This is the first time University of Washington faculty have been named Allen Institute Next Generation Leaders.

Earlier this year, Dr. Tuthill was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship, named a 2017 Searle Scholar, and received a UW Innovation Award.

You can read more at the Allen Institute press release, as well as see the biographies of Drs. Berndt and Tuthill.

UWIN faculty Bing Brunton and Steve Brunton win AFOSR Young Investigator Awards

Bing Brunton and Steve Brunton, winners of AFOSR Young Investigator AwardsWe are extremely proud to announce that two UWIN faculty members, Bing Brunton (Biology) and Steve Brunton (Mechanical Engineering) have each won an AFOSR Young Investigator Research Program Award!  The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) Young Investigator Program recognizes those “who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting basic research”, and who have received Ph.D. or equivalent degrees in the last five years.

Bing’s awarded proposal was on “Sparse Sensing with Wing Mechanosensory Neurons for Estimation of Body Rotation in Flying Insects”.  Steve’s winning proposal was on “Interpretable Nonlinear Models of Unsteady Flow Physics”.  AFOSR Young Investigator Awards provide a 3-year grant totaling $450,000.

In addition to these prestigious awards from AFOSR, Bing was recently awarded a UW Innovation Award, and Steve won the 2017 UW College of Engineering’s Faculty Award for Teaching.

You can read more about the AFOSR Young Investigator awards on the AFOSR website.  Bing’s award from AFOSR was also highlighted on the UW Biology website.

David Gire, UWIN faculty, receives French/U.S. collaborative research award

David Gire, UWIN faculty, winner of French/US collaborative awardWe are pleased to announce that UWIN faculty member David Gire has been selected to receive a French/U.S. collaborative research award from the French Embassy and FACE Foundation.  He and his collaborator Agnese Seminara (at CNRS in Nice, France) were awarded support from the Thomas Jefferson Fund, which aims to “support new collaborations and the most innovative projects between promising young researchers in France and the United States. The Thomas Jefferson Fund aims to foster forward-looking collaborative research in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences, of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and of Science for Society that addresses the most pressing global challenges.”

They describe their project as follows: “Animals constantly make decisions based on a large array of sensory inputs that inform them of their environment. Chemical cues bear a fundamental source of information, that all domains of life extract with sophisticated mechanisms. While different species use the sense of smell to tailor their decision-making onto specific computational needs, the neural architecture underlying olfaction is remarkably similar. To unravel the fundamental principles that shape olfactory driven decision-making, we target a connection between the physics of odor transport in the air and animal behavior during olfactory navigation tasks. We believe that physics, behavior and neurobiology will all be critical to decipher the sense of smell. No single researcher has broad enough expertise to undertake this effort in isolation, and we strongly believe that collaboration is needed to make progress.”

David Gire also recently won a UW Innovation Award in collaboration with UWIN faculty member Bing Brunton.

Raj Rao, UWIN faculty and CSNE Director, receives endowed professorship at UW

Raj Rao, UWIN faculty and CSNE Director, receives endowed professorship at UWRaj Rao, a UWIN Executive Committee member and Director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) has been named the Cherng Jia and Elizabeth Yun Hwang Endowed Professor in the University of Washington’s (UW’s) Department of Electrical Engineering.

From the UW EE department: “This professorship is built on the Hwangs’ shared vision of making life better for those with paralysis. It supports the critical advancement of rehabilitation technologies for spinal cord injury and stroke. The nature of this research requires a multi-disciplinary approach.”

“The selection of Professor Rao is ideal,” Mr. Hwang said. “His work lays the groundwork for research on developing a device-based rehabilitation technology to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and brain damage.”

“I am truly honored to be named the inaugural CJ and Elizabeth Hwang Professor of CSE and EE,” Rao said. “I regard the Professorship as a recognition of the great collaborative effort of the students, faculty and staff at our center [CSNE] over the past 6 years that has made UW a premier destination for neural engineering in the world. We are extremely grateful to the Hwang family for their generosity in accelerating the center’s efforts to build devices that will improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions.”

Read more at:

Emily Fox, UWIN faculty, wins award from Seattle’s Association for Women in Science

Emily Fox (UW Seattle), winner of an award from Seattle’s Association for Women in ScienceUWIN faculty member Emily Fox has been awarded the 2017 Award for Scientific Advancement in STEM by the Seattle Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).  These awards recognize “outstanding women who have advanced their fields of scientific research, education and outreach.  They are leaders and innovators whose work has made an impact.  They are mentors and inspiring role models for students and other professionals.”

AWIS says:  “Emily is an expert in machine learning and a leading researcher in redefining the scope and nature of applied statistics.  She is a leader in developing computationally realistic modeling tools for complex data sets.  In addition to teaching and advising at University of Washington, she co-created an online course about machine learning.  She was recently recognized by President Obama with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.  Emily fosters the development of other women in science through her visible success and being approachable and available as a mentor and counselor.”

Eric Chudler, UWIN faculty and CSNE Executive Director, wins Emmy Award!

Eric Chudler, UWIN faculty and CSNE Executive Director, winner of an Emmy for “BrainWorks: Exercise and the Brain”. Eric Chudler, a UWIN faculty member and the Executive Director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) won an Emmy Award at the 2017 Northwest Regional Emmy Awards for an episode of the UWTV series BrainWorks!  Dr. Chudler was the executive producer and host of the winning episode of BrainWorks, “Exercise and the Brain“.   BrainWorks aims to teach kids and parents alike about the brain in entertaining and informative ways.  The winning episode focused on the benefits of exercise on the brain and learning.  The award was in the Health/Science Program category.

See more at the CSNE’s website: “CSNE Executive Director wins Emmy Award”

Watch the winning episode below!

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