Mental health could be considered a new frontier, one where the undiscovered landscape exists mostly in the brain. In this space, there are vast numbers of people impacted by mental illness, and there is a profound opportunity for science and technology to play an important role in bettering the human condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health disorders are among the most common health conditions in the United States. And more than half of us will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in our lives. Although great strides have been made in recent years in the development of potent drugs that treat symptoms of many types of mental illnesses, the underlying mechanisms of most of these diseases are still not well understood.
Last month, Samantha Sun and Courtnie Paschall, both CNT and UW Department of Bioengineering graduate students, traveled 5,210 miles from Seattle, USA to Prague, Czech Republic to present their work at the annual IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics.
Samantha Sun presented her work titled "Human Intracortical Responses to Varying Electrical Stimulation Conditions Are Separable in Low-Dimensional Subspaces," for which she was awarded the IEEE Brain Best Student Paper and was one of only four finalists for the overall IEEE SMC Best Paper.
This summer, UW ECE labs are hosting five outstanding undergraduate students from across the country who are learning about neurotechnology through immersive research experiences, interactive courses and workshops. The students are part of a larger cohort placed at labs across the UW campus to take part in the Research Experience for Undergraduates through the Center for Neurotechnology. This 10-week summer program is funded by the National Science Foundation and facilitated by the Center, which is co-directed by UW ECE faculty members Rajesh Rao and Chet Moritz.
Julien Bloch, PhD student in the University of Washington Department of Bioengineering who works in the lab of Center for Neurotechnology faculty member Dr. Azadeh Yazdan-Shahmorad, was named the 2022 recipient of the CNT Best Paper Award for Neurotechnology Advancement. This award was established by Joseph and Anusha Fernando in 2020 to recognize and promote a technical paper authored by a CNT-affiliated student that makes identifiable contributions in neurotechnology or human-machine interaction.
In autumn quarter 2022, the University of Washington Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering will offer a new degree program of a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering (BSECE). Participating students will be able to choose an academic Pathway in Neurotechnology where they will learn to develop devices and algorithms that interact directly with the nervous system.