URI Professor Besio Awarded $6 Million Grant For Biomedical Research

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


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University of Rhode Island engineering professor Walt Besio has been awarded a $6 million grant front he National Science Foundation to lead an interdisciplinary consortium of scientists to create brain imaging and modulation technologies that can provide insight into  the nervous system and how it functions in both health and disease. 

“We’re going to create a portable integrated system to get electrical and neurovascular activity from the brain. The system will allow researchers to conduct experiments that until now have not been easy to do,” said Besio, who invented a patented tripolar concentric ring electrode sensor for detecting brain signals that will be the basis of the new research.

The Project 

Besio will collaborate with colleagues from institutions in Kentucky and Oklahoma to develop innovative tools  to image, sense and record brain function and deliver stimuli to the brain to treat neurological diseases like epilepsy, stroke and Parkinson's disease. 

The URI scientists will focus on development of the hardware for the new system while the Kentucky and Oklahoma teams will create algorithms and explore applications that could benefit the project. 

"By the time we develop the instrumentation, we will be able to do research that nobody else can do," Besio said. 

The Funding

The funding for the research comes from the National Science Foundation's experimental program to stimulate competitive research. The URI grant was one of eight awards selected from 60 proposals. 

Along with funding the research, the grant aims to advance careers of junior faculty, so URI Assistant Professors Stephen Kennedy and Kunal Mankodiya will be among the collaborators on the project. 


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