Grad Research Forum Winner Receives NSF Grant

By: Graduate Studies on

Alan Paris, third-year doctoral student in the Modeling and Simulation program, is part of a winning NSF Standard Grant under the Communication and Information Foundations (CIF) Signal Processing Directorate. This grant was based on Paris’s research focused on using mathematical models to eliminate noise from EEG results. It is also the topic of his award-winning 2014 UCF Graduate Research Forum entry in the category of Computer Science, Engineering, and Modeling and Simulation.

Paris is investigating the cybernetics of neuroscience, the control and communication mechanisms of neuron signaling, especially in the brain, with a focus on creating better mathematical models of the EEG noise created by neuronal membranes.

“The immediate goal is to improve the information-carrying capacity of brain-computer interfaces to allow quadriplegic individuals to control wheelchairs, special-purpose internet browsers, and their home environment,” Paris explains. He also hopes to apply related methods to the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury in veterans and localizing epileptic seizure foci in children prior to brain surgery. Future goals include investigating the links between cybernetic neuroengineering and neuropharmacology to create new treatment approaches for illnesses such as epilepsy, depression, and schizophrenia.

Paris is the Director and Founder of a new Institute for Simulation and Training Lab called NeuroLogic and hopes to use the NSF award to further his lab’s research. He plans to get his lab on its feet with its own source of funding and student researchers over the next few years. After completing his PhD in 2016, Paris will transition from grad student to post-doc within this same NSF grant. “This is a really exciting time for neuroscience and neuroengineering and I want to be there at the leading edge!”

Paris holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from MIT as well as a Master of Science in Mathematical Logic from Cornell. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies at UCF, he worked in industry as a mathematician and programmer specializing in translating abstract mathematical models into concrete applications. Paris started out in the Mathematics PhD program but found that the application-oriented approach of Modeling and Simulation was a better fit for his experience. He appreciates the multidisciplinary nature of the program and the breadth of its application areas.

He is thrilled to be a recipient of the NSF grant which was submitted with advisors George Atia, PhD (PI) and Azadeh Vosoughi, PhD (Co-PI), of the UCF Electrical Engineering Division of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Stephen Berman, MD/ PhD (Co-PI) of the UCF College of Medicine. This is the first NSF grant to be shared between UCF College of Medicine and College of Engineering and Computer Science.

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