Laleh Najafizadeh receives Provost's Award for Excellence in Cross-Disciplinary Research

ECE Associate Professor Laleh Najafizadeh has been chosen to receive the 2019-20 Provost's Award for Excellence in Cross-Disciplinary Research. This award honors individual faculty (Assistant or Associate Professors, tenure-track or non-tenure track) whose research area aims to achieve disruptive or transformative impacts at the interface of two disparate fields of scholarship or inquiry. Dr. Najafizadeh has an established record of outstanding multidisciplinary research at the intersection of engineering and neuroscience. She conducts fundamental research to develop novel computational methods for analyzing neuroimaging data obtained through invasive and non-invasive imaging modalities. These methods have led to better scientific understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying behavior, learning, and plasticity, and have promising applications in next-generation brain computer interfaces (BCIs), psychology, personalized rehabilitation, and clinical neuroscience. The impact of her research is evident through successful collaborations across Rutgers with the Departments of Psychology, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, and Biomedical Engineering.  She and her team have introduced computational methods to extract temporal features from calcium imaging data, demonstrating for the first time, that the temporal characteristics of calcium transients can be utilized to decode behavior.  In other work, she and her students have developed a novel data-driven segmentation technique for EEG recordings, which has been adopted by researchers in the Department of Psychology to study and understand how the human brain makes decisions about time.  She and her team have also developed new frameworks for studying the dynamics of the brain that have significantly improved BCI performance.
 
This honor given to only two faculty members selected from across all of Rutgers University, carries an institutional award of $5,000 and will be presented to Dr. Najafizadeh at the Chancellor’s Celebration of Faculty Excellence, on Tuesday, March 24, 2020.
 
Congratulations to Laleh on this recognition!