2017 Scholar Award Recipients

Deepta Ghate, MD
Scholar Graduate
Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology
Emory University School of Medicine

Project: Estimation of Effective Field of View and Awareness of Visual Deficits in a Naturalistic Environment. (Poster Download)

"Patients with glaucoma, a common disease of aging that leaves people with compromised peripheral vision, have a 3 times higher risk of accidents as compared to the normal population. Our long-term goal is to develop alert systems when objects appear in the areas of missing vision, so as to make driving safer for patients with glaucoma. In this proposed study, we will use a new and innovative visual field task which we have built in a driving simulator to precisely map the parts of visual scene, which glaucoma patients can and cannot see during distracted and non-distracted driving and compare it to the visual field mapped in clinic."
Mentors: Matthew Rizzo, MD (UNMC); Mark Nawrot, PhD (NDSU); Christopher Wichman, PhD (UNMC); Vikas Gulati, MD (UNMC)

Soonjo Hwang, MD
Scholar Graduate
Research Director, Psychiatry
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Project: Determining the Impact of Oxytocin on the Neural Mechanisms of Irritability and Emotional Dysregulation in the pediatric Population. (Poster Download)

"This project involves a clinical trial of oxytocin for children and adolescents with severe levels of irritability/emotional dysregulation/and aggressive behavior. There will be assessments of symptom profiles as well as state-of-the-art neuroimaging studies (functional MRI or fMRI, and magneto-encephalography or MEG) to determine if changes occur as a result of oxytocin treatment."
Mentors: Christopher Kratochvil, MD (UNMC); James Blair, PhD (BTNRH); Tony Wilson, PhD (UNMC)

Anthony Podany, PharmD
Scholar Graduate
Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Project: Clinical Pharmacology of Efavirenz Combined with High Dose Rifapentine.

"My research addresses the critical need for shorter course tuberculosis (TB) treatment regimens for HIV/TB co-infected individuals. Treatment success has been shown to be directly correlated with treatment duration. Having shorter course TB treatments available to HIV infected individuals receiving antiretroviral therapy has the opportunity to significantly decrease morbidity and mortality associated with TB in HIV infected individuals."
Mentors: Courtney Fletcher, PharmD (UNMC); Kim Scarsi, PharmD (UNMC); Susan Swindells, MBBS (UNMC)

Daniel Rasetshwane, PhD
Scholar Graduate
Director, Auditory Signal Processing Laboratory
Boys Town National Research Hospital

Project: A Physiologically Based and Technically Rigorous Approach to Treating Hearing Loss.

"Many people with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids choose not to use them because of limited benefit and poor sound quality. Current fitting algorithms are limited because they use audiometric thresholds, instead of suprathreshold measures, and current signal-processing algorithms are limited because they ignore other cochlear processes that are diminished with hearing loss. We have developed a fitting algorithm that utilizes categorical loudness scaling data and a signal-processing algorithm that restores suppression, and evaluation of both algorithms resulted in promising outcomes. Ultimately, we believe that work from our laboratory will lead to improved quality in hearing aids and patient satisfaction with their use."
Mentors: Ryan McCreery, PhD (BTNRH); Emily Buss, PhD (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)