UofM Awarded Second $1.9 Million National Institutes of Health Grant

NIH grant will fund research on brain imaging and big data

June 4, 2018 - The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded two University of Memphis professors a $1.9 million grant for a collaborative brain imaging and big data project, the second prestigious grant of the same amount this spring for UofM professors. The grant was awarded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

Dr. Gavin Bidelman of the Institute for Intelligent Systems and School of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Dr. Mohammed Yeasin of Electrical and Computer Engineering received the grant for "Neural Dynamics Underlying the Emergence of Auditory Categorization and Learning." Bidelman directs the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, housed within the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

"The University of Memphis is honored that our professors received two prestigious $1.9 million grants," said UofM President M. David Rudd. "Drs. Bidelman, Yeasin and (Joel) Bumgardner are performing important work that not only represents critical scientific advances in our understanding of auditory learning, they're helping move forward the University as one of the finest research institutions in the country."

The ability to properly categorize sounds into meaningful groupings is a core precursor to spoken and written language acquisition that is often impaired in auditory-based learning disorders such as dyslexia.

"This grant will support our work to better understand not only the neurobiology of normal perception of speech, music and auditory learning, but also inform potential interventions for certain communication problems that impair the fundamental process of categorizing sounds," said Bidelman. "The grant represents a highly interdisciplinary, collaborative engagement between the Institute for Intelligent Systems, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.

"State-of-the-art data science approaches will be applied to electrical brain recordings to decode where, when and how the human brain maps sounds to meaning and determine what markers of neural activity are most predictive of successful speech perception and learning. A major innovation of the project is the application of big data techniques to human neuroimaging data that will enable us to 'decode' which electrical signatures are causally related to behavioral outcomes."

Bumgardner, professor of Biomedical Engineering, recently received a $1.9 million grant from the NIH to support his work to regenerate bone lost to periodontal disease or injury.

For more information about research in the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, visit https://www.memphis.edu/acnl/.


Chuck Gallina | 901.678.1756 l cgallina@memphis.edu