Fang receives HWCOE 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Innovation

Dr. Ruogu Fang, assistant professor, has been selected to receive the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Innovation.

The Faculty Award for Excellence in Innovation recognizes and rewards a faculty member who has best demonstrated extraordinary innovation and creativity through their research or teaching portfolio and best exemplifies innovation and creativity as defined by introducing new, high-value research or education processes or outcomes that can have significant impact on future generations. I would like to congratulate you on this recognition by your colleagues.

From – Dr. Mingzhou Ding:

Dr. Fang’s scholarly productivity is very strong with a robust trajectory – a total of ~100 publications to date and as senior author with UF graduate and undergraduate students on 33 of these papers. Dr. Fang’s current h index is 17 and has over 1400 total citations (Google Scholar), which is exceptional at this stage of her career. Dr. Fang’s team in collaboration with the UF Fixel Institute of Movement Disorders demonstrated that a quick eye scan could diagnose Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases based on retinal vasculature using AI. This paradigm shift in innovation potentiates early diagnosis at primary care and community clinics, where neurology specialists and expensive brain scans are not available or not affordable.

To support her innovative research, Dr. Fang has developed a very strong extramural and intramural funding portfolio with an outstanding funding record for this stage of her career ($24M total, PI for $4.8M, faculty share of $2.6M since joining UF in 2017) – her portfolio includes two NSF grants and an NIH RF1 (for $2.9M total), all with Dr. Fang as lead PI. She also serves as a key investigator on several large, funded NIH grants, including an NIH U01 and NIH R01, as well as a new NSF award as Co-PI, two NIH P01 proposals that recently received NOAs (one for $7.6M total to UF and the other for $1.8M to UF), and another recent U24 for $2.4M. Dr. Fang is also PI or Co-I on many additional internal awards from UF and the CTSI. This is a superb funding record for a young faculty member, which speaks well for the sustained success of her lab.

Dr. Fang is a strong research community builder. She collaborates widely on campus and always brings innovative ideas and techniques to the collaboration. For example, my collaboration with her has resulted in a neuroscience-inspired framework for building the next generation of AI, which was recognized by the UF AI Catalyst Award in 2021. Her joint work with Dr. David Vaillancourt in the College of Health and Human Performance on using AI for differentiating the subtypes of Parkinsonism for accurate diagnosis and targeted intervention was published in Lancet Digital Health and featured as the cover story. Her collaborative innovation of crossbreed AI and brain health is also demonstrated by her collaboration with Dr. Adam Woods in the College of Public Health and Health Professionals on precision tDCS treatment for an Equal Opportunity Institution cognitive aging using machine learning, which was published in Brain Stimulation, the leading journal in this field. For the research community at large, Dr. Fang has developed 5 innovative software toolsets that she has provided to the community. Dr. Fang has two issued patents and six pending patents on AI in biomedicine. Dr. Fang’s team is the First Prize Winner of two international AI competitions held by IEEE (the world’s largest and most recognized professional organization for advancing technology). She is also Guest Editor of the journal Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics, track chair of BMES 2021, and Inaugural Member of ACM Future of Computing Academy.

As a key faculty member of HWCOE in the space of data science and AI, Dr. Fang’s innovative research output and impact is fundamental to the latest HWCOE initiative to embrace AI-driven innovation. She is also instrumental in helping UF to realize the vision of becoming an AI-empowered campus.