Gunduz receives Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award

For Dr. Aysegul Gunduz, assistant professor in the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, forging new paths in the landscape of patient care is at the forefront of her research.

Her research strategy involves studying neural correlates of behavior and disease, and aftereffects of stimulation in neural networks to improve deep brain stimulation therapy.

For her efforts in this regard, Gunduz has been awarded the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award by the Anita Borg Institute; a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing.

Gunduz and her team in the Brain Mapping Laboratory aim to translate neural biomarkers of disease into clinical diagnostic and therapeutic systems to improve the quality of life of those suffering from neurological disorders. Working with patients who undergo surgical treatment allows her team to capture the electrical wave patterns of the human brain, and the data are converted into a visual brain map. Gunduz and her team analyze the data to help patients with epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

“There can be great pain and suffering for patients with neurological disorders,” Gunduz said. “Helping to understand the electrophysiological markers of a disease can help us develop more effective treatments to improve the quality of life for these patients.”

Connecting with women is another important factor in her leadership role in the department. Gunduz is the current president of the Association for Academic Women (AAW) at the University of Florida and has been involved since 2012.

“The AAW provides a voice for women on campus, opportunities for networking and nurturing among women from different disciplines and at different levels of their academic careers,” Gunduz said. “Supporting and encouraging the upward mobility of women into higher levels is very important to me.”

Under the AAW’s Madelyn Lockhart Fellowship Program, Gunduz created an Emerging STEM Scholar Award supported by her 2016 NSF CAREER Award to be presented to an exceptional female graduate student completing her dissertation in a STEM field. She is also a mentor for the University Minority Mentor Program.

Gunduz received the NSF CAREER Award for her work on developing closed-loop deep brain stimulation for Tourette syndrome. Her translational work with neurologist Dr. Michael Okun brought in a $1.5 million grant from the NIH to study the physiological origins of tic generation in Tourette syndrome. In addition, her collaboration with neurosurgeon Dr. Kelly Foote to develop closed-loop deep brain stimulation for essential tremor was awarded an NIH BRAIN Initiative grant.

Most recently Gunduz was awarded the J. Crayton Pruitt Family Term Fellowship (2017-2020), a UF Term Professorship (2017-2020), and the UF Provost’s Excellent Award for Assistant Professors (2017).

The Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award presented by the Anita Borg Institute recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity. Winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by a panel of fellow technologists and past ABIE Award winners based on their extraordinary achievements and commitment to excellence.

This award honors the life and career of professor Denice Denton (1959 – 2006), a woman engineering faculty member and the first female dean of a school of engineering in a major U.S. research university. She worked throughout her life to give minorities a voice and to make engineering attractive to women and minorities, strongly promoted diversity in higher education and helped many people break barriers and find their path in life.

“The Anita Borg Institute is thrilled to honor Dr. Aysegul Gunduz with the 2017 ABIE Award for The Denise Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award,” said Telle Whitney, the organization’s CEO and President. “Because of her groundbreaking biomechanical research and her evident commitment to promoting diversity in academia, Ayse serves as a role model for all women technologists.”

Gunduz will be presented the award at the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing Oct. 4-6, 2017.

Congratulations, Dr. Gunduz!


For the Anita Borg Institute’s announcement, click here.

Interview with Dr. Gunduz, click here.

Anita Borg Livestream, click here.