Fellow Named One of Oprah’s Health Care Heroes and Another Receives a Grant to Study Workplace Stress

IEEE members made headlines this month

8 January 2018

Fellow Rory Cooper was named one of Oprah Magazine’s Health Heroes for 2018, profiled in this month’s issue.

Cooper is director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), a joint effort of the University of Pittsburgh and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1980 while serving as a U.S. Army sergeant in Worms, Germany, he sustained a spinal-cord injury in a bicycle accident that left him partially paralyzed.

He and other HERL researchers recently developed the Mobility Enhancement Robotic wheelchair (MEBot), which can handle rugged terrain yet is narrow enough to cruise through doorways and down hallways. The researchers were challenged to build the chair by the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment.

He also invented the PARA (patient assist robotic arm), and he is working with RE2 Robotics, a Pittsburgh startup, to bring it to market.

Cooper is a member of the IEEE Control Systems and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology societies.


Life Fellow Erol Gelenbe last month received the Mustafa Prize, an award granted to top researchers and scientists in the Islamic world. He received US $500,000 as well as a medal and certificate at Vahdat Hall, in Tehran.

Among several contributions, he was honored for inventing Gelenbe networks, known as G networks, which are used to evaluate the performance of computer networks, ensuring that they function smoothly without being overloaded.

Gelenbe, an electrical engineering professor at Imperial College, London, is a member of the IEEE Communications, IEEE Computer, and IEEE Information Theory societies.


Life Fellow Raphael Lee received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Lee was honored for his pioneering work on tissue injury and repair, therapeutic control of scar formation, and reconstructive surgery.

He is director of the Center for Molecular Regeneration at the University of Chicago, and he founded several biotechnology companies. He received a bachelor’s degree from USC in 1971.

Lee is a member of the IEEE Control Systems, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology, and IEEE Industry Applications societies as well as the IEEE Systems Council.


Fellow Ming C. Lin was named chair of the computer science department at the University of Maryland, in College Park. She began the role on 1 January.

Previously she was a computer science professor at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill.

She is a member of the IEEE Computer and IEEE Robotics and Automation societies.


A multidisciplinary team led by Fellow Shrikanth Narayanan is using data, sensors, and artificial intelligence to study the causes of workplace stress. The U.S. Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has awarded the project a four-year, $12 million grant.

The researchers, at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, are analyzing data from wearable sensors and self-assessment questionnaires collected from 250 Keck School of Medicine nurses at USC. The team plans to work with behavioral psychologists to analyze and interpret the results.

Numerous physical and emotional factors will be tracked continuously, including sleep quality, self-assessed work performance, and social interaction, according to an article on USC’s website. The researchers plan to use the data to analyze how stress affects workers, specifically in demanding jobs where long shifts are the norm.

Narayanan is a research director at USC’s Information Sciences Institute and a professor of electrical engineering. He is a member of the IEEE Signal Processing Society.

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