Army and UPenn researcher working to enhance Soldier performance and training

July 27, 2016

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

ADELHPI, Md. (July 19, 2016) -- A U.S. Army Research Laboratory postdoctoral research fellow who has a joint appointment as a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania is investigating how brain signals can be used to help improve Soldier training and team performance on the battlefield.

Dr. Gregory Lieberman works in the laboratory's Human Research and Engineering Directorate, Future Soldier Technologies Division, Integrated Capability Enhancement Branch located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, which is one of ARL's major sites. Lieberman uses neuroimaging to understand how the brain's structural and functional connections relate to variability in Soldier cognition and performance.

His current projects and collaborations include investigating brain connectivity associated with acquiring expertise, adaptive decision-making, multisensory integration and emotional resilience.

"Each of these basic science projects helps us to further understand how the brain is capable of adapting to different tasks and conditions, and how the connections between brain regions can quantify and account for these individual differences in cognition and performance," Lieberman said.

Lieberman's research supports ARL's Human Sciences campaign and Army Warfighting Challenges to improve Soldier and team performance and to enhance training. The campaign envisions future technology that can use dynamic changes in physiological signals to adapt the technology to the needs of the Soldier.

The mission of the Human Sciences campaign is to discover, innovate and transition science and technology capabilities to understand and improve individual and small unit performance across the full range of military operations; empower leaders with enhanced cognitive capabilities to make sound decisions quickly; and enable expeditionary forces to use knowledge of societal and cultural issues and social cognitive networks to shape the operational environment.

Lieberman also collaborates on a project with researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and the team uses methodologies developed here at ARL for healthy individuals to examine individual variability on a cognitive task that is highly relevant for clinical populations.

This collaboration enables the efficient spread of scientific innovation across the Army's research portfolio.

Before coming to ARL, Lieberman received his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2003, completed post-baccalaureate research at Massachusetts General Hospital and earned his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Vermont in 2014.

"I began college as a double major in psychology and theater, two pursuits that both center largely on understanding human emotion and cognition," Lieberman said. "A physiological psychology course during my junior year introduced me to neuroscience, and I have found the study of the brain to be the most interesting field of science ever since."

While at ARL, Lieberman has enjoyed and appreciated the high-caliber research being performed, the high levels of intelligence and dedication exhibited by his colleagues, and the collaborative opportunities with academia, industry and other government organizations made available to him.

"Working for ARL/HRED has so far been an unmatched learning experience," Lieberman said. "Whether training with experts in the field or independently developing solutions to new problems, every day is exciting."

His advice to students who are interested in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics career is as follows:

"Go for it! There's not much that's more exciting than understanding the world around you and helping to advance that understanding for the rest of us. Being a scientist is fun, exciting and challenging. Start as early as you can and try to figure out what about the world around you seems the most interesting and mysterious, then be a part of solving those mysteries."

When not in his lab trying to help solve the challenges of the U.S. Army, you can find Lieberman exploring the local region with his running club, outdoors camping and hiking, enjoying social sports, traveling, reading, cooking and occasionally playing guitar.


The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: July 27, 2016