Army researchers to carry out cutting-edge, collaborative projects thanks to prestigious award

May 23, 2017

By Jenna Brady, ARL Public Affairs

Story Highlights

ARL's own Dr. Lance Kaplan and Dr. Cameron Good have been selected as 2017 Laboratory University Collaboration Initiative winners, and will receive $600,000 over a three-year period to conduct basic research projects in areas of critical interest to the Department of Defense.

ADELPHI, Md. (May 23, 2017) -- Two U.S. Army Research Laboratory employees have been selected as winners of the Laboratory University Collaboration Initiative.

Dr. Lance Kaplan and Dr. Cameron Good were chosen along with eight other researchers from across the Department of Defense and will receive $600,000 over a three-year period to conduct a basic research project in collaboration with their fellows.

This year marks the second year of the pilot program, which is designed to foster collaboration between service laboratory researchers and Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellows to carry out cutting-edge research in areas of critical interest to the DOD.

"Overall, I am honored and even stunned to have won such a competitive and prestigious award," Kaplan said. "There are not many opportunities to acquire basic research funding outside of this laboratory. While I have been part of winning basic research proposals when I was on faculty at Clark Atlanta University, this is the first time that I will lead a winning proposal effort. It feels great for my ideas to be appreciated."

Kaplan's project will focus on the area of network science.

"Through collaboration with the International Technology Alliance and Network Science Collaborative Technology Alliance programs, I have developed a research agenda focused on reasoning over uncertain and conflicting data," Kaplan said. "This work is beginning to blossom over many different facets, and the LUCI award will enable me to further expand the study in the realm of social learning theory."

The overall idea of Kaplan's project is to integrate his research in uncertain reasoning over conflicting data into social learning theory. He will be working alongside Professor Ali Jadbabaie from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Professor Ali Jadbabaie has shown how social learning theory can determine the adoption of beliefs by human agents based upon the structure of the social network in benign conditions," Kaplan said. "I am excited about the chance to work with Jadbabaie to understand what happens when some agents are maliciously reporting false beliefs to promote their own agenda."

The two hope to develop techniques that enable human agents to detect and discount such false reporting. This work will be crucial for the Army to achieve situational awareness of the social landscape and take proactive steps to ensure that the hearts and minds of local civilian populations are not turned against the armed forces due to false propaganda.

Kaplan received a bachelor's of science degree with distinction from Duke University in 1989 and a master's degree and doctorate from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, in 1991 and 1994, respectively, all in electrical engineering.

Currently, he is a researcher in ARL's Networked Sensing and Fusion branch located at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, where his research interests include signal and image processing, information/data fusion, network science and resource management.

Kaplan serves as editor-in-chief for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems and as vice president of conferences for the International Society of Information Fusion.

He is also a Fellow of IEEE and ARL.

Good's winning project is focused on the area of biocompatible electronics and is titled "Wireless Implantable Neural Recording Device."

"My project creates a direct collaboration between Dr. John Rogers of Northwestern University and myself to develop a new type of miniaturized wireless, battery-free device for recording brain (electroencephalography) and muscle (electromyography) activity while stimulating optogenetic channels in animal models," Good said.

According to Good, with this technology, the neural circuitry of an unrestricted, freely moving animal can be manipulated on-demand, allowing them to study the dynamic effects of neurostimulation on task performance.

This wireless EEG/EMG system will enable fundamental research into the biological mechanisms underlying the control of sleep and recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and physical training.

Good noted that in addition to supporting basic research efforts across the DOD, the device framework will be adapted for remote, non-invasive physiological monitoring, such as body temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygenation and hydration level, of Soldiers to assist them in maintaining optimal levels of performance.

"The LUCI award will allow us to develop the technology needed to pursue high-risk, high-reward projects that are not currently possible," Good said. "Specifically, this will permit long-term (greater than one year) cognitive and behavioral neuroscience studies that are outside the reach of battery-operated devices, which is about one to three months."

By bringing together engineers from Rogers's lab with ARL's biologists, this project will also foster cross-training of technical staff to be better informed on different disciplines.

"This experience will enable us to create better, integrated and more pragmatic research and engineering programs as our careers progress," Good said.

According to Good, this is a remarkable opportunity to pursue a cutting-edge research project with broad applications across ARL and the DOD.

"It is a culmination of my current and past work, and will allow me to test a hypothesis that I originally formulated in graduate school," Good said. "Beyond the impact of the new research tool, this LUCI project will also support my professional development by learning directly from Rogers's expertise and his ability to successfully manage a large team of scientists and engineers."

Good received a bachelor's of science degree in psychology with a minor in chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas in 2001, and went on to earn his doctorate in neurobiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 2005.

In his current role at ARL at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Good designs and executes behavioral physiology experiments utilizing optogenetic stimulation to study rapid-eye movement sleep mechanisms.

Good serves as a visiting scientist at the Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense, where he works to discover novel medical countermeasures for nerve agent exposure.

He is also co-chair of the National Institutes of Health Clinical Neurophysiology, Devices, Neuroprosthetics and Biosensors Study Section where he leads the review of funding proposals for basic and applied research across small business and academia.

These ARL researchers are eager to dive further into their projects and are hopeful that their research will enable a future force that is second to none.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory, currently celebrating 25 years of excellence in Army science and technology, is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to provide innovative research, development and engineering to produce capabilities that provide decisive overmatch to the Army against the complexities of the current and future operating environments in support of the joint warfighter and the nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Last Update / Reviewed: May 23, 2017