By Todd Taylor
Aysegul Gunduz, Ph.D., an associate professor in University of Florida’s J. Crayton Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering, was named the inaugural Fixel Brain Mapping Professor.
The Lauren and Lee Fixel Foundation established the professorship with a $1 million gift to support a faculty member focused on brain mapping and neuromodulation, which uses neuroimaging and neurophysiology techniques to better understand the structure and function of the human brain to advance both research and patient care.
“Being selected for this professorship is an honor. I am grateful to Drs. Okun and Foote and the entire team at the Norman Fixel Institute for always giving me a voice and seat at the table,” said Gunduz, principal investigator of the UF Brain Mapping Laboratory. “This professorship will allow further discoveries in our effort to develop smarter therapeutic tools to combat neurological diseases like Parkinson’s.”
Using bioimaging and electrophysiology, Gunduz’s lab aims to translate their discoveries into clinical diagnostic and therapeutic systems to improve quality of life for those living with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, Tourette syndrome and epilepsy.
“Dr. Gunduz’s pioneering work is changing lives and advancing science,” said Michael. S. Okun, M.D., executive director of the Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases at UF Health and chair of the UF Department of Neurology.
Gunduz is currently a UF Research Foundation Professor and has earned numerous awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on science and engineering investigators in the early stages of their independent research careers; the Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award; and the National Science Foundation CAREER Award.
“Dr. Gunduz’s brilliance is reflected not only in her research advances but also in the next generation of leaders her laboratory has been producing,” said Kelly D. Foote, M.D., co-director of the Norman Fixel Institute and a professor of neurosurgery in UF’s Lillian S. Wells Department of Neurosurgery.