Envision announced that it has awarded two new fellowships for postdoctoral research studies to Güler Arsal, PhD, a former research fellow in the Applied Cognition & Cognitive Engineering Research Group at the University of Huddersfield’s School of Human & Health Sciences in the United Kingdom, and to Rajkumar Nallour Raveendran, a doctoral candidate focused on vision sciences at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. Drs. Arsal’s and Raveendran’s research will be based out of the Gigi and Carl Allen Envision Research Institute (ERI) and sponsored by Envision’s sister National Industries for the Blind agencies ibMilwaukee and LC Industries, respectively.
“We are proud to be accepting our third incoming class of research fellows, and grateful to ibMilwaukee and LC Industries for their support,” Laura Walker, PhD, ERI executive director, said in a company news release. “Through our efforts to train a new pool of researchers focused on low vision rehabilitation research, our fellows program is making a significant impact in the field. Right now, only a small portion of the eye research being conducted globally is focused on low vision rehabilitation, an area where there is great need. As our multinational ERI fellows graduate and continue their work in other places around the world, we’re confident that will change.”
Dr. Arsal is a native of Turkey whose study will focus on “Improving Public Transportation Accessibility: Using Cognitive Task Analysis Techniques to Generate Design Recommendations and Create Prototypes of Design Concepts.” She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education and sports from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, and went on to receive her doctorate from Florida State University in sport and exercise psychology. Alex Chaparro, PhD, who is a professor of psychology who directs the Aging, Perception and Performance Lab and the Regional Institute on Aging at Wichita State University, will serve as mentor for the study. Fellowship sponsor ibMilwaukee is a national manufacturer, supplier and distributor of office supplies, office space design, furniture, tools, customized kitting and promotional products in West Allis, Wis., that is dedicated to empowering a diverse workforce that includes individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Rajkumar Nallour Raveendran hails from India and is scheduled to complete his PhD this spring. At the ERI, he will study “Transcranial Brain Stimulation and Visual Rehabilitation.” Ben Thompson, an associate professor in the optometry and vision science department at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario Canada, will serve as his mentor. Thompson studies human visual cortex development and plasticity particularly as it relates to brain-based visual disorders. Fellowship sponsor LC Industries is a Durham, N.C.-based organization whose sole mission is to provide meaningful employment for people who are blind, offering opportunities, skills and training to help them cultivate jobs into rewarding careers.
Fellowships at the ERI provide an educational environment where appointees identify solutions to improve the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired. Through mentoring, the fellows are put on the fast track to independent and impactful research careers. Each fellowship is awarded for one year, with a second year contingent on progress in the first.
The ERI recently graduated its first class of fellows, Drs. Tony Succar, from Australia, and Rezaul Kareem, from Bangladesh, who researched “Restoring Functional 3D Vision in Macular Degeneration” and “Tactile Object Understanding And Characterization,” respectively. In addition, both of the ERI’s second class of fellows, Drs. Andrea Urqueta Alfaro, from Chile, and Arun Kumar Krishnan, from India, recently received extensions of their projects for a second year each. Dr. Alfaro is researching “Coordinated Joint Engagement, Attachment, And Haptic Development In Infants With Visual Impairments,” while Dr. Krishnan is investigating “Structure-Function Relation At The Preferred Retinal Locus Of Subjects With Age-Related Macular Degeneration.”
Further information about the ERI and its fellowship program can be found online at research.envisionus.com.