The University of Houston-Victoria is awarding three faculty members $6,000 grants to assist in their research into knowledge integration in product development, comparing computers and the human brain, and helping college students cope with mental health-related symptoms.
The internal research grants were awarded to:
- Hongyu Guo, associate professor of computer science in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences
- Rupak Rauniar, associate professor of management in the UHV School of Business Administration
- Wayne Smith, assistant professor of counselor education in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development
The UHV Internal Research Grant is a highly competitive award given annually since 2012. It is available to both tenured and tenure-track faculty members. The grants are intended for use as seed money to help grow research projects, UHV Interim Provost Don Smith said.
“Research is inseparable from teaching,” he said. “These grants enable faculty members to contribute to the body of knowledge in their discipline. Their efforts will add to what is taught in classes here and across the nation.”
Guo’s research examines the long-debated question, “Is the brain a computer?” He intends to investigate the computational process, and time and memory complexity of the brain by studying people with extraordinary mental capabilities, or savants.
“The memory in the human brain is not digital; it does not utilize bits, 0 or 1,” Guo said. “This research in computational neuroscience helps us to better understand the human brain. In addition, the study of computational process in the brain also helps us look for new directions for computer hardware architecture design.”
Rauniar has focused his research over the past few years on the importance of knowledge and how integrating it into product development can lead to superior outcomes. He’s found that a team that collaborates with key suppliers and customers to combine and create new knowledge will lead to improved, creative and innovative products.
Rauniar will conduct an empirical study focused on key causes of knowledge integration, Rauniar said. The grant will be used to collect data for his study and fund his participation to present preliminary findings from the study in an upcoming research conference.
“The current research identifies the importance of knowledge integration and superior product development outcomes,” he said. “However, empirical studies focusing on key drivers of knowledge integration in new product development projects are largely missing. My research is intended to fill in those knowledge gaps.”
Wayne Smith is a licensed professional counselor. His research pursues his passion of helping college students overcome obstacles to pursue their goals and become prosperous in all aspects of life.
The grant will fund a project that will explore the effects of biofeedback training and relaxation for incoming freshmen coping with anxiety, depression and other mental health related symptoms. Biofeedback teaches students how to monitor their heart rate and breathing to induce relaxation and improve their overall wellness.
“I am truly grateful and honored to be awarded the internal research grant to serve others in our community and continue my passion to help others overcome their struggles,” Wayne Smith said. “My plan for the future is to continue using this biofeedback material to assist college students at all levels, promote wellness for UHV employees, and improve functioning of veterans experiencing PTSD and other related mental health symptoms.”