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TExas A&M Professosr, Colleague Earn Defense Contract

 

 

 

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By Julia Gessner

COMMERCE, TX—The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded Dr. Unal “Zak” Sakoglu a grant of $123,069 for his  “Exploring Mechanisms Underlying Impaired Brain Function in Gulf War Illness through Advanced Network Analysis.” Dr. Sakoglu is the principal sub-coordinator for this collaborated research.

“The ability of Dr. Sakoglu to attract funding from the Department of Defense for this very important research project is a monumental feat,” said Dr. Arlene Horne, vice provost for research/dean of graduate studies. “Not only is Dr. Sakoglu collaborating on the project with a prestigious researcher from Emory University, but this funding will have a direct and positive impact on the university’s research mission.  This award provides excellent recognition of the university and serves as a model for other faculty members who have an interest in working with the Department of Defense. We are very proud and supportive of Dr. Sakoglu and his research work.”

The research is a collaborative effort with Emory University Assistant Professor from the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Dr. Gopinath Kaundinya. The Department of Defense will provide $554,261 for two years of funding with Dr. Sakoglu receiving a portion of $123,069 to conduct his own research. According to the reward letter, the funding was awarded from the Department of Defense office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP).

“This grant will provide me protected time to conduct the research through a course release in each semester,” said Dr. Sakoglu. “I am also planning to involve undergraduate and graduate students in this research project.”

The research will focus on a dynamic functional network connectivity analysis technique Dr. Sakoglu developed with colleagues and published in 2010. The research developed in 2010 involved schizophrenia patients. The technique will be applied to Gulf War Illness patients in the new project. Gulf War Illness is a relatively misunderstood illness involving veterans from the Gulf War.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Gulf War Veterans experience several medically unexplained illnesses, which may include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders and memory issues. Other illnesses reported by Gulf War Veterans include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, functional gastrointestinal disorders and some undiagnosed illnesses.

Learn more about the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems here<http://www.tamuc.edu/academics/colleges/scienceengineeringagriculture/departments/computerScienceInformationSystems/default.aspx> and about Dr. Sakoglu’s research here<http://people.tamu.edu/~sakogluunal>.