Nicolas C. Pégard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the UNC-Chapel Hill Department of Applied Physical Sciences and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, has been selected as a 2021 Beckman Young Investigator (BYI), with a grant award of $600,000 to support his proposed research, “Bidirectional Neuroprosthetics with Miniature Optical Brain Machine Interfaces.” Dr. Pégard’s optical brain machine interfaces use light to monitor and manipulate neural activity. His BYI project seeks to develop a large area interface to communicate with multiple brain regions and address tens of thousands of neurons in parallel, and also to develop a miniature interface to perform read-write operations in real time with single-cell specificity in unrestrained mice. The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation selected Dr. Pégard from a pool of over 300 applicants after a three-part review led by a panel of scientific experts.
The Beckman Young Investigator Program was established in 1991 with the mission of supporting the most promising young faculty members in the early stages of their academic careers in the chemical and life sciences particularly to foster the invention of methods, instruments and materials that will open up new avenues of research in science. Congratulations to Dr. Pégard for receiving this prestigious award. To review the full list of 2021 Beckman Young Investigators Awardees, you can visit the Foundation’s website here.