Skip to main content

Each year, The Graduate School recognizes four doctoral candidates or recent doctoral graduates for creating exceptional dissertations in each of the following fields: biological and life sciences; humanities and fine arts; mathematics, physical sciences and engineering; and social sciences.

“This year’s award recipients are emblematic of graduate students whose creation of new knowledge will transform their fields and contribute to solving the most vexing challenges of our day,” Beth Mayer-Davis, dean of The Graduate School, said. “I’m thrilled to recognize these hard-working and dedicated students. The exciting and diverse areas of their dissertation research are a triumph, and we are grateful for these students’ curiosity and how they’ve excelled in graduate school.”

Qiang Zhang, a 2021 Ph.D. in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering, has received this year’s Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award for his research investigating neuromuscular signals that detect human ankle joint motion intent in neurorehabilitative robotic devices.

“My dissertation investigates the neuromuscular signals sensing fusion approaches to detect human ankle joint motion intent and incorporates surface electromyography (sEMG) signals and ultrasound (US) imaging signals in the closed-loop control of neurorehabilitative robotic devices, including functional electrical stimulation (FES) and powered lower-limb exoskeletons, for individuals with mobility deficits due to neurological disorders, such spinal cord injury, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.”

The other recipients of the Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award include:

Jocelyn Burney ‘14
Department of Religious Studies, College of Arts and Sciences

Julie Kafka (‘18 MPH, ‘22 Ph.D)
Ph.D., MPH, Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global of Public Health

Cathy Spangler ‘16 (‘22 Ph.D.)
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics

Zhang will be honored, along with the other recipients, at The Graduate School’s annual recognition ceremony, to be held in mid-April 2023.

This article was originally published on March 16, 2023, by Carolina Graduate School Magazine by Elizabeth Poindexter and can be found here. The article has been edited for relevancy to the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Comments are closed.