“My research interests lie at the intersection of computer science and medicine, so I built a fellowship training plan that will simultaneously develop my computational and clinical skills.”
Patrick Malone is currently using his National Research Service Award, which was funded by the National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders, to focus on researching how we can learn to understand spoken speech through our sense of touch. He works in conjunction with his mentor, Max Riesenhuber, and in collaboration with Lynne Bernstein, Ed Auer, and Silvio Eberhardt at George Washington University, where together they have built a vibrotactile speech prosthesis, a sensory-substitution device that transforms spoken speech into patterns of vibration on the skin.
“This is analogous to Braille reading, which substitutes touch for vision. Our device substitutes touch for audition. We are using functional MRI, EEG, and machine learning techniques to determine the neural mechanisms of vibrotactile speech perception.“
Malone is most grateful to his excellent team of mentors, and for the training plan that is provided through the NRSA. Because he is passionate about both computing and medicine, the NRSA allowed for him to improve on both his computational and clinical skills while supporting his education in both his final two years of his PhD and in the final two years of his MD after returning to medical school.
“As computational tools become increasingly prevalent in healthcare (e.g. artificial intelligence algorithms that help doctors diagnose disease), there is a growing need for physicians with the technical training required to understand and develop these tools. By supporting me during my graduate training, the NRSA will help me develop the skills required to meet this need.”
Biomedical Graduate Education congratulates Patrick on being awarded such a prestigious grant!