Please tell us about your area of expertise. What kinds of problems are you applying it toward?
I am a bioengineer and my expertise is in data analysis, signal processing, and machine learning. A current problem I am addressing is estimating the severity of post-traumatic stress disorder from speech. Specifically, I am looking at how speech quality (how people speak rather than what they say) is affected by PTSD.
What has inspired you to pursue your line of work?
My original motivation for studying psychology and cognitive science was to explore the mysteries of the evolution of intelligence and consciousness. Along the way, I discovered that I also really enjoy working with data and applied problems. I feel my current work is a good combination of prosaic day-to-day problem solving, while also touching on deeper questions about human mind and behavior.
What is one of the best projects you've worked on?
I was involved in two international competitions for estimating depression from speech. These projects were fun and challenging because they required quickly formulating and then executing a plan for solving a difficult but concrete problem. This "pressure cooker" atmosphere fostered the development of several innovative ideas. We also ended up winning first place in both competitions, which was the icing on the cake.
What excites or challenges you most about your research?
In my group, I am involved in a large number of interesting projects, each comprised of small teams. It is challenging to juggle so many different projects, but exciting and rewarding to work with such talented and friendly people.
What impact do you wish to have on the world?
I don’t think very much about specific impacts of my work. I feel that if researchers approach their work with curiosity, enthusiasm, and intellectual integrity, then good outcomes will naturally follow, but often in directions that are unforeseen.