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Heming Yao was recently awarded the 2018 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award from the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. Yao was nominated by Kayvan Najarian, PhD, her mentor from the Department of Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics. 

The award recognizes participation and leadership in efforts that extend beyond the laboratory, broadening the impact of either research or scientific education. This can include starting a company, patenting a product or procedure, or the creation of educational programming. Awardees receive recognition and $500.

Yao is a PhD candidate in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics and works in Dr. Najarian’s lab. The most recent project she is involved in is Drowsiness Detection by Video Processing. Yao is working with industry collaborator DENSO, a leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components,to develop a real-time face localization and drowsiness detection system using videos recorded by an in-car camera. Ultimately, the technology would be embedded into the driver-assistance system and facilitate safe driving. Yao has been working on creating novel advanced machine learning algorithms for the detection of human affective states/drowsiness and has a key role in filing a patent. 

“Heming’s ability to create novel algorithms while considering their applications in the real-world has been an exceptional trait that is greatly admired by my group as well as our industry partners,” said Dr. Najarian. “In particular, Heming has been truly exceptional in working with our industry collaborators, which has resulted in multiple commendations by our industry partners.”

Yao has successfully applied her methods to other applications including the automated detection and assessment of hematoma in traumatic brain injuries.

Congratulations Heming!