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Announcement of the 2016 Bisgrove Scholar Awards







 Internationally Recognized Awardees to Lead Research at Arizona Institutions.

 PHOENIX (Jan 28, 2016) – Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is pleased to announce the 2016 SFAz Bisgrove Scholar Awards.  This year’s recipients to receive $200,000 each in support of their research are Dr. Fabian Fernandez, Assistant Professor, University of Arizona (UA) and, Dr. Wenlong Zhang, Assistant Professor, Arizona State University, (ASU).

Arizona’s future is directly influenced by the next generation of academic researchers. Understanding this, SFAz created the SFAz Bisgrove Scholars Awards with the generous support of local humanitarian Mr. Jerry Bisgrove to attract, support and retain in Arizona exceptional and innovative new researcher talent. This highly competitive program, now in its fifth year, has awarded $3.8 million to 19 scholars to-date working across the research performing institutions of the state.

 Dr. Fernandez, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neurology, and a Fellow with the BIO5 Institute at UA. His SFAz Bisgrove Scholars award will be used to support his research that seeks to understand how the body and mind (body clock) are influenced by the natural schedule of day and night (the body’s circadian rhythm). A disrupted circadian rhythm is thought to impact a person’s cognition and memory function.  Dr. Fernandez hopes to translate his research findings into a medical device that can assist with preventing age related memory loss.

 Dr. Zhang, is an Assistant Professor, Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, ASU. A mechanical engineer by training, his research interests lie in the design, modeling, and control of cyber or computer based-physical systems, with applications to healthcare, robotics, and manufacturing. His SFAz Bisgrove-supported research will develop computer controlled, gait rehabilitation systems that will enable patients with walking and standing difficulties to be fitted with wireless body sensors and/or wearable rehabilitation robots to help them perform gait exercises at home, working remotely with a therapist.  The development of such smart connected systems will make it more convenient and potentially less costly for patients needing rehabilitation due to illness or age-related physical disabilities.   Arizona’s aging and rural populations would value highly effective physical therapeutic services delivered remotely.

“Arizona’s future is dependent on our ability to attract and foster the most innovative science and engineering minds here in the state,” said Dr. Bill Harris, President and CEO of SFAz. “SFAz Bisgrove Scholars are synonymous with top-tier science and engineering research talent. The program and those selected scholars have the ability to transform their fields of research into direct value not only for Arizona, but for all society.”

For more information about the SFAz Bisgrove Scholars Program, visit

About Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz)

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization initiated in 2006 by Greater Phoenix Leadership, Southern Arizona Leadership Council and the Flagstaff Forty, in conjunction with the executive and legislative branches of state government. SFAz serves as a catalyst for high-wage, knowledge-based job creation and economic diversity through administration and strict oversight of research, development and education grants to public education and other non-profit research performing institutions. For more information, visit and like us on Facebook.

For more information contact:  Dr. Mary O’Reilly, , 602 682 2800

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