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Social Work Wins $2 Million for Grad Scholarships

The UNC Charlotte School of Social Work has been awarded a $2 million federal grant to provide scholarships for graduate students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds who are preparing for careers in behavioral health care.

100 students will receive full academic scholarships to pursue a master's degree under the new Behavioral Health Scholars program. In exchange, the students agree to work with underserved populations in primary care behavioral health settings after graduation.

The School of Social Work will use the funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to expand efforts to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds and support its mission to meet demands for a diverse workforce.

Brain-on-chip Research Mimics Brain Function

With hundreds of billions of neurons and thousands of trillions of synaptic connections between them, the human brain is considered the most complex system on earth. This complexity makes studying the brain an almost overwhelming challenge with nearly infinite research options.

To systematize research components into elements that can be understood on their own or in conjunction with one another, Hansang Cho, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and his research team have developed innovative brain-on-chip devices and monitoring nanotechnologies. Brain-on-chip essentially means micro-scaled platforms that mimic brain functions and allow for unobstructed observations on small, controllable devices. As a mechanical engineer, Cho has expertise in building such devices that has led to in-depth research and achieved high-impact international publication about three types of brain chips covering most of brain activities.

Cho’s research group is part of the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Science at UNC Charlotte. His work is currently funded by the Cure Alzheimer Fund and the Charlotte Research Institute. The research team includes five undergraduate students, one graduate student, two post-doctoral fellows and one visiting professor.