From left: Sherif Abdelwahed, Ph.D., Ravi Hadimani, Ph.D. and Rebecca Heise, Ph.D.
From left: Sherif Abdelwahed, Ph.D., Ravi Hadimani, Ph.D. and Rebecca Heise, Ph.D.

VCU researchers lead projects selected for $1 million in funding from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative

Three research projects led by principal investigators from the College of Engineering at VCU and one from VCU School of the Arts have been selected to receive funding from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI). VCU Engineering researchers are also co-principal investigators on another five projects selected for CCI funding. These awards total $1 million.

CCI is an initiative to establish Virginia as a global center of excellence in cybersecurity, autonomous systems and data. It is made up of four regional nodes dedicated to different research disciplines. VCU leads the Central Virginia Node, which focuses on cyber physical systems, autonomous systems, the Internet of Things and other areas that apply to smart cities and medical device security.

“Our funded proposals reflect the breadth of the research being pursued by universities here in central Virginia, including medical device security as it relates to lung health, mental health, and smart city research,” said Erdem Topsakal, Ph.D., CCI Central Virginia Node director and professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering at VCU. “I’m excited to see how the research develops and what other questions it could raise.”

The projects led by VCU Engineering researchers are:

Developing an Open Architecture Testbed and Learning-Based Management for Smart Cities (OpenCity)

Goal: To develop an open architecture testbed for smart cities. Called OpenCity, this testbed will have data collection and processing units, database management, distributed performance management algorithms and real-time data visualization. 

PI: Sherif Abdelwahed, Ph.D., professor of electrical and computer engineering

VCU Engineering Co-PIs: 

Ashraf Tantawy, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering

Nasibeh Zohrabi, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in electrical and computer engineering

Determination of Safety Limits against Cyber Threats in Neuromodulation Devices Using Machine Learning, Brain Phantoms and Neuronal Pathways

Goal: To advance functional safety features in electromagnetic neuromodulation products for diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. 

PI: Ravi Hadimani, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and director of VCU Engineering’s biomagnetics laboratory

VCU Engineering Co-PI: Jayasimha Atulasimha, Ph.D., Qimonda Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

Secure, Smart, Point-of-Care Sensors for Lung Health

Goal: To develop a minimally invasive, secure, smart biosensor that predicts lung health. 

PI: Rebecca Heise, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering

VCU Co-PIs: Carl Elks, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

Vamsi Yadavalli, Ph.D., associate professor of chemical and life science engineering

Angela Reynolds, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, VCU College of Humanities and Sciences

Alpha Fowler, M.D., William Taliaferro Thompson Professor of Medicine, VCU Health

Moving Choreography to a New Universe: an AI-Driven Privacy Automation Approach

Goal: To develop an AI algorithm-driven deep learning framework to detect, identify and extract dancers’ bodies in specific dancing scenes, and use the generative adversarial network (GAN) model to cover-up and translate the image to protect the privacy of the dancer.

PI: Kate Sicchio, Ph.D., assistant professor of dance and media technologies, VCUarts

“The proposals selected for funding support work by established faculty as well as new faculty. We work to support diversity and were pleased at the variety of proposals funded. We hope that this funding, and the projects it supports, will help further develop faculty relationships and research networks across Virginia," Topsakal said.

VCU Engineering researchers are also co-PIs on the following grants selected for CCI funding:

Spatiotemporal G-Code Modeling for Additive Manufacturing Security

Co-PI: Irfan Ahmed, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science 

Enhancing 5G Wireless Network Security with Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces

Co-PI: Changqing Luo, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science

User-Centric Privacy Controls for Smart Home Devices

Co-PI: Carol Fung, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science 

Enhancing the Privacy and Reliability of Massive-Scale Bluetooth Low-Energy Contact Tracing

Co-PI: Carol Fung, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science 

DeepPOSE: Securing Transportation Systems from GPS Spoofing Attacks

Co-PI: Yanxiao Zhao, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical and computer engineering

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