Research & Innovation

Antonia Zaferiou Selected for Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering Research Career Development Award

Stevens biomedical engineer will use the IRE-K12 grant and related mentorship to further her innovative research in movement and rehabilitation

Antonia Zaferiou, assistant professor in the Stevens Institute of Technology Department of Biomedical Engineering, Charles V. Schaefer, Jr., School of Engineering and Science, is one of four researchers to be awarded The Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering Research Career Development Program (IRE-K12) grant in movement and rehabilitation sciences this year. IRE-K12 is a five-year scholarship and grant program with the mission to “recruit and train scholars with engineering and other quantitative backgrounds to become successful rehabilitation scientists in basic, translational, and/or clinical research.” The IRE-K12 program is supported by the National Institutes of Health (Award K12HD073945).

Zaferiou is the first researcher from Stevens ever awarded this distinguished honor. She will receive a year of funding for salary support and to further her research in rehabilitation science. With the grant funds, she’ll collect pilot data to support a future National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant proposal focused on rehabilitation using novel technology to help people improve their balance.

She also previously was awarded a prestigious NSF CAREER award to study similar techniques for studying and improving gait and balance through sonic biofeedback.

“Antonia is very talented, and she is a visionary researcher using her expertise in movement mechanics to improve and preserve human mobility,” said Hongjun Wang, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Her innovative research is balanced with her dedication to education and GK-12 STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) outreach. Clearly, Dr. Zaferiou has a unique background in biomechanics, and now with this unique award, she and her lab can better devote to developing systems that emit sound to convey balance metrics to clinical populations.”

As part of the IRE-K12 program, Zaferiou can access workshops and networking opportunities to expand her understanding and presence within the field. Further, the program offers mentorship from the consortium of leaders in rehabilitation and encourages scholars to leverage peer and local mentorship. Zaferiou’s primary mentor, Dr. Judith Deutsch, is a professor of the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences at Rutgers University, and Director of the RiVERS (Research in Virtual Environments and Rehabilitation Sciences) lab, an interdisciplinary applied rehabilitation research lab. Deutsch is an expert in developing and testing novel rehabilitation paradigms and technologies, with a focus on gaming and virtual environments.

Zaferiou is grateful for these opportunities to advance her research in rehabilitation engineering to continue to explore, understand, and create new rehabilitative approaches.

“The IRE-K12 program is geared toward developing scholars into those who can do excellent and rigorous clinical rehabilitation research, and I’m excited for the support it offers for cutting-edge research and training to make a clinical impact.” Zaferiou said. “The IRE-K12 leadership team and previous IRE-K12 scholars include many people in the field that I look up to. I’m excited to further develop my clinical research through interactions with inspiring leaders while also expanding Stevens’ profile in the rehabilitation engineering space.”

Research reported in this publication was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number K12HD073945. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Health.

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