Kihwan Han,
PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for BrainHealth, was recently awarded The Sapphire Foundation Friends of BrainHealth Distinguished New Scientist award. We sat down with Dr. Han to learn more about his research.

How will this award further your research?

My research aims to better understand traumatic brain injury in the context of injury detection and rehabilitation, utilizing advanced magnetic resonance imaging. I hope to develop brain-based markers that demonstrate the patterns in injury progress and improvement following rehabilitation. The Sapphire Foundation Distinguished New Scientist Award will enable me to characterize changes in neural networks associated with goal management when participants with traumatic brain injury receive rehabilitation. This effort will provide a quantitative brain-based maker of improving brain health after rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury.

How did you become interested in neuroscience and studying the effects of traumatic brain injuries?

During my first postdoctoral training at medical school in Washington University in St. Louis, I learned devastating effects of traumatic brain injury and limitations in detecting such injuries with current technologies. Since then, I have been compelled to contribute to this challenging research field with the problem-solving capability acquired from my doctoral degree in electrical engineering.

If you could be known for one thing in the scientific world in 20 years what would it be?

In the future, I hope that scientists recognize my brain-system-based approaches to make ‘invisible’ brain injuries ‘visible’ on medical imaging and to link the complex patterns of brain injuries to behavioral deficits.