Improving Lives Today: Accelerating Disabilities Research through CollaborationMonday, 24 April, 2023 2:00 pm
Join us for a fascinating and encouraging discussion with University of Texas San Antonio researchers, Dr. Leslie Neely and Dr. John Quarles who are leading transdisciplinary research to improve the lives and health outcomes of persons with disabilities by utilizing virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and other advanced technologies.
Leslie Neely, PhD
Dr. Leslie Neely is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is the Coordinator for the Department's Behavior Analysis Program and Director of the Child and Adolescent Policy and Research Institute (CAPRI). Dr. Neely is also a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and serves as the UTSA Director of the San Antonio Applied Behavior Analysis Research Consortium. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from UT-Austin, a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (emphasis in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis) from Texas A&M University. Dr. Neely’s research originated in the application of ABA to the treatment of problem behaviors (e.g., self-injury). She currently has two-research lines: 1) telehealth to reach underserved populations, and 2) transdisciplinary research to improve health outcomes for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Recently, Dr. Neely has partnered with colleagues in computer science, engineering, cyber security, education, health, and kinesiology, to establish an innovative lab focused on integrating advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality, into the therapy and education of persons with disabilities. The goals of their collaborative work is to: (1) investigate precision therapy by leveraging artificial intelligence for motion analysis and identification of biomarkers predicting responsiveness to treatment, (2) develop augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) trainings to provide supports to caregivers, educators and clinicians treating children with autism and developmental disabilities, and (3) investigate the use of AR/VR for direct therapeutics and education of children with autism and developmental disabilities. Once developed, these technologies can be integrated into daily life including via telehealth platforms to extend the reach of effective therapies.
John Quarles, PhD
Dr. John Quarles received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and his PhD in Computer Engineering from the University of Florida in 2009. He has conducted research in virtual, mixed, and augmented reality (XR), serious games, and 3D User interfaces. Much of his work has focused on the accessibility and rehabilitation applications of these technologies for persons with disabilities. He has published numerous works in top computer science conferences and journals such as IEEE VR and IEEE TVCG. He has been awarded significant funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation, including the prestigious NSF CAREER award in 2014. He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2004, resulting in a variety of disabilities that have inhibited his use of immersive XR and required significant rehabilitation. He has the unique experience of being both a XR researcher and an end user with disabilities, which has informed his chosen research focus.