UCLA Engineer Receives Young Investigator Grant for Smart Textile Research on Sleep Disturbance
UCLA Samueli Newsroom
Jun Chen, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a Young Investigator Grant from the national nonprofit Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.
The two-year, $70,000 grant will support the development of a smart bedsheet designed to track sleep disturbance, which can be an early sign of depression. By detecting and recording users’ body movements as well as changes in heart rate and breathing patterns while they sleep, the smart bedsheet can help detect potential health issues that affect sleep. According to Chen, the methodology is affordable, sensitive and less disruptive to normal sleep patterns compared to similar technologies, such as smartwatches or bed sensors.
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation supports scientific research aimed at alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness. Chen was one of 150 researchers who received the organization’s Young Investigator Grant for 2022. Since 1987, the foundation has awarded more than $269 million in Young Investigator Grants around the world.
Chen, who joined the UCLA Samueli faculty in 2019, leads the Wearable Bioelectronics Research Group, which is focused on nanotechnology and bioelectronics for energy, sensing and therapeutic applications in the form of smart textiles, wearables and body area networks.
In June, Chen received a Young Investigator Award from the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering. He is also a recipient of the Materials Today Rising Star Award and the Advanced Materials Rising Star Award. He has been named a UCLA Hellman Fellow, a fellow of the International Association of Advanced Materials and a four-time Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Web of Science since 2019.