Jonathon Schofield wins UC Davis Award for Innovation and Creative Vision
Mechanical and aerospace engineering assistant professor Jonathon Schofield was named this year’s recipient of the UC Davis Award for Innovation and Creative Vision. The award, funded by the generosity and support of Susie and Riley Bechtel ’74, recognizes and supports the outstanding research advances of early-career faculty members.
Along with the recognition, recipients receive a one-time $40,000 award to support innovative, groundbreaking research in their fields as they pursue new ideas. Schofield is the sixth faculty member to receive the award since it was established in 2016 and the first from the College of Engineering.
“I am very grateful to have been recognized,” said Schofield. “As a young PI building my research programs, this award will support my group’s continued collaboration and develop the necessary pieces for a sustain research program in the rapidly evolving field of bionic prosthetic limbs.”
Schofield’s multidisciplinary Bionic Engineering and Assistive Robotics (BEAR) Laboratory develops techniques for humans to work with assistive robots to accomplish tasks.
When humans attempt to control an external robotic device—whether it’s a prosthetic limb or a robot arm on a spacecraft or in an operating room—the goal is to get humans to perceive the device as part of their body. In collaboration with biomedical engineers, neuroscientists and medical practitioners, the lab studies ways to facilitate this cooperation by using haptic and visual strategies.
He is thrilled to already have met strong collaborators in the Departments of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior and in the Department of Surgery at UC Davis Health. With the award, Schofield plans to continue these collaborations and take his research in a new direction and investigate ways to control and feel prosthetic limbs using the remaining nerves of people with limb amputations.
“This award will help us take our first steps in applying some very novel approaches that merge the fields of mechatronics engineering, human motor-learning and neural-surgical techniques,” he said.
Schofield’s research is informed by his multidisciplinary background. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering at Lakehead University and as a graduate student at the University of Alberta, he received his M.S. in structural/biomedical engineering and his Ph.D. in mechanical/biomedical engineering. He then worked as a postdoctoral scholar at Cleveland Clinic before joining UC Davis in 2019.
Since then, he has since been a part of research projects funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA and has been an integral part of the new UC Davis Center for Neuroengineering and Medicine.