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Kalyan Raman Awarded Ver Steeg Research Fellowship

Medill, Feinberg professor integrates study of marketing, engineering and medicine

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May 29, 2014 | by Wendy Leopold

Kalyan Raman

Kalyan Raman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Kalyan Raman -- a professor in both Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and Feinberg School of Medicine -- has been named the ninth recipient of the Dorothy Ann and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship.

The Ver Steeg fellowship supports research and scholarship by a tenured Northwestern professor that enhances the national and international reputation of the University. It carries an award of $37,000.

As professor of integrated marketing communications at Medill and of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg and an affiliated professor in the Kellogg School of Management, Raman possesses an understanding of an unusual combination of disciples that has allowed him to excel both as a teacher and researcher nationally and internationally.  

Raman’s research, originally in the area of marketing, later expanded to topics in neuroscience and electrical engineering. Trained in the mathematical sciences, his first Ph.D. was in management science. He finished a second Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2012, specializing in neuroscience.

Raman’s research in neuroscience has been praised at leading institutions, including Harvard University and Brown University medical schools. Most recently, his work has moved into neuromarkeing, a new field of marketing research that uses cutting-edge technology, high-level mathematics and modeling to better understand the psychology of marketing.

With Feinberg Professor Hans Breiter and Medill Associate Dean Frank Mulhern, Raman recently co-founded the Collaborative Neuromarketing Group at Northwestern. The group -- which is expected to produce important research on drug and gambling addictions -- not only includes research collaborations among Northwestern’s Medill, Feinberg and Kellogg schools. It also partners with faculty and staff at Harvard Medical School, Wayne State University’s department of electrical engineering, the University of Michigan’s department of marketing and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Raman created a mathematical algorithm called a nonlinear feedback controller to automatically regulate the intracranial pressure which, when implemented in a medical device called a shunt, could potentially revolutionize neuroscience.

Excessive intracranial pressure (ICP) resulting from insufficient drainage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leads to hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder that is typically treated by implanting shunts to reduce intracranial pressure. Raman’s nonlinear feedback controller achieves more sophisticated shunt action that keeps the ICP levels of hydrocephalus patients at safe levels at all times. By incorporating this algorithm in shunts, the valve actions can be continuously controlled to maintain clinically desired ICP levels.

Described as a man who connects disciplines and dots, Raman also specializes in marketing mix optimization, optimal budgeting and resource allocation problems in marketing. Major media outlets and marketing companies worldwide support and make use of his research.

Raman has served as a visiting professor at prestigious institutions in Singapore, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Scandinavia, India and the United Kingdom, and has presented his research nationally and internationally, including talks at Fortune 100 companies.

An editorial board member of the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Production and Operations Management, Raman also serves as an ad hoc reviewer for all the leading journals in the field of marketing. In addition, he is an ad hoc reviewer for major technological journals including Medical & Engineering Physics and Control Systems Magazine, a publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

According to Medill Dean Bradley J. Hamm, the Ver Steeg Distinguished Research Fellowship will allow Raman to pursue innovative research in neuroscience, marketing and engineering that likely can be done only by a small number of scholars in the world today.

The Ver Steeg fellowship was established and endowed by the late Clarence Ver Steeg and his wife, Dorothy. Clarence Ver Steeg was a faculty member in the history department from 1950 to 1992 and served as dean of The Graduate School from 1975 to 1986. Administered by the Office of the Provost, the fellowship is the first endowed award for excellence in research by a faculty member.