ResearchUNC Charlotte

Charlotte Researchers Champion Technology’s Benefits While Mitigating Risks

Technology has become an integral part of modern life, offering both opportunities and challenges. At UNC Charlotte, researchers Dongsong Zhang and Lina Zhou are at the forefront of advancing technology’s positive aspects while addressing its potential risks for individuals and organizations.

“Our research is driven by real-world problems with significant societal implications,” explained Zhang, who holds the prestigious position of Belk Distinguished Professor in Business Analytics. “We aim to create solutions that can enhance people’s daily lives and spark innovation.”

Zhang and Zhou, both faculty members in the Belk College of Business’s Department of Business Information Systems and Operations Management, operate the KAIM lab, where they conduct collaborative research leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and social network analysis.

With over two decades of collaboration, the duo has amassed a wealth of expertise and published numerous research articles, earning accolades for their contributions to scholarship. They actively involve students in their research endeavors, fostering hands-on learning experiences within their classrooms.

Their research process is driven by a combination of personal experiences and observations of societal trends. Zhang often draws inspiration from his own encounters or empathizes with others’ perspectives, as he did when envisioning improvements in mobile human-computer interaction.

Zhou brings her unique background as a research scientist at the University of Arizona into the mix, viewing research opportunities through the lens of cybersecurity enhancement.

Their collaborative efforts culminated in a project to develop a virtual keyboard for mobile devices, initially designed to aid individuals with disabilities. However, Zhou recognized its potential application in bolstering mobile authentication security, leading to successful grant funding from the National Science Foundation.

At the core of their lab’s mission is the design of systems that address pressing issues while evaluating the broader societal impacts of information technology. Their research encompasses three primary areas:

  1. Online deception and misinformation detection
  2. Mobile device security
  3. Health information technology

Through their multifaceted approach, Zhang and Zhou are not only advancing technological solutions but also striving to understand and model user behaviors, ensuring that technology remains a force for positive change in society.

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