21st October 2021

ISSAI Researcher was announced as a Microsoft Research PhD Fellow in the Inaugural Microsoft Research Summit

ISSAI researcher Zhanat Makhataeva was awarded the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship. The Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship is a global program created for talented PhD students in a computing-related field. Fellowship recipients are provided with 15,000 USD to help complete their doctoral research work and will be offered a 12-week paid internship with Microsoft. This year, the fellowship was awarded to only 49 PhD students from top-notch universities such as Stanford University, Tsinghua University, Princeton University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Oxford, and Weizmann Institute of Science. Zhanat is the first doctoral student who received this fellowship from Kazakhstan.

Zhanat is a third-year Ph.D. student under the supervision of Prof. Huseyin Atakan Varol in Robotics Engineering at the School of Engineering and Digital Sciences at Nazarbayev University (NU).  

Zhanat conducts her doctoral research in the ARMS Laboratory of the Institute of Smart Systems and Artificial Intelligence (ISSAI). Her work focuses on enhancing human memory and perception by using augmented reality and artificial intelligence. The results of this research might yield disruptive improvements in human assistive systems, especially for persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

She is currently working on the design of a memory augmentation system using Microsoft HoloLens, where she uses computer vision algorithms to recognize objects and locate users in an AR environment. With the support of Microsoft, Zhanat intends to extend her research and develop assistive systems for people affected by perception-related cognitive impairments.

“The Microsoft fellowship will boost my professional development as a researcher tremendously. It will allow me to learn from others and share my research with the international research community. All of this was possible thanks to the great research environment, mentorship, and education at NU”- says Zhanat.

Zhanat’s recognition by Microsoft, one of the tech giants of the world, is another piece of evidence of the high-quality research conducted by ISSAI at Nazarbayev University.