Rayus Kuplicki

BS ’09, MS ’11, PhD ’14

For Rayus Kuplicki (BS ’09, MS ’11, PhD ’14) computers and science have been a way of life since his childhood days in Tulsa. After finishing his sophomore year at Jenks High School, he transferred to the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM) in Oklahoma City. “I think I took just about every computer programming class they had,” Kuplicki said.

Following OSSM, he made the easy transition to TU and over the next nine years earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in computer science along with minors in mathematics, physics and chemistry. As a college student, Kuplicki worked on the ground floor of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research (LIBR) helping develop the institute’s computer system. His responsibilities quickly expanded to include building image processing tools and applying new techniques to concussion research data facilitated by Pat Bellgowan, former LIBR director of cognitive neuroscience. Kuplicki’s work has supported LIBR’s successful grant acquisitions, and he has contributed to an innovative cyber trust study. The ongoing project aims to reduce the risk of security attacks that occur in the web traffic of America’s armed forces.

“I’ve done a lot of programming to present tasks to participants in the scanner and to measure their responses,” Kuplicki said.

As a graduate student, he split his time between TU and LIBR, a customized arrangement and unique opportunity he said can be found only at forward thinking research institutions like TU. Now as a staff scientist, Kuplicki works fulltime at LIBR.

“There aren’t many places where you can get a graduate degree in computer science and also do neuroimaging research,” Kuplicki said.

Kuplicki, who has been an integral part of each research milestone at LIBR, will play a major role in the institute’s upcoming venture, the Tulsa 1,000. The project will study the moods and
behaviors of 1,000 Tulsa residents who suffer from conditions including eating disorders, shifts in mood and substance abuse.

“We hope to track each subject for one year and collect data from 1,000 subjects over the next five years,” Kuplicki said. “These assessments will include well over 14 hours of brain imaging, computerized tasks, clinical interviews and self-report questionnaires on habits like how they feel, eat and sleep. It will be our most challenging study yet considering the scope of the program and the different things we’ll track.”

A Woobank, Warren Foundation and TU Presidential Scholar, Kuplicki is now involved in some of the country’s most cutting-edge neuroscience and psychiatric research.

Kuplicki and his wife, Samantha, a clinical nurse specialist student at the University of Oklahoma, have a daughter and enjoy contributing to Tulsa’s growing medical research community.

“Rayus is TU trained and a great asset for LIBR,” Bellgowan said. “He’s been a part of the institute from day one, and they’re lucky to have him.”