New IST professor hopes to revolutionize mental healthcare on a global scale

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Saeed Abdullah, who recently joined the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) as an assistant professor, has devoted his career to improving lives through the power of technology.

“I have always felt that for patients with mental illnesses, the care they receive is often not adequate,” he said. “But now we are really seeing a shift in health care, and technologies can suddenly speed up that transition,” he said.

The cause is an important one for Abdullah, who completed most of his research in the realm while earning master’s and doctoral degrees in Information Science from Cornell.

Through his research, he wants to create and deploy digital tools that can help people dealing with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is no easy task, but he is determined to find new ways to diagnose and treat these conditions.

Abdullah explained, “It’s important that we can come up with effective interventions that are personalized, so we can make sure that users are engaged and use the tools over a long period of time.”

In addition, he sees the transformative power of technology as a way to have a positive effect around the world. With the exponential increase in smartphones, it is possible to reach most of the world with a smartphone application.

That is particularly important in underdeveloped countries, where healthcare resources tend to be sparse.

“If you look outside the United States, the resources for treating mental illness aren’t there,” he said. “But if you develop technology to help patients, you can deploy them outside of the United States and have global impact.”

In addition to pioneering his research, Abdullah is also eager to share his experiences with his students in the classroom.

“There’s real power in mentoring people and being a part of the educational process for the future generation of technologists and critical thinkers,” he said.

Most of all, he is excited to advance his work through the collaboration with students and researchers, and capitalizing on the college’s interdisciplinary curriculum and research.

He said, “Given how technology shapes our lives, we need to have those different perspectives and backgrounds, and IST does a great job of providing a common place for that.”

Media Contacts: 

Erin Cassidy Hendrick

Marketing Communications Specialist, College of Information Sciences and Technology

Last Updated October 10, 2017