Skip to content

Psychology in the News

Delia Shelton Receives NSF I-Corps Grant

Delia Shelton, incoming assistant professor in the UT Department of Psychology, received an NSF I-Corps grant to do customer discovery for her invention, Visioglow, a high-throughput vision screening tool. 

The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is to completely transform vision screening. With this technology, pharmaceutical companies can automatically and rapidly screen thousands of compounds with non-technically trained staff in multiple animal models. The long-term beneficial consequences of the proposed work will include:

- Expanding the breath of translational research because the technology can be used in all seeing verbal and nonverbal animals (i.e., drosophila, zebrafish, mice, rabbits, human adults and infants)

- Accelerate compound screening

- Ultimately, reduce the cost and time from drug discovery to market.

This I-Corps project advances vision screening. The technology is analogous to a customizable disco ball, which can automatically alter light displays to non-invasively assess multiple aspects of vision in seeing verbal and nonverbal animals. Our past research has proven the technology is well-matched to screen multiple aspects of vision within 20s in zebrafish, an important biomedical model. It is a platform technology, therefore the invention will be important for high throughput screening of pharmaceutical compounds, biological mutants, and toxicological agents in diverse biomedical models, thereby advancing drug discovery, gene therapies, and quality control and assurance. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

“Many awardees of this program are fast-tracked for NSF SBIR funding,” says Deb Welsh, professor and head of the psychology department. “I'm excited for Dr. Shelton to bring the technology to UT.”

Professor Shelton will join the department August 1. 2019.


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.