Akane Sano, PhD

Data Science II (Academia) Panel

Job Title: Assistant Professor

Current Employer: Rice University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


  • Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2018)

  • Visiting Scientist at Cornell University (2018)

  • Ph.D. in Mobile Health and Affective Computing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2016)

  • M.Eng. in Applied Physics and Physico-Informatics, Keio University (2005)

  • B.Eng. in Applied Physics and Physico-Informatics, Keio University (2003)


Akane Sano is an Assistant Professor at Rice University, Department of Electrical Computer Engineering and Computer Science. She directs Computational Wellbeing Group. Her research focuses on affective computing and mobile health: human sensing, data analysis and application development for health, wellbeing and cognitive performance.

She has worked on measuring and predicting stress, mental health, sleep and performance and designing systems to help people to reduce their stress and improve their mental health, sleep and performance including NSF future of work project (intelligent cognitive assistant for shift workers), NIH-funded SNAPSHOT study project, Eureka project (symptom prediction and digital phenotyping in schizophrenia using phone data) and IARPA mPerf project (using mobile sensors to support productivity and employee well-being).

She obtained her PhD at MIT, and her MEng and BEng at Keio University, Japan. Before she joined Rice University, she was a Research Scientist in Affective Computing Group at MIT Media Lab, and a visiting scientist/lecturer at People-Aware Computing Lab, Cornell University.

Before she came to the US, she was a researcher/engineer at Sony Corporation and worked on affective/wearable computing, intelligent systems and human computer interaction from 2005-2010.

Recent awards include the Best Paper Award at IEEE BHI 2019 conference, the Best Paper Award at the NIPS 2016 Workshop on Machine Learning for Health and the AAAI Spring Symposium Best Presentation Award.

Most useful skill sets acquired from/for your field:

Ideas, time management, communication & collaboration

What I love most about my job:

Flexibility and freedom, many collaborations with academic and industry institutions, thinking about new ideas

Contact information:

Email: akane.sano@rice.edu


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