Science Research Roundup: August 2017

This summer, Arts & Sciences faculty have been awarded grants from institutions including the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Yehuda Ben-Shahar, an associate professor in the Department of Biology, received a $2.64 million grant from the National Science Foundation in support of the project “NeuroNex Technology Hub: Advancing neuronal and genetic approaches to animal behavior research.”

Jeffrey Zacks, professor of psychological & brain sciences, is co-investigator of a five-year, $7.5 million research project titled “A computational cognitive neuroscience approach to understanding event representation.” This project aims to build and test the most comprehensive model yet of how people understand and remember events. The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

A Washington University team led by Regina Frey, Florence E. Moog Professor of STEM Education and an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, was awarded an Inclusive Excellence Grant totaling $1 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The HHMI Inclusive Excellence Initiative seeks to catalyze institutional change so that colleges and universities build their capacity for inclusion of all students in science throughout their undergraduate years, especially those who come to college via nontraditional pathways. Other core leaders include Jennifer R. Smith, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and professor of earth and planetary sciences and of environmental studies; Jan Duchek, director of the Cornerstone learning center and associate professor of psychological and brain sciences; and Kathryn Miller, chair and professor of biology.

Douglas A. Wiens, Robert S. Brookings Distinguished Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was awarded $587,000 from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative project titled “Solid Earth response of the Patagonian Andes to post-Little Ice Age glacial retreat.”

Gary J. Patti, associate professor of chemistry, has received a 2017 Agilent Early Career Professor Award. The honor includes a $100,000 research award and is given to those who have made “significant original research contributions” and have “outstanding potential for future research.”

Kenneth F. Kelton, Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts and Sciences in the Department of Physics, received a $386,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project titled “Fundamental investigations of nucleation processes in silicate liquids and glasses with a goal of developing predictive models for glass formation and crystallization.”

David Balota, professor of psychological & brain sciences, received a $371,000 award from the National Institute on Aging in support of the research training program “Aging and Development.”

Victoria May, assistant dean of Arts & Sciences and executive director of the Institute for School Partnership, received a $369,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund in support of the MySci program, which equips elementary school teachers with instructional materials and professional development opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.

Philip Skemer, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, was awarded $323,000 from the National Science Foundation in support of a project titled “Using micromechanical experiments to investigate the rheology of geologic materials.” Skemer also was awarded $126,000 from the National Science Foundation toward a collaborative research project titled “EarthCube data infrastructure: A unified experimental-natural digital data system for cataloging and analysis of rock microstructures.”

Todd Braver, professor of psychological & brain sciences, was awarded $305,000 from the National Institutes of Health toward a research project titled “Neural mechanisms of mindfulness: A discordant twin design.”

Jeffrey G. Catalano, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, was awarded $249,000 from the National Science Foundation in support of a collaborative project titled “Linking metal nanoparticle chemical modifications at the luminal/intestinal epithelia interface to intracellular alterations of essential metal homeostasis.” Catalano also received $171,000 from the National Science Foundation as co-investigator of a research project titled “Impact of redox-driven recrystallization on the stability and reactivity of uranium and lead oxides.”

Denise Head, associate professor of psychological & brain sciences, was awarded $229,000 from the National Institute on Aging in support of a project titled “Understanding the return journey: Route reversal in younger and older adults.”

Li Yang, associate professor in the Department of Physics, was awarded $228,000 from the U.S. Air Force for a research project titled “Ferroelectricity, multiferroics, and enhanced magnetoelectric effect in single-atomic layers.”

James Buckley, a professor in the Department of Physics, was awarded $220,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy in support of theoretical and experimental studies in particle physics and cosmology.

Richard Loomis, professor of chemistry, received a $110,000 grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund in support of a project titled “Characterization of reaction dynamics and interactions using a bottom-up approach.”

Bryce Sadtler, assistant professor of chemistry, received a $110,000 grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund in support of a project titled “Identification of active sites in methane oxidation catalysts by single-molecule fluorescence imaging.”

Thomas Rodebaugh, associate professor of psychological & brain sciences, was among 40 scholars selected to receive 2017 Independent Investigator grants from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, one of the top nongovernmental funders of mental health research grants. Independent Investigator grants provide $50,000 per year for up to two years. Rodebaugh also received an $87,000 grant from Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in support of a research project titled “Social integration and internalizing symptoms over time: A test of oxytocin as a biomarker.”

Meredith Jackrel, assistant professor of chemistry, was awarded an $80,000 Springboard Fellowship from the Target ALS Foundation in support of her research on protein folding and neurodegenerative disease.

Todd Kuffner, an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, received an $80,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative project titled “Higher-order asymptotics and accurate inference for post-selection.”

Julie Bugg, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, is co-investigator of a two-year collaborative project with the University of Texas at Austin titled “Boosting older adults’ cognition by training real-world eHealth skills.” This project aims to aims to develop and evaluate a 3-month intervention designed to teach older adults how to obtain and evaluate online health information and improve cognitive function. The project is funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Laura Hennefield, a postdoctoral research associate in psychological & brain sciences, received $57,000 from the National Institutes of Health in support of a research project titled “The development of optimism in preschool age children: Individual differences and implications for resiliency and mental health.”

Raymond E. Arvidson, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, received $50,000 from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a collaborator on a Martian mineral spectroscopy project.

Michael L. Gross, professor of chemistry, was awarded $50,000 from the American Parkinson Disease Association in support of his research on proteins.

Ryan Clegg-Watkins, a postdoctoral research associate working with Bradley L. Jolliff, Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, received a $48,000 grant from NASA in support of a research project titled “Determining boulder size, frequency, and range distributions around impact craters at spacecraft landing sites.”

Michael Bouchard, a doctoral student in earth and planetary sciences, also working with Bradley L. Jolliff, received $44,000 through the NASA Earth Space and Science Fellowship program in support of a research project titled “Investigating Martian rock types and origins via rover observations and comparisons to Martian meteorites.”

Debbie Yee, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, received a $30,000 grant from Yale University towards a research project titled “Interactions of motivational incentives and cognitive control in older adult decision-making.”

Bruce Fegley, Jr., professor of earth and planetary sciences, received a $25,000 grant from the NASA in support of a research project titled “Effect of CO2 and H2O on planetary magma compositions.”

Elissa Bullion, a doctoral student working with Michael Frachetti, associate professor of archaeology, was awarded $22,000 from the National Science Foundation toward her doctoral research project on the role of urbanization in shaping social identity. 

Ximena Lemoine, an archaeology graduate student, was awarded a $20,000 Wenner Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant in support of research on “Pigs in Neolitithic North China: Domestication in the context of diversity and regional expression.”

Caitlin Rankin, an archaeology graduate student, received a National Geographic Society Young Explorer Grant of $4,600 toward a research project titled “Wet or dry? Geoarchaeological evidence of regional climate variation in the central Mississippi River valley.”

Did we miss something? Let us know.

For assistance with proposal writing, editing, coordination, and other related projects, please contact 
Crystal Gammon, grants and science writer in Arts & Sciences.

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