Science Research Roundup: April 2019

Arts & Sciences researchers were recently awarded grants from organizations including the National Institutes of Health and the Autism Science Foundation.

Ryan Bogdan, associate professor, and Thomas Oltmanns, Edgar James Swift Professor in Arts & Sciences, both of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, received a grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging totaling more than $3 million to study how adversity may perpetuate racial health disparities and health outcomes within families. The NIH grant will support the researchers’ efforts to uncover biopsychosocial pathways, including possible contributions from the interaction of stress-related biological factors, such as cortisol, inflammation, telomeres, and psychosocial influences, such as social integration and health behaviors.

Jonathan B. Losos, the William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Biology and director of the Living Earth Collaborative, was recognized by the American Society of Naturalists with its 2019 Sewall Wright Award. This award, established in 1991, is given annually and honors a senior but still active investigator who is making fundamental contributions to the society’s goals, namely promoting the conceptual unification of the biological sciences.

Tammy English, assistant professor in psychological & brain sciences, received a $431,000 National Institutes of Health grant in support of research on mild cognitive impairment and emotion regulation in naturalistic contexts.

Philip Skemer, associate professor of Earth and planetary sciences and associate director of the Institute of Materials Science & Engineering, received a grant from the GeoPRISMS program of the National Science Foundation totaling $311,000. The grant will support research on the rheology and microstructure evolution of serpentine.

Laura Escobar Vega, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, was awarded $173,000 from the National Science Foundation to study interactions between Newton-Okounkov bodies, cluster algebras, and orbit closures. The project aims to understand various aspects of the interplay between combinatorics and algebraic geometry for Newton-Okounkov bodies, symmetric orbit closures, and subword complexes.

Greg Knese, associate professor of mathematics and statistics, was awarded $191,000 from the National Science Foundation for a project studying operator theory and stable polynomials. Operator theory is a broad and mature area of pure mathematics with close ties to the mathematics of quantum mechanics and control systems engineering.                

Zoe Hawks, a university fellow in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, was awarded $25,000 from the Autism Science Foundation toward research on testing candidate cerebellar presymptomatic biomarkers for autism.

A mySci elementary curriculum unit, "From Sun to Food," has earned the highest award from Achieve, a national science curriculum rating organization, becoming the first K-5 unit in the nation to do so. MySci is led by Victoria May, executive director of the Institute for School Partnership and assistant dean in Arts & Sciences, and Jeanne Norris serves as curriculum coordinator. 

Olga Pravdivtseva, research associate professor of physics, received a three-year, $1,192,000 grant from NASA to support research on I-Xe dating of alteration in CK and CV carbonaceous chondrites, which are a type of meteorite.

Sarah Elgin, Viktor Hamburger Professor Emerita in Arts & Sciences, Jonathan B. Losos, the William H. Danforth Distinguished University Professor, and Richard D. Vierstra, the George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor, all of the Department of Biology, were inducted into the National Academy of Sciences on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Their NAS membership is a recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, and it is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. Read more on The Source

Elgin, Losos, and Vierstra were sworn into the National Academy of Sciences on April 27, 2019. Photo credit: National Academy of Sciences

Did we miss something? Contact Crystal Gammon, assistant director of science communications in Arts & Sciences.