Funding Opportunities

Research Incentive Grant - Category II

Single disciplinary efforts

2013 Recipients

Gary Cheng; “Nano-machine Shop: Scalable Manipulation of Multi-dimension Nanostructures,” $100,000.

  • Research on multi-dimensional materials, such as 0D nanocrystals, 1D nanowires, 2D ultrathin film and 3D metal nanostructures, have attracted significant attention most recent years because of their exceptional potential. However, current methods for patterning nanomembranes have limitations in scalability, tunability of nanostructures, and 3D manufacturability. This study will explore a novel nanomanufacturing platform — laser shock based nanomanufacturing (LSNM), in order to realize scalable 2D and 3D nanostructure architectures. Using a nano-machineshop approach, Cheng hopes to develop a fundamental understanding of manufacturing 3D structures from 0D, 1D and 2D crystals by LSNM and explore the functionality of these structures with various tunabilities, all with the goal of advancing new techniques for nanomembranes.

Qi Feng; management, “Development of Adaptive Data-Driven Stochastic Modeling Approach and its Application to Strategic Supplier Sourcing Decisions,” $93,266.

  • Many manufacturing firms are setting up facilities in emerging markets such as China and India, but their long-term success depends on availability of local supplies. Typically, manufacturers still import heavily from original suppliers years after opening local plants, enduring high costs and long response times. While most agree that localizing supplier base is the long-term solution, it is unclear how to formulate an appropriate strategy based on the anticipated evolution of local supply chains. Feng seeks to develop a model that has both predictive and prescriptive capability to guide U.S. manufacturers in their supplier localization strategy in such economies. Ultimately, the approach might be applied to other areas including medical decision-making, revenue management, financial engineering and marketing management.

Jennifer Freeman; health sciences, “Role of Exposure to Environmental Chemical Stressors in Generating Spontaneous Copy Number Variants (CNVs),” $100,000.

  • The interaction of genetic and environmental factors has long been associated with complex diseases and disorders, and now it’s known that spontaneously generated copy number variants (CNVs) play a role in the onset of disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia. Still, researchers don’t know which specific environmental factors influence the generation of spontaneous CNVs and the mechanisms by which they are generated. Through zebrafish studies, Freeman aims to better understand how chemical contaminants can influence the generation of spontaneous CNVs. Ultimately, she hopes to further characterize specific CNVs and define their functional impacts and disease pathways.

Qingyou Han; mechanical engineering technology, “Ultrasonic Vibration Assisted ECAP for the Fabrication of Bulk Nanostructured Metals and Alloys,” $99,766.

  • Nanostructured materials offer a unique combination of mechanical, electrical, optical and magnetic properties not achievable in conventional micro or millimeter scale materials. The challenge has been being able to produce bulk nanostructured material in a sufficiently large size and quantity for certain applications that will benefit from the structure. In this study, Han will investigate how to scale up a popular process called severe plastic deformation by using ultrasonic vibrations coupled with equal channel angular extrusion. Using a modeling approach to establish physical requirements, Han hopes the subsequent experiments will show that the new method will decrease interface friction. Findings could lay the groundwork for developing an industrial-scale process.

Helen Patrick; educational studies, “Evaluation Effective Teaching with a Content-Independent Measure: Does Subject Matter Make a Difference in Kindergarten?” $99,977.

  • Education is at the forefront of the national agenda, and to meet mandates on educational effectiveness, states are using existing teaching effectiveness (TE) measures or developing their own. In Indiana, the Department of Education has developed an innovative system called RISE, but there is currently no evidence that the practices representative in TE measures are measured reliably and strongly predictive of student outcomes. In this study, Patrick and collaborators will investigate factors such as 1.) the timing and number of observations needed for achieving a reliable result; 2.) whether the content areas in which teachers are evaluated affect their TE scores; and 3.) whether particular TE instructional dimensions are especially relevant at specific grade levels.

Mohamed Seleem; comparative pathobiology, “Teaching an Old Dog a New Trick; Revealing Antimicrobial Mechanism of Action of Statins,” $99,095.

  • Blockbuster statins changed the landscape of pharmaceutical interventions for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, but considerable inter-individual variation exists in response to statin therapy, and genetically determined factors only account for a small part of that variation. Growing evidence indicates that the normal bacteria present in the intestine plays an important role in patients’ response to statins. In this study, Seleem will identify the antibacterial mechanism of action of statins and possible resistance mechanisms modifying/degrading enzyme of bacteria. Findings could lead to ways to predict the response of the patient to statins depending on the nature of their gut bacteria and how they metabolize the drug.

Preeti Sivasankar; speech, language and hearing sciences, “Respiratory and Laryngeal Phenotypes in Vocal Fatigue,” $97,274.

  • Vocal fatigue after prolonged or loud speaking is a common complaint in many speakers, but current treatments are suboptimal. A primary reason for limited treatment effectiveness is a poor understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause vocal fatigue. This is a worthy area of study because vocal fatigue can predispose speakers to chronic voice disorders. In this study, Sivasankar and Huber will examine the underlying mechanisms that predispose speakers to vocal fatigue and to examine the effectives of treatment targeted at strengthening these underlying mechanisms. Using local teachers as test subjects, they will investigate whether inefficiencies in the respiratory system or laryngeal system cause vocal fatigue and whether treatment to strengthen the respiratory system can remedy vocal fatigue.

Kevin Vaughn; anthropology, “An Archaeological Analysis of the Emergence and Evolution of Ancient Pilgrimage Behavior,” $99,606.

  • Pilgrimage is known anthropologically as a near human‐universal and an important component of religious behavior cross‐culturally. One area in the Americas where pilgrimage centers emerged prior to European contact was the south coast of what is today Peru. In this study, Vaughn will evaluate the archaeological evidence for ancient pilgrimage at two different archaeological sites dating from circa 200 B.C.E to 350 C.E near Ica, Peru. Through mapping, excavations, and artifact analysis, Vaughn, his students, and international collaborators will be undertaking fieldwork at these two sites between 2013 and 2015. Ultimately the goal is to provide comparative data to understand pilgrimage cross-culturally.

Val Watts; medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology, “Development of a receptor-mediated β-arrestin signaling assay platform using Bimolecular Florescence Complementation (BiFC),” $94,676.

  • An estimated 50 percent of pharmaceutical drugs on the market target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs); thus, these receptors represent highly drug-targetable molecules. Because β-arrestin activation appears to serve as a uniform measure to determine activation of most GPCRs, Watts will seek to develop a cell-based β-arrestin recruitment assay utilizing Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation (BiFC) technology. Based on the interaction between two non-fluorescent fragments derived from a fluorescent protein, BiFC is relatively simple to measure in the absence of substrate or expensive reagents, meaning that assay costs are negligible. Thus, once a drug-induced interaction assay is established, the use of the assay will be very cost-effective only requiring cells and compounds of interest.

Yu Xia; chemistry, “Stereo-Structural Analysis of Glycans with Single-Sugar Resolution Via Mass Spectrometry,” $100,000.

  • Glycans (also called carbohydrates, sugars and saccharides) are ubiquitous in cells and are important in biological processes ranging from immunity to fertility. Already, Xia’s lab demonstrated for the first time that mass spectrometry (MS) can be used to determine the stereo-structure of individual sugar units within oligosaccharides. In this project, Xia will seek to establish the first MS system with a relatively complete solution to harvesting detailed structural information of glycans. Specific aims are to 1.) develop a new MSn 5 instrumentation targeted for glycan stereo-structure analysis, 2.) develop a new gas-phase ion chemistry for bond-selected fragmentation of glycan ions and 3.) develop bioinformatics tools to enable computer-assisted structural analysis.

Jin-Rong Xu; botany and plant pathobiology, “The Regulatory Functions of PRP4 Kinase in RNA Splicing,” $90,613.

  • Wheat scab fungus – a disease of the heads of wheat plants caused by F. graminearum – leads to devastating outbreaks on wheat and barley. Besides yield loss, F. graminearum also produces a variety of mycotoxins, including vomitoxin and zearalenone. In a previous study, Xu isolated the prp4 deletion mutant in Fusarium graminearum, the causal agent of wheat scab. Now, he’s seeking to understand the regulatory function of PRP4 in RNA splicing and determine molecular mechanisms regulating PRP4 activation. In this study, he will develop procedures, establish collaborations, publish 1-2 high impact papers, and generate sufficient data for submitting a proposal to NSF Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (MCB) division or NIH.