January 8, 2024

Researchers awarded fall 2023 SPARK and NIH incentive funding

To support faculty members making significant intellectual and societal impact across the globe as well as growth of Purdue’s research enterprise, the Office of Research is pleased to announce the fall 2023 cohorts of funding recipients for the SPARK and NIH incentive programs.


Four large, interdisciplinary research projects have been selected to receive SPARK funding. Launched in early 2023, SPARK (Supporting Partnering for Advanced Research teamworK) is a strategic initiative that supports and empowers Purdue researchers to achieve national prominence by establishing cutting-edge research centers. SPARK supports teams with up to $100,000 for critical development activities linked to external grant proposals of $7 million or more. 

The Office of Research is delighted to recognize these teams and projects as fall 2023 recipients of SPARK funding:

  • Urban Computes: Toward an Emerging Integrative Urban Computing Expedition: Daniel Aliaga (computer science), Brady Hardiman (forestry and natural resources) and Melba Crawford (agronomy and civil engineering)
  • Quantum Science Center (QSC) renewal: Yong Chen (physics and electrical and computer engineering), Sabre Kais (chemistry), Vladimir Shalaev (electrical and computer engineering) and Alexandra Boltasseva (electrical and computer engineering)
  • From Data to Knowledge to Reasoning: Wojciech Szpankowski (computer science), Ananth Grama (computer science), Simina Branzei, (computer science) and Alexandra Boltasseva (electrical and computer engineering)
  • One Health Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance: Mohit Verma (agricultural and biological engineering), Jonathan Pasternak (animal sciences) and Rafael Neves (veterinary clinical science) 

NIH-targeted initiatives

Additionally, six research projects have been selected to receive Purdue funding for two NIH-targeted initiatives: NIH New R01/U01 program, providing pilot funding to increase success of R01/U01 award proposals, and NIH Competing Renewal R01 program, aiming to increase the success rate of NIH R01 renewal applications. The Office of Research is pleased to award these principal investigators with $50,000 in NIH-targeted funding:

NIH new R01/U01:

  • Brittany Allen-Petersen (biological sciences): “The role of PP2A-B56a in nutrient scavenging in pancreatic cancer”
  • Miad Faezipour (engineering technology): “Enhancing Medical Interpretability of Respiration via AI-Guided Processing of Breathing Sounds”
  • Marxa Figueiredo (basic medical sciences): “Optimizing myodepot for Propep therapy by microgel gene delivery”
  • Bridgette Kelleher (psychological sciences): “Remotely Monitoring Clinical Symptoms and Outcomes in Pediatric Neurogenetic Populations”

Competing Renewal R01:

  • Angeline Lyon (chemistry): “Structural studies of PLCepsilon, a regulator of cardiovascular function”
  • Yoon Yeo (industrial and physical pharmacy): “Chemoimmunotherapy of androgen-independent immune-cold prostate cancer with immunoactive nanoparticles”

Applications for the spring 2024 rounds of SPARK funding and for NIH-targeted initiative funding will be due in February 2024. Details can be found on the SPARK, NIH New R01/U01 program and NIH Competing Renewal R01 program webpages.

Writer/media contact: Peter Shelby, pwshelby@purdue.edu 

Source: Emily Stevenson, steve201@purdue.edu 

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