Research Wire

The very latest Washington University research news

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8.17.18
Alvitta Ottley, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, received a $174,254 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the strategies and biases people have that influence decision-making — and to design graphics that accommodate them. Ottley is designing better ways to visually communicate complex health data to patients. Learn more on the engineering website.


8.6.18
Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, was awarded a one-year $149,729 National Science Foundation EAGER grant for the project “Removing barriers to macro-ecoevolutionary studies of the avian brain.” The new award will allow Botero to build out a dataset that integrates studies on brain size variation with a variety of high-quality time series data on the ecology, demography and phenology of birds. The project also will examine how different historical and natural history constraints can lead to fundamentally different pathways for brain size evolution.


8.3.18
William Yeoh, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is designing algorithms to run the smart homes of the future. Yeoh received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to work on developing smart-home AI algorithms that can determine what a user wants by both asking questions and making smart guesses, and then plan and schedule accordingly. Learn more on the engineering website.


8.3.18
Jonathan Myers, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, is a co-investigator on a two-year $199,995 National Science Foundation EAGER grant for the project “Disentangling the effects of ecological clade sorting and adaptive diversification to the assembly of regional biotas.” This project will explore why environmental changes associated with the uplift of the Andes Mountains influenced the distribution, diversification and diversity of tree species in the tropical Andes, one of earth’s most species-rich biodiversity hotspots. Myers’ team includes researchers from the Missouri Botanical Garden and collaborators from The Madidi Project.


7.18.18
Odis Johnson, associate professor of education and of sociology, both in Arts & Sciences, has been awarded a two-year grant of nearly $300,000 to explore how national datasets can be used to promote broader participation of underrepresented race-gender groups in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

Supported by the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources Directorate Core Research Program, the grant will investigate whether policies and practices regarding safety, discipline, school crime and suspensions within charter and traditional public schools contribute to the loss of large numbers of underrepresented students from the STEM pipeline.


7.17.18
Joaquin Barnoya, MD, associate professor of surgery at the School of Medicine, has received a four-year, $328,000 grant from the Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Electronic cigarettes in Latin America: Evaluation of impacts and policy options.” Barnoya, a co-principal investigator, will evaluate how electronic cigarettes are impacting Mexico and Guatemala and how to lower smoking rates through both policy change and appropriate interventions.


7.16.18
An international research collaboration including engineers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a protein sequence mechanism that triggers phase separation deep within a single cell. Their findings, published in Cell, could provide insights into age-related diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and some cancers. Read more on the engineering website.


7.16.18
Jordan McCall, assistant professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine, is one of 36 junior faculty members to receive a research grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). Each recipient will receive $5,000 in seed money from ORAU for the 2018-19 academic year and a matching $5,000 from each recipient’s institution. McCall plans to lead a multidisciplinary research program aimed at understanding the neural mechanisms underlying the emotional distress associated with stress, chronic pain and addiction.


7.2.18
Spencer Lake, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is conducting research on baseball pitchers’ elbow injuries with a three-year, $388,541 grant from the National Science Foundation. Lake plans to develop a bioinspired imaging technique to study how damage accumulates in the ulnar collateral ligament during loading, or the stress of activating the ligament. Learn more on the engineering website.


6.27.18
Microscopes are limited in what they can see because of their resolution, or ability to see detail. Ulugbek Kamilov, at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, plans to use a three-year, $265,293 grant from the National Science Foundation to lay the groundwork for a more precise microscope, one that can see objects as miniscule as 100 nanometers, such as viruses. Such a microscope could be used in medical imaging, brain mapping and drug discovery. Learn more on the engineering website.


6.15.18
A team at the School of Engineering & Applied Science is combining forces to work toward creating a safe, nontoxic and efficient material for solar cells. With a three-year, $480,000 National Science Foundation grant, Rohan Mishra and Pratim Biswas are studying whether the nontoxic element bismuth, lead’s neighbor on the periodic table, is a safer substitute for lead in perovskites, the absorbent layer in solar cells. Learn more on the engineering website.


6.14.18
Kevin Moeller, professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences, received a $1.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a research project titled “New methods for the synthesis and analysis of addressable molecular libraries.”


6.12.18
Ian Dobbins, professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences, was awarded $40,000 from the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience toward research on “Mapping the dynamics of pupillometry onto functional brain networks during recognition.”


6.8.18
Alex Meshik, research professor in physics in Arts & Sciences, received a $1.1 million award from NASA in support of a project titled “Analyses and interpretations of noble gases delivered by Genesis and Stardust missions – Phase 2.”


6.7.18
Yanli Song, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics, received $161,000 from the National Science Foundation for his research on applying equivariant index theory.


5.15.18
Xiang Tang, professor of mathematics in Arts & Sciences, received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his project “Noncommutative Geometry and Analytic Grothendieck Riemann Roch Theorem.” Noncommutative geometry is an emerging branch of mathematics that examines the spaces where functions, like the position and momentum, depend on the order in which they are encountered and multiplied. This project will explore noncommutative spaces motivated by problems in operator theory, singular spaces and mathematical physics.


5.14.18
Tammie S. Benzinger, MD, PhD, associate professor at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at the School of Medicine, and Beau M. Ances, MD, PhD, the Daniel J. Brennan Professor of Neurology, received a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study “Imaging Tauopathy in the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN).”


5.10.18
Bradley Jones, a graduate student in sociocultural anthropology working with Glenn D. Stone, of Arts & Sciences, received a $21,000 grant from the National Science Foundation in support of his doctoral dissertation project titled “A comparative study of skilling institutions in U.S. alternative agriculture.” In addition, Jones received a $7,300 grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for his project.


5.10.18
Lauren Cubellis, a graduate student in sociocultural anthropology working with Rebecca Lester, of Arts & Sciences, received a $15,550 Wenner Gren conference grant toward convening a meeting on “Care at the nexus of power and practice: Anthropological engagements with caring otherwise.”


5.4.18
Niraj Tolia, associate professor of molecular microbiology and of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Structural Vaccinology and Design of Novel Immunogens for Malaria Vaccine Development.”


5.4.18
Milan Chheda, MD, assistant professor of medicine and of neurology at the School of Medicine, has received $1,000 as the winner of the 2018 Neuro-Oncology Investigator Award from the American Academy of Neurology.


4.30.18
Mica Jones, a graduate student in archaeology working with Fiona Marshall, James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor in Arts & Sciences, was awarded a $20,000 Wenner Gren dissertation fieldwork grant in support of research on “Holocene hunter-gatherer variability and ecological reorganization at Namundiri A, Uganda.” Jones also received an $8,000 National Science Foundation grant toward his doctoral dissertation on “Hunter-gatherer socioeconomic strategies and climatic variability in eastern Africa, ~20,000-5,000 BP.”


4.30.18
Farah Musharbash, a third-year medical student at the School of Medicine, received accolades for his cardiovascular research on the Cox-maze IV procedure, a lifesaving ablation technique developed by Ralph James Damiano Jr., MD, the Evarts A. Graham Professor of Surgery and director of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Musharbash recently won the best-poster award at a meeting of the American Association of Thoracic Surgery, and two studies he co-authored on the procedure have been published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.


4.27.18
Andrea Soranno, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine, received a two-year, $250,000 extramural grant from the Ruth K. Broad Biomedical Research Foundation Inc. for his work titled “Structural plasticity of ApoE and its role in AD.”


4.25.18
Dana Abendschein, associate professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, and Jie Zheng, associate professor of radiology, both at the School of Medicine, have been awarded a three-year, $969,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and APT Therapeutics Inc. for research titled “Antithrombotic Therapy with No Bleeding Risk for PCI.”


4.25.18
Jim Janetka, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine, and co-founder of ProteXase Therapeutics Inc., along with Lidija Klampfer, co-founder and chief scientific officer of ProteXase, received a one-year, nearly $300,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Targeting Hepatocyte Growth Factor with Protease Inhibitors in Lung Cancer.”


4.25.18
Ryan Ogliore, assistant professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, received a $147,000 grant from NASA in support of a project titled “Investigating nearby supernovae through analyses of ancient and contemporary stardust.”


4.19.18
A team led by Damena Agonafer, of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, is developing a technique to cool 3-D stacked computer chips with the help of a one-year, $100,000 grant from Cisco Systems Inc. The team aims to develop new thermal materials and structures, including a micro-heat exchanger, that would help to manage the heat load without compromising performance or further increasing power consumption. Learn more on the engineering site.


4.16.18
Saira Khan, postdoctoral associate in the Division of Public Health Sciences at the School of Medicine, has received a two-year, $170,000 Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Research Program Early Investigator Research Award. Bettina Drake, associate professor of surgery, is mentor of her project, “Chemotherapeutic Potential of Metformin and Statins to Prevent Progression to Lethal Prostate Cancer.” Learn more on the Public Health Sciences site.


4.11.18
Michael Greenberg, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, nearly $2.7 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his work titled “Regulation of cardiac power output in health and disease.” Greenberg also received a two-year, $150,000 Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from the March of Dimes for his research titled “Understanding Congenital Heart Disease from the Ground Up.”


4.11.18
Julie M. Bugg, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences in Arts & Sciences, received a $419,000 grant from the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes on Health (NIH) toward research on “Memory-based attentional control: A behavioral biomarker for preclinical and early state Alzheimer’s disease?”


4.10.18
Min Lian, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Multilevel Interplays in the Development of Tobacco Dependence.”


4.10.18
Chyi-Song Hsieh, MD, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Rheumatology and professor of medicine, received a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Evaluation of Antigen-Specific Immune Interactions with Commensal Bacteria in Neonates”; and a five-year, $2.2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for research titled “Unique Roles of Antigen Presenting Cells on T Cell Tolerance and Autoimmunity.”


4.9.18
Christine Floss, research professor in physics in Arts & Sciences, was awarded $255,000 from NASA to undertake a project titled “Identification and analysis of impact craters on Al foils from the Stardust interstellar collector tray.”


4.3.18
Andreas Burkhalter, professor of neuroscience at the School of Medicine, and associate professor of biomedical engineering and of neurobiology, received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Role of Modular Inhibitory Network in Mouse Visual Cortex.”


4.3.18
 Mary C. Dinauer, MD, PhD, the Fred M. Saigh Distinguished Chair in Pediatric Research at the School of Medicine, scientific director of Children’s Discovery Institute, professor of pediatrics and of pathology and immunology, all at the School of Medicine, received a four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Selective Deletion of Neutrophil Nadph Oxidase and Innate Responses to Aspergillus Fumigatus.”


4.3.18
Amit Pathak, of the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and Eynav Yafit Klechevsky, of the School of Medicine, have received a three-year, $610,000 Trailblazer Award from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). They are collaborating to find a better way to prepare and treat patients’ immune cells to maximize their effectiveness in fighting cancer. Learn more on the engineering site.


4.3.18
Ying Chen, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the School of Medicine, received a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for research titled “Podocyte Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Nephrotic Syndrome.”


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