Research Wire: December 2018

Olga Pravdivtseva, research associate professor of physics in Arts & Sciences, received a three-year, $1.19 million grant from NASA to support research on I-Xe dating of alteration in CK and CV carbonaceous chondrites, which are a type of meteorite.

Eugene Oltz, professor of pathology and immunology, and Marco Colonna, MD, the Robert Rock Belliveau, MD, Professor of Pathology, both at the School of Medicine, received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study how immune cells balance the need for a robust defense against infection against the risk of tissue damage. The study will focus on gene expression in cells implicated in inflammatory bowel disease.

Ilya Monosov, assistant professor of neuroscience at the School of Medicine, received a three-year, $300,000 McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award to study how the brain seeks, values and uses information to resolve uncertainty about the future. This work can help shed light on disorders that arise from maladaptive decision-making and poor risk/reward assessment.

Lori Markson, associate professor and director of graduate studies, and Rebecca Schwarzlose, postdoctoral research associate, both in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences in Arts & Sciences, received $49,000 from the Russell Sage Foundation for a research project titled “Conceptual understanding of skin color inheritance among American children and adults.”

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)‘s National Institute on Aging has awarded a $3.3 million grant to Susan Stark, associate professor of occupational therapy, and Beau Ances, MD, PhD, the Daniel J. Brennan, MD, Professor of Neurology, both at the School of Medicine, to assess whether falls can be used to predict onset of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Jason Hassenstab, assistant professor of neurology at the School of Medicine, has received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)‘s National Institute on Aging to develop a smartphone app to assess cognition in people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Gautam Dantas, professor of pathology and immunology at the School of Medicine, has received a $1.9 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the occupational exposure of dairy farm-workers to antibiotic-resistant microorganisms and infectious diseases from cows. The project also will communicate these risks to dairy farmers with a goal of reducing cow-to-farmer transmission. Dantas also received a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Defense to study the role of the gut microbiome in protecting people from diarrheal disease. The study also will look at the factors that put people at risk for diarrhea — and especially antibiotic-resistant infections — during travel.

Damena Agonafer, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, received an $86,000 grant from Google Inc. to develop a prototype device to help cool microprocessors.

He seeks to develop a direct two-phase cooling solution by designing a bioinspired evaporative microheat exchanger. The design channels properties of a 400-million-year-old arthropod called a springtail, which lives in damp soil and has skin that repels liquid. Read more on the engineering website.

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