Tag Archives: Faculty Grants

Vermont Genetics Network Awards for Glen Ernstrom, Clarissa Parker, AnGayle Vasiliou, and Michael Durst

Vermont Genetics Network grants for Research in the Biomedical Sciences
Middlebury College is one of the baccalaureate partner institutions participating in a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Vermont. This grant continues the Vermont Genetics Network support that has been an important source of funding for faculty and student research during the past decade. The following faculty members received individual grants from this program to support their research this year:

Glen Ernstrom (Biology & Neuroscience) received a renewal of his project grant titled Genetic Analysis of Neurotransmitter Release in C. Elegans. The proposed research will help to clarify nerve signaling mechanisms and potentially lead to improved drug therapies for neural disorders. The grant provides funding for summer and academic-year effort for Prof. Ernstrom from June 2015-May 2016 and includes a summer stipend for one undergraduate student.

Clarissa Parker (Psychology & Neuroscience) received a project grant titled Genome-wide Association for Ethanol Sensitivity in the DO Mouse Population. The goal of this work is to use a highly recombinant mouse population to map genes associated with ethanol sensitivity. Understanding the pathways linking genetic variation and expression to neuronal function may enable targeting of specific molecules to treat alcohol use disorders in humans. The grant provides funding for summer and academic-year effort for Prof. Parker from June 2015-May 2016 and includes summer stipends for two undergraduate students.

AnGayle (AJ) Vasiliou (Chemistry and Biochemistry) received a renewal of her project grant titled Thermal Composition of Biomass: Molecular Pathways for Sulfur Chemistry. The aim of this research is to elucidate the detailed chemical mechanisms and kinetics associated with the thermal decomposition of sulfur compounds found in biomass feedstock. The results of this work can be used to develop a sound strategy to suppress the formation of poisonous sulfur compounds during biomass decomposition, generating clean liquid fuels and ultimately lowering sulfur emissions. The grant provides funding for summer and academic-year effort for Prof. Vasiliou from June 2015-May 2016 and includes summer stipends for two undergraduate students.

Michael Durst (Physics) received a project grant titled High-Speed 3D Multiphoton Fluorescence Imaging with Temporal Focusing Microscopy. The proposed work aims to improve the speed of 3D multiphoton microscopy through temporal focusing, with the goal of reaching video-rate 3D imaging in biological tissue. The grant provides funding for summer and academic-year effort for Prof. Durst from June 2015-May 2016 and includes a summer stipend for one undergraduate student.

Peggy Nelson awarded residency in Switzerland for collaborative research

Peggy Nelson (Sociology-Anthropology) and a colleague from Wellesley have been awarded a month-long residency at the Brocher Foundation in Hermance, Switzerland to work on their collaborative research next July. Their project, titled Social and Biogenetic Factors in the Making of New Families, is funded by National Science Foundation and fits well with the Brocher Foundation’s mission to host researchers who dedicate their work to ethical, legal, and social aspects of medical development and public health policies. They will use their time together to write a paper comparing the response to new medical technologies of clients who received fertility treatment in the United States with that of residents of various European Union countries who received fertility treatment in Spain.

Jane Chaplin and colleagues awarded grant from the Classical Association of the Atlantic States

Jane Chaplin (Classics) and colleagues from Hamilton and Skidmore were awarded a grant from the Classical Association of the Atlantic States to support a project titled Summer Institute for the Collaboration of Liberal Arts Colleges to Broaden and Strengthen the Contribution of Classics to a Diverse Student Audience. Representatives from nearly thirty institutions will gather at Skidmore to compile data on Classics at non-PhD-granting institutions and to share insights on attracting and retaining students in order to keep Classics a vibrant part of undergraduate liberal education. The three-day conference will result in an online handbook of statistics and recommendations. In addition to the grant, the conference has financial support from all three institutions involved.

Susan Burch and colleagues awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Susan Burch (American Studies), independent filmmaker Rick Tejada-Flores, and independent scholar Hannah Joyner have received a grant from the Media Projects Development Program at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project titled Unspeakable: The Life of Junius Wilson. The goal of this project is to develop a 60-minute documentary on Junius Wilson (1908-2001),  a deaf African American man detained at a psychiatric institution in North Carolina for 76 years. The film will be based largely on the 2007 biography Susan co-authored with Hannah Joyner, and Susan will serve as a main advisor. The documentary explores the overlaps of race, deaf identity, gender, eugenics, incarceration, and civil rights through Mr. Wilson’s life story. It draws heavily on oral history, signed languages, material culture, and inclusive methodologies—central topics in Susan’s research and teaching. This funding supports preliminary work on the film, including site visits, select filmed interviews, script development, and archival research work.

Molly Costanza-Robinson awarded NSF RUI grant

Molly Costanza-Robinson (Chemistry & Biochemistry and Environmental Studies) has been awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through its Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) mechanism for a project titled Elucidating Interlayer Chemistry for Design of  Novel, Nontoxic Organoclays for Contaminant Remediation. The project will involve 2-3 undergraduate researchers each year and will initially focus on elucidating how the chemistry of activated clay minerals (organoclays), specifically their interlayer crystallinity, relates to their ability to remove organic contaminants from wastewater. The second stage of the project will apply this information to the task of designing novel organoclays for more effective contaminant removal. Students in the Environmental Chemistry course will also participate in the project by testing the toxicity of the novel organoclays.

Eilat Glikman awarded grant from the National Science Foundation

Eilat Glikman (Physics) and a colleagues at California Institute of Technology have received a grant from the National Science Foundation for a project titled New Insights from a Systematic Approach to Quasar Variability. The goal of this project is to understand the physics of supermassive black hole growth in the nuclei of galaxies by utilizing time-domain information. The grant provides support for two Middlebury undergraduates who will work with scientists at Caltech, and use cutting-edge techniques in data science, to extract meaningful results from these large data sets.

Jeff Munroe awarded National Science Foundation Research in Undergraduate Institutions grant

Jeff Munroe (Geology) has received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation through its Research in Undergraduate Institutions mechanism for a research project titled RUI: Alpine Loess, Periglacial Uplands, and Exotic Additions: Investigating Past and Present Dust Deposition in the Alpine Zone of the Uinta Mountains, Utah. At least six undergraduate students will be involved in this research, which will lead to better knowledge about modern and past dust deposition in this part of the western United States and thus has the potential to aid in land management decisions in the future.