Carlos Vélez‐Blasini (Psychology) has received a grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. The grant provides support for a study of the relationship between use of social networking sites, normative beliefs about sex, and relationship quality variables in US adults in and out of stable relationships. The work will provide insights into the impact of social networking on human behaviors and on social norms that can influence these behaviors, as well as help increase understanding of the relationship between use of social networking sites and well-being. Two Middlebury undergraduates will be working with Carlos on this project.
Will Amidon, Ray Coish, and Pete Ryan (all Geology) have received support from the National Science Foundation for the purchase of a laser to accompany the department’s existing inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) instrument. This new instrumentation will give Middlebury College the ability to analyze isotope ratios and trace element concentrations of virtually all mineral phases, not just dissolved solutions, using laser ablation. Projects to be enabled by the new instrument include better understanding the tectonic evolution of the eastern U.S. and quantifying the sources of radionuclides in shallow aquifers.
Middlebury College Observatory and Middlebury Physics will again host stargazing open house nights this autumn. These Observatory events are scheduled for Friday evenings, September 16 and September 30, from 8:00 PM until 9:30 PM and are weather permitting.
Saturn and Mars will be in the evening sky on these dates. A variety of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae will also be visible through the Observatory’s telescopes. The Observatory includes a 24-inch telescope in a dome and smaller telescopes on the roof.
Observatory open house nights are free and open to the public. However, they will take place only if the sky is expected to be mostly clear. Please check the Observatory web site at go/observatory or call the Observatory at 443-2266 after 6 PM on the evening of the event for weather status.
Clarissa Parker (Psychology and Neuroscience) has been awarded a research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse through NIH’s R15 AREA program. The grant provides three years of funding to support a project titled Genome-Wide Association for Affective Withdrawal in Outbred Mice. The goal of this work is to use a highly recombinant mouse population to map genes in mice associated with the behavioral and physiological traits that characterize drug withdrawal. A better understanding of the pathways linking genetic variation and expression to neuronal function and behavior in mice will provide novel insights that can inform the prevention and treatment of drug use disorders in humans. The grant includes support for 6 undergraduate students.
AnGayle (AJ) Vasiliou (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has received a National Science Foundation grant through the Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) mechanism for a project titled RUI: Sulfur Chemistry: Molecular Mechanisms. The proposed work seeks to answer questions regarding the reaction mechanisms for the thermal decomposition of sulfur compounds encountered in petroleum and biofuels, which is currently poorly understood and in some cases completely unknown. This knowledge gap prevents any progress in refinery cleanup methodology, and the proposed work could lead to technology improvements in current desulfurization processes for both petroleum and biomass refineries. Six Middlebury undergraduates will be working with AJ on this project.
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. Project grants support summer and academic-year effort for faculty members from June 2016-May 2017, and pilot grants support summer effort for faculty members from June 2016-August 2016. The following faculty members received individual grants from this program to support their research this year:
David Allen (Biology) received a pilot grant titled Elevational Gradient in Black-legged Tick Density and Borrelia-infection. The proposed work aims to understand how the population and phenology of the black-legged tick, the Lyme disease vector, change with elevation. Understanding this relationship will allow for more targeted tick control and Lyme disease prevention efforts. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.
Amanda Crocker (Neuroscience) received a pilot grant titled Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Plasticity and Diversity in Neural Circuits. The proposed work aims to understand how long-term memories are encoded molecularly within individual neurons, and the work has the potential to provide novel molecular pathways and drug targets for age-related cognitive decline and diseases. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.
Michael Dash (Psychology and Neuroscience) received a pilot grant titled Metabolic Consequences of Synaptic Plasticity. The proposed work aims to characterize the basic biological processes that maintain balance between energy supply and demand in the healthy brain, and the work will provide a foundation for novel therapeutic targets to treat the widespread impairments in energy balance and cellular communication characteristic of most neurodegenerative disorders. The grant includes support for one undergraduate student.
Michael Durst (Physics) received a renewal of his 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 includes support for two undergraduate students.
Glen Ernstrom (Biology and Neuroscience) received a renewal of his project grant titled Genetic Analysis of Neurotransmitter Release in C. Elegans. The proposed research investigates how the pH of synaptic vesicles regulates how neurons signal. Greater understanding of this process could aid the development of novel drug therapies to either enhance or inhibit neurotransmitter release. The grant includes support for four undergraduate students.
Clarissa Parker (Psychology and Neuroscience) received a renewal of her 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 in mice. A better understanding of the pathways linking genetic variation and expression to neuronal function and behavior in mice will provide novel insights that can inform the prevention and treatment of psychiatric disorders in humans. The grant includes support for two undergraduate students.
AnGayle (AJ) Vasiliou (Chemistry & 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 includes support for two undergraduate students.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Maine are hosting an NSF Day to be held on Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm at the Cross Insurance Center, 515 Main Street in Bangor, Maine.
NSF Days provide basic insight and instruction on how to compete for NSF funding for science, engineering, and education research. This day-long workshop will provide background on the Foundation, its mission, priorities, and budget. During the day, there will be an overview on proposal writing, NSF’s merit review process, and programs that fall within the seven scientific and engineering directorates, as well as funding opportunities that cross disciplinary boundaries.
NSF representatives will be on hand to answer questions and to host discipline- and program-specific breakout sessions to personally engage in discussions with attendees.
See more details in the draft agenda.
Registration is $35 and must be completed by October 7, 2016.Space is limited. Fees include continental breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks. Registration fees are non-refundable (but may be transferable with at least three days notice, if necessary).