September 22, 2009

Stimulus funds support critical efforts at SIUC

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is benefitting from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

More than $3.1 million in ARRA funds are going to researchers investigating everything from improved solar cells to genes and breast cancer treatments. The so-called “stimulus” money will also pay for summer camps for younger students interested in transportation infrastructure, and programs for young children from low-income backgrounds.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has included unprecedented opportunities for researchers and scholars to attract funds from federal agencies to support their research and scholarly activities, and rebuild our campus infrastructure,” said John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school at SIUC.

“The resultant innovations and direct expenditures, in research areas ranging from cancer and advanced computation to traumatic brain injuries, will help to stimulate the economy now, and far into the future. Faculty and staff at SIUC have been working feverishly preparing proposals to compete in every possible way for these funds, and have already experienced more than $3 million of success. We expect this amount to grow as most proposals are still pending. All of this will result in even greater benefits for our students, the University, the Southern Illinois region, and the nation as a whole,” he said.

The largest grant so far was a $432,200 National Science Foundation CAREER grant to Mesfin Tsige, assistant professor of physics, for his work on electrical conducting polymers and their potential to revolutionize solar cell efficiency. Tsige examines how different conducting polymers interface with surfaces at various temperatures, and how their molecules organize under such conditions. The way the molecules organize directly impacts the polymer’s electrical and optical characteristics.

So far, other projects funded by the ARRA include:

• $118,059 for “RNA splicing in Archaea,” by Ramesh Gupta, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the SIU School of Medicine.

• $210, 448 for Head Start, by Cathy J. Reed, director, and Seymour L. Bryson, retired associate chancellor for diversity.

• $16,694 for coating effects on “MR Relaxivities; Dendron-Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Models,” by Boyd M. Goodson and Yong Gao, associate professors of chemistry and biochemistry.

• $9,063 for “Regulation of Insulin by RHOXS Homeobox Gene Supports Spermatogenesis,” by James A. MacLean, assistant professor of physiology in the SIU School of Medicine.

• $41,291 for “Collaborative RAPID: Investigating SOA Increases Due to Beetle Infestation Across the Western United States,” by Kara E. Huff Hartz, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

• $181,875 for “Ginseng and its Constituents in Complementary Breast Cancer Therapy,” by Laura L. Murphy, professor of physiology in the SIU School of Medicine.

• $218,250 for “DEAF-1 Interactions and Protein Modifications in Prostate Cells,” by Jodi I. Huggenvik and Michael W. Collard, associate professors of physiology in the SIU School of Medicine.

•$123,000 for “Building a Bridge for Young Minds’ Journey to Careers in Transportation Through Summer Transportation Institute,” by Sanjeev Kumar, professor of civil and environmental engineering; J. Kent Hsiao, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering; Chris Pearson, of the College of Engineering.

•$218,250 for “Effects of Vitamin B3 on Traumatic Brain Injury,” by Michael R. Hoane, associate professor of psychology.

• $186,439 for “Southern Illinois Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention in Geoscience Education,” by Grant R. Miller, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and Justin T. Schoof, assistant professor of geography and environmental resources.

• $218,250 for “Regulatory Mechanisms of DEAF-1 in Development,” by Huggenvik and Collard.

•$360,779 for “Southern Illinois PC Infrastructure,” by Tsige, Mark S. Byrd, associate professor of physics; Tonny J. Oyana, associate professor of geography and environmental resources; and Qiang Shawn Cheng, assistant professor of computer science.

• $106,413 for “Summer Transportation Institute: Connecting Today’s Students with Tomorrow’s Transportation Opportunities,” by Matthew C. Baughman, associate director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute; Linda R. Baker, professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute; John W. Nicklow, professor and associate dean of the College of Engineering; and Terry A. Owens, associate dean of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

• $300,000 for “Risk Assessment and Monitoring of Stored CO2 in Organic Rocks under Non-Equilibrium Conditions,” by V.M. Malhotra, professor of physics, and Jay C. Means, dean of the College of Science.

• $391,269 for “Understanding the Role of Bile as a Mechanism for Improved Glucose Homeostasis following Brain Surgery,” by April D. Strader, assistant professor of physiology in the SIU School of Medicine.