June 05, 2014

Seed grants awarded

Six diverse research projects that pair assistant professors with senior faculty members are being funded through the Collaborative Seed Grant Program sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

These highly competitive, internally funded, peer-reviewed awards are designed to stimulate interactions among faculty that lead to research, scholarly, and creative activities.  These interactions may support a pilot study, generate supporting data, provide background information or complete a preliminary artistic project.  The intent is to lay the groundwork for an externally funded, collaborative project.

Proposals were submitted by a total of 54 faculty members. Six were collaborative proposals in the humanities/arts, seven in the physical sciences/engineering and eight in life sciences/medicine. 

The awards total $214,000, and each grant will run for 18 months. 

Recipients are: 

• Jeremy Davis, Department of Animal Science, Food, and Nutrition; collaborator, Buck Hales, chair and professor of physiology:  "Dietary flax in the prevention of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease" 

• Kyle Plunkett, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; collaborator, Ian Suni, director of the Materials Technology Center:  "Surface functionalization of titanium dioxide for electrochemical sensing and release"  

• Reza Ahmadi, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; collaborator, Kathleen Pericak-Spector, professor of math:  "A novel energy management strategy for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles" 

• Lavern Byfield, Department of Curriculum and Instruction; collaborator, Cynthia Sims, associate professor of workforce development:  "Teachers’ perception of bilingualism and dialectalism" 

• Jacob Juntunen, Department of Theater; collaborator, Ronald Naverson, professor of theater:  "Object/Human:  Performing Poland with Tadeusz Kantor's uncanny onstage objects" 

• Da Chen, Department of Zoology and Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory; collaborators Michael Lydy, Department of Zoology and Chemistry/Biochemistry and Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences; Jesse Trushenski, Department of Zoology and Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences; and Troy Anderson, assistant professor, Virginia Tech: "Fat bees, skinny bees: does insecticidal exposure affect nutritional health status of honey bees?"