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13 UI Faculty Explore New Projects with Seed Grant Funding

April 12, 2017

Thirteen faculty members from across disciplines at the University of Idaho have earned grants through the university’s 2017 Seed Grant Program.

The Seed Grant Program, sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development, aims to promote research, outreach and creative activities in all branches of learning, and to support early career faculty members as they establish their scholarly programs. Seed Grant awards range from $9,000 to $12,000.

“Through Seed Grants, the university and the Office of Research and Economic Development invest in faculty as they establish lines of inquiry that will lead to larger projects, new discoveries and scholarly products,” said Janet Nelson, vice president for research and economic development. 

The selected projects are:

High-Resolution Seismic Analyses of Subglacial Water Storage: Timothy Bartholomaus, assistant professor in the Department of Geography, College of Science. Bartholomaus will deploy a network of seismometers on Lemon Creek Glacier in Alaska to locate and track subglacial water flow, which can influence ice flow speed, iceberg calving and other glacier processes related to water resources.

Social Media, Marching and Activism: The Women’s March as a Case Study of Fourth-Wave Feminism: Katie Blevins, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Media, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS). Blevins will investigate the role of Facebook and Twitter in the January 2017 women’s marches, part of a larger project to understand the connections between social media, feminism and activism.

Latino New Converts to Islam and Spaniard New Converts to Islam: A Comparative Study: Marta Boris Tarré, assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, CLASS. Boris Tarré will document factors that influence the conversion to Islam of Latinos living in the United States and Spaniards living in Spain, and examine how individuals’ experiences reshape and restructure their identities as Latino or Spaniard Muslims.

Stress and Cellular Protein Metabolism in Production Animals: Gwinyai E. Chibisa, assistant professor in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). Chibisa will use the transport of young calves as a model to investigate how the cellular processes of protein synthesis and breakdown in the liver and skeletal tissue are impacted by stress.

Investigating the Impact of Educative Curricular Materials: Janine Darragh, assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education. Darragh will examine the impact of educative curricular materials — which are designed to provide experimental professional development for teachers as they use them — on the teaching and learning of English at three rural, resource-poor school sites in Nicaragua.

Understanding Climate Change Skepticism in the Pacific Northwest: Kristin Haltinner, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, CLASS. Haltinner will collect interview data and conduct content analysis on online discussion forums to understand how people who are skeptical of climate change rationalize and develop their skepticism despite scientific consensus on the topic.

Desire and Degeneration in 19th Century Argentine Anthropology: Ashley Kerr, assistant professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, CLASS. Kerr will conduct careful textual readings and archival research in Buenos Aires and Bariloche, Argentina, to examine how sexual desire and personal relationships influenced how Argentine anthropologists described indigenous peoples.

Harnessing Neuroplasticity for Rewiring Brain Circuits: Gautam Kumar, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, College of Engineering. Kumar will develop an integrated dynamical modeling and control approach for rewiring synaptic connections in small neuronal motifs using both electrical and neuropharmacology-based inputs. This knowledge is critical for advancing understanding of the dynamics underlying various disorders, such as depression, and for designing novel therapeutically effective treatments. 

Leveraging Data Science to Explore Co-Relationships Between Elements and Minerals: Xiaogang (Marshall) Ma, assistant professor of computer science, College of Engineering. Ma will explore the co-relationships between the 72 mineral-forming elements and the currently known mineral species using data science methods.

Narrative, Emotion and the Victorian Sensation Novel: Tara MacDonald, assistant professor in the Department of English, CLASS. MacDonald will argue for a new way of understanding the evolution of the novel and the history of emotion through the so-called “sensation novels” of the Victorian period, examining how these texts were considered lowbrow and potentially dangerous because they grounded the reader in the physical sensations of the body.

Researching and Recording the Piano Music of Henryk Górecki: Roger McVey, assistant professor in the Lionel Hampton School of Music, CLASS. McVey will research, perform and professionally record the complete piano music of Henryk Górecki, one of the leading composers of the 20th century, whose piano music remains virtually unknown.

Investigating Mechanoregulation of Stem Cells for Tendon Tissue Engineering: Nathan Schiele, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Engineering, College of Engineering. Schiele will evaluate how mechanical stretching of mesenchymal stem cells grown in an engineered tissue scaffold influences the production of tendon-specific marker proteins and the formation of connections between adjacent cells. The project’s overall goal is to use these findings to advance tendon healing and regeneration.

Calligraphy: Visual Expression of the Spirit: Nishiki Sugawara-Beda, assistant professor in the Department of Art and Design, College of Art and Architecture. Sugawara-Beda will research and experience what is necessary to more authentically perform the almost hidden mindfulness aspect of Japanese calligraphy, leading to solo art exhibitions and informing her teaching. 

Media Contacts

Tara Roberts
University Communications and Marketing
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troberts@uidaho.edu



About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, a research and Extension center in Twin Falls, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to more than 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference and Sun Belt Conference. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu