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Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 105

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3010
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6689

Email: vpresearch@uidaho.edu

Web: ORED

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 414
Moscow, ID  83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3010
Moscow, ID  83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6162

Email: ored-ora@uidaho.edu

Web: ORA Website

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 103
Moscow, ID  83843

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3020
Moscow, ID  83844-3020

Phone: 208-885-6651

Fax: 208-885-4990

Email: osp@uidaho.edu

Web: OSP Website

Map

Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 103
Moscow, Idaho

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3003
Moscow, ID 83844-3003

Jeremy Tamsen
Phone: 208-885-4550
Email: tamsen@uidaho.edu
Web: OTT Website

Map

Physical Address:
Water Center Suite 324
Boise, Idaho

Mailing Address:
322 E. Front St., Suite 324
Boise, ID 83702

Jana Jones
Phone: 208-364-4568
Email: janajones@uidaho.edu

2015 Funded Proposals

ORED was able to fund 13 proposals for FY2015. 

Seed Grants promote research and creative activities that will increase competitiveness for external funding, and/or which will result in publications, patents, or exhibitions/performances, with emphasis placed on support for early career faculty. The proposals that ranked highest were those that seemed most likely to support a PI’s field and career development, and to result in increased research and scholarly activity productivity. These were also characterized by clearly expressed goals, methods, and significance, and overall good grantsmanship. 

Faith Ayodognan | Numerical Modeling of a Small Modular Reactor's Safety System

This project aims to use RELAP5, a simulation tool to model nuclear power plants, to design an inherent safe system used in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). In this project, an advanced inherent safety system will be developed to increase the safety performance of SMRs.

Faith Aydogan, Mechanical Engineering

This project aims to use RELAP5, a simulation tool to model nuclear power plants, to design an inherent safe system used in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). In this project, an advanced inherent safety system will be developed to increase the safety performance of SMRs. 

Because most of the nuclear reactors still use several active safety components, some of the safety systems might fail when there is a nuclear accident such as Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan. In this case, the reactor pressure increases suddenly and the reactor core cannot be cooled by the safety system. At that time, the safety barriers fail one by one and the radiation leaks to the environment eventually. 

To avoid these kinds of problems, this project develops a new advanced safety system, which will not include active safety components to avoid similar consequences of Fukushima Daiichi. To show that new advanced safety systems work efficiently, RELAP5 will be used. An existing SMR will be modeled and validated with RELAP5 Then, a new safety system will be integrated into the RELAP5 model to show that developed passive safety systems work without a problem. Additionally, developed RELAP5 models can be easily used to analyze other nuclear systems.

Leslie Becker | The Transition from Closed to Open System Chemical Behavior in Weathering Basalt

The weathering of basaltic lava has a major effect on the global carbon cycle, provides nutrients to the biosphere, and releases dissolves ions to surface waters. These effects only occur once the rock has transitioned to open-system weathering, where dissolved chemical components are freely exchanged between rock, water, and soil.

Leslie Baker, Geological Sciences and Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences

The weathering of basaltic lava has a major effect on the global carbon cycle, provides nutrients to the biosphere, and releases dissolves ions to surface waters. These effects only occur once the rock has transitioned to open-system weathering, where dissolved chemical components are freely exchanged between rock, water, and soil. 

The nature of the chemical reactions involved is poorly understood, but the closed-open transition point is marked by the type and composition of secondary minerals that are precipitated in the basalt. I propose to study the secondary mineralogy of basaltic rocks in Idaho to determine when the weathering systems begin to freely interact with the atmosphere and surface water, and thus, when they begin to participate in the global carbon cycle. This work will produce maps of sample mineralogy and chemistry that show when the basalt weathering system became open to the surface and so began participating in global chemical cycling. This study is relevant to the chemistry of natural carbon sequestration. It also has applications to Mars, where secondary weathering minerals found by orbiting spacecraft and rover missions are strikingly similar to those found in Idaho basalts.

Onesmo Balemba | New, Potent, Antidiarrheal and Painkilling Biflavanones from Garcinia Buchananii Stem Bark

1.7 billion cases of diarrhea illnesses occur each year causing 4% of all deaths and 5% of all health loss due to disability in the world. New therapies are needed to treat diarrhea and bowel pain because oral re-hydration solutions (ORS), the principal treatments, do not shorten diarrheal duration or alleviate distress. Combining ORS with antibiotics and opiates provides rapid treatment.

Onesmo Balemba, Biological Science
Timo Stark, Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science at Technical University, Munich

1.7 billion cases of diarrhea illnesses occur each year causing 4% of all deaths and 5% of all health loss due to disability in the world. New therapies are needed to treat diarrhea and bowel pain because oral re-hydration solutions (ORS), the principal treatments, do not shorten diarrheal duration or alleviate distress. Combining ORS with antibiotics and opiates provides rapid treatment. 

However, opiates cause constipation, drowsiness, are addictive, and are not recommended for children with bloody diarrhea. Garcinia buchananii stem bark extract (GBB),traditionally used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, and bowel pain in Africa, is a promising source for non-opiate compounds to mitigate diarrhea and alleviate bowel pain by inhibiting neurotransmission. Three biflavanones: GB-2, buchananiflavanone, and a compound designated M7-4 are potential anti-diarrhea components of GBB. We proposed experiments to define how these biflavanones affect neurotransmission in the gut. Understanding how each compound directly affect gut neurons will provide information that could ultimately lead to a novel and improved therapy for diarrhea and pain. Results will be published in the Journal of Gastroenterology, and provide essential data for resubmission of a proposal that was declined by NIH, and new grant applications to perform translational (animal treatment) studies.

Somaditya Banerjee | Transnational Quantum: Bhadralok Physics and the Making of Modern Science in Colonial India

This interdisciplinary project provides a major study of the quantum revolution in twentieth-century science by analyzing its social context and broader cultural meanings in colonial India, ca. 1900-1945.

Somaditya Banerjee, History

This interdisciplinary project provides a major study of the quantum revolution in twentieth-century science by analyzing its social context and broader cultural meanings in colonial India, ca. 1900-1945. The case study of India presents an important theoretical problem that requires explanation and special investigation: India managed to develop a strong and original research tradition in modern science while still under colonial rule, even before acquiring independence. 

Quantum physics in particular was singled out and actively pursued by a generation of young students in the 1920s who were born and mostly educated in India, rather than in Europe and who can be considered as the “first indigenously trained generation” of modern scientists. The activities of this group, which included Satyendranath Bose, Meghnad Saha, and C.V.Raman, led to internationally recognized accomplishments in physics as the Saha Ionization equation (1921), the famous Bose-Einstein statistics (1924), and the Raman Effect (1928), with the latter discovery leading to the first ever Nobel Prize awarded to a scientist from Asia. The analytical category “bhadralokphysics” is introduced to explore how it became possible for a highly successful brand of modern science to develop in a country that was still under the conditions of colonial domination.

Elizabeth Cassel | Hydration and Stability of Natural Glasses on Geological Timescales

Silicate glasses are abundant at the surface of the earth and are important manufactured materials. Understanding how glasses react with water is critical to improving technological applications, such as containment of spent nuclear fuel, and to our understanding of water chemistry-altering geologic processes such as weathering, changes in surface topography, and climate change.

Elizabeth Cassel, Geological Sciences

Silicate glasses are abundant at the surface of the earth and are important manufactured materials. Understanding how glasses react with water is critical to improving technological applications, such as containment of spent nuclear fuel, and to our understanding of water chemistry-altering geologic processes such as weathering, changes in surface topography, and climate change. 

This study aims to determine the reaction rates, chemistry, and structure of natural glasses that have interacted with water on geologic timescales using the widespread Mazama volcanic ash. This glass-bearing ash appears throughout the northwestern US, and provides a proxy for the average meteoric water stable isotope composition at each sampling location. By comparing hydrated glass samples and surrounding soil waters, and glasses deposited in variable environments and elevations, I will determine the controls on the rates and progress of glass hydration, and the changes in water chemistry as it enters the glass structure.These results will shape the methods earth scientists use to study past climate and landscape, and will inform technological and nuclear chemical applications of silicate glasses. I will incorporate these data into an NSF proposal and a publication on volcanic glass stable isotopemethodologies, and they will add to an upcoming Instrumentation proposal.

An Chen | Exploratory Study of Cost-Effective Smart Solar-FRP System for Energy Harvesting and Health Monitoring

Unlike current research efforts which are focused on reducing the cost of the mounting structures, the objective of this project is to develop a cost-effective smart solar fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) system which can be integrated into the roof and act as a load carrying member.

An Chen, Civil Engineering

Photovoltaic (PV) panels are increasingly used for solar energy harvesting but high cost still remains a hurdle to widespread adoption. PV panels are typically mounted on stable and durable structures, which represent 20-40 percent of installation cost and usually become weak points when PV panels are subjected to wind or seismic loads. Unlike current research efforts which are focused on reducing the cost of the mounting structures, the objective of this project is to develop a cost-effective smart solar fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) system which can be integrated into the roof and act as a load carrying member.

This type of system would completely eliminate the need for mounting structures and their associated cost and safety problems. The smart solar-FRP system can also be used as a stress sensor to provide the strain/stress state of the roof structure for health monitoring. Through this proposed project, a prototype smart solar-FRP system will be developed and proof-of-concept tests, including tension, compression, shear and bending tests, will be conducted until failure in order to study the performance of the smart solar-FRP system. Journal and conference papers are expected. The results will be used to reinforce an NSF CAREER proposal and attract more interest from industry.

Saied Hemati | Low-Complexity Energy-Efficient Decoder Design for Capacity Achieving Codes

Channel coding is an indispensable part of modern digital communication and storage systems and is used to make transmission and storage of digital information reliable. Channel coding is based on properly encoding messages to codewords before transmission and storage and then retrieving messages by decoding the received information.

Saied Hemati, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Channel coding is an indispensable part of modern digital communication and storage systems and is used to make transmission and storage of digital information reliable. Channel coding is based on properly encoding messages to code words before transmission and storage and then retrieving messages by decoding the received information.

Currently, a handful of codes achieve optimal error-correcting performance, but they have not been widely deployed in digital systems due to their decoding complexity, which often translates to poor energy-efficiency and high fabrication cost. The PI requests funds to build a high-performance computer cluster (HPCC) with 200 CPU cores to develop low-complexity energy-efficient decoders with near optimal decoding performance. This is a computationally expensive task that involves extremely time-consuming simulations and requires the PI have unlimited access to a powerful computer cluster. Widespread deployment of these decoders would substantially improve energy-efficiency and reliability of digital systems and prolong the lifetime of battery operated devices. The funded HPCC would help the PI achieve this goal, publish journal papers in IEEE-TCOM/IEEE-TSP, and develop patentable results. It would also help the PI develop strong grant applications for attracting research funds from NASA and NSF.

Erin James | Reading Narrative Environments: The Theory, Praxis and Pedagogy of Ecocriticism and Narratology

My project begins with a simple premise: that the stories we tell each other about the environment greatly influence our experience of that environment, and that experience in turn can greatly influence the shape and quality of the environment itself.

Erin James, English

My project begins with a simple premise: that the stories we tell each other about the environment greatly influence our experience of that environment, and that experience in turn can greatly influence the shape and quality of the environment itself. To understand better this process, I examine the mechanics of how the environment is represented in literary texts via narrative building blocks such as the organization of time and space, characterization and narration. I also query how readers emotionally and cognitively engage with such representations and how the process of encountering different environments in narratives stands to affect real-world attitudes and behaviors.

My proposal requests support for an edited collection of new essays on this topic, entitled Reading Narrative Environments. The collection, which has already piqued the interest of acquisition editors from Lexington Books and Cambridge Scholars Publishers and the editor of peer-reviewed journal English Studies, will build on work I completed recently for my first monograph and contribute to a growing scholarly interest in the aesthetics of literary environments and the neurological study of their various effects on readers by expanding to include the work for a wide range of literary scholars. I will edit this collection, write a new essay of original work for it, and organize two conference panels that stem from the work of its contributors. To further this project, I seek funding for summer research and the employment of a research assistant.

Helen Joyner | The Influence of Fat Content on the Large-Strain Behavior of Cheese

While there have been significant study on the sensory and structural aspects of reduced-fat cheeses, there has been less study on their mechanical properties, particularly behavior occurring during permanent structural deformation but before fracture. 

Helen Joyner, School of Food Science

Cheese is enjoyed worldwide due to its palatability. A major factor in cheese palatability is its fat content, generally around 33%. Consumer health concerns have prompted the development of reduced-fat cheeses; however, these products generally do not have the same textural qualities of full-fat cheeses. While there has been significant study on the sensory and structural aspects of reduced-fat cheeses, there has been less study on their mechanical properties, particularly behavior occurring during permanent structural deformation but before fracture. 

Therefore, the objective of this study is to determine links between large-strain, pre-fracture properties and microstructure of full-fat and reduced-fat cheeses. The study will use a rheological technique that uses Fourier transforms to generate stress-strain “fingerprints” for materials using oscillatory shear data. These “fingerprints” will be compared to microstructural images to determine how various structural aspects impact large-strain behavior. Expected outcomes from this work include publication of a manuscript in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and submission to an external funding agency (e.g., USDA-AFRI) for continued support.

Eric Mittelstaedt | Quantifying Variations in Hydrothermal Circulation using Laboratory Models

Along the Earth’s mid-ocean ridges, where tectonic plates separate from each other, subsurface magma chambers heat seawater as it passes through porous rock in a process known as hydrothermal circulation.

Eric Mittelstaedt, Geological Sciences

Along the Earth’s mid-ocean ridges, where tectonic plates separate from each other, subsurface magma chambers heat seawater as it passes through porous rock in a process known as hydrothermal circulation. This circulation, responsible for one quarter of Earth’s total cooling rate, low ocean pH, and supplying nutrients to unique ecosystems, is controlled by how easily seawater can pass through the crust. 

Areas with fractures or faults allow seawater to pass through them 100s of times faster than through the adjacent, unfractured rocks. Because the huge range of pore sizes in the crust is too complex for current numerical simulations, it is not well understood how this variability affects hydrothermal circulation. To overcome this computational difficulty, I propose to simulate hydrothermal circulation in the laboratory by using 3D printed materials that allow fluids to pass more easily through some areas than others. These experiments will provide unique constraints on how large variations in material properties control hydrothermal circulation, and, thus, the cooling rate of the Earth, the acidity of the oceans, and the deep-sea biosphere. This is a new research direction for the PI and will result in at least one high-level publication and preliminary data for a larger NSF proposal.

James Moberly | Construction and Assessment of a Novel Sulfur Tolerant Biocatalyctic Fuel Cell

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are an attractive technology because of their ability to convert renewable biomass or waste into usable energy and chemical products. Two key challenges face MFCs: 1) competing reactions that reduce power generation efficiency, 2) undesirable inhibitors that poison the electrode catalytic surface.

James Moberly, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are an attractive technology because of their ability to convert renewable biomass or waste into usable energy and chemical products. Two key challenges face MFCs:
  1. competing reactions that reduce power generation efficiency, and 
  2. undesirable inhibitors that poison the electrode catalytic surface.

The PI proposes to design, construct, operate, and assess performance of a novel Sulfur Tolerant, Acidophilic, Thermophilic Microbial Fuel Cell (STAT-MFC). The STAT-MFC uses bacteria as bio-catalysts to convert reduced sulfur compounds into usable energy without poisoning (sulfidation) that cause operational losses. Elevated operational temperatures and lower pH values in which these bacteria thrive are expected to allow STAT-MFCs to operate more efficiently over standard MFCs, increasing power performance. Of significance, STATMFC technologies may be adapted to traditional fuel cell systems or other low temperature-catalytic systems to increase sulfidation tolerance in these systems. Resulting performance and kinetic data will be used in support of future research grant opportunities to the National Science Foundation and other agencies in various program areas including biocatalysis and bioelectric systems. Additionally, this research will aid in recruiting and retaining undergraduate students through development of a bioengineering curriculum emphasis within the Chemical Engineering program and development of a senior-level lab.

Caroline Payant | Implementation of Task-Based Language Instruction in Incipient Spanish Foreign Language Classrooms

A growing body of research has shown a positive role for task-based instruction on second language (L2) development (Ellis, 2003). Task-based instruction requires learners to complete real world collaborative tasks, which promote authentic language use.

Caroline Payant, English

A growing body of research has shown a positive role for task-based instruction on second language (L2) development (Ellis, 2003). Task-based instruction requires learners to complete real world collaborative tasks, which promote authentic language use. Completing collaborative tasks promotes fluency, accuracy, and complexity in the target language; however, the majority of the research has examined L2 learning contexts with intermediate/advanced learners. 

We therefore have a narrow understanding of how task-based instruction benefits incipient learners in foreign language settings. I am seeking seed-grant funding to develop a quasi-experimental study with incipient learners of Spanish to examine the impact of task complexity on foreign language students’ oral and written proficiency. Over a 16-week period, I will collect oral and written data from all members of two intact Spanish classes. Learners will complete nine tasks, with two levels of complexity and twelve production tests. Graduate student assistants and I will transcribe the data, and I will conduct a detailed analysis of L2 development. By the end of the grant period, I will be in a position to propose a task-based syllabus for elementary Spanish courses and to apply for an external grant so I can continue this line of research with intermediate Spanish courses.

Soumya Srivastava | Microfluidic Detection Tool via Dielectrophoresis for Babesia-Contaminated Blood Supply

Three agents have been identified as the highest priority emerging infectious threats to the U.S. blood supply. Human babesiosis is one of them.

Soumya K. Srivastava, Chemical and Materials Engineering

Three agents have been identified as the highest priority emerging infectious threats to the U.S. blood supply. Human babesiosis is one of them. The emergence of the parasitic babesiosis disease has the potential to greatly increase life-threatening blood transfusion complications in the U.S. Effective 2011, the CDC classified human babesiosis as a nationally notifiable condition. The current blood donation screening protocol includes a questionnaire filled out by the donor. This methodology is slow and, more importantly, lacks precision.

The goal of this project is to determine if uninfected and Babesia-infected erythrocytes (RBCs) can be separated using insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) on a microfluidic chip. We hypothesize that the cell properties will be altered because of extensive changes in composition, morphology, and membrane permeability in the parasitized cells and that these parasitized RBCs can be separated from uninfected cells using DEP by applying DC voltage in a microchannel containing an array of insulating structures. Anticipated results would represent a precursor to a reduced to practice cost-effective and accurate diagnostic tool for screening incoming blood supply. Babesiosis is a growing public health concern in humans, especially in the U.S. Development of an advanced diagnostic tool will contribute to safer blood transfusion procedures.

Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 105

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3010
University of Idaho
Moscow, ID 83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6689

Email: vpresearch@uidaho.edu

Web: ORED

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 414
Moscow, ID  83844

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3010
Moscow, ID  83844-3010

Phone: 208-885-6162

Email: ored-ora@uidaho.edu

Web: ORA Website

Map

Physical Address:

Morrill Hall Room 103
Moscow, ID  83843

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Dr., MS 3020
Moscow, ID  83844-3020

Phone: 208-885-6651

Fax: 208-885-4990

Email: osp@uidaho.edu

Web: OSP Website

Map

Physical Address:
Morrill Hall 103
Moscow, Idaho

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3003
Moscow, ID 83844-3003

Jeremy Tamsen
Phone: 208-885-4550
Email: tamsen@uidaho.edu
Web: OTT Website

Map

Physical Address:
Water Center Suite 324
Boise, Idaho

Mailing Address:
322 E. Front St., Suite 324
Boise, ID 83702

Jana Jones
Phone: 208-364-4568
Email: janajones@uidaho.edu