What's Going on Inside
This project studies ways to design autonomous vehicles and robots that can make real-time decisions using brain-inspired “intelligent” algorithms. These systems could be used for autonomous driving vehicles, rovers for space exploration and collision avoidance in unmanned aerial vehicles.
Funding: Prior support from NSF
Colleges: Engineering, Science
Lead PI: Vishal Saxena
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies brings together UI, Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State, Idaho State and the University of Wyoming to study subjects such as the intersection of energy and water in industrial sectors. This space allows Moscow-based CAES collaborators to meet and work on existing projects and develop new ones.
Funding: Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory, Environmental Protection Agency
Colleges: Engineering, Science
Lead PI: Tom Wood
CMCI researchers use advanced mathematical, statistical and computational modeling to answer biomedical research questions, such as how pathogens interact during co-infection and how social interactions contribute to disease spread.
Funding: National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Colleges: Science; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Agricultural and Life Sciences; Engineering; Business
Lead PI: Holly Wichman
CRC researchers address the social, economic and environmental issues that affect community resilience in Idaho and the United States, such as integrated food, energy, and water trade-offs; maritime and arctic security; and the need for tools and approaches to observe changes in environments and their connected social systems.
Funding: NSF, Department of Homeland Security, NGA
Colleges: Art and Architecture; Agricultural and Life Sciences; Engineering; Natural Resources; Science
Lead PIs: Lilian Alessa and Andrew Kliskey
This lab will provide expertise on and access to genome editing techniques, which allow researchers to alter DNA to modify traits and understand plant and animal biology. Initial focus will be on wheat, barley, potatoes, tomatoes, litchi tomatoes, mosquitoes and wireworms, with future expansion likely.
Funding: Idaho Wheat Commission, IBEST, UI
Colleges: Agricultural and Life Sciences, Science
Lead PI: Daolin Fu
GLOBAL Project researchers use molecular genetics to understand the biology of Globodera pallida and to develop nematode-resistant potato varieties to reduce the threat of microscopic worms that damage potatoes.
Funding: USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Idaho Potato Commission, Idaho State Department of Agriculture
College: Agricultural and Life Sciences
Lead PI: Louise-Marie Dandurand
This group will create virtual and physical 3-D models of the system of fluid around the brain and spine, the cerebrospinal fluid system. These models will help researchers and clinicians better understand how cerebrospinal fluid dynamics could be used to diagnose and treat neurological disorders.
Funding: Vandal Ideas Project
Colleges: Engineering, Art and Architecture
Lead PI: Bryn Martin
Researchers will conduct anthropological, historical, and chemical analyses on materials recovered from several excavations in Idaho, such Fort Boise, Chinese mining camps and the James Castle house, as well as from future projects.
Funding: Idaho State Historical Society, John Calhoun Smith Fund, City of Boise, US Forest Service/Boise National Forest
Colleges: Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Science
Lead PI: Mark Warner
This collaborative brings together multiple teams that study how future climate-driven natural disasters, such as extreme drought, wildfires, and floods, will affect communities and landscapes. Sub-groups include IFIRE, the Idaho Fire Institute for Research Education.
Funding: NSF, USFS, USGS
Colleges: Natural Resources, Science, Art & Architecture, Agricultural & Life Sciences, Engineering
Lead PI: Crystal Kolden
Polymorphic Games brings together undergraduate and graduate students to create revolutionary new kinds of video games that incorporate principles of evolutionary science.
Funding: Vandal Ideas Project, NSF
Colleges: Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Science
Lead PIs: Barrie Robison and Terence Soule
Researchers in this project intend to explore the potential of using natural starch-based materials as carriers to deliver therapeutic genes to stem cells for medical treatments. They also will study a potent antioxidant that could be combined with starch to create a “functional food” with extra nutritional value.
Colleges: Engineering, Agricultural and Life Sciences
Lead PI: Ching-An Peng
The SCC provides UI faculty, staff and graduate students with assistance designing experiments and sample surveys, advice on statistical analyses, and expertise on recent developments in statistical research.
Lead PI: Michelle Wiest
The UI-FESS research team is designing and building flywheel energy storage systems to evaluate their associated science and technologies. FESSs enable the storage of energy from renewable, intermittent sources such as wind and solar and will aid NASA’s space travel and extraterrestrial colonization missions.
Colleges: Engineering, Science
Lead PIs: Christine Berven and Herb Hess
The VTL leads interdisciplinary communities of design experts, scientists, engineers, educators and artists with a focus on incorporating virtual technology in all aspects of education, research, modeling and simulation. The VTL specializes in innovative interdisciplinary research focusing on simulations for decision support.
Funding: NSF, NSF EPSCoR, NIATT, Idaho SBOE
Colleges: Art and Architecture
Lead PI: John Anderson
The Water Resources IGERT (Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship) program supports 24 doctoral students who are engaged in science related to adaptation to change in water resources in the headwaters of the Columbia River Basin of North America and in the BioBio basin of Chile.
Colleges: Agricultural and Life Sciences; Natural Resources; Law, Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Engineering; Science; Education
Lead PI: Tim Link
Co PIs: Barbara Cosens, Brian Kennedy, Manoj Shrestha
- Chemical Engineering of Advancing and Applied Materials (CEAAM). While the basic science and engineering protocols are being established in each respective department the CEEAM lab will be focused on developing deliverable applied materials for integrated problems. For example, the current effort is towards bacterial remediation through the development of stimuli-responsive pores on bacteria encapsulated alginate beads. The bacteria will degrade trichloroethylene (TCE, a known carcinogen and waste product) into more benign products. The polymer cores (both polymer brushes, polyoxometalates) will swell and shrink depending on the chemical environment (pH, temp., etc.) and only allow small doses of TCE into the bead as to not kill the bacteria. The Chemistry labs can facilitate the manipulations of the polymer coated alginate beads, the materials science labs continually develop the polyoxometalates and the chemical engineering labs can facilitate the conditions for optimal growth rates and TCE remediation yet the CEEAM lab will bring the groups together to accomplish the project of incorporating the bacteria into the beads, applying the coatings, manipulate the variables for optimal TCE degradation and to characterize the results.
- James Moberly, Kristopher Waynant, Mark Roll
- This center is under development currently by the co-directors. The CHHE will be a multidisciplinary and collaborative center for excellence with the objective of building a more sustainable human ecosystem through research, teaching and outreach.The CHHE will seek to accelerate practices and policies that transform the lives of people and animals in Idaho and around the world. The CHHE vision is to train the scientists of tomorrow; trainees will gain expertise in human, animal and plant health, and disease cycles relative to the environmental bases of human ecology and recognize that essential feedback cycles control ecosystem health. Trainees will develop communication skills to interface with clientele groups including at-risk populations, government agencies and foundations, agriculturalists, relevant industries, and scientific colleagues.
- Edwin Lewis and Shirley Luckhart
- Managing Idaho’s Landscapes for Ecosystem Services
- John Anderson
Collaborative Research: Causes and consequences of fire-regime variability in Rocky Mountain forests.
- This project is an interdisciplinary project (modern and paleo ecology, climate science, natural resource management, computer science, biology, earth system modeling) . Recent global Increases in fire activity highlight major uncertainties about how disturbances will interact with ongoing climate change. In the western U.S., shifting disturbance regimes are predicted to lead to long-lasting directional changes or shifts in biogeochemical states, influencing carbon and nitrogen balance over large spatial and temporal scales. A significant outcome from this work will be an assessment of local-to-regional C stocks in subalpine forests over the past 2500 years, and the development of millennial-length fire and climate records valuable for advancing Earth system models. Broader impacts include forest-climate-fire k-12 curriculum at MOSS and an embedded journalism student who will document and disseminate the research efforts (field, lab, written) to the public.
- Tara Hudiburg
Tree rings are a historical record that integrates the fields of climatology, geography, geology, fire, and the human dimension. Research into how trees and forests respond to dynamic events in these various field of studies allow us to project how forested ecosystems will adapt to future conditions. This knowledge will help guide the development of management strategies and policy that ensures healthy and productive forested ecosystems.
Colleges: Naturals Resources, Science and Agriculture
Lead PI: Mark Kimsey
- Mapping the Soil Resistome: Implications for Human Health and the Environment:
This project builds on the results of the 2nd project below and seeks to map the occurrence of antibiotic resistance in soils and determine potential hotspots of resistance (and their drivers), as well as, the proximity of these hotspots to areas of human health concern (e.g. hospitals, nursing homes, and schools). Additional work will employ a microcosm approach to examine the response of soil microbial communities to antibiotic additions.
- Interactions between antibiotic resistance in soil microbial communities and coupled elemental cycles:
This is a USDA funded project examining links between the maintenance of antibiotic resistance in soil microbial communities, change in the composition of those communities with an eye towards human heath, and the impact such changes have on the function of these communities.
Colleges/Collaborators: Soil & Water, CNR, IBEST, PNNL
Lead PI: Michael Strickland
Director: Daniel Robertson
Grand Challenge Scholars Faculty Council
- Hasan Jamil, Computer Science
- Mark Roll, Material Science and Chemical Engineering
- Erik Coats, Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Vishal Saxena, Electrical and Computer Engineering
- Nathan Schiele, Biological Engineering
- Behnaz Rezaie, Mechanical Engineering
- Joe Law, Associate Dean for Undergraduates, College of Engineering
- Larry Stauffer, Dean, College of Engineering
The University of Idaho Grand Challenge Scholars Program was launched in 2015 as a decade- long initiative through 2025. The goal of the program is to prepare undergraduate students with the unique combination of interdisciplinary skills, motivation, and leadership required to address the National Academy of Engineers Grand Challenges of the 21st century. The U of I program is part of an international initiative that brings together students from over a hundred campuses on every continent and the program is expanding every year.
The University of Idaho Grand Challenge Scholars Program has a defined set of requirements that describe skills, knowledge and competencies students should develop. However, it is up to the student to chart their own course on how to meet these requirements. This approach places students in the lead while providing guidance from faculty mentors and in some cases, advisors from corporate partners. Current students in the program come from the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, the College of Engineering and the College of Science.
Specialized Equipment and Core Facilities
The SCIOS DB-FIB is a novel tool that combines a powerful scanning electron microscope with a high-energy ion gun, allowing UI researchers and students to image and engineer breakthroughs in a universe of nano-materials. Example uses are repairing integrated circuits or exploring the inside of a bacterium.
Funding: Murdock Charitable Trust, Vandal Strategic Loan Fund
Colleges: Science, UI Electron Microscopy Center
Lead PI: Tom Williams
The IBEST Genomics Resources Core serves researchers at UI and beyond with top-of-the-line tools for genomic sequencing and analysis. GRC staff members assist researchers in designing experiments, writing grants, analyzing results and visualizing data.
Funding: National Institutes of Health
Lead PI: Samuel Hunter
This core lab provides access to a large selection of cutting-edge devices for a variety of molecular biology research with a particular focus on extracting and preparing nucleic acids quickly and inexpensively through automation. Usage is open campus wide after a brief and inexpensive training session.
Funding: National Institutes of Health
Lead PI: Samuel Hunter
The MC-TIMS — Multi-collection Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometer— can make precise measurements of isotopes in geologic and biological materials. It is one piece of a new regional interdisciplinary center, the Palouse Biogeosciences Collaborative, which would support a wide array of ecological, biogeochemical and geological studies at UI, Washington State University and Eastern Washington University.
Funding: National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program, NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), UI Office of Research and Economic Development
Colleges: Natural Resources, Science, WSU School of the Environment
Lead PI: Brian Kennedy
This facility will support projects that trace nutrients and water in field and laboratory settings. At larger scales, maps and visualization of soil nutrients and organic matter will be created from data supplied from the core facility in tandem with GIS and remote sensing techniques. Water stable isotopic and nutrient values will be analyzed from samples of groundwater, precipitation, soil water as well as streams and lakes throughout the region. At plot and smaller scales, microbial communities and their function will be characterized in collaboration with IBEST. Additional organismal research includes plant gas flux and preparation of plant and microbial products for compound specific stable isotope analysis. Research that requires a direct connection to the equipment will also be facilitated in the core facility, including microcosm studies and incubations.
Lead PI: Zachary Kayler