2016 Funded Proposals
ORED was able to fund eight proposals for FY2016.
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.
The goal of my project is to document the factors influencing how some Latina women from similar lower socio-economic backgrounds can pursue a college education, while others take employment in agricultural fields and yet, a different subset become imprisoned. To do so, I plan to conduct twelve personal interviews of U.S. Latinas: I will interview four college students, four prison inmates and four agricultural field workers. I am interested in studying these three paths, that while not the only alternatives available to these fastest growing minority, seem pervasive to this group. Moreover, I am keeping the initial number of interviews low so that I might be certain of completing this work in the year the Seed Grant allows. Documenting these responses is both important and urgent work as this information may spur dialogue on the issues affecting these women. The work I conduct should lead to academic, creative publications and additional funding and learning opportunities to continue this much needed research.
This study will investigate the mechanisms by which butyrate affects cell division in epithelial tissue. Unregulated cell division is a hallmark of cancer diseases, so the regulation of cell division remains an on-going interest. Previous research demonstrated butyrate, a natural fermentation product from fiber digestion in the rumen and colon, affects expression of many genes involved in cell division. Our understanding of the mechanistic workings of butyrate remains limited. Butyrate directly affects expression of HDAC, which affects expression of a large number of genes, and it is also also an energy substrate and an acid. Using young calf rumens as a model, this proposal will investigate how cell division is affected by acidity, energy availability and genome regulators. Expected outcomes of this project are a peer-reviewed publication, presentation at a major conference, and preliminary data for use in applying for an NSF grant. This experiment will leverage considerable startup funds used to purchase Ussing Chambers and peripheral equipment, and use the Ussing chambers to effectively isolate the rumen tissue and remove many confounding variables normally present in live animals.
Heavy metal contamination of the natural environment is a significant health risk to humans and wildlife, but our understanding of the formation of soluble heavy metals is limited. The weathering of metal-sulfide minerals brought to the surface because of mining can cause the formation of metal particles of various sizes that can be distributed in the natural environment through transport by water. The formation of the smallest particles — metal nanoparticles — are of great concern because of their ability to move with water through the spaces between sediments and their potential to be absorbed by living organisms. Unfortunately, evaluating the formation of metal nanoparticles in sediments is difficult because of our limited ability to extract the original nanoparticles from sediment porewater. Current methods of extraction can induce changes in pressure, gravity or chemistry, which can alter the nanoparticles. This alteration reduces our ability to interpret the formation of the nanoparticles and their characteristics that allow them to persist in the environment. The goal of this project is to evaluate a new extraction method for preserving metal nanoparticles with their removal from sediment porewater to assist with understanding metal transport in water and heavy metal contamination of the natural environment.
Errors in meiotic recombination are important contributors to aneuploidy, the leading genetic cause of pregnancy loss, birth defects and infertility in mammals. However, limited understanding of the mechanism(s) that govern recombination rates and locations exists. The goal of this study is to establish a technique that uses immunofluorescence to detect chromosomal recombination events in meiotic prophase spermatocytes of livestock species. This goal will both provide important new breed-specific information regarding recombination in livestock as well as contributing to information to enhance our holistic understanding of this process in mammals. My hypotheses are that “recombination rates differ by breed in livestock and males within breeds that exhibit reduced recombination levels are at risk for reduced reproductive success.” The development of this technique will distinguish my lab from all other labs at UI and will allow my research program to be on the forefront of meiotic recombination discovery. Hence the data generated using this novel and sensitive approach will most certainly provide the foundation of future state and federal grant opportunities, for which I will serve as the principal investigator.
Florentine composers of the baroque ushered in a new era of accompanied solo song that became extremely popular throughout Italy. Whereas the output of these Italian composers has been thoroughly examined, little attention has been given to equally able German contemporaries who composed this new style of solo song in the German language. One such composer, Johann Nauwach, published the first extant volume of German songs written in the new style. Currently, my research includes the creation of a scholarly performing edition of this volume, Teütscher Villanellen.
The Seed Grant will fund collaboration with leading lute specialist Lucas Harris on two performances of Nauwach’s Teütscher Villanellen: one performance of solo selections at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto, Ontario, and a second complete performance of the entire Teütscher Villanellen on the University of Idaho campus. The grant includes funding for my own performance preparation, funding for Mr. Harris’ visit to the UI campus where he will collaborate and give master-classes, and funding for audio and video documentation of the event. These performances will be submitted to leading early music conferences and festivals for consideration, and expand my profile as an early music vocal artist.
Over the last decades, new forms of organized political violence have emerged as non-state Violent Extremist Organizations (VEOs) are now the predominant type of political actor in many regions around the world. The nature of VEO-driven conflicts is characterized by VEO partnerships with other VEOs and by a high level of transnational activity which pose challenges to the quantitative modeling of conflict in social science. This proposal requests funding support develop a new dataset that models both social network and spatial aspects of the war to better understand the dynamics of VEO-driven conflicts. Building on the PI’s work to develop an integrative analytic framework, this project can form the basis for a substantial future line of research that promises to yield better understandings of the processes that underpin contemporary conflicts. This proposal would fund creation of a new set of pilot data for manuscript and grant preparation, and partially support the recruitment, training, and mentoring of a graduate student. Both are critically important steps to developing a sustainable funding program around current needs and opportunities in quantitative social science.
Risk analysis research points to news media as an important mediator that filters signals about risk events, intensifying (or attenuating) public risk perceptions. From this research we know that news coverage of scientific studies that provide strong evidence about technological and health risks tends to amplify public risk perceptions. We also know that subsequent news coverage that criticizes those same studies as deeply flawed and/or publicizes that they have been retracted, tends to attenuate those risk perceptions. Beyond this, we simply lack much scholarship to understand the broader societal impacts of news coverage of article retractions. For instance, does retraction news coverage reduce public trust in science? Or, once established, does public trust stay elevated?
The Seed Grant will allow me to explore these questions related to ‘social trust’ by conducting two survey-based experiments. I will examine the effects of two recent and highly publicized retractions; (1) Séralini et al. (2012) study, which claimed that rats fed GM-corn, developed tumors, and (2) Obokata et al. (2014) study, which claimed to provide an easy method to generate multipurpose stem cells. Identifying social factors that affect public trust is critical at a time when scholars are increasingly pointing towards a legitimacy crisis in science.
The Gay Rodeo Oral History Project is dedicated to collecting and preserving the personal stories of the men and women involved with the International Gay Rodeo Association. Gay rodeo started forty years ago in 1976, sparking decades-long debates about masculinity, sexuality and the cowboy. Today, active members who can recall the early days of gay rodeo are passing away or becoming less active in the association. The experiences of these western gay women and men are at risk of being forgotten. I will be working directly with the rodeo association’s archives committee to conduct, transcribe and archive their oral histories. This project is an integral part of my larger research agenda and will contribute significantly to my current book project, which focuses on marginalized communities’ use of rodeo as a space to construct and contest notions of manhood, nation and authenticity. Also, by digitizing and incorporating the collection into western gay and lesbian archives, this project will allow me to develop important professional skills in the areas of public and digital history. In these ways, the Gay Rodeo Oral History Project ultimately seeks to work with a community to save a vital piece western history.
Information Literacy is a lifelong learning competency desired by employers and embedded in the University of Idaho learning outcomes. This seed grant will support the exploration of two resources to support information literacy development at the University of Idaho. The first is the adoption of an online tool called the Research Companion to support classroom learning about information competencies. The second resource will be the development of a community-oriented information literacy curriculum and technology kit to assist in transferring these skills beyond the classroom. The use of these resources will be assessed for their student learning impact using pre/post testing and the development of a research agenda by the primary investigator.
The purpose of this research project is explore more deeply information literacy education efforts at the University of Idaho. This project will result in the development of new pedagogies both online and in the classroom, as well as a community-based curriculum that can assist other educators in the transfer of learning outcomes into real-world concepts. Further, this project will create a series of quantitative and qualitative datasets from which the primary researcher can build research-oriented expertise and scholarship in information literacy theories and pedagogy.
Idaho is the third largest cheese producing state in the U.S., and increasing share of Idaho cheese production is exported. Cheese trade is often subject to high tariffs. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) is a trade agreement between U.S. and European Union (EU) first proposed in 2013, and expected to be finalized in 2016. T-Tip objectives are to remove trade barriers and promote trade, and it would affect global cheese trade through reduction or elimination of the tariff rates, but also through the introduction of more stringent Geographic Indicator (GI) certifications. GI restrictions would prohibit U.S. cheese manufacturers from using some common food names such as feta, parmesan, Gauda, etc., as those cheese names would be restricted to products manufactured in the regions where those cheeses were first produced. If implemented, these policy changes would affect not just U.S.-EU bilateral cheese trade, but also trade with third countries as well. In this study I will examine the impact of T-TIP agreement on U.S.-EU bilateral cheese trade flows, as well as trade flows with third regions such as U.S.-East Asia. Particular emphasis will be given on analysis that will deliver actionable insights relevant to cheese producers in Pacific Northwest.
Sugar-connected compounds (termed glycosides) are found in a variety of organisms with many classified as biologically active. The sugar subunits are often deemed unnecessary and removed from the “active” ingredient. Sugar removal alters the polarity, chemical solubility and biological adsorption characteristics of these molecules and without proper bioavailability can take many fruitful drug candidates out of the screening process. Glycoside linkages and patterning have proven important in molecular recognition pathways (key for determining blood type). We hypothesize that glycoside recognition combined with an active drug ingredient could lead to a more controlled drug-delivery. This proposal describes our aim to synthesize a series of new glycosides, modeled from nature, yet with non-cleavable carbon-carbon bond linkages (C- linkage) allowing for the sugar to stay attached. Salicin, a common anti-inflammatory natural product and salidroside, a common anti-depressive natural product, will be our first targets as potential pharmaceuticals. Synthetically, we will employ known methods taken from our current C-linked pesticide projects to build the various structures. Expanding our C-linked glycoside research niche into pharmaceutical mimics of natural products will lead to the design of a new class of drug; one that goes in fast, works, and leaves.
Volatile chemicals plants produce can provide a wealth of information about plant health and interaction with other plants and predators on an individual scale. Plant volatile focus is typically on a few compounds, however the synergistic effects of these chemicals appears to be much more powerful that just one or two molecular structures. Remotely sensed chlorophyll fluorescence is able to measure plant stress expressed through changes in the reflectance of narrow wavelengths of color and on a global scale. Establishing a link between these two methods would help to develop more rapid assessment tools of plant volatiles in the field. The proposed research is to simultaneously measure chlorophyll fluorescence and volatile chemical signatures produced by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) trees in the McCall, Long Valley area of Idaho. Ecological factors to be comparatively studied include healthy trees, trees stressed by drought and mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosa) and the seasonal physiological fluxes from early spring into summer. Correlations from analysis of volatile chemical and remotely sensed data will be used to enhance real time assessment of important ecological protection mechanisms that may lead to advanced plant management tools.
Synthetic fuels are based on syngas, a mixture of CO and H2, which can be obtained from natural gas or gasification of coal and biomass. Synthetic fuels are a great drop-in fuel alternative to fossil fuels as they can help meet global energy needs, ensure energy security and reduce the carbon footprint. Mobil pioneered a revolutionary route for synthetic fuel synthesis with two stages: (1) synthesize methanol from syngas and (2) transform methanol to gasoline. However, it proved uneconomical because of high energy input and low conversion. The key to solving this problem is finding novel catalysts with high stability and activity for efficient integration of these two steps.
In this project, a new synthesis technique to stabilize the metal particles by coating a layer of Al2O3 or ZnO on the top, overcoating, will be applied to the traditional Mobil catalyst, CuZn/Al2O3 and the novel catalyst Pd/ Al2O3. These catalysts will then be characterized and evaluated to compare activity and stability. This work will provide a fundamental understanding of the reaction mechanisms, enabling further exploration of synthetic fuel catalysts. One publication in the Journal of Catalysis and preliminary data for an NSF CAREER award application are expected from this work.