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Recent grant awards to NIU faculty

September 9, 2010

"Grant Getters"The following is a list of  recent grants to NIU faculty researchers, including John Lewis,  Promod Vohra, Gaylen Kapperman, Clyde Kimball, Mansour Tahernezhadi, Dhiman Chakraborty, Federico Sciammarella, Lesley Rigg and Nicholas Pohlman.

Posted Sept. 9, 2010

Associate Vice President for University Outreach John Lewis has received $9.4 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to support multiple research projects related to cancer treatment using proton beam therapy. The grant will support the development of a Proton Computed Tomography (pCT) detector system for installation at the Northern Illinois Proton Treatment and Research Center (NIPTRC) and will also study the effects of proton and photon therapies for increasing cancer survivorship.

Dean Promod Vohra of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology has received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct research in the composition and development of small scale bio-fuel production facilities to satisfy the needs of individuals’ who live in rural communities or areas not located near agricultural facilities. The project will also focus on how bio-fuels interact with engine materials and power production. Lessons learned from this research will be used to develop new educational programs in energy development and conservation.

Professor Gaylen Kapperman of the Department of Teaching and Learning has received $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to train graduate students to provide rehabilitation services for blinded veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Distinguished Research Professor Clyde Kimball of the Institute for Nanoscience, Engineering and Technology and the Department of Physics has received $486,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to establish a high-speed/large memory desktop supercomputing cluster for simulation and modeling of dynamic processes important for energy and industrial applications. 

Associate Dean Mansour Tahernezhadi of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology has received $250,000 from the Illinois State Board of Education as part of its Illinois Math and Science Partnerships program, to support a master’s degree program in engineering and technology targeted toward certified teachers in middle and secondary schools in Rockford and Aurora.

Professor Dhiman Chakraborty of the Department of Physics has received a subcontract for $122,760 from California State University, Fresno, as part of a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant. The project, which was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, supports the purchase and installation of instrumentation at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). The instrumentation, part of the ATLAS particle physics project, will be used to collect data resulting from head-on collisions of protons at extremely high energies in the search for new discoveries about the basic forces that shape the universe.

Assistant  Professor Federico Sciammarella of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has received $16,104 from the National Science Foundation to support a workshop on research and education in advanced manufacturing between NIU and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in the Republic of South Africa.

Associate Professor Lesley Rigg of the Department of Geography has received a $15,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to promote the participation of early-career faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students in the Biogeography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers at the Fifth International Biogeography Society conference in Crete, Greece, next January.

Assistant Professor Nicholas Pohlman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has received $14,300 from the Illinois Department of Agriculture to support research on the transport and processing of granular materials used as fuel in the generation of energy from biomass to make them more efficient to transport without the need for additional processing.

Posted Aug. 20, 2010

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Christopher McCord, Women’s Studies Director Amy Levin, Associate Professor Brianno Coller in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Professor Lesley Rigg in the Department of Geography will receive $161,284 from the National Science Foundation, effective Sept. 1, to fund planning efforts for the submission of a full proposal to NSF’s ADVANCE program. The program focuses on increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.

Assistant Professor Minmei Hou in the Department of Computer Science has received a three-year, $316,455 Academic Research Enhancement Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute.The project’s goal is to improve computer methodology for detecting small realignments or rearrangements in genetic sequences.

“Current DNA sequencing methods rapidly produce data with high precision, but current computer software that pieces those large volumes of data together into genomic sequences often misses such fine-scale detail,” Biological Sciences Chair Barrie Bode said. “This research project is significant in that it will provide improved fidelity in reading and interpreting entire genomes and facilitate more useful comparisons, both between species and within single species.”

Associate Professor Philippe Piot in the Department of Physics has received $590,910 from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The grant funds work on techniques in particle acceleration that could pave the way toward a table-top accelerator-based light source that could be used for remote detection of fissionable materials.

Assistant Professor James Horn in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has received $69,354 (the first installment of a four-year, $293,881 award) from the American Heart Association. The grant will support a study of the physical and chemical mechanisms by which antibodies recognize and bind to small target molecules, and also of ways to develop new antibody fragments that can be used to target specific molecules or structures for pharmaceutical or biological research.

Assistant Professor Dmitry Kadnikov in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has received $71,500 (the first installment of a three-year, $214,500 award) from the Greater Midwest Affiliate of the American Heart Association. The grant supports efforts to develop selective modulators that would activate only genes involved in transport of cholesterol out of liver cells, but not genes involved in the synthesis of fatty acids.

Distinguished Research Professor Peter Meserve in the Department of Biological Sciences has received $22,607 (the first installment of a four-year, $42,317 award) from the National Science Foundation. The grant will help him continue a 20-year study of interactions between plant and animal communities in a semi-arid region of Chile. The project, carried out in collaboration with Chilean researchers, also looks at the effects of climate change on the region and is expected to provide a baseline for comparison with other similar regions around the world.

Assistant Professor Christina Papadimitriou in the School of Nursing and Health Studies has received $65,000 from the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research at the U.S. Department of Education for research on the improvement of client-centered care for individuals with spinal cord injuries in inpatient rehabilitation centers.

Associate Professor John Bentley in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures received $6,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend program to use philological, linguistic and literary data from ancient Korean and Japanese texts to create a convenient dictionary of ancient Japanese for students and scholars of Asia. The Japanese language is a linguistic museum, preserving as it does Chinese linguistic data that has disappeared from other countries. Scholars and students who study Asia will now have access to a compact resource for historical linguistics.

Professor John Schaeffer in the Department of English received $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to write a book on Giambattista Vico, which resolves the debate over natural law without provoking other debates over reason, religion, public good or individual rights.

Assistant Professor Ismael Montana in the Department of History received $11,000 from the British Library to rescue endangered archival materials and historical manuscripts threatened by overuse and the hazards of the tropical weather in northern Ghana. The materials will be digitized and made available to scholars and library patrons in Ghana, Britain and here at NIU.  NIU and the British Library will be co-repositors of this digitized material.