Cross-college research grants back for sixth year at MSU

Contact: Jim Laird

STARKVILLE, Miss.--The Office of Research and Economic Development and the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State again are investing in innovative mini-grants for faculty at the land-grant institution.

In its sixth year, the cross-college grant program brings together researchers from around campus and across academic disciplines to foster collaboration, according to the university administrator overseeing the initiative.

“We are very pleased with the number and quality of applications we received this year, and anticipate another successful round of proposal submissions,” said MSU Assistant Vice President for Research Teresa Gammill.

A $2,000 grant to each of the 26 recipients will support the initiation of proposals, as well as help enhance multi-disciplinary collaboration of existing projects, she explained.

David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development, said helping to provide faculty members with “the tools they need to work together is a priority.”

The interdisciplinary teams are expected to meet on a regular basis, share research ideas, and prepare one or more proposals for a funding agency within the first 12 months of receiving the grant.

Participating cross-college research teams, listed alphabetically by principal investigator, are:

--Stamatis Agiovlasitis, kinesiology, “Physical Activity and Health in Persons with Down Syndrome.”           

--Harish Chander, kinesiology, “Slip Initiation in Military Footwear.”

--Lei Chen, mechanical engineering, “High Energy Density Batteries.”

--Linda Coats, leadership and foundations, “The Intersection of Mentoring and Socialization: Increasing Faculty of Color Presence in Academia.”

--Steven Elder, agricultural and biological engineering, “Development of an Osteochondral Xenograft for Articular Cartilage Repair.”

--Yuhua Farnell, biochemistry, molecular biology, entomology and plant pathology, “Identification of Exosomal Biomarkers for Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes.”

--Michael Galaty, anthropology and Middle Eastern cultures, “Archaeological Tourism and Sustainable Farming in Albania.”

--Jennifer Gambino, clinical science, “Computerized Tomography of Vertebrate Animals for Online Education.”

--Leslie Hossfeld, sociology, “Mississippi Food Insecurity Project.”

--Richard Ingram, Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute, “Facilitating, Developing and Implementing a Watershed-based Plan for the Sand Creek and Catalpa Creek Watersheds and Establishing a Watershed D.R.E.A.M.S. Center-Year 2” and “Facilitation and Coordination of MSU’s Coastal Assets to Develop an Advanced Research and Watershed-based Activities for RESTORE and Other Opportunities-Year 2.”

--Mohammad Marufuzzaman, industrial and systems engineering, “Disaster Preparedness and Management for Extreme Natural Events.”

--Emily McGlohn, architecture, “Sharing Experience: Heritage, Home and History.”

--Deb Mlsna, chemistry, “Critical Thinking for STEM Students Using Writing Analysis.”

--Amy Moe Hoffman, geosciences, “Fostering MSU’s Museums and Collections Legacy: Preserving the Future.”

--Jean Mohamadi-Aragh, dean of engineering, “Engineering Education Working Group.”

--Robert Moorhead, Geosystems Research Institute, “Applied Unmanned Aerial Systems Research Working Group.”

--Brittney Oliver, food science, nutrition and health promotion, “Community-based Approach to Increasing Community and Parental Involvement for Youth Adoption of Healthy Lifestyles.”

--Courtney Siegert, Forest and Wildlife Research Center-Forestry, “Towards a Better Understanding of Decomposition Processes in Southern Forests as in Influenced by Complex Interactions between Environmental and Biological Factors.”

--Nima Shamsaei, mechanical engineering, “Design and Application of Customized Biomedical Materials.”

--Brian Shoup, political science and public administration, “Africa Research Interest Group,” (Funding provided by the MSU International Institute.)

--LaShan Simpson, agricultural and biological engineering, “Type 2 Diabetes-Mediated Vascular Calcifications.”

--Colleen Sinclair, psychology, “Understanding Advice: Examining How Social Networks Maintain and Threaten Romantic Relationship Stability.”

--Elizabeth Tofte, landscape architecture, “Research on Food Safe Wood Treatment for Home Vegetable Garden Raised Beds.”

--Te-Ming Paul Tseng, plant and soil sciences, “Characterization of Anti-Herbivore Properties in Weeds and Its Potential Use in Crop Defense.”

--Hui Wan, Forest and Wildlife Research Center-Forest Products, “Developing Methods to use Rice Straw and Hull for Functional Building Material Applications and Studying the Rice Genes Regulating the Material Properties.”

“We are convinced that the cross-college grant program is one of the factors contributing to the productive collaborations we have at Mississippi State,” Shaw said, noting that seven of MSU’s colleges are represented among grant recipients.

Shaw’s counterpart in DAFVM echoed that assessment.

“We believe that investing in the cross-college grant program is another way to move research forward at MSU,” said Greg Bohach, the university’s vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine.

Of note, research and development expenditures in Fiscal Year 2014 ranked Mississippi State at No. 8 in the nation in agricultural sciences among public and private institutions, according to the National Science Foundation. MSU has ranked among the Top 10 in this category for 17 consecutive years, spending $99 million in agriculture-related research in FY14.

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