Faculty and Staff Grants from August 2020
Congratulations to the following faculty and staff members who received grants and awards in August 2020.
Gary Bishop, senior research engineer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Grant from the Utah Division of Air Quality for "Winter Measurements of Heavy-duty Vehicles to Characterize the Cold Temperature Effectiveness of Selective Catalytic Reductions Catalyst in Controlling Oxide of Nitrogen Emissions"
- Project abstract: The Salt Lake City region in Utah experiences periods of high particulate levels in the winter months due to the combination of its topography, winter atmospheric inversions and local emissions. Because of the importance of winter-time NOx emission factors from heavy-duty vehicles to the Salt Lake City NOx inventory, we are proposing to conduct a wintertime measurement campaign to measure them. Using the University of Denver's remote vehicle exhaust sensor, we propose to measure heavy-duty vehicle emission factors for carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and ammonia from in-use vehicles in the Salt Lake City area.
- Grant for "Silver Bills Client Survey"
- Grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services for "2Gen Child Support Services Implementation Guides, Case Management Procedures, and Fidelity Rubric"
- Project abstract: The goal of this scope of work is to apply lessons learned from the 2Gen Child Support Services Randomized Controlled Trial and Implementation study to create implementation guides tailored to county size and refine the case management procedures and update the fidelity rubric
- Grant from the Administration for Children and Families for "Characteristics of Former Foster Youth Receiving Homeless Services"
- Project abstract: The goal of this project is to inform prevention services for youth at risk for experiencing homelessness after aging out of foster care. Cluster analysis will be used to describe combinations of characteristics of former foster youth who access homelessness services in metro Denver as young adults.
- Grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services for "Child Support Churn Study"
- Project abstract: Income withholding is a primary way that child support is collected. For this strategy to be effective, noncustodial parents need to be employed and their employer must be verified. In this two-part study, a selected vendor will work with Child Support Services to assess the quality of routinely collected employment data (The Churn Study) and to test a behaviorally informed intervention aimed at getting and keeping employment information up to date.
Christopher Coleman, professor of emergent digital practices at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
- Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the artist communities making open source tools
- Project abstract: This grant will support a five-day event in Denver, Colorado, and train a diverse national group of 30 open source arts contributors. They will learn to lead their communities in being inclusive, accessible, empowering and sustainable.
Anne DePrince, professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Cara DiEnno, associate director of the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning
- Grant from the City and County of Denver for "Office of Community and Business Engagement Community-centered Evaluation of Projects"
- Project abstract: The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure's (DOTI) Office of Community and Business Engagement (OCBE) is working with the University of Denver to develop an assessment strategy and framework for evaluating DOTI community-based projects. The DU team will work with OCBE to develop a series of questions that help OCBE evaluate the outcomes of projects as assessed by residents, including the process of the project, the perceived success of the project, and the usefulness of the project in advancing community benefits.
- Grant from the University of North Texas, subaward from the Department of Education for "Measuring Original Thinking in Elementary School: A Computational Psychometric Approach"
- Project abstract: Creative and innovative thinking are desirable educational outcomes. However, the degree to which this skill is supported and enhanced in schools is highly questionable. The present proposal aims to develop a new instrument and a computer application that measures original thinking among elementary students (grades 3–6) through automated scoring.
Rachel Epstein, professor and associate dean of faculty and research; Jill Schmieder Hereau, executive director of the Sié Chéou-Kang Center; and Timothy Sisk, professor, at the Josef Korbel School for International Studies
- Grant from the DT Institute for "Critical Issues in Peace, Development and Democratization"
- Project abstract: In the fall of 2020, the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver will launch its new Institute for Comparative and Regional Studies, which draws together scholars exploring pressing issues in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Europe. In bringing area studies together under an umbrella organization, we aim to activate new research synergies among faculty, elevate the quality and profile of area studies programming, expand programmatic reach and impact, and connect our research and experiential learning for students seeking careers and lives of purpose.
Kingshuk Ghosh, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Grant from the National Institutes of Health for "Modeling Conformational Ensembles of the Disordered Proteins"
- Project abstract: Intrinsically disordered proteins and disordered regions (collectively termed IDPs) perform vital biological functions in transcriptional regulation, cell differentiation, and DNA condensation. We propose to build a novel computational framework based on physio-chemical principles to describe the ensemble of disordered conformations for IDPs with arbitrary sequence. The proposed theoretical approach will (1) provide guidance to determine how IDP conformations differ in vitro and in vivo, (2) harness limited data (smFRET between specific probes) to make predictions for distances between arbitrary residue pairs, and (3) build a rigorous framework for comparing residue-pair specific interaction parameteres between different force fields and experiments, and suggest improvements if needed.
Kristine Huskey, visiting professor, and Ann Vessels, adjunct professor, at the Sturm College of Law
- Grant from the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust for "The Veterans Advocacy Project"
- Project abstract: While veterans of all eras face legal challenges, recent veterans are greatly in need of legal services due to the severe impact of armed conflict that has lasted almost a generation. Colorado has several military bases, including Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado Springs. Fort Carson is also known for having discharged large numbers of service members with less than honorable discharges, precluding access to benefits and setting up other barriers. Yet, there are few pro bono legal resources in Colorado to assist a growing population in need of legal services.
Andrei Kutateladze, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Grant from the National Institutes of Health for "Extended Aromatic Polyheterocycles via Scaffold-guided Photo Induced Cascades"
- Project abstract: The rate of FDA approvals of new molecular entities, excluding the biologics, has been anemic for a long time, oscillating between 10 and 30 annually. Such a small yield was explained, in part, by the lack of truly new and complex structures in the pipeline. This makes new methods development critically important for synthetic chemistry. Given the recent rise of synthetic photochemistry, which is becoming a broadly accepted tool in the toolbox of organic and medicinal chemistry, our overall goal is to discover new photo induced reactions and develop them into robust and powerful synthetic methodologies.
Shana McClain, doctoral student at the Graduate School of Social Work
- Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for "Health Policy Research Scholars"
- Project abstract: Health Policy Research Scholars is a leadership opportunity for second- or third-year full-time doctoral students from populations underrepresented in specific doctoral disciplines and/or marginalized backgrounds. Examples of eligible individuals include, but are not limited to, first-generation college graduates, individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, individuals from communities of color, and individuals with disabilities. They want to apply their research to advance health and equity, and their innovation helps build a "culture of health"—one that enables everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.
- Grant for "Exploring the Impacts of Animal-Assisted Interventions at Green Chimneys on Positive Youth Development for Clinical Populations"
Jonathan Moyer, assistant professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures
- Grant for "Sub-Regional Study on the Socio-economic Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak in Africa"
Moyer and Colin Meisel, research associate in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies
- Grant from Encompass LLC, subaward from the U.S. Agency for International Development, for "Ukraine Strategic Analysis and Indicators and Warnings Framework"
- Project abstract: In the first year, the Pardee team will identify monitoring variables (i.e. International Futures variables most closely related to the CDCS DOs, such as measures of corruption) and indicator variables (i.e. those that play important roles in monitoring variable dynamics, such as energy dependence) that we will track. From here, the Pardee team will create parallels of the USAID/UA scenarios within International Futures (IFs) and an associated expectations framework, which will describe a world where all of Ukraine's DOs have been met. In follow-on years, Pardee anticipates providing an annual update of an indicators and warnings (I&Ws) document and IFs model results, which will be revisited in the event of any modifications to the relevant CDCS scenarios.
Shannon Murphy, associate professor, and Dhaval Vyas, postdoctoral fellow, in the Department of Biological Sciences at the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Grant from the National Science Foundation for "Collaborative Research: What Makes a Generalist Herbivore? The Interplay Between Top-down and Bottom-up Forces on Herbivore Diet Breadth"
- Project abstract: Diet breadth of insect herbivores has been studied for decades, yet we still do not know why there are so many specialists (90% of all insect herbivores) and so few generalists. Historically, bottom-up selective pressures were thought to be more important than top-down pressures and that dietary specialists would be more fit than generalists because specialists would adapt to their specific host plant(s) whereas generalists would not be adapted to any one of the wide range of host plants they use. However, in our recent meta-analysis, we found that top-down selective pressures have a stronger effect than bottom-up pressures on insect herbivore fitness. Ultimtely, we aim to test how generalism is maintained and whether populations oscillate between generalism and specialism using a blend of factorial field experiments, lab common-garden experiments, and genetic analyses.
Scott Nichols, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the College of National Sciences and Mathematics
- Grant from the National Science Foundation for "Towards an Integrative Model of Cell Adhesion and Self-recognition in Sponge (Porifera) Tissues"
- Project abstract: The goal of this proposal is to determine how cell adhesion and self-recognition mechanisms are integrated in tissues of sponges (Porifera). The proposed research will use (1) proteomic methods to comprehensively determine AF composition in diverse sponge lineages, (2) immunostaining to determine the relative distribution of the AF and cell junctions in tissues, (3) coimmunoprecipitation and pull-downs to test for endogeous interactions between the AF with cell junctions, and (4) small molecules and peptitdes to perturb integrin signaling in AF-mediated processes of cell aggregation and self-recognition.
- Grant for "Bridge Project MHUW"
- Grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services for "TGYS Evaluation"
- Project abstract: Butler will be the independent evaluator for the Tony Grampsas Youth Services (TGYS) program. TGYS was established in 1994 to provide state funding for effective, community-based programs that provide prevention and intervention services for youth crime and violence, child abuse and neglect, high school dropout, and youth marijuana use. Butler, in coordination with TGYS program staff will administer: (a) a cross-site outcome evaluation that measures a set of common outcomes that are core to TGYS' mission and legislative mandate, and (b) a cross-site implementation evaluation that measures the extent to which TGYS grantee programs are using best practice to implement programming with quality and fidelity for each TGYS grantee in the SFY21-23 grant cycle.
Andrea Stanton, associate professor and department chair in the Department of Religious Studies at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Nader Hashemi, associate professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and director of the Center for Middle East Studies
- Grant from the Department of Education for "Expanding Core Strengths in Middle East Studies"
- Project abstract: This project will support undergraduate interest in learning about the history, religion, culture, politics and languages of the Middle East. The University of Denver is applying for UISFL federal funding to support its new, interdisciplinary Middle East Studies minor. It will be jointly directed by Stanton and Hashemi.
Annette Stott, professor in the School of Art and Art History at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Mark George, director of the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology Joint PhD in the Study of Religion
- Grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning for "A Part Yet Apart: Teaching and Learning About Race/Ethnicity With International Students in a U.S. Doctoral Program"
- Project abstract: This project seeks to: (1) promote, as an ultimate goal, the raising of not only race/ethnicity but also interlocking consciousness for all students in JDP; (2) learn from and teach international students of color how they may become familiar with, comfortable with, and contribute to reflections and conversations about race/ethnicity in their studies and the community life of the JDP; (3) help build a supportive network among international students; (4) facilitate cross-cultural conversations about race/ethnicity between international students of color and U.S. students of color; (5) produce a brief document of best practices for JDP and its faculty members to better integrate international students in general and in discussions of race/ethnicity in particular.
Robin Tinghitella, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
- Grant from the Morris Animal Foundation
Sarah Enos Watamura, co-director of the Stress Early Experience & Development Research Center, associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
- Grant from the Colorado Department of Human Services, subaward from the Administration for Children and Families, for "Early Childhood Health BRANCHES Curriculum"
- Project abstract: Watamura is the developer of the Branches-D, Branches-T, Roots, and Seedlings curricula, which take different but complementary approaches to creating an ECE culture that is sensitive to the possibility of trauma exposure and capacity building around prevention and healing. In this project period, we will offer Branches-D to a cohort of ECE Center Directors identified in collaboration with the Office of Early Childhood. In addition, we will offer a Roots workshop for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants and related professionals as identified by the Office of Early Childhood to expand beyond the three workshops offered in PDG year 1, and we will develop Branches-T.