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ASPIRES supports 17 projects to enhance university research, scholarship


BLACKSBURG, Va., April 12, 2005 – The Office of the Vice President for Research announces that 13 research proposals and four capital renovation projects have received ASPIRES awards to help launch faculty members' research enterprises.

Proposals were invited from all disciplines. "The result is an interesting distribution of projects across disciplines," said Bob Porter, research program development manager.

ASPIRES (A Support Program for Innovative Research Strategies) is made possible by funds from the Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), and the university's Central Capital Account. OVPR received additional funds for the research awards, Porter said. "Competition for limited ASPIRES dollars this year was especially intense, so special congratulations go out to the successful PI's"

The selections of three ASPIRES panels, representing physical sciences and engineering; life sciences; and social sciences, humanities, and fine arts, follow:

Research proposals (70 submitted, 13 funded; success ratio 18.5 percent)

==> Megan Dolbin-MacNab, Department of Human Development, "Affective Processes and Grandparent Factors as Predictors of Well-Being for Adolescents Raised by Grandparents."

==> Lisa Driscoll, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, "Testing the Effectiveness of School-Based Preventative Health Interventions: Developing a Mixed Methods Design for Data Collection, Management, and Analysis."

==> Scott Huxtable, Department of Mechanical Engineering, "Thermal Transport in DNA and other Nanostructures."

==> Rahul Kulkarni, Department of Physics, "Integrated analysis of quorum sensing and related regulatory networks in bacteria."

==> Linsey Marr, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, "A Nanoparticle Laboratory for Environmental and Public Health Research."

==> Alexey Onufriev, Department of Computer Science, "Insights into the primary level of DNA packing from novel computational methods."

==> Gary Pickrell, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, "Random Hole Optical Fiber Applications Development."

==> Corina Sandu, Corina; Department of Mechanical Engineering, "Experimental Analysis of Terramechanics Systems."

==> Gary Skaggs and Serge Hein; Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies: "A Comparison of Item Response Theory Models for Setting Standards on a Passage-based Educational Test."

==> Cynthia Smith, Department of Human Development, "Examining the 'Terrible Twos' in Children: The Role of Parenting, Parent Characteristics, and Children's Regulation."

==> Boris Vinatzer and Joao Setubal, Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science and Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, "Genomic Analysis of Plant Pathogens in the Southern USA to Study Bacterial Evolution and Improve Agricultural Biosecurity."

==> Pavlos Vlachos, Department of Mechanical Engineering, "Spatiotemporal dynamic micro fluidic measurements."

==> Tess Wynn, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, "Estimating the Contribution of Stream Bank Erosion to Sediment Loads using an Optical Backscatter Sensor."

Capital renovation proposals (13 submitted, 4 funded; success ratio 30.8 percent)

==> John Burton, Department of Teaching and Learning, "STEM Research Laboratory."

==> Dennis Dean, Fralin Biotechnology Center, "Renovation of Fralin Plant BSL3 Space to Support Cluster Hires of New Faculty in Vector-Borne Infectious Disease Research."

==> Eric Standley, Department of Art and Art History, "Art Armory Modular Mezzanine."

==> Peter Vikesland, Nancy Love, and William Knocke, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, "Construction of the Environmental BioNanoTechnology Laboratory."