Ten research projects involving more than 30 University of Arkansas faculty have been awarded grants from the Chancellor’s Discovery, Creativity, Innovation and Collaboration Fund.
The Chancellor’s Fund was established in 2016 to promote faculty research that addresses several of the U of A’s guiding priorities: to enhance the university’s research and discovery mission; build a collaborative and innovative campus; promote innovation in teaching and learning; and strengthen graduate education. The university is investing up to $1 million a year in the research grants, the bulk of that money coming from SEC Network and television revenues allocated by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Ninety-three proposals were submitted and reviewed by a panel that was chaired by Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Jim Coleman and consisted of 22 faculty and administrators.
The selected projects cover a broad range of research. Some projects focus on solving health problems such as breast cancer and wound healing, while others explore new technologies to increase sustainability in the fields of agriculture and architecture. Some projects focus on communities in Arkansas, while others take a global view.
“Our researchers share a determination to build a better world,” said Coleman. “We had an impressive set of proposals to choose from. These projects demonstrate the talent, dedication and collaborative spirit of our researchers.”
The winning teams include faculty from 24 different departments in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Education and Health Professions, the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design and the School of Law. Researchers from the Arkansas Archeological Survey, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the Pryor Center and the University Libraries are also collaborating on three of the projects.
Below are the research teams that are receiving Chancellor’s Fund grants, listed in alphabetical order by primary investigator.
Hugh Churchill, assistant professor of physics. The research team includes Magda El-Shenawee, professor of electrical engineering and Miaoqing Huang, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering.
This project will investigate black phosphorus as an efficient and broadband terahertz source, which could have disruptive potential in many applications, including medical imaging, security, navigation, analysis of artwork and agricultural diagnostics.
Martin Egan, assistant professor of plant pathology. The research team includes Yong Wang, assistant professor of physics.
This project focuses on identifying new classes of fungicides to combat rice blast disease. This disease destroys up to 30 percent of the world’s annual rice harvest and poses a major threat to global food security.
Fiona Goggin, professor of entomology. The research team includes Gisela Erf, immunologist, poultry science; John Gauch, professor of computer science and computer engineering and Matt McIntosh, department chair of organic chemistry.
Nearly every major world crop is attacked by at least one species of aphid. This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers to study the role of chloroplasts in plant defenses against aphids.
Laurence Hare, associate professor of history. The research team includes Lori Birrell, head of special collections; Randall Dixon, director of the Pryor Center; Larry Foley, departmental chairperson of journalism; Jared Phillips, instructor, international studies and Alessandro Brogi, professor of history.
This project is a collaborative investigation of the history, impact, and potential future of the Fulbright Exchange Program. Currently, little comprehensive research is available on the broader impact of international exchange, even as such data is urgently needed to direct policy and support such cultural diplomacy initiatives as national priorities.
Tameka Jennings, clinical assistant professor of biology. The research team includes Narasimhan Rajaram, assistant professor of biomedical engineering.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) breast tumors are inherently resistant to radiation therapy, and the lack of treatment options for TNBC presents a serious health and economic challenge. Preliminary data generated by Jennings’ laboratory has uncovered a potentially novel mechanism that may explain the treatment resistance of TNBC breast cancer metastases.
Tahar Messadi, associate professor of architecture. The research team includes Michelle Barry, assistant professor of civil engineering, John Pijanowski, professor of curriculum and instruction, Kimberly Furlong, assistant professor of interior design, Frank Jacobus, associate professor of architecture; Richard Welcher, instructor, civil engineering and Marty Matlock, professor of ecological engineering.
The aim of this proposal is to pilot test a cluster of interdisciplinary courses instructed through innovative teaching practices dedicated to advancing cutting-edge timber and wood technologies.
Shauna Morimoto, associate professor of sociology. The research team includes Yvette Murphy-Erby, vice provost for diversity; Kim Needy, dean of the Graduate School and International Education; Anne O’Leary-Kelly, associate dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business; Jennifer Taylor, assistant vice provost for research and sponsored programs; and Anna Zajicek, department chair of sociology.
The focus of this proposal is to address the significant underrepresentation of women faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, particularly in upper ranks, and in academic administrative positions.
Kyle Quinn, assistant professor of biomedical engineering. The research team includes Jingyi Chen, associate professor of physical chemistry and Suresh Thallapuranam, professor of biochemistry.
This project brings researchers in chemistry and biomedical engineering together to develop novel wound healing therapies and diagnostics. Non-healing skin ulcers are a deadly, billion-dollar problem in the US, and there is a great need for new therapies and improved diagnostic technologies.
Kathryn Sloan, professor of history. The research team includes George Sabo, director of the Arkansas Archeological Survey; David Fredrick, associate professor of world languages, literature and cultures; Michael Pierce, associate professor of history; Robert Cochran, professor of English; Eric Funkhouser, professor of philosophy; Kim Sexton, associate professor of architecture; and Sean Teuton, associate professor of English.
This public scholarship and engagement series brings together scholar-experts, students and the general public to engage in informed conversations about the region’s fascinating history of human interaction.
Sabrina Trudo, associate professor of human environmental sciences. The research team includes Janie Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and Erin Shirl, research director and staff attorney for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.
This project will develop the Healthy Eating Active Lives Collaboration Center, a food, nutrition, and healthy living center of excellence at the University of Arkansas to promote and coordinate best practices in combating food, nutrition, and health related issues for maximizing statewide impact.
Camilla Shumaker, director of science and research communications