The program funds high priority integrated projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products, mitigate and adapt to climate change, build resilience of the organic farming system, and protect water and other resources.
Amount: $50,000 – $3,500,000
Due Date: 02/15/2024
This program enhances and extends existing research relevant to substance use/misuse and addiction and HIV. Centers are expected to transform the scientific field of study by facilitating research, providing administrative support and a rigorous research climate that promotes new and creative directions.
Due Date: 08/25/2024 (LOI); 09/25/2024 (Full Proposal)
Cerebral atrophy is commonly encountered in penetrating severe Traumatic Brain Injury (sTBI) survivors. Brain infiltration of blood-borne cytotoxic proteins and immune cells due to cerebrovascular dysfunction is an important factor contributing to progressive cerebral atrophy and onset of Alzheimer’s Disease dementia in sTBI patients. However, there have been no efforts to develop interventional therapies that can prevent cerebrovascular dysfunction and infiltration of peripheral immune cells into the brain in penetrating sTBI. Our central hypothesis is that acutely implanted engineered Chondroitin Sulfate (eCS) 3D matrices will accelerate cerebrovascular repair and prevent cerebral atrophy and loss of function in sTBI rats. We propose to test our hypothesis using a novel preclinical rat model of penetrating sTBI in the following two specific aims: Aim-1. Characterize cerebrovascular permeability and immune cell composition in sTBI. Aim-2. Determine the effectiveness of eCS matrix implants in mediating cerebrovascular repair and functional recovery. The proposed studies are expected to provide novel insight into the role of cerebrovascular dysfunction in progressive neurodegeneration and cerebral atrophy in sTBI. Collectively, these studies will inform the development of tissue engineered brain implants that can accelerate cerebrovascular repair and prevent brain volume loss and functional deficits in sTBI patients.
PI: Lohitash Karumbaia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Department of Animal and Dairy Science
This project will make significant contributions to racial equity in STEM by identifying and describing forms of systemic racism inherent in mathematics teacher education programs (MTEPs). Racialized mathematics teaching practices are systemic in elementary mathematics classrooms, and the impacts of systemic inequities in K-12 mathematics education both deter students from diverse backgrounds from becoming interested in math, reducing their likelihood of engaging in STEM; and affect students? identities by devaluing or erasing their diverse cultural backgrounds and perspectives. Since teachers are the key to ensuring racial equity in classrooms, identifying racialized mathematics experiences must begin with mathematics teacher education programs. In this innovative study, a project team comprised of mathematics teacher educators of color (MTECs) will collaborate with 12-15 Preservice Teachers of Color (PTOCs), in authentic partnership, from three unique MTEPs (at an HBCU, an HSI, and a PWI) to form a cross-site Critical Mathematics Professional Learning Community (CMPLC). By documenting PTOCs? racialized mathematics experiences across three sites, the project will: (1) gather fundamental knowledge on the racialized mathematical learning and teaching experiences of PTOCs, (2) build knowledge of racialized mathematics experiences and their overall impact on the preparation of PTOCs, and (3) inform teacher education programs across content and contexts. As Black and Latinx scholars with extensive experience in teacher education, the project team conceptualized this creative project to illuminate new ways of nourishing and affirming PTOCs? racial identities and cultural strengths in mathematics teacher education.
The project team will collaborate with participating PTOCs to analyze data generated from focus groups, individual interviews, CMPLC conversations, journals, and field notes using interpretative phenomenology analysis, case study methodology, and thematic analysis. Participating PTOCs? students, especially the culturally and linguistically diverse students in their classrooms, will benefit from this project by receiving increased opportunities to learn mathematics in ways that bolster their STEM identities. The project will fill a gap in the research literature by: (1) increasing the knowledge on the mathematics teacher preparation of PTOCs; (2) centering the voices and experiences of PTOCs and mathematics teacher educators of color in a cross-racial and cross-cultural project; and (3) bringing unique perspectives to the design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of findings about both our own experiences and those of PTOCs, as a PI team composed entirely of MTECs. By attaining a deeper understanding of PTOCs? mathematics learning experiences, we advance racial equity by exposing racist teaching practices that disadvantage historically marginalized students and identifying changes in teacher education that will identify and address practices that obstruct racial equity in STEM.
Amount: $644,642PI: Dorothy White, Mary Frances Early College of Education, Department of Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies Education
Summary Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Loss of substantia nigra compacta (SNc) dopaminergic projections and decreased striatal dopamine levels are the characteristic features of PD. Emerging evidence suggest that synaptic dysfunction of dopamine neurons is an early event in the pathogenesis of PD occurring prior to the onset of symptoms. Mutations in the leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene are the most prevalent causes of familial and sporadic PD, demonstrating an unprecedented significant role in PD pathogenesis. A transgenic mouse model with over-expression of human LRRK2- R1441G has been shown to recapitulate robust motor behavioral, neurochemical and pathological features of PD. At the level of pathology, the most robust phenotype is the axonopathy of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic projection, accompanied by age-dependent hyperphosphorylated tau and DA transmission deficits. Both genetic and environmental causes of PD have highlighted the importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of PD. Mitochondrial trafficking is critical for neurons’ survival and functions including synaptic neurotransmission. However, mitochondrial trafficking and dynamics in mutant LRRK2 associated-PD has not been well studied. We find that the mitochondrial oxidant stress is elevated in the LRRK2-R1441G mutants whereas mitochondrial respiration and mitochondrial ATP synthesis is significantly reduced. In addition, our preliminary studies uncovered early and defining features in mitochondria trafficking and dynamics impairment: frangmented mitochondria in SNc dopamine neurons and terminals, increased cytosolic calcum levels, tau hyperphosphorylation, and decreased anterograde healthy mitochondrial transport. We hypothesize that R1441G mutation impairs mitochondria trafficking and dynamics via dysregulation of Miro1 and calcium homeostasis and pathologic tau accumulation that ultimately result in synaptic dysfunction, energy failure and axonal degeneration. We will utilize a combination of two-photon imaging (2PLSM) and electrophysiology recording in living brain slices, and mouse genetics to uncover mechanisms underlying DAergic transmission deficits and axonal degeneration in PD.
PI: Hui Zhang, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
Project Summary To survive in diverse environments, bacteria must dynamically interact with their physical surroundings to sense and incorporate stimuli into physiological responses. Bacteria often achieve this interplay between extracellular cues and intracellular signaling by using surface-exposed nanomachines that connect the intracellular space to the cell surface. The most broadly distributed surface-exposed nanomachines are appendages called type IV pili (T4P) and evolutionarily related structures that are believed to have diverged from an ancient nanomachine found in the last universal common ancestor. T4P are highly dynamic, employing multiple molecular motors to power cycles of extension and retraction that are essential for many behaviors, making them an ideal system for understanding the dynamic exchange between cells and their physical environments. Despite their broad distribution and importance in many biological processes, little is known about the fundamental biology behind T4P dynamics, regulation, and structure. We will use a combination of genetics, cell biology, biophysics, and biochemical techniques to dissect the fundamental biology of T4P. We will employ multiple model organisms including Caulobacter crescentus, Vibrio cholerae, and Acinetobacter species that all produce T4P for a comparative biology approach across different T4P. Our prior experience and expertise working in these systems will enable us to interrogate how T4P regulatory mechanisms evolve to respond to environmental stimuli and how these regulatory differences influence behavioral outputs. Our five-year goals include understanding the basic mechanisms driving T4P dynamics, how dynamics are regulated, and the consequences of different regulatory mechanisms on bacterial behavior and physiology. This work will address several key questions, including: 1) what are the main factors influencing dynamics? 2) what mechanisms control subcellular localization and patterning? And 3) how do structural subunits of T4P determine their functional and mechanical properties to influence diverse behavioral outputs? This work will provide critical insight into T4P regulation and dynamics that will result in better understanding of the physical interactions between cells and their environments and enable the development of tools to hinder or control T4P function in the broad bacterial behaviors they elicit. The fundamental discoveries made through our study of T4P will also reveal general aspects of biology including insight into the underlying mechanics of molecular motors, the mechanisms controlling intracellular spatial organization, and the relationship between protein structure and function.
PI: Courtney Ellison, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Microbiology
Project Summary/Abstract Smokers partnered with other smokers (i.e., dual-smoker couples) represent ~2/3 of all smokers. Dual- smoker couples (DSCs) are less likely to try to quit smoking and more likely to relapse during a quit attempt, reducing overall smoking cessation rates and representing a high-risk clinical population. Despite their high prevalence and risk for persistent smoking, however, there are limited data on smoking cessation interventions among DSCs. Building on previous research that suggests a) financial incentive treatments (FITs) are effective at increasing quit rates; and b) dyadic adaptations of FITs are feasible for implementation in DSCs, the proposed randomized controlled trial (RCT) will systematically examine two adaptations of FITs to enhance smoking cessation among DSCs. In addition to determining the efficacy of these FITs for smoking abstinence in DSCs, we will examine mechanisms of change, secondary endpoints and outcomes, and the cost effectiveness of each adaptation. We will address these questions in a three-group RCT that is informed by a highly supportive pilot trial we have completed on FITs for DSCs (R21CA241570). In all conditions, treatment-seeking smokers who are part of a DSC (i.e., targets) will receive usual care (combination fast and slow acting Nicotine Replacement Therapy + quitting resources). In two experimental conditions (single FIT and dyadic FIT, SFT and DFIT), participants will receive incentives for abstinence at three time points (1-, 3-, and 6-months post-baseline). In the SFIT condition, only the target in a couple will be offered incentives; in the DFIT condition, both target and partner in a couple will be offered incentives. Primary efficacy outcome is biochemically-verified abstinence at 6-months post-baseline among targets. We will concurrently evaluate candidate mechanisms of change (e.g., partner support, individual and partner motivation) to understand how FITs confer benefits and inform optimization. Secondary outcomes are point-prevalence abstinence at 1- and 3-months during the treatment and 6-months post-treatment (12-months post-baseline), as well as partner smoking outcomes. As FITs inherently rely on financial resources, cost-effectiveness analysis will quantify the cost and relative cost of positive outcomes within and across conditions. These data on the efficacy, mechanisms, and costs of FITs for DSCs will inform population level implementation and promote successful quitting in this treatment refractory population.
PI: Michelle vanDellen, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology
This program funds collaborations among multiple institutions to undertake to either 1) digitize and publish as a “virtual” collection online historical records housed at multiple repositories but centered on a common theme, organization, or important historical figure(s); or 2) create and test new tools and methods for the archival field.
Amount: $150,000 – $350,000
Due Date: 02/15/2024 (Required Draft); 05/08/2024 (Full Proposal)
This program will fund high priority integrated projects that will enhance the ability of producers and processors who have already adopted organic standards to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products, mitigate and adapt to climate change, build resilience of the organic farming system, and protect water and other resources.
Amount: $50,000 – $3,500,000
Due Date: 02/15/2024