Brown awards research seed funds to four faculty groups
Brown University has provided four teams of faculty members a total of $356,000 in seed money to explore new lines of research and attract greater external funding for large-scale projects and centers.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Four research teams at Brown University
have received a total of $356,000 in University seed funding to gather
new data in bioengineering, biomaterials, human development and environmental
change, according to an announcement by the Office of the Vice President for
Research at Brown University.
The new Research Seed Fund program was created to “help faculty obtain
external support, principally for large-scale multi-investigator projects and
centers,” said Andries van Dam, vice president for research.
“By providing funds to seed new research, we aim to help faculty
compete more often and more successfully for the large-scale, multidisciplinary,
multiprincipal-investigator grants that are becoming increasingly common and
that offer opportunities for transformative research and discovery,” he
said. Major grants are available from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the
National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other external funding sources. Brown
University researchers already conduct more than $100 million in research
The four projects were chosen from proposals submitted by groups of faculty.
Creation of cartilage biocomposites as a tissue-engineered solution to
Funding of $93,920 will ease the way for a new
tissue-engineering collaboration among faculty members. “Organization of
complimentary novel experimental approaches in tissue engineering would put
Brown at the cutting edge of regenerative medicine,” said the researchers.
Data collected from seed-funded research would be used in 2004 to support NIH
and NSF grants. Faculty members include Michael J. Lysaght and Edith Mathiowitz
from the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Department of Molecular
Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology; and Roy K. Aaron, M.D., and Deborah
McK. Ciombor, from the Department of Orthopaedics at Rhode Island Hospital.
A total of $99,500 will support two post-doctoral
researchers, who will work within Brown’s NSF-sponsored Materials Research
Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). One individual will study engineered
complex surfaces used in bio-hybrid devices and tissue engineering. The second
will conduct research in molecular biomechanics and micro-fluidics. By expanding
the MRSEC and University-level support, the seed fund support will help better
place the MRSEC to compete for NSF funding in 2004. The project involves Clyde
Briant, Kenneth Breuer, G. Tayhas R. Palmore and Thomas R. Powers, Division of
Engineering; and Diane Hoffman-Kim and Jeffrey R. Morgan, Center for Biomedical
Engineering and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology, and
Transient Hearing Loss and Milestones of Language Learning
of $64,000 will be used to examine the incidence and etiology of temporary
hearing loss during infancy and its impact on speech perception and production
and language-related aspects of cognitive development. The researchers expect
that the result from this initial effort will be a five-year multidisciplinary
research project housed within the Center for the Study of Human Development at
Brown; a follow-up five-year study would relate hearing loss and language
development in infancy to school readiness and early academic performance. The
project's five faculty members plan to submit a grant proposal to the NIH before
October 2004. Those researchers include James Morgan and Katherine Demuth,
Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences; Cynthia Garcia Coll, Department
of Education; Michael E. Msall, M.D., from the Child Development Center at Rhode
Island Hospital; and Ronald Seifer, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
and the Center for the Study of Human Development.
Understanding and Modeling Land Cover-Land Use Change
A total of
$98,000 will go toward deepening the understanding of the processes and impacts
of land cover and land-use change. These factors are considered the most likely
dominant drivers of environmental change over the next 50 to 100 years, yet the
understanding of these fundamental processes and their impacts is in its
infancy. This project includes a proposal to study eutrophication and hypoxia in
Narragansett Bay, and is part of an effort at Brown to develop an
interdisciplinary research program in the field of environmental change.
According to the faculty members involved, the anticipated result will be the
development of research funding proposals to be submitted to NSF, NASA, NIH, as
well as private foundations. Investigators include Jack Mustard and Warren
Prell, Department of Geological Sciences; Mark Bertness and Johanna Schmitt,
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; and Andrew Foster,
Department of Economics.