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Drexel Faculty Highlights

In this new quarterly feature, DrexelNow provides an update on research funding, commercialization activity and faculty honors at Drexel, courtesy of the Office of Research. This update provides a snapshot of funding and honors during the quarter that ended Dec. 31, 2013.

Sponsored Projects

Obligated research funding increased 2 percent for the quarter, as compared to the same period one year earlier. Research expenditures increased by 5.2 percent.

Examples of significant awards for the quarter include:

• Giuseppe Palmese, PhD, College of Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, received funding in the amount of $3,950,000 from the Army Research Lab for the “Center for Sustainable Corrosion Protection.”

• Irwin Chaiken, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, received an award in the amount of $1,993,835 from the National Institutes of Health for “Structure-Based Antagonism of HIV-1 Envelope in Cell Entry.”

• Craig Newschaffer, PhD, A.J Drexel Autism Institute, received an award in the amount of $1,214,096 from Westat for “Development and Validation of an Autism Case Confirmation Approach for Use in NCS.”

• Jennifer Taylor, PhD, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, received an award in the amount of $996,818 from FEMA for “FIRST-Reliability Study.”

• Theodore Corbin, MD, College of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, received additional funding in the amount of $964,923 from the City of Philadelphia for “Healing Hurt People.”

Other awards include:

• Denise E. Agosto, PhD, associate professor in the College of Computing & Informatics, received the 2014 OCLC/ALISE Library and Information Science Research Grant award for her project titled “A New Role for Libraries: Promoting Teens' Safety and Security in the Digital Age.”

• E. Caglan Kumbur, PhD, assistant professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, has received an NSF CAREER (Faculty Early Career Development Program) award for "The Electrochemical Flow Capacitor: Capacitive Energy Storage in Flowable Media."

• James Connell, PhD, School of Education; Jichen Zhu, PhD, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design; and C. Kerns, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, received a $15,000 grant from Drexel’s Social Science Research Fund for “Interactive Social Stories: Using Computational Narratives to Promote Stimulus Generalization in Autism Intervention.”

• Ming Xiao, PhD, research professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a $716,000 NIH grant for the project "Single Molecule DNA Mapping for Genome and CNV Analysis.”

• Anneclaire De Roos, PhD, School of Public Health, received a $231,000 NIH grant to lead a study of occupational exposures of solvents and family history in relation to multiple myeloma.

• Rebecca Clothey, PhD, School of Education, and Emmanuel Koku, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, received an $11,000 grant from Drexel's Social Science Research Fund for "Online Uyghur Social Activism and State Control of the Internet."

• Il-Yeol Song, PhD, professor in the College of Computing & Informatics, was named an Association for Computing Machinery 2013 Distinguished Scientist for his outstanding scientific contributions in the areas of conceptual modeling, data warehousing, and online analytic processing.

• Charles Lane, PhD, and Michelle Dolinski, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, received a $520,000 Department of Energy grant for the project “Experimental Neutrino Physics.”

• Mark Hempstead, PhD, College of Engineering, was awarded a CAREER award from the NSF for "Combating Dark Silicon through Specialization: Communication-Aware Tiled Many-Accelerator Architectures.”

• The School of Public Health received a $65,000 grant from Autism Speaks to lead a study on environmental risk communication in autism spectrum disorders, which will be led by professors Michael Yudell, PhD, John Rossi, VMD, and Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD.

• Michael Vogeley, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, received a $160,000 NASA grant for the project “Probing AGN Accretion Physics with Kepler.”

• Alexander Moseson, assistant teaching professor of the College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, received a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the project “Transformative Tools for Women Smallholder Farmers.”

• Researchers from the School of Public Health received a $150,000 seed grant from the Drexel-Shanghai Advanced Research Institute Center to study the interactions of energy use and the environment with public health in urban Chinese populations. Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, School of Public Health; and Charles N. Hass, PhD, College of Engineering, will direct the study from Drexel.

• The Drexel SARI Center for Global Research and Education awarded a $150,000 grant to Hai-Feng (Frank) Ji, PhD, and Karl Sohlberg, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, for “Novel Porous Metal Organic Framework Materials for CO2 Uptake and Other Energy Applications.”

• Yvonne Michael, ScD, School of Public Health, received a $146,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to evaluate policies and built environment interventions to increase physical activity for the CDC’s community guide.

• Yinghui Zhong, PhD, assistant professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, received a $13,250 second-year Landenberger Research Foundation award for the project "Local Delivery of Minocycline and BDNF to Promote Neuroprotection and Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury."

• Naomi Goldstein, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, received a $25,000 grant from the Center for Childhood Cancer Research, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, for the project “Validation of the Pediatric Research Participation Questionnaire for AYA with Cancer and Their Primary Caregivers.”

• Chika Nwankpa, PhD, Karen Miu, PhD, and Harry Kwatny, PhD, from the College of Engineering were awarded a three-year, $600,000 grant from Office of Naval Research for "Observability of Network Controlled Multi-Converter Power Systems: Formulation and Related Issues.”

• Rose Ann DiMaria-Ghalili, PhD, assistant professor, nursing, in partnership with Kambiz Pourrezaei, professor, School of Biomedical Engineering, was awarded a Coulter Grant in the amount of $49,374 to develop a Smart Cup, a device to measure liquid intake that will improve the health of older adults by monitoring nutrition.

• Sean O’Donnell, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, received a $19,000 grant from the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration titled, “Using Automated Radio Tracking to Study Avian Exploitation of Neotropical Army Ants.”

Technology Commercialization

A team of College of Medicine researchers led by Christof Daetwyler, MD, and including Barbara Schindler, MD, Dennis Novack, MD, and Arnold Smolen, PhD, was selected by the University City Science Center to receive a proof-of-concept award in the digital health track of its QED program. The award will fund the development of WebOSCE, a suite of technologies and materials designed to better train clinicians in patient communication in order to reduce the need for hospital re-admissions. This is the third Drexel research team to be selected for QED funding.

Drexel has announced the recipients of funding from its inaugural Dragon Proof-of-Concept program. Modeled on the Coulter-Drexel Translational Research Partners Program, the Dragon fund provides up to $100,000 to support proof-of-concept research in scientific and engineering disciplines outside of biomedical engineering. Recipients are:

• Sandhya Kortagere, PhD, College of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, for the development of novel compounds to treat Parkinson’s Disease and other dyskinesias.

• Yuanfang Cai, PhD, College of Computing and Informatics, for the further development of a software system that ensures the integrity and stability of software programs as they are developed and change over time.

• Jon Spanier, PhD, College of Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, to develop novel thin-film photovoltaic materials for next-generation solar cells.

• Alexander Fridman, PhD, and Alexander Rabinovich, PhD, College of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, to develop plasma technology that creates environmentally friendly materials that aid the extraction and purification of oil and other fuels from the ground, without leaving harmful residues.

Selected Faculty Honors and Awards

• Carol Patton, associate clinical professor, nursing, College of Nursing and Health Professions, was recently selected as one of the few members appointed to the Code of Ethics for Nurses Revision Panel of the American Nurses Association.

• Bob Ambrose, instructor, hospitality management and tourism, was featured in the February 2014 issue of Casino Life Magazine.

• Law school adjunct professor Robert Tomilson was appointed as an adviser by the American Law Institute on its project “Principles of the Law of Liability Insurance.”

• Nicholas Cernansky, PhD, Hess Chair Professor of Combustion of the College of Engineering, has been elected a Fellow of ASME for his outstanding contributions in the combustion area.

• William Rosenberg, PhD, College of Arts and Sciences, served as an international expert for the Anti-Corruption Project in Albania, funded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

• Arthur Frank, MD, PhD, School of Public Health, gave an invited talk on wastewater at an international conference of occupational and environmental health in New Delhi.

• Rohan V. Tikekar, PhD, assistant professor, Culinary Arts and Food Science, won a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant in the amount of $382,000 for a proposal titled, “Synergistic Interaction Between Ultraviolet Light and Novel Photosensitizers for Enhanced Microbial Safety of Fresh Produce.”

• Margo Orlin, PhD, associate professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, was recently elected president of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Philadelphia and Vicinity.