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ORE Announces 2018 Research Seed Program Recipients

Twenty-three projects were chosen for funding under the Office of Research and Engagement’s 2018 Research Seed Program. The program, launched in October 2017, serves as a catalyst for UT Knoxville and UT Space Institute faculty to help generate proposal submissions to specific sponsors or around a particular initiative.

Projects receiving funding for 2018 are:

Community Engaged Research Seed Program

  • Candace Brakewood, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, for her project, “Evaluating Autonomous Buses for Roadworthiness: Testing a Fully Automated Vehicle in Knoxville”
  • Lynn Hodge, associate professor of mathematics education, for her project, “Mathematizing, Visualizing, and Power: Students Creating Statistical Literacies through Popular Representations”
  • Michael McKinney, professor of evolutionary biology and environmental science, for his project, “Urban resilience: Promoting environmental and social sustainability with urban wilderness”
  • Elizabeth Strand, clinical associate professor of social work, for her project, “The Veterinary Interactive Screening Program (VISP): A national suicide prevention intervention”

Interdisciplinary Research Seed Program

  • Jeffrey Becker, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus in the Department of Microbiology, for his project, “Multi-Positron Emission Particle Tracking (M-PEPT) and Fungal Infection Tracking”
  • Megan Haselschwerdt, assistant professor of child and family studies and director of the Family Violence Across the Lifespan Research Team, for her project, “Family Studies Assessing Intimate Partner Violence Victims’ Help-Seeking Needs and Experiences”
  • Jennifer Schweitzer, associate professor and associate head in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology for her project, “Do fire and urbanization interact to create novel ecosystems?”
  • Andrew Steen, assistant professor environmental geology, for his project, “New Genomic and Chemical Approaches to Understand Microcystin Degradation in Natural Waters”
  • Kai Sun, Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, for his project, “A Novel Hybrid Dynamical System Approach for Understanding Modern Power Systems Integrated with Power Electronics Devices”
  • Hanno Weitering, professor of physics, for his project, “Unraveling high-temperature superconductivity in two dimensions”

Mission Agency Research Seed Program

  • Craig Barnes, professor of chemistry, for his project, “Novel metal-boron catalysts for the selective hydrogenation and deoxygenation of lignocellulosic biomass”
  • Kimberly Carter, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, for his project, “Accurate Quantification of PFAS in Solid and Sediment Samples”
  • Veerle Keepens, department head and professor of materials science and director of the Joint Institute for Advanced Materials, for her project “College of Engineering Materials Science Engineering High-entropy oxides: a path to novel materials with new/enhanced functionality”
  • Bhavya Sharma, assistant professor of chemistry, for her project, “Rationally designed and characterized metal nano-substrates for UV plasmonics”
  • Haidong Zhou, assistant professor of physics, for his project, “Toward operational control of metal-insulator transition with tunable symmetry-breaking strain”

NIH Preliminary Results Research Seed Program

  • Gladys Alexandre, associate head and professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, for her project, “Regulating membrane fluidity to combat antibiotic resistance”
  • Albrecht von Arnim, professor of biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, for his project, “Regulation of protein synthesis by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and amino acids”
  • Johnathan Brantley, professor of chemistry, for his project, “Functional Metallopolymers for Imaging and CO Therapy”
  • Julia Jaekel, associate professor of child and family studies and Associate Professor, co-director of the Early Experiences Research Center, for her project, “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Follow-Up Study”
  • Jeremiah Johnson, assistant professor of microbiology, for his project, “Mechanism of Campylobacter persistence of young children in low-resource settings and its impact on gastrointestinal health and metabolism”
  • Todd Reynolds, associate professor of microbiology, for his project, “Virulence mechanisms of Candida albicans secreted lipases”
  • Steven Ripp, research associate professor of microbiology, for his project, “Noninvasive in vivo autobioluminescent brain imaging: Eliminating the constraints of luciferase substrate to enable real-time longitudinal imaging”

This is the first year ORE has awarded internal funding through the Research Seed Program. Grant recipients were selected by evaluation panels comprised of UT faculty and external program officers (if appropriate) related to each category.  The panels then scored and recommended proposals for funding.


Contact Erin Chapin (erin.chapin@utk.edu, 865-974-2187)