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2020 Research Seed Winners Announced

The Office of Research and Engagement has awarded research seed funding to 12 research projects during 2020. Reflecting the university’s reunification initiative, four of the projects involve collaborations between faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. When combining funding from ORE, departments, and colleges, the total investment in these projects is $766,159.

“Collaborations between UT and UTIA researchers were a high priority for this year’s competition, and we’re thrilled about the new projects supported by this research catalyzing program,” said Kimberly Eck, assistant vice chancellor of research development.

The offer funding opportunities ranging from $20,000–$100,000 in four categories: collaborative humanities research, community-engaged research, interdisciplinary research, and a new program called Expanding Horizons that offers a yearlong program for selected recently tenured faculty who have a big idea but not a full team or complete research plan. With the assistance of ORE’s research development staff, UT faculty served on the review panels and decided upon the awardees from a pool of 38 applications.

The 2020 recipients are:

Collaborative Humanities Research

Shellen Xiao Wu, associate professor of history, Shih-Lung Shaw, professor of geography, for their project, “Human Dynamics of Scientific Knowledge”

Community-Engaged Research

Andrea Joseph, assistant professor of social work, with Patricia Bamwine, assistant professor of social work, for their project, “Centering Trauma-informed Practices in School Discipline”

* Sreedhar Upendram, assistant professor of agricultural economics, with Isabella Baxter, agriculture and natural resources librarian, for their project, “Bridging the Digital Divide in Rural Tennessee: Expanding a Library Mobile Hotspot Lending Program”

Interdisciplinary Research

* David Anderson, professor of large animal clinical sciences, with Dustin Crouch, assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering, and Madhu Dhar, research associate professor of large animal clinical sciences, for their project, “Bridging the Impossible Divide: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Neuromimetic Nanoscaffolds for Regeneration of Peripheral Nerves after Severe Injury”

* Patricia Roberson, assistant professor of nursing, with Jamie Greig, assistant professor of agricultural leadership, education and communications; Sreedhar Upendram, assistant professor of agricultural economics; and Soghra Jarvandi, assistant professor of family and consumer science, for their project, “An Innovative Communication Initiative to Improve Diabetes Education for Rural Appalachian Families”

* Zhenbo Wang, assistant professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering, with Hao Gan, assistant professor of biosystems engineering and social science, for their project, “Autonomous Pollination Systems Utilizing Micro Aerial Vehicles”

Jayne Wu, professor electrical engineering and computer science, with and Stephen Sarles,  associate professor of mechanical, aerospace and biomedical engineering, for their project, “Synapse and Neuron Inspired Circuitry to Enable Self-Learning Biosensing Arrays”

Expanding Horizons

Daniel Costinett, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science, for his project, “Revolutionizing Energy Conversion Systems”

Jon Hathaway, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, for his project, “Convergent Research to Transform Urban Watershed Management”

Jill Mikucki, associate professor of microbiology, for her project, “Cold Potential: Transdisciplinary Teams Understanding for the Rules of Cold Life”

Jim Ostrowski, associate professor of industrial and systems engineering, for his project, “Quantum Computing”

Haixuan Xu, associate professor of materials science and engineering, for his project, “Transdisciplinary Research of Materials for Neuromorphic Computing”

* Indicates UT/UTIA collaborations.

CONTACT

Sharon Pound (865-974-1475, spound@utk.edu)