Grant News

Check out these recent articles about grant-funded research and initiatives at Bates from the Bates Communications team!


April 2016

In this issue:

  • Jason Castro Awarded Prestigious CAREER Grant by NSF
  • Adriana Salerno Selected as Dolciani Visiting Mathematician by Mathematics Association of America
  • 2 Bates Students in Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships at NIST
  • Visual Stylometry Team including Bill Seeley Wins NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant

Jason Castro Receives $720K Faculty Early Career Award from NSF

Jason Castro (Psychology and Neuroscience) has received a Faculty Early Career (CAREER) grant from NSF, totaling $720,000 over 5 years, for his project “Data-driven Approaches for Investigating Olfactory System Heterogeneity.” This CAREER award is the first ever to a faculty member at Bates. As described in NSF’s abstract of the award, “The broad goal of this project is to develop and apply a suite of computational tools for studying the molecular and functional organization of the brain. To address whether circuits in a given brain area are organized as functionally diverse and heterogeneous modules despite apparent anatomical similarity, the PI and his associates will investigate the mouse olfactory bulb — a brain structure dedicated to processing smell. Image data charting patterns of gene expression throughout the bulb will be obtained from open, digitally curated atlases (the Allen Brain Atlas (ABA)), and computationally mined to identify spatially structured motifs of gene expression. Electrophysiological recordings will also be made from slices of the bulb to directly test for the presence of organizational motifs identified in silico. These research activities will engage undergraduates extensively…. Additionally, the PI will promote the virtues of computational thinking and problem solving in biology through a redesign of his Introductory Neuroscience course.”

Adriana Salerno Selected as Dolciani Visiting Mathematician by MAA

Adriana Salerno has been selected by the Mathematics Association of America as the Dolciani Visiting Mathematician for Fall of 2016. She will be based at the MAA’s headquarters in Washington DC, working half-time to improve their outreach, K-12 and undergraduate programs, and possibly help create some new ones, while also pursuing collaborative research with colleagues at the University of Maryland. As described in the MAA’s solicitation of applications, “The visiting mathematician will work to implement initiatives that foster meaningful discussion and cross-pollination of ideas between the college and secondary mathematics teaching communities. She will work to promote rich mathematical experiences for students at both levels as well. She may travel to give talks, visit schools and colleges, and provide professional development for teachers and faculty.” The position comes with $25,000 that may be used for stipend and/or travel costs.

Two Bates Students Earn Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships at NIST

In another first for Bates, two students—up from a previous record of one—will be spending their summers in the laboratories of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a U.S. government agency that is part of the Department of Commerce. Daniel Paseltiner ’16, who participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program in Gaithersburg, Maryland last year, will be returning to SURF-Gaithersburg to join the Physical Measurement Laboratory. Sophia Gottlieb ’17 will participate in the SURF program in NIST’s labs at Boulder, Colorado, joining the project “Standards for Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging” under the supervision of Dr. Michael Boss.  Both Dan and Sophia are Physics majors.

Visual Stylometry Team, including Bill Seeley, Wins NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant

Dr. Catherine Buell, PhD (Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Fitchburg State University), Dr. William Seeley, Ph.D. (Lecturer in Philosophy, Bates College), and Ricky Sethi (Associate Professor of Computer Science, Fitchburg State University) have received a National Endowment of the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant for their project Scientific Workflows, Image Analysis, and Visual Stylometry in the Digital Analysis of Art. The goal of the grant is to develop a digital image analysis tool for studying paintings called WAIVS (Workflows for Analysis of Images and Visual Stylometry). WAIVS will be powerful enough to support advanced academic research in computer science, cognitive science, art history, and the philosophy of art while at the same time providing a user-friendly interface accessible to students and researchers with little or no computer science background. Dr. Buell’s and Dr. Seeley’s collaborative work on visual stylometry began in connection with a course on applied linear algebra taught by Dr. Buell while she was a Vising Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at Bates in Fall 2014. An interdisciplinary team of students worked with Dr. Buell and Dr. Seeley to program image analysis methods (Linnea Brotz ’15, Art and Visual Culture; Peter Cole ’15, Physics; Kathleen Morrill ’15, Biological Chemistry; Devon Brown ’14, Mathematics; and Brent Talbot ’14, Politics). Using entropy, foreground/background analysis, and discrete tonal features, the students were able to successfully train the computer to sort paintings by school (Impressionist from Hudson River School landscapes) and artist within each school (Monet from Renoir and Sisley). Based on this initial proof of concept, Dr. Sethi joined the collaboration, resulting in this new grant from the NEH. To further the collaboration, Bates will be receiving a subcontract of $6,237 from Fitchburg State University.

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