Grant News

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


August 2018

In this issue:

  • Kristen Barnett Receives NSF Grant for “Collaborative Archaeology the Yup’iit Way”
  • NSF Grants $156K to Henry Boateng for Modeling Particle Interactions
  • Aleks Diamond-Stanic’s Consortial Work on Galaxies Wins New Support from NSF and NASA
  • Paula Schlax Teams up with Researchers at University of Kentucky to Probe Lyme Disease
  • Nathan Tefft Part of NIH-Funded Investigation of “Drunk Driving with Kids”

Kristen Barnett: Doing “Collaborative Archaeology the Yup’iit Way,” with NSF Support

On the shore of Bristol Bay in Alaska, at the mouth of the river with which it shares its name, just a little more than 800 people make their homes in the village of Tuyuryaq (Togiak in the English language). Just across the bay and the river mouth is Temyiq Tuyuryaq (Old Togiak), the old village site, location of continuous habitation by the people of Tuyuryaq for at least 1300 years and still seasonally in use today. Early excavation took place at Temyiq Tuyuryaq in 1960, but a new and different type of archaeology began in 2011 through collaboration between the village of Togiak and Kristen Barnett (then a doctoral student at the University of Montana), to research and locate items removed in 1960. During Short Term 2017, students from Bates, guided by Prof. Barnett (now of the Bates Anthropology Department), began their investigations at Temyiq Tuyuryaq. The new project, which resumed in Short Term 2018, approaches the investigation collaboratively, with research questions driven by village interest and inquiry into ancestral inhabitants’ life-ways including, but not limited to, relationships between climatological and ecological conditions, colonial impacts, and cultural continuity and persistence informed by the traditions and practices of their contemporary descendants. For the next three years, the continuation of this project can count on the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs, which has made an initial grant of $242,022 (out of an expected $608,853 over three years), for a project entitled “Temyiq Tuyuryaq: Collaborative Archaeology the Yup’iit Way,” from their Arctic Social Sciences Program. In addition, an NSF contractor has facilitated the purchase, for approximately $97,000, of a LiDAR equipped drone and a portable x-ray fluorescence analyzer that will be used for this project, for an expected $706K in total support from the NSF. This project represents the first archaeological project supported by the NSF to adopt a research sovereignty model, in which Indigenous peoples engage with scientific study as active participants and sovereign decision-makers, rather than passive objects of study. In addition to Prof. Barnett and her students, participants to date have included several Yup’ik youth from Togiak, who with NSF support will have opportunities to visit Bates and attend scholarly conferences in furtherance of the project. Future participants will include Prof. Beverly Johnson of the Geology Department, who will assist with stable isotope analysis of samples collected at Temyiq Tuyuryaq, and Prof. Mara Tieken of the Education Department, who will work with teachers and administrators of Togiak schools in the development of place-based curriculum integrating project findings.

Henry Boateng to Model Particle Electrostatic Interactions with $156K NSF Grant

Prof. Henry Boateng of the Mathematics Department has received a grant of $156,236 from the National Science Foundation for a project entitled “RUI: Fast Treecode Methods for Particle-Particle Multipolar Electrostatic Interaction.” Made through the Division of Chemistry’s program in Chemical Theory, Models, and Computational Methods, the grant will provide support for Prof. Boateng, and students who work with him, to develop new methods of computationally modeling the electrical interactions between atoms and molecules within a wide range of materials. Scientists attempting to predict the behavior of biochemical systems face the challenge that gains in accuracy made by treating atoms and molecules as electrostatically multipolar—as is the case not only with complex molecules, but even with something as simple and ubiquitous as water—run up rapidly against constraints in computational power. Prof. Boateng and his students will develop three different sets of open-source algorithms that model multipolar interactions and test their speed, scalability, memory and processing power requirements against a set of recognized problems in the chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics literature. Once published, these algorithms will be made freely available to the scientific community.

To Study Massive, Compact Galaxies, New NSF and NASA Grants to Aleks Diamond-Stanic

Two new grants will enable Prof. Aleks Diamond-Stanic, of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the students working with him in the Bates Galaxies Lab (BaGL), to participate in large-scale collaborative research efforts studying massive, compact galaxies. A grant of $104,108 from the National Science Foundation’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grant program forms Bates’ portion of a total $680K project entitled “Extreme Starbursts and Outflows: The Formation of Massive Compact Galaxies,” which also involves researchers at the University of California – San Diego, Dartmouth College, the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and the University of Kansas. Also relating to galaxies of this type is a grant from NASA contractor, the Universities Space Research Association, which operates the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope. A Boeing-747 airplane with a telescope-sized door, SOFIA will be taking a series of observations proposed by a consortium led by Prof. Christy Tremonti of UW-Madison and including Prof. Diamond-Stanic, for a project entitled “Probing Dust-Obscured Star Formation and AGN Activity in Massive Ultra-Compact Galaxies”. (Depending on scheduling logistics, there is a chance that Bates students and Prof. Diamond-Stanic may get a chance to ride the plane for the measurements!) The Universities Space Research Association has now made a grant of $150K to UW-Madison, of which Bates has received an initial $8,713 (of an expected $32,292) to support the role of Prof. Diamond-Stanic and his students in analyzing the resulting data from SOFIA.

Paula Schlax Teams up with University of Kentucky Researcher to Probe Lyme Disease

Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme Disease, is the target of a new grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Kentucky, entitled “Post-Transcriptional Regulation in Borrelia Burgdorferi by the BpuR RNA-Binding Protein.” Made through the NIH’s R21 “Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant” program, this two-year research project, led by Prof. Brian Stevenson in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Biology at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, includes funding of $20,745 per year to the laboratory of Prof. Paula Schlax in Bates’ Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Nathan Tefft Part of NIH-Funded Research Team Putting the Brakes on Drunk Driving with Kids

Prof. Nathan Tefft of the Economics Department is part of a multidisciplinary research group who have received an NIH grant for the project “Drunk Driving with Kids: Putting the Brakes on a Disturbing Trend.” Through a two-year R21 “Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant,” researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, the University of Connecticut, and Bates will advance research on the dangerous phenomenon of impaired driving with child passengers in the vehicle, and propose public policy approaches that could lessen its incidence. For his role in the project, Prof. Tefft has received an initial subcontract of $20,608 for year 1 of the project.

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