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Spring 2021 Seed Grant Award Winners

Below are the winners of the Spring 2021 Seed Grant Program competition. Faculty were asked to submit an abstract and brief proposal, including a timeline that demonstrated how this seed funding would help to develop a highly competitive proposal for extramural funding. 58 applications were received from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the School of Communication and Journalism, the School of Health Technology and Management, the School of Medicine, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, and the School of Social Welfare. The following projects were selected for funding with an award start date of April 1, 2021.


Nilanjan Chakraborty, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Haibin Ling, Xiaojun Bi, and I. V. Ramakrishnan, Department of Computer Science, and Brooke Ellison, School of Health Technology and Management: Robotic-Arm Augmented Wheelchair for Enabling Independent Living of People with Quadriplegia

Melissa Bessaha and Miguel Munoz-Laboy, School of Social Welfare: Building a Network of Community Organizations and Local Health Agencies to Prevent Loneliness Among Recent Migrant Youth and Emerging Adults 

Steven Skiena, Department of Computer Science, and Sean Clouston, Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine and Program in Public Health: AI Video Analysis to Identify CTE and Dementia Symptoms

Imin Kao, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Fazel Khan, Department of Orthopaedics, and Brendan F. Boyce, Department of Pathology: Innovative Technology using Raman Spectroscopy for In-vivo Assessment of Soft Tissue Sarcomas Margin Status During Surgery

Gabor Balazsi, Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology, Erich R. Mackow, Department of Microbiology and Immunology & Center for Infectious Diseases: Automatic sense-defense system against SARS-CoV-2 and other RNA viruses

Xin Qian and Adrian Howansky, Departments of Radiation Oncology and Radiology,  Zhigang Xu and Samuel Ryu, Department of Radiation Oncology, and Wei Zhao, Department of Radiology: Real-time HDR brachytherapy source tracking and dose verification in vivo using a 4D tomosynthesis imaging system

Ruobing Li, School of Journalism, Lijiang Shen, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences,  Pennsylvania State University: The Role and Influence of Mass Media on COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy 

Daniel P. Raleigh, Department of Chemistry, Carlos Simmerling, and  Ken Dill, Department of Chemistry and the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology: Controlling the stability of amyloid fibers to modulate human disease and to design novel bio-inspired materials 

Natalia Marchenko, Department of Pathology, and Wadie Bahou, Department of Medicine: BLVRB is the metabolic driver in breast cancer

Hwan Kim and Jorge Benach, Department of Microbiology and Immunology: Exploring virulence potential of Rickettsia amblyommatis for Spotted Fever pathogenesis

Weisen Shen and William Holt, Department of Geosciences, and Isaiah Nengo, Department of Anthropology and the Turkana Basin Institute: A seismic nodal array investigation to the Turkana Basin, Kenya