News Archives: September, 2017

NSF Funds Faculty Research Fellowships Through New EPSCoR Initiative

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New awards from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) will provide 30 non-tenured researchers with fellowships, partnering them with premier research centers and enhancing their ability to work at the frontiers of science and engineering.

The NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-4 fellowship awards total roughly $5.6 million and are distributed to researchers across 20 states. Awardees will make extended collaborative visits to laboratories and scientific centers, establish partnerships with researchers with complementary expertise, learn new techniques, have access to sophisticated equipment, and shift their research focus in new directions.

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University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Arkansas and New Mexico State University Awarded NSF-NIFA INFEWS Grants

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NSF has partnered with the U.S.D.A's National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to award $46.6 million in new grants through the joint NSF-NIFA program on Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS)

Researchers have found that food-energy-water systems are intricately linked to each other and to the planet’s ecosystems through complex interactions. With an increasing human population, there is a growing need for new approaches to understanding these interactions and how they will respond to population growth, land-use change, climate change and other factors.

Food, energy and water are, at times, in a three-way tug of war. Land-use decisions, climate change and increasing urbanization often pit one against the other. The goal of the INFEWS program is to minimize simultaneous risks to the security of food, energy and water supplies.

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NSF Announces New EPSCoR Awards, Investing in Science and Engineering Across Nation

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded five jurisdictions nearly $20 million each through the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which builds research and development capacity in states that demonstrate a commitment to research but have thus far lacked the levels of investment seen in other parts of the country.

The new EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-1 awards will bolster science and engineering academic research infrastructure in Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Wyoming. Each award will support fundamental research and education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. The awards will also promote workforce development in areas relevant to the jurisdictions' vital interest.

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UAB Research Finds A Bioactive Molecule May Protect Against Congestive Heart Failure After Heart Attacks

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Heart attacks provoke an acute immune response. Leukocytes rush to the heart muscle to remove dead cells and begin building scar tissue. This is followed by a second immune response, the resolving phase that allows healing.

Too often, though, low-grade acute inflammation continues in patients long after heart attacks, leading to chronic heart failure and death. In a paper published in Scientific Reports, Ganesh Halade, Ph.D., and colleagues show that giving mice a form of the fatty acid-derived bioactive molecule called lipoxin improved heart function after a heart attack, as the lipoxin prompted early activation of the resolving phase of the immune response without altering the acute phase.

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University of New Mexico and the University of Puerto Rico Part of New NSF Engineering Research Centers

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invested nearly $80 million in four new Engineering Research Centers (ERCs) to create novel technology platforms to address national challenges in health and energy sustainability.

Over the next five years, the centers will create new knowledge and high-tech innovations, as well as transform existing industries in ways that bolster the U.S. economy, support national security and build America's global competitiveness through the preparation of engineering graduates.

Since the program's inception in 1985, NSF has funded a total of 74 ERCs and will support 19 in this fiscal year, including the four new centers. Each center receives NSF funding for up to 10 years. During this time, centers build partnerships with industry, universities and other government agencies that will sustain them for years to come.

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Kansas State, University of South Alabama and the University of South Dakota Win NSF PIRE Awards

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is pleased to announce 14 new Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) awards, totaling more than $66 million over the next five years.

The awards will fund 14 lead U.S. institutions and U.S. partner institutions for collaborative projects involving international partners in 24 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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DRI Professor Joseph McConnell Finds Massive Antarctic Volcanic Eruptions Linked to Abrupt Southern Hemisphere Climate Changes Near the End of the Last Ice Age

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New findings published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS)by Desert Research Institute (DRI) Professor Joseph R. McConnell,

Ph.D., and colleagues document a 192-year series of volcanic eruptions in Antarctica that coincided with accelerated deglaciation about 17,700 years ago.

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UAB Researcher Identifies Key Factor in Gene Silencing

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A fertilized human egg develops into multiple tissues, organs and about 200 distinct cell types. Each cell type has the same genes, but they are expressed differently during development and in mature cells.

Understanding the mechanisms that turn sets of genes on or off is a fundamental quest in biology, and one that has clinical importance in diseases like cancer, where gene control goes awry.

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University of Delaware Professor Wei-Jun Cai Keeping an Eye on Ocean Acidification in Chesapeake Bay

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A research team, led by University of Delaware professor Wei-Jun Cai, has identified a zone of water that is increasing in acidity in the Chesapeake Bay.

The team analyzed little studied factors that play a role in ocean acidification (OA) — changes in water chemistry that threaten the ability of shellfish such as oysters, clams and scallops to create and maintain their shells, among other impacts.

The U.S. Geological Survey defines pH as “a measure of how acidic or basic water is.” The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with 7 considered neutral. A pH less than 7 is acidic, while a pH greater than 7 is alkaline (basic). Battery acid, for example, might have a pH of 1, while Milk of Magnesia might have a pH of 10.

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OU Astrophysicist Predicts Detached, Eclipsing White Dwarfs to Merge into Exotic Star

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A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist, Mukremin Kilic, and his team have discovered two detached, eclipsing double white dwarf binaries with orbital periods of 40 and 46 minutes, respectively. White dwarfs are the remnants of Sun-like stars, many of which are found in pairs, or binaries. However, only a handful of white dwarf binaries are known with orbital periods less than one hour in the Milky Way—a galaxy made up of two hundred billion stars—and most have been discovered by Kilic and his colleagues.

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