Dierker, Beveridge Receive NSF Grant to Expand “Passion-Driven Statistics” Project

Lisa Dierker, professor of psychology, and David Beveridge, professor of chemistry and the Joshua Boger Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, have received a four-year grant for $599,995 from the National Science Foundation’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) program.

This Phase II grant, awarded in August 2013, will support their work on “Passion-Driven Statistics: A multidisciplinary project-based supportive model for statistical reasoning and application,” which began with the development of the QAC 201 “Applied Data Analysis” course and will soon be implemented at other institutions.

Redfield Receives NSF Grant for Exoplanet Atmosphere Research

Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy, won a three-year grant for $341,039 from the National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants program to fund his research on “Accessing Atmospheric Properties of Terrestrial Exoplanets: Ground-Based Observations of Rayleigh Scattering and Extended Atmospheres.” The grant was awarded in August 2013.

Liberty Bank Supports Green Street’s AfterSchool Program

Liberty Bank presented a $5,000 grant to the Green Street Arts Center.

Liberty Bank presented a $5,000 grant to the Green Street Arts Center.

The Green Street Arts Center received a $5,000 grant from Liberty Bank in August. Green Street will use the award to support its Art and Science AfterSchool Program that serve students in grades 1 – 8.

Green Street’s integrative classes in art, math, and science foster creativity and build problem-solving skills in a safe space where students can express themselves.

MacQueen Wins Grant from NIH for Synaptonemal Complex Research

Amy MacQueen, assistant professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, has received a three-year grant for $372,445 from the National Institutes of Health Academic Research Enhancement Award program to support her research on “Structure and Dynamics of the Synaptonemal Complex.” The grant was awarded in August 2013.

Selya Receives NIH Funding for Adolescent Smoking Study

Ariel Selya, a visiting faculty in the Psychology Department, received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. The award came with a $54,890 grant, which will support her research on “System Dynamics and Dynamic Systems Modeling of Adolescent Smoking Development.”

Microgrid will Supply Power to Campus During Power Outage

The Central Power Plant team discusses the performance of the main “island mode” generator, located behind the wall on the left.

The Central Power Plant team discusses the performance of the main “island mode” generator, located behind the wall on the left.

Wesleyan’s Microgrid Project – which would allow the university to keep the lights on even during a massive power outage – was one step closer to reality last week with the award of a state grant for work on a specialized engine.

The grant, for $694,000, will pay to connect Wesleyan’s natural gas Combined Heat and Power (CHP) reciprocating engines to the campus electrical grid.

“The new microgrid will supply power to the campus 24-7,” said Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for facilities. “In the event of a power outage, the microgrid will power the campus in ‘island mode,’ enhancing Wesleyan’s ability to provide a safe environment for its students, faculty, staff and members of the Middletown community.”

Wesleyan’s grant was one of nine awarded to projects across Connecticut. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection pilot program for microgrids was launched in response to recent violent storms (Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy) that left some state residents without power for weeks.

“These projects will help protect residents and vital public services even when the power goes out,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in announcing the grants.

Grant Will Support Epilepsy Therapy Study at Wesleyan

Gloster Aaron, Jan Naegele and Laura Grabel.

Gloster Aaron, Jan Naegele and Laura Grabel.

Three Wesleyan professors have been awarded a four-year, $1.49 million grant by the state of Connecticut’s Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee. The grant will help fund research on using human embryonic stem cell-derived GABAergic neurons for epilepsy therapy, which is being conducted by Janice Naegele, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, Laura Grabel, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, Professor of Biology, and Gloster Aaron, associate professor of biology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior.

This grant was the largest single award to researchers in this year’s competition. Only 23 projects were selected to receive funds from a pool of 109 applicants.

“The potential to treat neurological disorders with human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons is enormous and relatively untested,” Naegele said. “The long-term goal of our research is to develop human stem cell-based cures for treating neurodegeneration, seizures and cognitive impairments in temporal lobe epilepsy.”

In patients who have an initial precipitating event, such as a head trauma, a severe seizure can cause a loss in inhibitory GABAergic interneurons. This, in turn, can dispose an otherwise normal brain to generate spontaneous seizures, a condition known as temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). These spontaneous seizures can further damage the hippocampus and lead to memory loss and other cognitive and emotional disturbances. Because nearly one-third of TLE patients are unable to control their seizures with drugs, Naegele, Grabel and Aaron are seeking novel, stem cell-based treatments for the disease.

They have developed methods for producing GABAergic progenitors from mouse and human embryonic stem cells. In their proposal for their grant, they proposed three projects to thoroughly evaluate grafts of these neurons in mice with temporal lobe epilepsy. In addition to the collaboration between the three Wesleyan labs, the researchers have established collaborations with colleagues at the University of Connecticut Health Center and the Yale University School of Medicine to provide additional expertise for this project.

Newman’s Own Foundation Supports Patricelli Internships

The Newman’s Own Foundation awarded Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship a $30,000 grant on June 17. The award will fund grants for students doing unpaid internships or other extra-curricular experiences in social justice, corporate responsibility, international development, and related fields.

Oladapo ’14 Receives Patricelli Enrichment Grant

Oladoyin Oladapo ’14

Oladoyin Oladapo ’14

Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 received a $500 Enrichment Grant in 2013 from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. This funding allowed her to get private training in HTML and JavaScript, which she will use in her entrepreneurial endeavors.

During spring break, she spent time learning programming languages with Brian Macharia ‘14, a computer science major who has professionally developed websites for companies and students internationally since he was 14.

“Learning to code in this short time was rigorous and challenging. I worked from 9 to 5 learning code. I worked on HTML for the first three days. This language was relatively easy for me, but JavaScript was a lot more difficult. There were many times I wanted to quit and give up but by the end of the day, the concepts made more sense to me. At the end of the two weeks, I was able to build a website, on my own! It was a very basic interface but I was proud of myself nonetheless,” she said.

Learn more about the grant online here.

NCAA Awards Wesleyan Athletics with a Ethnic Minority and Women’s Internship Fund

Mike Whalen, director of athletics and chair of the Physical Education Department, head coach of football, received a grant worth $40,200 to support an ethnic minority and women’s internship. The award was granted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and will support the internship through May 2015.

NCAA Division III strives to be a dynamic and engaging group of colleges, universities and conferences of varying sizes and missions, committed to an environment that encourages and supports diversity and inclusion, values fairness and equity, and places the highest priority on the overall educational experience of the student-athlete in the conduct of intercollegiate athletics.

To facilitate this effort, Division III continues to support the internship grant program with its member institutions and conference offices, to provide monetary grants for those institutions and conference offices seeking to create professional administrative opportunities for minorities and women, and to enhance diversity and inclusion within their athletics administrative staffs.