Tag Archive for Grants

NIH Grant will Support Taylor’s Drug Treatment Research

Erika Taylor

Erika Taylor

On June 15, Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies, received a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (part of the National Institutes of Health) to support her research on “Inhibition of (the enzyme) HeptosyltransferaseI for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infection.” Gram-Negative bacteria include things like E. coli, Salmonella, and V. cholerae (the cause of Cholera) that are common causes of food-bourne illnesses.

The grant, worth $492,000 will enable her to engage multiple graduate and undergraduate students in the proposed work through June 2018. Preliminary results for this project were obtained with the help of graduate student Joy Cote and Dan Czyzyk PhD ’15; and undergraduates Zarek Siegel ’16, Keonmin Hwang ’16, Noreen Nkosana BA ’11, MA ’13, and several others.

The current widespread use and misuse of antimicrobials has led to the emergence of bacterial resistance to many commonly used antibiotics, necessitating development of new drug targets. Lipopolysaccharides, a major constituent of the Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane, important for cell motility, intestinal colonization and bacterial biofilms formation, contribute substantively to antibiotic resistance by hampering antibiotic uptake. Inhibiting the synthesis of bacterial lipopolysaccharides results in bacteria that are unable to form biofilms and are more susceptible to antimicrobials.

The LPS heptosyltransferase enzymes investigated as part of this proposal are therefore potential targets for the inhibition of bacterial biofilm formation and the development of therapeutic agents.

“Every morning when you wake, you have a bacterial biofilm on your teeth,” Taylor explained. “Also, when you see/feel slime on a rock at the shore that too is likely from a bacterial biofilm (so long as it isn’t being caused by algae).”

Bacteria grow in biofilms to help enable survival under harsh conditions (including things like drying out, being exposed to highly acidic environments as happens in our mouths; biofilms also help bacteria resist UV-radiation and antibiotic treatments).

The project is intended to lead to the development of new antimicrobials for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections. The long-term goal of this work is the development of new drugs for the treatment of these infections, Taylor said. This work also could help in the prevention of secondary infections transmitted in hospitals because of the prevention of bacterial biofilms on things like catheters.

Loui Receives $200K Grant from Imagination Institute

Psyche Loui is assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior.

Psyche Loui is assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior.

Psyche Loui, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Imagination Institute’s Advancing the Science of Imagination: Toward an “Imagination Quotient” initiative. She will use the grant for the first longitudinal neuroscience study on the development of aesthetic creativity through jazz improvisation.

Loui’s was one of 16 projects to receive funding, out of an initial pool of 251 who expressed interest.

Learn more in this press release.

Grant Supports Kirn’s Research on Adult Neurogenesis

John Kirn

Professor John Kirn recently received a three-year $225,000 grant from the Whitehall Foundation to look at the activity patterns of vocal control neurons formed in adult zebra finches. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY

It may not be the most beautiful, or the most complex, or the most well known, but the simple song of the zebra finch is helping Professor John Kirn learn more about how new information is acquired and old information preserved during adult neurogenesis.

Students Receive Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Claudia Kahindi '18, left, and Olayinka Lawal '15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

Claudia Kahindi ’18, left, and Olayinka Lawal ’15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

#THISISWHY

Claudia Kahindi ’18 and Olayinka Lawal ’15 have received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch KIU, an English education project, in Kahindi’s home area of coastal Kenya this summer. Named for the Swahili word for “thirst,” KIU will serve more than 100 fourth-grade students at Kahindi’s alma mater, Kilimo Public Primary School, in Kenya’s Kilifi County.

Rutland to Serve as Visiting Professor at University of Manchester With Grant

Peter Rutland

Peter Rutland

Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, has won an $85,000 grant from the Leverhulme Trust to serve as a visiting professor at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom in 2016. There, he will be working on a research project titled, “Visualizing the Nation” with Manchester professors Vera Tolz and Stephen Hutchings.

The Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Manchester is a leading institution in the study of Russian television and mass media.

Rutland is also professor of government, professor of Russian and Eastern European studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies. From May to June 2015, he will be a visiting scholars in the Centre for European Studies at Australian National University in Canberra.

ICPP Receives $100K Doris Duke Grant

Wesleyan's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has received a $100K grant from the Doris Duke Foundation.

Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has received a $100K grant from the Doris Duke Foundation.

Wesleyan’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) has been awarded a four-year, $100,000 grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support the participation of low-income students and students of color in ICPP’s master’s and certificate programs through the ICPP Scholarship Fund.

Founded in 2010 and housed at Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, ICPP is a center for the academic study of the presentation and contextualization of contemporary performance, and offers an interdisciplinary, graduate-level education in innovative and relevant curatorial approaches to developing and presenting time-based art. Starting in July 2015, the institute will offer a master’s degree in performance curation. ICPP’s ten-month, post-graduate certificate program is now in its fourth year.

“We are extremely grateful for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s critical support for the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance’s expanded offerings,” said ICPP Director Samuel A. Miller ’75. “These funds will allow us to significantly enhance access to both our master’s and certificate programs.”

Hingorani Awarded Major NIH Research Grant

Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, was awarded a grant of $408,609 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the structure and mechanisms of DNA repair proteins responsible for fixing errors in the genetic code and preventing carcinogenesis.

The three-year grant will fund PhD and undergraduate students’ research on DNA mismatch repair (MMR). MMR corrects base mismatches and loops in DNA, and is therefore a critical guardian of genetic and cellular integrity. Defects in this essential, evolutionarily conserved DNA repair process cause high levels of mutations in the genome, which in turn lead to cancer. In humans, MMR defects manifest most frequently in a hereditary disorder known as Lynch Syndrome (LS), which substantially raises the risk of colorectal, endometrial and many other cancers.

A large number of MMR defects occur due to small, single-amino-acid changes in the MutS protein that initiates the repair reaction. Hinagorani’s research group has been investigating MMR proteins for the past 15 years. The group now has a detailed enough understanding of the MutS biochemical mechanism to determine how changing single amino acids affects MutS structure and function enough to disrupt MMR. In addition to experimental research, the project also builds on computational modeling done in collaboration with Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics David Beveridge’s group in the Chemistry Department, and Professor Saraswathi Vishveshwara’s group at the the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India. Beverage is also professor of chemistry. The researchers hope that by applying biochemical, biophysical and computational approaches in an interdisciplinary manner, students will gain new knowledge about MutS function and, thereby, a better understanding of the basis for its malfunction in cancer.

Petit Foundation Awards Grant to Green Street

Green Street

Green Street Director Sara MacSorley accepts a $12,500 grant from Dr. William Petit.

Wesleyan’s Green Street Teaching and Learning Center has received a $12,500 grant from the Petit Family Foundation to support the center’s Girls in Science Summer Camp. Green Street Director Sara MacSorley accepted the gift from Dr. William Petit.

The Green Street Girls in Science Summer Camp will take place August 3 – 7 and will be open to girls entering grades 4, 5, and 6. Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies, Ruth Johnson, assistant professor of biology, and Christina Othon, assistant professor of physics, will participate in the five-day program, covering topics from biochemistry to physics and culminating in a science showcase to share projects with family and friends. The camp will be held at Green Street, but students will also spend time in teaching labs on Wesleyan’s campus.

Gottschalk to Develop Course on “The Sacred” with NEH Grant

Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk is the recipient of a $20,000 National Endowment for the Humanities "Enduring Questions" grant.

Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk is the recipient of a $20,000 National Endowment for the Humanities “Enduring Questions” grant.

Professor of Religion Peter Gottschalk has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities “Enduring Questions” grant for approximately $20,000 to develop and teach a new course on different understandings of “the sacred.”

Over the last five annual competitions, this competitive grant program received approximately 200 applications each year on average, and funded only 19 awards each year.

GRAMMY Foundation Grant Supports Loui’s Research on Epilepsy Intervention

Psyche Loui uses equipment like EEG to run experiments on music perception and cognition.

Psyche Loui uses equipment like EEG to run experiments on music perception and cognition. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Psyche Loui, assistant professor of psychology, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, was awarded a grant of $20,000 in March from the GRAMMY Foundation Grant Program to study a musical biofeedback-based intervention for epilepsy.

The grant will fund three different studies that combine EEG sonification, translational research and basic neuroscience for this type of intervention. Loui anticipates that the results will apply music technology as a possible solution to a neurological disorder affecting 65 million people worldwide.

Loui noted that for the approximately one-third of patients with epilepsy who don’t respond well to seizure medication,

Green Street, PIMMS Benefit from 2 Grants

In January, two Green Street Teaching and Learning Center programs received grants.

Pratt & Whitney awarded Green Street with a $5,000 award to support its Discovery AfterSchool Program, which serves 80 Middletown students in Grades 1-8 each year. The program offers a range of classes in the arts, math, and sciences and helps children to build self-esteem and problem-solving skills.

Also, the Connecticut Mathematics and Science Partnership Program presented a $168,437 award to the Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) to support a continuation of PIMMS’ Intel Math Institute. The institute gets K-8 teachers excited about math, prepared for Common Core, and equipped with a toolkit of activities to bring key math concepts into their classrooms through the arts and more. The grant will also provide training for Cameron Hill, assistant professor of mathematics, to be a new Intel-trained instructor for the summer courses.

NEH Awards Haddad, Shieh with Research Fellowships

Sanford Shieh and Mary Alice Haddad recently received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Sanford Shieh and Mary Alice Haddad recently received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Wesleyan recently received two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The awards will support research by Wesleyan faculty Mary Alice Haddad and Sanford Shieh.

Mary Alice Haddad, associate professor of government, received a $33,600 grant for the NEH Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan project titled, “Environmental Politics in East Asia: Strategies that Work.”

“Japan has experienced some of the world’s most intense environmental crises and taken leadership roles in finding solutions,” Haddad said. “The Fellowship for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan will enable me to examine the ways that Japan’s experience has served as a model for encouraging better environmental behavior among individuals, corporations and governments in East Asia and the world.”

Sanford Shieh, associate professor of philosophy,