Noteworthy: Research grants, awards and publications

A woman with short black hairr in a bejeweled baby blue top smiles for a portrait against a gray backdrop.
Annalisa Scimemi, associate professor of biological sciences, received $461,104 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke to support research into the neuronal circuits involved in spatial map representation. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Sept. 28, 2023) — The latest developments on University at Albany faculty and staff who are receiving research grants, awards and other noteworthy attention.

  • Alan Chen, associate professor of chemistry in the RNA Institute, was awarded $244,450 from the National Institutes of Health to purchase a high-performance computing cluster to support his existing NIH-funded project titled “Thermodynamically Calibrated RNA Simulations to Decode Mechanisms of RNA Molecular Recognition.” This new equipment will enable the development of advanced computer simulation algorithms for predicting RNA structure, function and dynamics using a combination of physics-based and AI/machine learning-based approaches, and will facilitate new collaborative projects within the RNA Institute and with materials chemists working in ETEC, as well as with external biotech industry partners.
  • English Professor Mike Hill was a recent guest on the University of Minnesota Press podcast, where he discussed his book, On Posthuman War: Computation and Military Violence. In the episode, titled "Have we ever been civilian? On war's expansion beyond the battlefield," Hill explores three human-focused disciplines newly turned against humanity (demography, anthropology and neuroscience). Listen to the discussion here.
  • Elizabeth Jach, assistant professor in Educational Policy & Leadership, has been awarded a 2023-24 Richard P. Nathan Public Policy Fellowship with the Rockefeller Institute of Government. As part of her fellowship, Jach will examine allyship and advocacy with undocumented students, with particular attention to undocumented students’ pursuit and completion of higher education and how policies at the federal, state, and higher education levels can support that pursuit. Jach also received a 2023 Paul P. Fidler Research Grant for her research, Examining Social Support and Internalized Sexism among Sophomores on Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Teams. This grant through the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina supports research on college student transitions and includes a stipend, travel to two national conferences, a presentation at a national conference, and priority consideration for publication.
  • Mariola Moeyaert, associate professor in Educational and Counseling Psychology, has been awarded a competitive research grant from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Research for her research, Statistical analysis and meta-analysis of single-case research data. This grant will fund a research stay at Yokohama City University in October/November.
  • Annalisa Scimemi, associate professor of biological sciences, has received $461,104 from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke to support her project titled “Presynaptic Modulation of Synaptic Inhibition onto Hippocampal Pyramidal Neurons.” This work seeks to advance understanding of neuronal circuits involved in spatial map representation — how space is represented and interpreted in the brain — and will support future strategies to treat diseases associated with hippocampal neural circuit dysfunction such as epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder. 
  • Hung-Bin Sheu, associate professor in Educational and Counseling Psychology, has been named a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 17, Society of Counseling Psychology. The fellowship is an honor bestowed upon members who have made “unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology."
  • Sara Zahler, assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, shares her research on Spanish linguistics in a new book titled Study Abroad and the Second Language Acquisition of Sociolinguistic Variation in Spanish. Zahler was co-editor of the book, which was published this summer by the John Benjamins Publishing Company in its series, Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, and examines how learners acquire sociolinguistic features of Spanish while studying abroad in the Spanish-speaking world.