Getting Transformational

$500,000 Presidential Innovation Fund launches a new round of faculty endeavors.

The Presidential Innovation Fund for Research and Scholarship was created to support the growth and diversification of UAlbany faculty scholars. (Photo by Paul Miller)

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 25, 2017) – Twelve diverse, faculty-led projects with the potential to grow new lines of research, scientific inquiry and artistic expression are on tap via the newly announced second round of the Presidential Innovation Fund for Research and Scholarship (PIFRS).

2016-17 PIFRS projects encompass a wide range of topics, including opioid addiction, big data science, technology developed for dark matter to detect a hidden dirty bomb, hormone regulation and e-health literacy for young adults.

The $500,000 program, created to support the growth and diversification of UAlbany’s faculty scholars, provides highly competitive seed funding while positioning scholars to better compete for large-scale, interdisciplinary, multi-investigator extramural awards.

“The Presidential Innovation Fund for Research and Scholarship is an example of our steadfast commitment to support our talented faculty in their research and scholarly pursuits,” said UAlbany Interim President James R. Stellar. “The projects advanced by this year’s awardees truly exemplify excellence across a broad range of critical disciplines, and we are proud to help lift up this transformative work.”

Vice President for Research James Dias noted that the competitiveness of UAlbany faculty scholars is essential to raising the institution’s overall research profile among top U.S. universities. “The Presidential Innovation Fund is specifically designed to achieve this goal,” said Dias, “and in so doing to create new pathways to pursue novel discoveries, innovation and commercialization, while at the same time contributing to a skilled workforce and enhancing the local, state and national economy.”

This year’s PIFRS program attracted a total of 65 applications. After a rigorous competitive review process, 12 projects were selected for awards of up to $50,000 each. These one-year projects will commence in February 2017. The funded principal investigators and their respective projects for each of the five research categories are:

Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Adam Frelin, associate professor, Art & Art History
    Breathing Lights: Definitive Document and Best Practices Guide for Arts Engagement Around Issues of Vacancy and Disinvestment
  • Tomoko Udo, assistant professor, Health Policy
    Enhancing the Role of Emergency Departments in the Fight against the Opioid Epidemic: Preliminary Evaluation of Take-Home Naloxone Program
  • Brendan Gaesser, assistant professor, Psychology
    Albany Moral, Mind, Brain, and Behavior (M2B2) Speaker Series
Life Sciences and Biomedical Research
  • Damian Zuloaga, assistant professor, Psychology
    The Hormone Regulation and Function of a Sexually Dimorphic Hypothalamic Nucleus
  • Paul Agris, professor,  Biological Sciences and Chemistry
    Unique Drug Resistant Target and New Chemical Entity Against MSRA and other Gram Positive Pathogens
Health Disparities
  • Hyunok Choi, assistant professor, Environmental Health Sciences
    Home Antenatal Environment, Maternal Exposures, and Well-being of the Young
  • Jennifer Manganello, associate professor, Health Policy
    Get Health’e’: Using Digital Badging to Improve ehealth Literacy Skills for Young Adults

Engineering, Applied Sciences & Advanced Data Analytics
  • Xiaobo Xue, assistant professor, Environmental Health Sciences
    Quantifying Productivity and Environmental Impacts of Integrated Agriculture in New York State: Informing the Transition to Sustainable Food Production
  • Jeong-Hyon Hwang, associate professor, Computer Science
    A Systems-Oriented Framework for Mining Complex Subgraphs
  • Yiming Ying, associate professor, Mathematics and Statistics
    Advanced Metric Learning for Big Data

Homeland Security, Extreme Weather Resiliency, Forensics & Cyber Security
  • Matthew Szydagis, assistant professor, Physics
    Developing Superheated Xenon Detectors for Use as Cargo Monitors to Detect Neutron Emission From Fissile Material
  • Eric Stern, professor, College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security & Cybersecurity
    Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Studies: A Multi-Disciplinary Research Development Workshop

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