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UAlbany Researchers are Given the Seeds to Fight COVID-19

The University saw 10 of the 24 research teams that submitted proposals for SUNY seed grants receive acceptance — a high success percentage. (Photo courtesy of SUNY RF)

The University saw 10 of the 24 research teams that submitted proposals for SUNY seed grants receive acceptance — a high success percentage. (Photo courtesy of SUNY RF)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 5, 2020) — The SUNY Research Foundation believes projects by 10 different collaborations of UAlbany faculty members show great promise in addressing challenges that confront society due to COVID-19. The Foundation has awarded them the seed funding to prove it.

Vice President for Research James A. Dias praised the work of the research teams, which comprised 37 investigators from more than 20 departments and centers that competed for and recently won COVID-19 SUNY Seed Funding Awards.

“In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the need for quick response and transformative research spanning the disciplines has perhaps never been greater,” said Dias. “With these SUNY seed funding grants in place, UAlbany researchers will be able to advance important pilot studies, generate critical preliminary data, and develop high-impact proposals necessary to secure federal funding and pursue transformative research in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.”

Satyendra Kumar, associate vice president for research in grants development, hailed the new projects as just one aspect of University faculty “stepping up to the challenge of applying for extramural funding at a higher rate than usual. UAlbany scholars responded to SUNY’s COVID-19 seed funding initiative by submitting 24 applications, with 42% awarded.”

In addition, Kumar noted UAlbany researchers’ response to NSF’s “Dear Colleague letter,” encouraging use of NSF’s Rapid Response Research (RAPID) funding mechanism regarding COVID-19 projects. “More than eight RAPID Letters of Intent were submitted in just the past one week, with more in progress, and two RAPID awards have been made,” he said.

UAlbany’s winning Seed Grant Funding projects are:

  • Exploring the Impact of Weather on COVID-19 Transmission in New York State using Mesonet Data. Principal Investigator (PI): Chris Thorncroft, ASRC
  • Visual Rapid Tests of COVID-19 Biomarkers for On-Site Diagnostics. PI: Mehmet Yigit, Chemistry
  • Tracking the Social, Psychological, and Economic Implications of COVID- 19 among SUNY Students and Families. PI: Benjamin Shaw, Health Policy
  • Novel Technology for Mapping the Spatial Structure of the Covid-19 Salivary Microbiome. PI: Alex Valm, Biology
  • Older Adults and COVID-19 (exploring the factors that impact decision-making by older adults). PI: DeeDee Bennett, CEHC
  • COVID-19 and the Black Church: Plans to Prosper and Hope in a Pandemic. PI: Julia Hastings, Health Policy/Social Welfare
  • An Assessment of the Produce Recovery and Redistribution System in New York’s Capital Region to Address Food Insecurity During COVID-19: Environmental and Health Impacts. PI: Beth Feingold, Environmental Health Sciences
  • Risk Communication for COVID-19 (ways of improving adherence to recommended personal actions). PI: Lisa McAndrew, Counseling Psychology
  • Multiplexed LAMP Assay for COVID-19 (developing an efficient, low-cost assay for influenza and Covid-19). PI: Sridar Chittur, Biomedical Sciences
  • Food Systems in Crisis: Dynamic Local Foodsheds as Safety Nets (rebuilding currently vulnerable food systems to protect the local foodshed). PI: Luis F. Luna-Reyes, Public Administration and Policy

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.