Science and Mathematics Faculty Grants 2013-2014

Mark Spritzer (Biology) has been awarded an R15 research grant through the National Institutes of Health’s AREA (Academic Research Enhancement Award) program. This grant will support work to investigate the effect of testosterone replacement on the spatial working memory of hypogonadal aged male rats. It will fund research equipment, supplies, and travel to conferences and will involve at least 18 undergraduate research assistants over the next three years.

Will Amidon (Geology)  has been awarded a fellowship from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation for a project titled Rediscovering Geochronology. The grant will enable Will to spend four months during his 2014-15 leave in Lorraine, France at the Centre de Recherches Petrographiques and Geochemiques fulfilling personal and professional goals related to doing geochronological research and incorporating new techniques into project-based based learning at Middlebury.    

Eilat Glikman (Physics) has received a grant from Research Corporation, a private foundation that aids basic research in the physical sciences. This research will study growing super-massive black holes (aka quasars) and the effects they have on their host galaxies. Since all galaxies are believed to grow a black hole at some point in their history, this research will help explain how the galaxies we see today, such as the Milky Way, formed their detailed structure. At least three undergraduates will be involved in this work over the next two to three years. The project is titled Quasar/Galaxy Co-Evolution Caught in the Act: Understanding the Physics of Feedback.

Frank Winkler (Emeritus Professor, Physics) has been awarded funding from the NASA-funded Space Telescope Science Institute for a his role in a collaborative research project led by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University. This project, involving new  observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, is titled Discovering and Characterizing the Young Supernova Remnant Population in M101. The team will use will use the new data, archival Hubble images, and data from other space- and ground-based observatories to better understand the types of stars and general environment that lead to stellar explosions known as supernovae.

Will Amidon (Geology) has received funding from the Scottish University Environmental Research Center as part of a collaborative research project on the paleo-seismic history of the Hat Creek Graben in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The overall project is funded by Pacific Gas & Electric in order to better understand earthquake and other hazards related to their dams and other infrastructure in the area. At least four undergraduates will be involved in this research.

Clarissa Parker (Psychology & Neuroscience) has received a 2013 NARSAD (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression) Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation that wholly funds her project titled Genome-Wide Association for Conditioned Fear in the Diversity Outbred Mouse Population. The grant provides materials and supplies for two years of research into genetic influences on fear in mice, which may have implications for anxiety disorders in humans.

Eilat Glikman (Physics) has received funding from the NASA-funded Space Telescope Science Institute to continue her ongoing research related to observations made by the Hubble Space Telescope. The main goal of this project, titled Testing the Merger Hypothesis for Black Hole/Galaxy Co-Evolution at z-2, is to image the host galaxies of rapidly growing black holes to test whether galaxy mergers provide the necessary fuel that feed the growing black holes.

Daniel Scharstein (Computer Science) has been awarded a grant through the National Science Foundation’s RUI mechanism for his project titled Image Matching in the Wild. The project aims to improve the way that stereo-vision and optical-flow algorithms work in the presence of common challenges such as reflective surfaces, lighting changes, imperfect calibration, and unknown acquisition conditions. The award will fund materials and supplies for three summers of research, conference travel, and research stipends for six undergraduate students.

Vermont Genetics Network grants for Research in the Biomedical Sciences
Middlebury College is one of the baccalaureate partner institutions participating in a major grant from the National Institutes of Health to the University of Vermont. This grant continues the Vermont Genetics Network support that has been a significant source of funding for faculty and student research in the past decade. This year, Mark Spritzer (Biology) received support for ongoing research related to adult neurogenesis (title: Effects of Social Interactions on Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Adult Male Rats). The grant provides funding for summer effort in 2013 and includes a stipend for one undergraduate student; another of his students will receive a stipend through a separate VGN grant.

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