Recent Faculty Grants


Louisa Burnham (History) has been awarded the H. P. Kraus Fellowship for short-term research at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University. She will spend a month in Fall 2018 during her academic leave consulting manuscripts in the Mellon Alchemical Collection at the Beinecke for her current book project on Limoux Negre, a fourteenth-century alchemical heretic in southern France.

Lesley-Ann Giddings (Chemistry & Biochemistry) has been awarded a grant from the Vermont Water Resources and Lakes Studies Center to support a research project titled, “Trails to remediation:   the effects of global warming on the acidmine drainage microbiome at Ely Copper Mine in Vershire, VT”       This research will involve at least two Middlebury undergraduate students.      The grant is made possible by funding that the Center received from the U.S. Geological Survey.   One goal of this research is to better understand how microbes and their corresponding genes could be used as tools to restore the water quality at Ely Copper Mine to preserve Vermont’s natural resources.     

Grace Spatafora (Biology) has been awarded a grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This five year grant provides continued funding for her ongoing research which focuses on how S. mutans, an oral bacterium, causes tooth decay. Over the course of the grant, at least 15 undergraduate students will be involved in this research as well as collaborators at various other institutions. This is the eighth NIH grant that Spatafora has received in her career at Middlebury. The grant is titled, “Investigating SloR virulence gene metalloregulation in Streptococcus mutans.”

Daniel Scharstein (Computer Science) has received his sixth grant from the National Science Foundation to continue doing computer vision research with Middlebury undergraduates. Titled “Benchmarks and Algorithms for Mobile Image Matching”, the goal of this research is to provide new datasets and image matching algorithms to enable 3D reconstruction with mobile phones. At least seven undergraduate students will be supported with this grant.

William Amidon and Jeffrey Munroe (both Geology) and a colleague at North Dakota State University have received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s P2C2 program (Paleo Perspectives on Climate Change). Their project, titled “Combining Glacier and Paleolake Records to Limit Latest Pleistocene Climate Change in the Northern Great Basin,” will document changes in the size of ancient glaciers and lakes in northern Nevada to reconstruct changes in precipitation and temperature during the last glacial period. Understanding how the distribution of surface water changed in the western U.S. during the last major episode of warming climate will help improve models of future water availability in the most arid part of the US. The research will involve at least two Middlebury undergraduate students.

Michael Linderman (Computer Science) has received funding from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai to continue his participation with a research project funded by the National Institutes of Health. Linderman will develop software for identifying potentially disease-causing structural, genetic variants from whole genome sequencing data in children with congenital heart defects (CHD) and associated neuro-developmental disorders. CHDs are a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. Genetic factors are thought to be the primary contributor to CHDs, but identifying specific disease-causing genetic variants in most cases remains a challenge.

Amanda Gregg (Economics) and a colleague at Williams have been awarded two-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a research project titled Corporate Law, Finance, and Productivity in Historical Perspective. The grant provides funding for the collection and analysis of firm-level data describing Russian corporations before the October Revolution of 1917. This historical project speaks to the role that legal institutions, corporate governance, and finance play in the process of economic development and because the data relates to the former Soviet Union, the result will be particularly relevant for Eastern European countries. Undergraduate student researchers will be involved in all aspects of the research, with four supported by grant funding.

Frank Winkler (Physics, Emeritus) has received a three-year research grant from the National Science Foundation (through NSF’s Research in Undergraduate Institutions initiative) for a project titled Completing Studies of Supernova Remnants and the Interstellar Medium.      The primary goal of this grant is to bring several projects, most of them work undertaken with former students, to final publication.  Prominent among these is completing a three-decade-long study of the evolving remnant from the supernova of 1572 C.E., long associated with the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.  Another major project is completing the Middlebury Emission-Line Atlas of Galactic Supernova Remnants, which has resulted from Winkler’s work with numerous students and professional collaborators