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Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Awards: Faculty Research Support Program 2013-14

Developmental Changes in Visual Environments: Faces and Objects
Linda Smith, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Visual experience depends on sensory-motor activities and thus must change systematically with developmental changes in motor development, for example, as infants shift from sitting to crawling to walking. Understanding the nature of these dependencies is critical to understanding the role of motor development in atypical developmental patterns and to creating effective therapies. The proposed research seeks for the first time to capture the visual environments of infants in their natural environment by equipping them with head cameras to wear in the home. Participants will be 1 to 24 months of age.

Topological Low Dimensional Electron Systems
Herbert Fertig, Department of Physics
This proposal outlines a research program related to electronic properties of low-dimensional systems, in which topology plays an important role, focusing on system with low-energy physics well-modeled by a Dirac equation. Such systems are remarkable from both the viewpoints of fundamental science and possible applications, because much of the physics they support has no analog in ordinary semiconductors and metals. Several different systems will be analyzed, including graphene and other materials subject to time dependent fields -- a new and growing area known as "Floquet topological insulators." Additional studies will include the physics of layered materials, and exotic states which could arise in these.

Absolute Neutron Measurements for the NIST Penning Trap Neutron Lifetime Experiment
William Michael Snow, Department of Physics
We propose to improve the measurement precision of neutron flux. This is needed for an upcoming  precision measurement of the neutron lifetime which in turn is needed to test the Big Bang theory of element formation and also to test weak interaction theory. My proposed development of absolute neutron flux measurement techniques also helps NIST program needs for calibration of the national neutron source NBS-1. The scientific interest in the measurement of the neutron lifetime measurement is high because different techniques are not giving consistent results.

Elucidation of the Pathways for Incorporation of Fluorescently Modified D-Amino Acids into Sites of Active Peptidoglycan Biosynthesis Model
Michael Van Nieuwenhze, Department of Chemistry
This project seeks to identify the pathways by which fluorescently modified D-amno acids are incorporated into bacterial cell walls (peptidoglycan). The proposed research will elucidate pathways for incorporation and use this information to develop experiments and systems that correlate protein localization and peptidoglycan biosynthesis. This work, involving collaboration with laboratories in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, will provide new data to support a subsequent federal grant application.

Engineering Decoys to Detect Pathogen Proteases and Activate Host Resistance
Roger Innes, Department of Biology
Many important plant pathogens, including many viruses, bacteria, and fungi depend on proteases to infect host plants. We are developing a novel method for engineering resistance to such pathogens based on detecting these specific proteases. We have established that this system works in Arabidopsis (a plant commonly used in the lab, but of no economic value), and now wish to show that the system works in soybean, a major crop plant in Indiana and the USA. A proposal submitted to the USDA to move this system into soybean received an excellent score, but fell just outside the funding range. We seek FRSP funding to obtain additional preliminary data to convince reviewers that this system will work in soybean.

Timing and Control of the Commitment to Gametogenesis
Soni Lacefield, Department of Biology
To form gametes, an external signal guides cells to stop proliferating and enter into a specialized cell cycle called meiosis. Inappropriate proliferation of cells during gametogenesis can cause germ cell tumors and result in ovarian or testicular cancers. The goal of our research is to understand how cells respond to external signals to maintain meiosis. Using budding yeast, we have developed microscopy approaches to monitor individual cells as we alter their extracellular environment. By mutating cell-cycle regulators and analyzing the resulting errors, we will determine how external signals regulate the cell cycle. Overall, our analysis will provide insights into how cancer cells proliferate irrespective of their extracellular signal.

Noninnocent Ligand Approach to Oxocarbon Reduction
Kenneth Caulton, Department of Chemistry
We propose to exploit a ligand class (L) designed for, and demonstrated to be, redox active (redox noninnocent), having structural flexibility, and modular, hence modifiable for optimization for challenging carbon oxide reductions.

XPS: FP: Language Support for the ParalleX Execution Model
Andrew Lumsdaine, School of Informatics and Computing
Thomas Sterling, School of Informatics and Computing
We will implement a number of micro-benchmarks to evaluate a programming interface, XPI, as well as the competing languages for productivity and performance. To establish a run-time performance baseline, we may also implement these micro-benchmarks in MPI -- as originally proposed. This experience will allow us to gain the working knowledge of these languages and runtime environments required to ultimately perform an accurate comparative evaluation of larger applications in future proposals.

Socio-eco-informatics: enhancing predictive capability of social ecological systems research
Beth Plale, School of Informatics and Computing
David Leake, School of Informatics and Computing
Xiaozhong Liu, School of Informatics and Computing
Informatics research played a key role as acknowledged by reviewers in the Center on Governance of Social-Ecological Systems proposal submitted to the NSF STC program. The research was seen as critical to advancing the utility of social ecological systems research through new development in such areas as predictive algorithms to determine outcomes from similar observed ecological governance settings. This proposal, which carves off a core piece of STC proposed effort and focuses on data of Lin Ostrom, addresses graph-based data models for semantic resolution to the Ostrom et al. conceptual framework; new data mining techniques for clustering; and privacy-respecting tools for rich query available through the Ostrom Workshop web site.

Generational Stigma: Tamil Drama Families and the New Indian Middle Class
Susan Seizer, Department of Communication and Culture
Building on previous research concerning the social stigma faced by professional South Indian theater artists, I propose a follow-up study on the everyday lives of members of subsequent generations of acting community lineages in the new India. In this longitudinal study, I am interested in how the changed context of an increasingly commercialized and globalizing Indian public sphere is affecting the possibilities for class mobility and the marital prospects of members of subsequent generations in the acting community i worked with in the early 1990s. I will conduct research among approximately 30 households, comprised of roughly 150 community members.

Flexibility in Trade Agreements
Mostafa Beshkar, Department of Economics
We study the trade-offs between flexibility, discipline, and credibility in international trade agreements within different institutional settings. This study is related to some of the most difficult challenges in coordinating commercial policies of different nations. The collapse of the Doha round of trade negotiations in 2008 was mostly attributed to an impasse over the design of flexibility measures for the agricultural sector. This project contributes to this debate by providing a framework to analyze the costs and benefits of introducing different flexibility mechanisms, such as Agricultural Safeguards, into the WTO agreement. This project also sheds light on the limit of international law and fairness of international institutions.

Investigating the Biochemical Function of Wolbachia Pipientis Type IV Effectors
Irene Newton, Department of Economics
The world’s most common intracellular infection, Wolbachia pipientis, infects 40-60% of insect species and is being used to prevent transmission of Dengue by mosquitoes. We know that the bacterium localizes within the germline of insects for efficient maternal transmission but know little about the molecular mechanisms behind host-bacterium interaction. We propose to investigate mechanisms used by Wolbachia for host infection, generating publications and preliminary data for external grant submissions.