Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Awards: Faculty Research Support Program-External Resubmission 2015-16

Making and the Public: Supporting Creative Engagements
Shaowen Bardzell, School of Informatics & Computing
Jeffrey Bardzell, School of Informatics & Computing

Creative IT practices have recently undergone drastic changes. In particular, computational hardware—not just software—is increasingly used as a material for creativity and innovation, including consumer-friendly sensors, microprocessors, e-textiles, networking technologies, actuators, and 3D printers. So-called “makers” hack, tinker with, repair, and digitally fabricate with such hardware as part of projects in robotics, bioart, and the Internet of Things. This research project extends the PIs’ prior NSF, private foundation, and industry grants to investigate the emerging potentials of making for computing innovation, the democratization of technology, and civic engagement.

Labor Market Outcomes for Asian Men and Women in the United States
Stephen Benard, Department of Sociology

This project evaluates the role of stereotypes in labor market evaluations of Asian Americans. Pilot data will be collected measuring stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Polyploid Cell Cycle Regulation and Genome Instability
Brian Calvi, Department of Biology
Claire Walczak, Medical Sciences Program

This project focuses on a variant cell cycle known as the endocycle (G / S cycle), which occur as part of normal development (e.g. human liver). It was discovered that endocycling cells in Drosophila repress apoptosis. The research team showed that when endocycles are inappropriately activated it causes genome instability. The goals of this project are to define the link between cell cycle and apoptosis regulation and the mechanisms by which endocycles cause genome instability. Aim I and II use the tools available in the genetic model organism Drosophila. Aim III then exploits the expertise of the lab to determine how an inappropriate switch to endocycles contributes to chromosome instability in human cancer cells, which could lead to new therapies.


Adrenal Androgens Regulate Aggression through Novel Actions of Melatonin
Gregory Demas, Department of Biology
These investigations will provide the first characterization of how the pineal hormone melatonin acts on the adrenal glands to regulate androgen release and aggressive behavior. While much focus has been on the central nervous system regulation of aggression, this research illuminates a novel peripheral mechanism underlying androgenic control of aggression and these studies will significantly enhance our understanding of the mechanisms controlling excessive aggressive behavior and violence. The findings from these studies will help develop an important animal model with which to explore the role of adrenal androgens on human aggression and violence.

Teacher Professional Development for Using PMC2E: A Conceptual Representation to Support Learning About Ecosystems
Cindy Hmelo-Silver, School of Education
The goal of this project is to help teachers learn how to teach systems thinking and develop and test an instrument to be used for looking at fidelity of implementation.  This will support external resubmission of an efficacy trial of the PMC-2E approach to teaching systems thinking.


The Efficacy of From Here to There: A Dynamic Technology for Improving Algebraic Understanding
David Landy, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Algebra is a foundational domain for understanding all areas of advanced mathematics. However, many middle and high school students fail to understand basic algebraic concepts. Much of the difficulty stems from failures to achieve algebraic literacy: a robust, intuitive understanding of how to create, transform, and interpret statements expressed in standard algebraic notation, and to grasp how those statements and transformations relate to situations outside formal expression languages. The larger goal of this project (including external funding) is to examine the efficacy of From Here to There (FH2T), an interactive touch-based application that allows students to dynamically interact with numbers and expressions. FH2T aligns attention, gestures, perceptual organization, and high-level mathematical concepts to improve literacy in algebraic notation and was developed in a previous IES CASL development grant. Smaller classroom studies have shown gains in student understanding after using this application.  We will examine the impact of FH2T on improving children’s procedural fluency, flexibility, and conceptual understanding of algebraic ideas by assigning FH2T as homework over an extended period in about 25 classrooms in public schools in Maine. The efficacy of FH2T will be compared with several other conditions, including other popular digital tools and ‘business as usual’. The structure of the experiment allows random assignment of students to condition, making a statistically powerful investigation. We will assess learning using locally developed pre-post tests, assess the fidelity of use of FH2T, and measure and analyze strategies.


Historical Demography and Population Behavior among Muslims in Russian Central Eurasia, 1928-1918
Edward Lazzerini, Department of Central Eurasian Studies
This team-driven project will create a massive database of vital statistics and social data from the metrical books compiled for Muslim subjects of the Russian Empire between 1828 and 1918. Local imams recorded the data annually for their respective parish communities at the time of life’s key events: births, marriages, divorces, and deaths. Our project’s initial phase will focus on Kazan city with its 18 mosques and roughly 1,000 metrical books. The data collected will provide more than 25,000 longitudinally linked individual records that will be analyzed with various statistical and other scientific methods and tools. The results will transform the way scholars describe the social history of late imperial Russia's Muslim subjects.


Exploring the links between surface temperature and forest cover in the Eastern U.S.
Kimberly Novick, School of Public & Environmental Affairs
Over the past century, surface air temperature has been increasing over the vast majority of the earth's surface, but there has been an anomalous lack of warming over the southeastern and south-central United States. Over the same time period, this region has experienced a remarkable land disturbance history characterized by widespread reforestation. This work supposes that these two trends are related, and will test the hypothesis that reforestation in the study region promotes increases in ecosystem sensible and latent heat flux that cool the surface to an extent sufficient to obscure long-term warming from climate change.


Designing a New Nexus: Examining the Social Construction of Electronic Tools and Materials to Broaden Participation and Deepen Learning
Kylie Peppler, School of Education
This research builds on prior NSF-funded studies of computational textiles, which explore the nexus of women’s craft and computing technologies. This work points to the ways that traditional crafting can help us reenvision the tools and materials in STEM education as key to both broadening participation and improving learning outcomes. This work will situate and extend this earlier work on e-textiles through systematic comparisons across a variety of new tools, materials, and practices used in electronics and computing to more fully theorize how their social construction shape learning and participation.


Preliminary Study of Socially Assistive Robotic Technologies for Sustaining Independent Living in Older Adults with Chronic Depression and Co-Occurring Physical Illness
Selma Sabanovic,
School of Informatics & Computing
This project explores how socially assistive robots (SARs) can be used in the homes of older adults diagnosed with depression as a cost-effective community-based rehabilitation intervention to help prevent independently-living individuals from entering long-term care. We will perform a “proof-of-concept” study during which 10 older adults will use a SAR (the PARO robot seal) in their homes for 3-4 weeks. During the field trial, we will collect and analyze robotic sensor data and information on participant activities and health status to identify how they can inform ongoing therapy. This is a collaboration between IU's Schools of Informatics and Computing and Public Health, and Centerstone Research Institute.


Ordering Crystaline Organic Thin Films by Molecular Design for Optimum Charge Transport
Steven Tait, Deparment of Chemistry
This project is to design and develop organic semiconducting materials that have integrated regions of electron rich and electron poor π surfaces in a single molecular component to enable highly controlled parallel packing in thin films. This encoding of functional groups to steer film structure will be augmented by further molecular design to allow excellent charge transport in the films. Thus, the molecule will be designed to steer crystal structure of the film, which will allow for tuning of electrical and chemical properties. This work addresses a critical problem in the utilization of organic semiconductor films, which is the need to optimize charge transport through these films through structural ordering and orientation control.