Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Awards: Faculty Research Support Program 2014-15

Subcellular Measurements with Pipette Imaging Mass Spectrometry
Lane Baker, Department of Chemistry

The goals of this project are to examine local protein composition at high resolution by combining nanoscale pipettes, scanning ion conductance microscopy and detection by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry.  We call this tool Pipette Imaging Mass Spectrometry (PIMS).  Development of this tool fills a critical need in measurement of at subcellular scales.  In general, a significant deficiency in resolution of mass spectrometric imaging exists, due in part to the volume of the sampling probe.  Addressing this deficiency has been difficult previously, as no generally applicable method for local, high-resolution sampling that is amenable to combination with mass spectrometry exits. 


Regulation of DNA Replication
Bell, Department of Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry

The decision to initiate DNA replication is a fundamental commitment in the life of cells.  The researcher has identified a novel regulatory circuit governing replication in archaea of the genus Sulfolobus.  As well as providing an experimantally tractabale model system, these findings have implications for the evlution of the complex chromosomes found in higher organisms.


Manipulating the compatibility of mental representations - a Quantum model approach
Busemeyer, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences

Traditionally, psychological research is based on classic probability. However, many empirical findings such as the conjunction fallacy whereby the conjunction is judged as more likely than the individual events, have long challenged this assumption. This project will attempt to account for conjunction and other effects by experimentally manipulating the key Quantum concept of compatibility which distinguishes it from classic theories. By validating the quantum model predictions for yet untested situations, the hope is to establish a firm foundation for a research program aimed at developing quantum models for complex social interactions by providing both “proof-of-concept” preliminary results and establish an experimental methodology.


Biophysical Chemistry of Energy Transduction in Unconventional Kinesins
Jared Cochran, Department of Biochemistry

Eukaryotic cell division requires force generation by cytoskeletal motors and microtubules (MTs) for distribution of chromosomes between daughter cells. Molecular motors called chromokinesins generate force away from the spindle poles during cell division, but the biochemical mechanism by which this kinesin class functions is not understood. How do different kinesins utilize distinct nucleotide mechanisms for force generation? What are the unique features in the catalytic domain that provide a structural basis to explain these differences in catalytic mechanism? Our experiments will provide a new understanding of the diverse mechanisms by which kinesins can function and will help understand the evolutionary development of kinesin motility.

Advancing Participatory Learning and Assessment in Online and Open Contexts
Daniel Hickey,
Counseling and Educational Psychology

This work will obtain additional evidence and proof of concept in developing open-source STEM educational modules using new participatory approaches to engagement, motivation, assessment, and accountability. These modules would be developed, refined, and validated in Biology and Pre-Calculus at Indiana University High School and then broadly disseminated as open educational resources.


Model-Based Guided Retrieval Practice System for Elementary Students
Jones, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences

This project is a pilot development and validation of a proposed automated education system for elementary students. The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration with Purdue to develop and test a system based on the BEAGLE model of semantic feedback to implement guided retrieval practice for optimal learning of STEM concepts in elementary classrooms.


Two promising NSF proposals: Animal migration and infectious disease; Androgens and aging
Ketterson, Department of Biology
Jonathan Atwell, Department of Biology

This award supports two proposals. Proposal 1, “Linking animal migration and infectious disease: patterns, processes, and predictions across the continent-wide range of a common songbird”, addresses the role of animal migration in disease prevalence, transmission, and virulence.  Proposal 2, “What goes up must come down: an experimental manipulation of reproductive effort to reveal mechanisms of aging, addresses whether androgens (testosterone) hasten the aging process.


Working with Weeds: Weeds as Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health and Organic Farm Success
Heather Reynolds, Department of Biology
James Farmer, Department of Recreation, Park &Tourism Studies

Cover crops are non-cash crops planted between cash crops. Reduced soil erosion and many other benefits make cover crops an important component of sustainable agriculture. This study will evaluate the ecological, economic and social dimensions of alternative cover crops in organic food production. Management of naturally occurring weeds as cover crops is an emerging practice with potential to reduce some of the cost barriers to cover crop adoption. Weeds can mine deep soil nutrients, stabilize soil, and foster beneficial microbes. The study will test weeds against standard practices, measuring a suite of ecological and socioeconomic variables to advance understanding of the plant-soil-microbial ecology of cover crops and social-ecological factors influencing farmer adoption.


Translational Control of Stem Cell Metabolism
Sokol, Department of Biology

Effective stem cell-based therapies for regenerative medicine require methods to control stem cell behavior. The conserved RNA-binding protein Lin-28 is an attractive target for such therapies: it is a general stemness factor and its elevated activity enhances tissue regeneration and pluripotent cell programming in vertebrate cells. However, essential details about Lin-28 - its mRNA targets, its mechanism of action, its regulation - are currently unknown and not easily determined in vertebrate systems. These questions are addressed in the fly model system.


Hydrological and Geological Controls on Hyporheic Exchange
Adam Ward
, School of Public & Environmental Affairs

Despite decades of research into hyporheic exchange and the associated ecosystem services, we lack even a crude framework to predict exchange fluxes and residence times, which determine hyporheic function, at the scale of stream reaches and whole networks. Through a telescoping experimental design observations will be made in an organized framework with increased replication in space and time compared to past studies of hyporheic exchange. This study will enable accurate prediction of hyporheic exchange and ecosystem services at the scale of whole stream networks.


A Foundation of Communication-Efficient Online Distributed Data Processing
Zhang, Department of Computer Science

In many modern data-management applications, data is distributed and continues evolving, while we want to maintain a centralized view of the global data set. Examples include large-scale environmental monitoring, wildlife tracking, network security monitoring, etc., where data is massive, distributed and real-time, but the computational resources are limited.  These problems can be mathematically modeled as a set of statistical, geometric and matrix problems.  Despite the recent popularity of this model, all existing studies target specific statistical problems. This project will lay a solid foundation for this model, including designing a solution framework for statistical problems, and extending the study to geometric and matrix problems.