Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Abstracts: Faculty Research Support Program Awards 2011

Single-Cell Secretion Monitoring
James Glazier, PI, Department of Physics
The temporal and spatial dynamics of single-cell secretion can be quickly and precisely monitored if the size of the bio-sensor and cell-culturing chamber are comparable in size with the cells analyzed. Secretion within small volumes increases the speed of measurements by increasing concentrations and decreasing diffusion times. This project aims to test the feasibility of using an optical detection method, based on microcavity surface plasmon resonance (MSPR) biosensors, for quantifying the temporal and spatial dynamics of single-cell secretion in accordance with the above criteria. We will make a disposable biosensors-microfluidic chip to specifically and simultaneously assess the kinetic profile of secreted proteins from a single-cell.

Functional brain connectivity in schizophrenia: A cortico-cerebellar approach
William Hetrick, PI, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Dae Jin Kim, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
The cerebellum is a critical yet understudied node of the brain, representing one of the final frontiers in cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychopathology. We will determine the association of cerebellar functional activation and connectivity to cognition-relevant brain areas in individuals with schizophrenia during a task known to be a probe of cerebellar function. The proposed experiments address two critical knowledge gaps. First, what is the functional integrity of the cerebellum in schizophrenia in the context of a highly cerebellar-dependent task such as eyeblink conditioning? Second, how does the cerebellum functionally interact with cortical areas, and how are these interactions abnormal in schizophrenia?

Childhood Obesity Studies with Secure Cloud Computing
Raquel Hill, PI, School of Informatics and Computing
This collaborative project will apply cloud analysis techniques to health data linked to rich geolocation data coming from GPS sensors and accelerometers. Preliminary work with static location data showed promise--this project is needed to show that the richer time series information can be analyzed effectively and securely. This project will create on-demand, secure computing services for the processing of health data.

Investigation of Neutron Interactions with Xenon
Lisa Kaufman, PI, Department of Physics
This project will investigate fundamental interactions between low-energy neutrons and xenon. These interactions may be a background process for double beta decay experiments such as the Enriched Xenon Observatory (EXO) that wish to measure the fundamental properties of neutrinos using the Xe-136 nucleus. A high-pressure gas target cell will be constructed and installed in a neutron beam at Los Alamos National Lab to measure the products of these interactions and determine their significance to these neutrino experiments. These results will enable proper design and shielding techniques to mitigate these background processes for a future large-scale xenon double-beta decay detector.

Floating Thematic Templates and Chinese Sentence Comprehension
Charles Lin, PI, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
The question of how language users construct thematic relations in terms of "who does what to whom" is of central importance in sentence comprehension research. This study explores how dominant thematic templates (e.g., Agent-Verb-Patient in Chinese) guide comprehension in languages with head-final structures like Chinese. Reading and eye-tracking experiments will be conducted (using structural priming paradigm), in which the prime and the target sentences share and differ in thematic orders. The results will shed light on the Head-Driven Thematic Assignment Hypothesis (a new proposal on sentence processing & linguistic typology) and provide the basis for future research on the processing differences in languages that are typologically distinctive.

Investigating Fertility Patients' Lived Experience of Informed Consent
Jody Madeira, PI, Maurer School of Law
This research project will be the first to investigate infertility patients' lived experience of informed consent (IC) in in-vitro fertilization through in-depth qualitative interviews and quantitative survey methods to assess the range of fertility clinic IC practices. How closely do patients read these forms and how well do they understand them? Do patients seek to change these forms? How do extraneous factors, such as prior treatment experiences or patient relationships with and trust in fertility clinic personnel and treating physicians, affect IC? How are IC documents supplemented or supplanted by doctor/patient conversations, and how do physicians and fertility clinic staff members perceive patients and the IC process?

Development of a Drosophila infection model to study plague-insect vector dynamics
Melanie Marketon, PI, Department of Biology
Yersinia pestis, the cause of plague, has killed more than 200 million people and remains a problem. Plague is normally transmitted between rodents and to humans via fleas. Not all fleas are equally colonized by Y. pestis and transmission efficiency varies among flea species. The bacterial and host factors contributing to that variability remain a mystery. Because fleas are difficult to work with, we will investigate whether Drosophila can serve as a surrogate host for Y. pestis. The Drosophila Stock Center and the strong group of Drosophila researchers at IU Bloomington provides a network of resources not available for flea work. If successful, this project will enable identification of the key features of the plague-insect interaction.

Comparative ecological genomics in wild tomatoes using RNA-Seq
Leonie Moyle, PI, Department of Biology
This project is to sequence transcriptomes (all actively expressed genes) from 18 genotypes in the wild tomato group. These data will enable us to identify genes associated with ecologically and economically important natural variation across an entire group of diverse but closely related species. The project will generate comparative ecological genomic data unparalleled in any economically important plant group. The proposed research will produce at least three peer-reviewed publications, and provide essential proof-of-concept and preliminary data for three full federal grants.

A developmental study of the embodiment of arithmetic processing
Sharlene Newman, PI, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
When children are asked their age, they first hold up their fingers, even before the word is articulated. While this may demonstrate a relationship between finger and number processing, there is debate regarding the embodiment of arithmetic. A possible relationship is proposed: fingers and arithmetic share a sequence processing system. This hypothesis is tested by 1) examining the process overlap of finger tapping and addition; 2) examining the relationship between differences in sequential finger tapping performance and math ability; and 3) performing a training study to determine if sequential finger training impacts arithmetic. The findings may potentially impact pedagogy by including sequential finger movement exercises in math education.

Research in Data Intensive Cloud Programming
Judy Qiu, PI, School of Informatics and Computing
This project is to research Iterative MapReduce as a user-friendly, efficient cloud programming model with a focus on Computer Science research issues. In particular, we will address communication performance, fault-tolerance and storage issues, and combine new research with extending an open-source software Twister environment on both Azure and private Linux clouds. We will use bioinformatics and cheminformatics applications to motivate and validate our research results.

An Assessment of Biogenic Nitrous Acid Production in Soil Using Fluorescence In-Situ Hybridization (FISH) and Cavity Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy (CEAS)
Jonathon Raff, PI, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Jeffrey White, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
By combining techniques of atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemistry, the Raff and White labs seek to assess the contribution of ammonia-oxidizing microbes in soil to the nitrous acid budget in the atmosphere. Nitrous acid in the air above soil samples will be measured using cavity-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (CEAS) in an environmental chamber, and the presence of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in the soil will be verified using fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) techniques. The goal is to characterize this potentially important source of nitrous acid so we can assess its role in both air pollution and climate change.

Novel Optical Detection Techniques for Ion Mobility Spectrometry
Steven Ray, PI, Department of Chemistry
New strategies for the detection of important compounds of environmental, medical, and security interest are to be developed. Specifically, optical fluorescence detection will be used in ion mobility spectrometry, greatly improving the specificity of the analytical technique and creating new and exciting capabilities.

Application of Model Selection Methods to Gene Expression Data and Gene Clustering
Guilherme Rocha, PI, Department of Statistics
Microarray technology provides measurements of the activity of thousands of genes in samples from organisms under different conditions. Large volumes of data are involved, so sophisticated statistical methods are needed to make efficient use of microarray data. This research project describes statistical methods developed to analyze microarray data collected for Onthophagus taurus, a model organism for studying genetic mechanisms of evolution and environmental effects on organisms. Funds provided in support of this project will be used in deepening collaborations between IU statisticians and biologists; developing novel methods to analyze microarray data; and adapting such methods to data from other model organisms.

What do scientsists know about healthcare-associated infections, and when do practitioners listen to them?
Fabio Rojas, PI, Department of Sociology
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as MRSA kill thousands every year. As a consequence, billions of dollars have been spent on basic science and clinical research. We know little about how this knowledge is translated into practice. I propose to conduct a survey of Indiana nurses to measure what they know about HAIs and compare that to what is learned from content analysis of HAI research.

The Early Statistics of Visual Objects
Linda Smith, PI, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
The statistical structure of the visual world is well reflected in the mature human visual system. However, we know absolutely nothing about the regularities that characterize early visual experiences, the experiences that may play the most potent role in building that system. Recent work shows that visual object-recognition changes dramatically in children between 12 and 30 months. The goal of this work is to capture and analyze the statistical regularities across the individual instances of 100 early-learned noun categories and to measure the relation between these statistical regularities and developmental changes in early visual object-recognition.

A New Map of Knowledge: Using academic genealogy to understand relationships among disciplines
Cassidy Sugimoto, PI, School of Library and Information Science
The objective of this study is to create a map of knowledge that will provide a more nuanced understanding of the relationships among disciplines, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. Current maps of knowledge, based largely on journal citations, largely overrepresent some disciplines and marginalize others. This work proposes that a more accurate portrayal of the scholarly landscape can be created through the use of academic genealogy chaining, using more than 2.7M dissertations from 2000 schools and 66 countries. This work will be of interest to science policy makers, historians of science, administrators, and all those interested in the creation of new disciplines and the diffusion of knowledge.

Toward a Photon Detection System for a Large Liquid-Argon Neutrino Detector
Jon Urheim, PI, Department of Physics
We are proposing to further develop a novel concept for the detection of scintillation light produced by particle interactions in a large volume of liquid argon. A system based on this concept would play a critical role in an ambitious multi-institutional particle physics experiment known as "LBNE", being proposed to the U.S. Department of Energy. The proposed project would build on encouraging preliminary results obtained by a group at MIT as well as our own group at IU. Our work will be focused toward a small-scale prototype of this photon detection concept, the achievement of which would present opportunities for attracting significant external funding.

Developmental Plasticity Studied Through Metabolomic Profiling
Michael Wade, PI, Department of Biology
Armin Moczek, Department of Biology
We propose to investigate the mechanistic basis of developmental plasticity by quantifying individual variation in insect hormones.

A Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging System for Quantification of Protein Dynamics
Claire Walczak, PI, Medical Sciences Program
Roger Innes, Department of Biology
Sidney Shaw, Department of Biology
Ke Hu, Department of Biology
We propose to upgrade a spectral confocal microscope in the Light Microscopy Imaging Center (LMIC) that adds fluorescence lifetime imaging, photoactivation, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, and photon counting modules. These additions will allow researchers to look at dynamic protein-protein interactions in cells, to measure turnover of subcellular components, to determine the molecular diffusion constant of fluorescent molecules, and to count the number of proteins resident in a specific complex within living cells. Together, the addition of the new components would allow the LMIC to provide significant new technologies to IU Bloomington scientists.

Understanding Active Vision and Sensorimotor Dynamics in Autistic and Typically Developing Children
Chen Yu, PI, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
David Crandall, School of Informatics and Computing
This project seeks to develop a set of novel data collection and analysis methods that will allow us to document and describe the dependencies and fine-grained sensorimotor patterns in child-parent interaction from both typically developing children and autistic children, and determine how they organize early social communication in toddlers. We believe that with advanced sensing and computational techniques applied to an important topic related to child health and early education, the proposed study has the potential to attract external funds from multiple resources and different funding mechanisms.

Nano Scale Transmission Electron Microscopy Studies of Mineral-Water Interfaces
Chen Zhu, PI, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
This project will utilize the newly acquired high-resolution transmission electron microscope at IU Bloomington to study the mineral feldspar-water interfaces. Zhu et al. (2006) discovered a 10-nanometer thin amorphous film on naturally weathered K-feldspars in the Navajo sandstone in Arizona. If such an amorphous layer occurs widely on mineral surfaces that have been reacting with water for geological time, we need to redefine what a mineral-water interface is and revise the current theories of geochemical reaction kinetics, which are based on surface controlled reactions. The origin and nature of such an amorphous layer can be revealed by chemical compositions in the amorphous zone and by cross-sections across the amorphous layer-crystalline solid.