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Abstracts: Faculty Research Support Program 2010

Nanostructured Three--Dimensional Batteries For Electrical Energy Storage
Lyudmila Bronstein, PI
The goal of this proposal is to obtain collaborative preliminary results on the development of a new generation of nanostructured lithium ion-based polymer batteries and to gain fundamental scientific understanding of the processes occurring in these batteries. The batteries, combining high energy density, light weight, small footprint, design flexibility, and high mechanical stability with excellent electrochemical performance over a wide range of working temperatures, will be developed by incorporating the benefits of nanoscience into new battery technology. The transformative nature of this research is in exploring new battery architectures, the design of which will be directed by the multi-stage/multiscale simulation.

Communicating Across the Curriculum: Studying Students' Use of Drawings, Graphs, and Text in Diverse Disciplines
Joshua Danish, PI
Representations such as drawings, diagrams, and stories are central to how students learn in across the curriculum. Crucial to how students can benefit from using representations is an understanding of their representational practices--their beliefs and actions as they create representations in a particular context. However, prior work has focused on students' practices in only one domain. To overcome this limitation, we propose to document first grade students' beliefs, practices, and disciplinary learning as they create their own representations across four academic subjects of math, science, language arts, and visual arts. Findings will support researchers and practitioners who wish to leverage students' use of representations.

Electroweak Symmetry Breaking and New Physics at the Large Hadron Collider
Radovan Dermisek, PI
In the next few years our understanding of Nature at the very elementary level will be boosted by results from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that has recently started its operations. It is expected that we will discover the Higgs boson and new particles that are tight to electroweak symmetry breaking. As showed by the PI, in some of the best theoretically motivated scenarios the Higgs discovery requires new strategies. The goal of the research proposed here is investigation of supersymmetric models with minimal or extended Higgs sectors. The main emphasis of the project will be on implications of these models for the LHC. The results of the research proposed here might be directly linked to possible discoveries in near future.

Empowering Health Care with Innovative Technologies of the Semantic Web
Ying Ding and Yuqing Wu, Co-PIs
President Obama has made digitalizing medical records and providing efficient and effective medical service in the U.S. as one of his top priorities. Traditional data integration techniques relying on static mapping methodologies are unlikely to be scalable. In this proposal, we will advance Semantic Web (SW) technologies to the health care domain, with the specific focus on data integration, data retrieval, data navigation, and association discovery. Using a one-year pilot research project with the IUHC as a platform, we aim to provide service to the health care needs of IU students while producing proof-of-concept results that can demonstrate our research potentials in the context of future external funding.

The Impact Of Exercise On Fitness, Cognition, And Brain Health In Aging People
Peter Finn, PI
The overarching aim of the project is to provide a more comprehensive examination of the impact of high levels of exercise on brain health and domains of function that are critical to independent living and general health (executive cognitive ability, motor coordination and balance) in older populations and address some key issues in this literature in order to form the basis for an application (R01) for federal funding from the National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA has funding priorities for the examination of factors that affect cognitive functioning and motor coordination in the elderly.

Synthesis of Fluorescent Chloride Probes for In Vitro Studies
Amar Flood, PI
Research on chloride channels has provided few drug targets to combat diseases that result from a malfunction of these ion channels. This field has been slow to grow because the channel's structures and operating mechanisms have been difficult to elucidate. The advent of fluorescent probes for ions has provided real-time imaging of intracellular ion levels. Many of the existing probes, however, utilize turn-off behavior, which can lead to false responses. The purpose of this project is to use Flood's anion-receptor chemistry to synthesize and test bright, fluorescent indicators that selectively “turn on” with chloride binding. Positive in vitro testing will be used for NIH grant applications to study these molecules in drug discovery.

New routes to O/O Bond Formation using Greenhouse Gases CO2 and N2O. New and Efficient Routes to Catalytic Oxidation and Carbonylation Reactions
Daniel Mindiola, PI
Our project involves the joining of one O atom to a second O atom, but from an original approach; relevant to both energy conversion and energy research in general. In order to develop cleaner methods of energy alternatives, this proposed research will exploit the reactivity of two greenhouse gases, CO2 and N2O, for catalytic carbonylation and oxidation chemistry (O-atom delivery). The means of activating these kinetically resistant molecules will involve the combination of metal and ligand (non-innocent redox ligand) as an electron reservoir. We propose a rational approach to ligand design, synthesis to accomplish catalytic results relevant to the nation's energy needs and as targeted by the US Department of Energy.

Role of the Membrane in Virus Particle Stability
Suchetana “Tuli” Mukhopadhyay, PI
A class of viruses, called enveloped viruses, contains a host-derived lipid membrane as part of their overall structure. The objective of our work is to determine how the lipid membrane from a host cell is incorporated into the virus particle. We will use different host cells and a mutant virus to identify host and viral components that aid in lipid incorporation into the virus particle.

Do Children Lose More than a Home? The Effects of Foreclosure on Children's Educational Outcomes
Ashlyn Nelson, PI
This study proposes to examine the effects of the recent housing crisis on children and communities. The research employs a novel, spatially matched data set to empirically estimate the causal effects of foreclosure on education outcomes (achievement, attainment, attendance, and adverse disciplinary events) for children displaced due to foreclosure, as compared to outcomes for children residing in the same communities who are not displaced and outcomes for children who move for reasons unrelated to foreclosure. Further, the research will examine changes in community characteristics “including local school quality, segregation levels, and crime” for children who are displaced due to foreclosure or exposed to high neighborhood foreclosure.

Human Brain Connectivity Analysis: Application to Clinical Populations
Brian F. O'Donnell, PI
The human brain is composed of neurons, which generate and receive signals, which connected by axons, which transmit signals. Groups of neurons appear as grey matter and axons appear as white matter when visualized using a magnetic resonance image (MRI). A fundamental goal in human neuroscience is to generate a three dimensional map which represents the organization of gray and white matter connectivity in the brain. This project will employ MRI techniques to map the connection architecture of the brain in healthy adults and individuals with disorders which affect connectivity (schizophrenia and autism). New graph analytic computational methods developed by Olaf Sporns at IUB will be used to mathematically analyze network structure.

Getting to the CoRe of It! Transforming Preservice Teachers' Learning of Science
Meredith Park Rogers, PI
Throughout the research it has been noted that education majors, and specifically elementary education majors, have very weak science content knowledge. This results in them having difficulty sequencing lessons so concepts build off of each other in manner that makes sense, as well as difficulties with recognizing students' misconceptions. We propose education majors need the opportunity to begin thinking about how to teach content to others prior to their science methods courses in order to support their learning of the content. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to implement content representation (CoRe) tasks that will require students to think about key concepts needed for developing one's scientific literacy of earth pro

Hydrological Controls On Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Agricultural Landscapes: The Role Of Artificial Subsurface Drainage
Todd Royer, PI
This project will investigate a source of greenhouse gas emissions that has not previously been quantified. Specifically, the project will measure indirect emissions of important greenhouse gases from subsurface drainage systems in agricultural fields. Research outside of the U.S. indicates this pathway can be significant, but to date it has not been examined in the U.S. Thus, this project will provide the first measurements of this process for the U.S. and could lead to a reassessment of regional greenhouse gases fluxes from agricultural landscapes, such as the midwestern U.S.

Hormones & Health During The Peri-Menopausal Transition In Rural Bolivian Women
Virginia J. Vitzthum, PI
I will examine the changes in biomarkers (i.e., reproductive hormones, health indicators) that occur during the peri-menopausal transition in a sample of Bolivian women in which these measurements were first made 14 years ago (when their average age was 30 years). This will be the first evaluation of the relationship of these biomarkers at the peak of reproductive functioning to the changes that subsequently occur during the menopausal transition. These data are likely to yield novel insights into the determinants of women's reproductive functioning and health. FRSP funds are requested to support Phase 1 of this study, which will produce preliminary data to be included in proposals to NSF and NIH to support subsequent phases of the study.

Antitumor Marine Macrolides: Studies for the Synthesis of Unique Molecular Architectures
David R. Williams, PI
The purpose of this award is to explore innovative synthesis methodologies which provide efficient strategies for the rapid assembly of molecular complexity in the design of new antitumor marine natural products.