Category

The Research University (TRU)

Home / The Research University (TRU)
AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Gut Microbiomes of Hunter-Gatherers: Roles of Diet and Helminths: University of Pennsylvania

Sarah Tishkoff

[email protected]

The human gut contains microorganisms (gut microbiome) that have complex interactions with one another and their human hosts. Recent research on microbiome diversity and composition has shown that the gut microbiome (GM) has a large influence on nutrition, metabolism, and immune response. These studies have focused primarily on urban populations from industrialized countries that have increased access to health resources and diets enriched in highly-processed food. However, less is known about the GM in non-industrialized settings. The shift from hunting and gathering to agriculturalist and pastoralist practices occurred relatively recent in human history (within the last 10,000 years), and modern hunter-gatherers may possess novel GM composition. This project will study the GM of African populations who have adapted to a range of environments and foods as they spread through the continent, to understand how GMs have co-evolved with their human hosts and with human parasites. The research will expand what is known about normal human variation in GMs, and how differences in the microbiome (including in the industrialized world) may influence health. The project will support teaching and training opportunities for students, local community outreach, education and capacity building at the study sites, and international collaborations.<br/><br/>This research will assess fundamental questions about human adaptation and biology by characterizing GMs and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) and schistosomiasis (collectively referred to as helminths) parasite infections across ethnically and geographically diverse African populations with a range of subsistence practices. Fecal samples, ethnographic data, and nutrition surveys will be collected from African pastoralists, agriculturalists, and hunter-gatherers. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) will be used to test fecal DNA for several common species of helminths, including the giant roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides and fluke Schistosoma mansoni. Next-generation sequencing of 16S ribosomal bacterial and archaeal DNA (16S rDNA) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) region of fungal DNA will characterize GMs, and association testing will be done on GM composition and diversity with diet, subsistence, geography, presence, absence, and abundance of helminths, and genetic ancestry. The research expands knowledge of the spectrum of normal human variation in GM and the impact of helminth infection on GM composition. This project is also of broader significance for global public health since helminth infection is a major disease burden in Africa. This project can increase our biomedical understanding of the distribution of helminths and their relationships with GM composition as potentially correlated factors in the pathogenesis of disease.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Determinants of Colobine Abundance: Implications for Theory and Conservation: University of Florida

Colin Chapman

[email protected]

A fundamental issue in ecology is determining what factors regulate the density of animal populations. This issue has become increasingly important as ecologists are asked to apply their knowledge to assist conservation biologists to construct informed management plans for endangered species. With respect to primates, the importance of these theoretical issues has become critical, because most primates are found in tropical forests that are increasingly impacted by humans. Furthermore, primates constitute a major component of the vertebrate community in most tropical forests, and their ecological role is of considerable importance. However, understanding and predicting factors that determine the abundance of primate species has proven extremely difficult. Numerous studies of forest primates have revealed a high degree of variation among sites in density, but there have been few direct tests of general hypotheses proposed to account for this variation. <br/><br/>The objective of this project is to build upon extensive long-term data on the red colobus (Procolobus badius) and black-and-white colobus monkeys (Colobus guereza) of Kibale National Park, Uganda to provide insight into the fundamental question of what determines primate abundance. To address this question the researcher will take two approaches. 1) Behavioral Responses to Changing Food Availability and Quality – In areas where food is scarce and of low quality primates should behave differently than in areas where high quality foods are readily available. These behavioral differences should provide insight as to how different components of food availability and quality influence primate density. Chapman will take advantage of seasonal (24 months) and spatial (pristine forest, logged forest, forest fragments) variation in food availability and quality to examine behavioral responses to changing environmental conditions. 2) Correlating Primate Abundance to Food Abundance and Quality for Populations at Equilibrium – The most direct means of examining the relationship between population density and food availability/quality would be a correlational one. However, this approach requires knowing that the populations are at equilibrium. If some populations were not at the carrying capacity because a factor, such as a disease, has temporarily reduced their numbers, then food availability and quality would not correlate with primate density, when in fact it may typically regulate primate numbers. Long-term research at Kibale offers a means to circumvent this limitation. In the foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains adjacent to Kibale National Park, there are approximately 40 crater lakes. These crater lakes represent a series of "experimental test-tubes" in that the forest in that each varies in extent and composition, and one can investigate how this variation in forest structure influences their primate populations. In 1995, the researcher surveyed primate communities in 20 of these forest fragments to determine the abundance of black-and-white colobus and the presence or absence of red colobus. He will repeat this survey with two goals: 1) For the black-and-white colobus populations that are found to be at equilibrium, they will directly test for relationships between indices of food availability/quality and black-and-white colobus density. 2) For red colobus populations they will see if indices of food availability and quality can predict their presence or absence in a patch.<br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

U.S.-Turkey Cooperative Research: Museum Audio-Visual Information Management Systems: University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Ahmed Tewfik

[email protected]

9406954 Tewfik Technical Narrative: This is a cooperative research project between the University of Minnesota and Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. The investigators are electrical engineers who propose to address the signal processing issues that arise in the design of an Audio-Visual Information Management System (AVIMS). Specifically, the project will advance the technology so that users in the United States will have interactive access to the database of the Topkapi Palace Museum, one of the finest archaeological museums in the world. The database of this museum contains images of Ottoman calligraphic documents and illuminated manuscripts, images of objects, speech signals, and some video signals. A major challenge in building an AVIMS for such a collection of data is to provide users with the capability of querying documents based on a keyword, audio or visual feature or subject. To render the database more accessible to a wider audience in static and mobile settings, the investigators (Drs. A. Tewfik from the University of Minnesota and E. Cetin from Bilkent University) will provide tools to deliver Ottoman manuscripts in a spoken format. Ottoman documents will be recorded in spoken form by experts familiar with the archaic Ottoman script. Users will be provided with the capability of playing the recorded and compressed signals at various speeds with minimal distortion. Time-scale modification will also be used to mask most of the random delays that occur during the transmission of audio data over computer networks. Project funding will enable the two teams to work together in both Minneapolis and Ankara. ***

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

US-India Cooperative Research: Interrogative Synthetic Environments: University of Texas at Austin

Chandrajit Bajaj

[email protected]

9987409<br/>Bajaj <br/><br/>Description: This award supports the US-India Cooperative Research: Interrogative Synthetic Environments. US PI Chandrajit Bajaj, University of Texas at Austin and Indian collaborator, Sanjiv Kapoor, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi will conduct research to develop new algorithms, data structures, and interaction protocols to support the creation, visualization, querying and shared interaction with large synthetic environments. Research challenges include: accurate creation of a geometric description of the elements that form the 3D scene; visualization of the large amount of constantly changing geometric and physical information; support of fast queries for quantitative interrogation of the environment, and simulation of realistic physical behavior; and allowance of distributed access to multiple users. The investigators will begin experiments with collaborative interrogation scenarios that allow users to walk through the human body, examine the details of the anatomy, and query quantitative information. <br/>The final product of the research will be a working prototype, not simply a concept or design. <br/><br/>Scope: Synthetic environments are useful for a range of applications, such as training, education, mission planning, visual exploration of complex data, computer-assisted surgery, drug design, drug screening, and virtual prototyping for manufacturing. In most applications, the ability to interrogate in real time a large simulated three-dimensional environment is crucial to the achievement of a sufficient level of realism. The IIT research team brings expertise in Image Processing, Computer Graphics and Computational Geometry, which are essential for the success of this joint project. The principal researchers will lecture to graduates/undergraduates in their areas of expertise when visiting each other's institutions. <br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Process Analysis and Fluxes for Electroslag Refining of Intermetallics, Indo-U.S. Cooperative Project, Award in Indian and U.S. Currencies: Board of Regents, NSHE, obo University of Nevada, Reno

Ramana Reddy

[email protected]

9313732 Reddy Description: This project supports collaboration between Dr. Ramana G. Reddy, Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Nevada at Reno, and Dr. P. Krishna Rao, Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay. The topic relates to the factors controlling the properties of intermetallic aluminides during processing from the primary metals. The properties of superalloys depend to a large extent on the segregation phenomena associated with solidification. Electroslag refining (ESR) is one method for controlling the parameters of the melt and therefore the final product. The focus of this project is on investigating the effect of ESR processing on the microstructure and tensile properties of structure intermetallics. The scientists propose to: 1. evaluate, collate, and generate the physico chemical data for molten slags for ESR of intermetallic aluminides; and 2. assess the efficiency and reliability of various existing mathematical models and where necessary develop new models to predict the physico chemical properties of fluxes. The scientists at Reno will work on data-base generation, and the development of mathematical models, while scientists at Bombay will process the various intermetallic aluminides and study the structural-property correlation. Scope: This project brings two complementary capabilities, at the U. of Nevada, Reno, and at the IIT, Bombay, to conduct a fundamental chemical engineering study, with the objective of understanding the relationship between the slag conditions and properties of the resulting alloys. The work is likely to lead to developing better models for these relationships that can be used for design and processing of various materials. The collaboration should be beneficial to the U.S. and India and should advance scientific knowledge in the area of metallurgy in general. The project meets INT's objectives well. * **

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

U.S.-India Workshop: Forensic Engineering and Curriculum Development, National Institute of Technology at Tiruchirapalli, India, December 2010.: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Shen-en Chen

[email protected]

0941496<br/>This award will support travel for ten U.S. participants to the U.S.-India Workshop: Forensic Engineering (FE) and Curriculum Development , National Institute of Technology at Tiruchirapalli (NIT-T), India, December 2010. The co-organizers of the 5-day activity are Professors Shen-en Chen, Department of Civil Engineering, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and C. Natarajan, Head of the Department of Civil Engineering, NIT-T. The objective of this workshop is to enhance performance and failure analysis of civil infrastructures and to promote bilateral collaborative research and curriculum development. <br/><br/>Intellectual Merit <br/>U.S. scholars will have the opportunity to work with Indian counterparts on developing new tools, methodologies, and investigative techniques for forensic engineering. While this field is not well developed in India, engineers at Indian institutions of higher learning have extensive practice performing forensic investigations. There will be a review of US and Indian forensic engineering practices plus an overview of advanced sensing techniques used in forensic work. US participants will have the opportunity to make site visits to Indian universities and to the Structural Engineering Research Center (SERC) in Chennai with the idea of seeding collaborations with Indian researchers. Particular attention will be given to developing new structural failure theories and design approaches leading to improved technical understanding. <br/><br/>Broader Impacts <br/>The proposed effort is aimed at developing a forensic engineering curriculum as well as collaborative research and education in forensic engineering. This includes the establishment of a UNC & NIT-T joint research laboratory and a centralized global data base of failed structures. Four US graduates and undergraduates will be participants and will have the opportunity to participate in an international research and culturally rich experience. The activity is expected to contribute to enhancing FE theory and practice, instrumentation development, and new methodologies for data synthesis and interpretation. <br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

High Risk Research in Anthropology: Testing the Archaeological Potential of the Wasiriya Beds, Rusinga Island, Kenya: New York University

Christian Tryon

[email protected]

Supported by the National Science Foundation, Christian Tryon (New York University), Kieran McNulty (University of Minnesota), and colleagues from the National Museums of Kenya will conduct one season's fieldwork on Rusinga, a small Equatorial island near the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria, investigating archaeological sites first noted by Louis Leakey in the 1930s. Although Rusinga is best known for its important Miocene fossils showing the evolution and diversity of apes some 18 million years ago, the present project is the first systematic research effort to focus on younger deposits on Rusinga (geologically defined as the Wasiriya Beds), likely < 300,000 years old. The Wasiriya Beds contain both fossils of extant and extinct mammals as well as Middle Stone Age artifacts, considered to represent the archaeological and behavioral indications of earliest Homo sapiens. Importantly, although biological (fossil and genetic) evidence supports an eastern African origin for Homo sapiens, the Middle Stone Age archaeological record for this region is sparse, with a particular paucity of sites containing both stone artifacts and associated faunal remains. As a result, behavioral differences that may be a key factor in the evolutionary success and global dispersal of our species cannot yet be tied to the very region where they originated.<br/> <br/>The field program will test the feasibility of a long-term multidisciplinary project investigating the behavior and environmental context of early Homo sapiens in the eastern margins of the Lake Victoria basin, where the Wasiriya Beds of Rusinga are one of the few localities preserving both stone artifacts and fossils. Fossil fauna from archaeological sites are important for inferring early human diets and hunting strategies and reconstructing the environments that shaped early human adaptations. Their absence from most eastern African archaeological sites has severely limited the capacity to test alternative models of environmental or cognitive change as the causal factors in the behavioral evolution of Homo sapiens. As a result, field survey of key Wasiriya Beds exposures, controlled test excavations, and radiometric age determinations will (1) target identification of in situ (buried) artifacts and fossils, (2) assess their type and abundance, and (3) determine the stratigraphic relationships of the artifacts and fossils. These basic data, presently lacking, are necessary to determine the potential for prolonged research in the Wasiriya Beds.<br/><br/>The impact of any "High Risk" research such as this feasibility study is, by definition, dependent on the specific results of the study. If the Wasiriya Beds are found to contain fossil mammals in association with Middle Stone Age artifacts, this will lead to a long-term multidisciplinary research project that has clear broader impacts. First, the archaeological project seeks data to address the fundamental issue of modern human origins and to understand why one African-based population subsequently spread throughout the globe replacing other human groups, such as the Neanderthals, an issue of general public interest. Second, like most paleoanthropological research efforts, this would develop into an interdisciplinary activity drawing upon a wide array of scientific disciplines, including archaeology, paleontology, paleoecology, isotopic chemistry, and geology. Third, the Wasiriya Beds project provides ample scope for training and thesis research for both US and Kenyan graduate students. Finally, it highlights the importance of Kenyan prehistory in global issues and will contribute to the expansion of the National Museums of Kenya on Rusinga Island.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Collaborative Research: CRI: CRD: A Multi-Representational and Multi-Layered Treebank for Hindi/Urdu: University of Colorado at Boulder

Martha Palmer

[email protected]

Treebanks are corpora of naturally occurring text that have been annotated with morphological and syntactic (structural) information. <br/>In the last 15 years they have led to significant advances in natural language processing (NLP) results by providing training data for supervised machine learning algorithms. These algorithms can now automatically perform useful part-of-speech tagging, parsing and semantic interpretation. This project is creating a new-generation, multi-representational Treebank. The languages being annotated are Hindi (400K words) and Urdu (200K words). The texts are being annotated in dependency structure (trees in which all nodes are labeled with words of the sentence), enriched with additional semantic role labels. The dependency representation is also being automatically mapped to a phrase-structure representation (in which the words are at the leaves of the tree and internal nodes are labeled with phrase markers). After applying standard quality-control both versions will be released to the public, providing an immediate boost to the performance of Hindi/Urdu NLP. A tool will also be released that will allow a researcher to produce alternative formatting of the phrase structure representation. This supports a view of the treebank as a more general, abstract representation of the morphology and syntax of the language rather than merely as data for a particular style of machine learning experiment. Research into parsing and other NLP tasks has recently recognized the benefits of reformatting syntactic representations in order to improve the machine learning process; this treebank will make that step much easier for all NLP researchers interested in Hindi or Urdu in particular and in language in general. OISE is co-funding the University of Colorado student exchange with the IIIT in Hyderabad, India where 400K words of Hindi and 200K words of Urdu will be annotated with dependency parses. This will enable an international research experience for U.S.students.

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

Moro Language Project: University of California-San Diego

Sharon Rose

[email protected]

<br/>Moro is a Kordofanian language spoken in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan in Sudan. Kordofanian languages have received little attention in the linguistics literature and constitute one of the most poorly described and threatened language families in Africa. The current project aims to fill this void by producing a descriptive grammar, analytical papers, and a dictionary focusing on Thetogovela, a previously undescribed dialect of Moro. <br/><br/>Research to date reveals that many phenomena in Moro present intriguing challenges for linguistic analysis, and provide new data for grammatical typology and relationships between Kordofanian and other Niger-Congo languages. Several especially noteworthy phenomena are: (1) the status of tone in Moro, a previously disputed aspect of the language, which is shown to interact with word formation and sentence structure, (2) a complex verb system that displays several distinctive methods of marking grammatical subjects and objects, and (3) a striking set of properties connecting relative clauses and questions. The project involves close collaboration between speakers of the Moro community, the principal investigators and graduate students, and will make a lasting contribution to African linguistics.<br/>

AfricaNSFThe Research University (TRU)

US-Egypt Cooperative Research: Geothermal Energy Piles: A New Sustainable Green Energy Solution for Middle East Buildings: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

James Martin

[email protected]

1128023 <br/>This project supports a cooperative research project by Dr. James Martin, Dr. Guney Olgun both at Virginia Tech. and Dr. Amr Darrag, Cairo University, Egypt. They plan to conduct research on Geothermal Energy Piles as a new sustainable green Energy solution for buildings, especially in the Middle East. There is a strong interest around the world in exploring alternative energy sources. Among the driving forces are growing energy demand, depleting natural resources and the adverse effects of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption. Energy Piles are a relatively new deep foundation engineering technology designed to access and exploit the relatively constant temperature of the ground (i.e., they extract heat energy from the ground) for efficient heating and cooling of structures. In ideal conditions, they can reduce heating and cooling costs of buildings by as much as 80%, and simultaneously help reduce the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Although the use of Energy Piles has seen steady increasing usage in Europe and Japan over the past decade, more research is needed before they can enjoy common usage worldwide.<br/> <br/>Intellectual merits: There is a need to investigate the long term thermo-mechanical behavior of energy piles. The collaboration with researchers in Egypt would advance research that the US PIs are currently conducting. The PIs plan to conduct a full scale field test which will improve understanding of the behavior energy piles, and to develop laboratory test equipment which will improve testing capabilities for energy pile, including continuing to conduct FEM analysis of energy piles. A workshop organized by the PIs has identified certain barriers to the wide use of these piles, such as the lack of long-term Energy Pile performance data, a lack of refined design and testing standards, a lack of region specific field case histories, a lack of awareness among owners and engineers, and widely varying regulations for installation of geothermal wells. This proposal will help addressing these issues. The project will expand the PIs' ongoing work, currently involving Europe and the US, by developing region specific field performance data needed to optimize Energy Pile design and promote usage in Egypt. <br/> <br/>Broader impacts: Currently there is reluctance by engineers, contractors and owners to incorporate energy piles in foundations because of concerns of the thermal effects on the load carrying capacities of the foundations. This research could help to reduce some of their concerns. The US PIs are working with the deep foundations industry for this purpose. The use of energy piles in building foundations will enhance green construction efforts directed towards increasing energy efficiency and reducing energy demands. The work will promote wider usage of energy piles in the Middle East and in the US. Energy Pile may be an important part to the development of net-zero energy buildings. The project involves a significant international collaboration, including unique educational opportunities for a PhD student at VirginiaTech and students at Cairo University, and will likely continue partnering with Deep Foundation Institute (DFI). The project will promote wider usage of this new technology in the Middle East where more efficient solutions for cooling are increasingly needed. Also, because this work involves an innovative energy technology, it has great potential to create Egyptian jobs in the field of green energy. The project would also help lay the groundwork for a joint degree program in civil engineering between Cairo University and Virginia Tech. The findings will be disseminated via journals, the Internet, and incorporated into academic courses and the PIs? professional short courses for ASCE, FERC, USACE, etc. Key partners in this effort will be DFI and the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 435 436
About Exponent

Exponent is a modern business theme, that lets you build stunning high performance websites using a fully visual interface. Start with any of the demos below or build one on your own.

Get Started
Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound