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Office of Research Selects Six Projects for Seed Grant Awards

Old Dominion's Office of Research will award nearly $400,000 in multidisciplinary seed grants for 2012, with the support going to six diverse projects and involving 23 faculty researchers, plus three outside faculty. A total of 17 projects were proposed for seed grant funding, and the six funded projects were chosen by independent reviewers.

The purpose of the program is to nurture fledgling research projects so that they can win support from external funding agencies.

Of the six funded projects, the Frank Batten College of Engineering & Technology has prominent representation in five:

  • Shu Xiao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, acting as the PI is joined by Co-PIs, Jiang Li, assistant professor of modeling and simulation, and Gene Hou, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, for work on a project entitled "Noninvasive Neurostimulation Through Focused Subnanosecond Pulsed Radiation." Their research explores neurostimulation as a therapy in areas where conventional pharmacological approaches become ineffective, such as in treating refractory pain, Parkinson's disease, dystonia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Mecit Cetin, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, joins Tamer Nadeem of the College of Sciences to investigate a cost-effective, low-maintenance and efficient sensing mechanism that utilizes the Bluetooth devices in vehicles to collect traffic data in a research project entitled "Investigating the Feasibility of Exploiting Bluetooth Technology in Locating Vehicles at Intersections." By collecting field data to understand the travel demand, speeds and queue lengths at signalized intersections, the researchers aim to use Intelligent Transportation Systems to optimize traffic operations at those intersections.
  • Acting as a Co-PI for a project entitled "An Innovative Approach to Understanding the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Enigma: A Combination of In Vitro, In Vivo and Computer Simulation Techniques," Sebastian Bawab, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will help examine risk factors for ACL injury. This project aims to develop an integrative approach that includes in vivo, in vitro and computer simulation techniques to understand the association between previously hypothesized risk factors and ACL loading.
  • As a research project consultant, Hani Elsayed-Ali, professor and eminent scholar and director of the Applied Research Center, will support the investigators in a project called "Localized Electron Cryo-tomography for High Resolution 3-dimensional Imaging of the Cell Membrane Protrusion from the Nanopores Induced by Nanosecond Electric Pulses." Electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) is becoming a major biophysical technique to visualize the three-dimensional (3D) structures of large complexes at high resolutions. CroyEM is a technique used to study the 3D structure of the molecular complexes in which multiple molecules are bound to each other.
  • A project entitled "Simulation and Education in Evergreen-Agriculture Decision-making (SEED) for Subsistence Farmers" brings together Rick McKenzie, professor of modeling, simulation and visualization; Andy Collins, research assistant professor, Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center; Michael Seiler, Robert M. Stanton Chair of Real Estate, CBPA; and Yuzhong Shen, assistant professor of modeling, simulation and visualization engineering. The goal of their research is to develop a prototype simulation tool, utilizing expertise in modeling and simulation, optimization, real estate and education, to demonstrate the potential for its use in increasing the social esteem and economic status of the subsistence farmer.