Petit Institute program awards new interdisciplinary research
Three new teams of researchers are receiving a substantial boost for their early stage, interdisciplinary collaborative work, thanks to the Petit Institute Seed Grant Program.
The program committee is awarding two teams $50,000 a year for two years ($100,000 total), as well as a $25,000 grant for a third team to pursue further research into their topic.
The top awards went to Young C. Jang and Andrés J. García for their project entitled “Rejuvenation of aged skeletal muscle function by bio-functional hydrogel encapsulated stem cell transplantation,” and to Christoph Fahrni and Craig Forest, whose project is called, “Elucidating the role of copper in the mammalian nervous system.”
The third award went to Kostas Konstantinidis and Francesca Storici for their project, “Ribonucleotide incorporation into microbial DNA in the wild: profile, seasonal dynamics and role in adaptation to environmental perturbations.”
These teams epitomize the goal of a seed grant program designed to stimulate new interdisciplinary research, especially between principal investigators (PIs) from the College of Sciences and College of Engineering who haven’t previously worked together. So it brings together world-class researchers from diverse areas of expertise to work on projects with wide-ranging aims.
For example, Jang is an assistant professor in the School of Applied Physiology while García is a Regents’ professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. The outcomes of their work will serve as a vehicle for translating the basic sciences to the clinical setting, where engineered biomaterial will contribute to the treatment of traumatic muscle injuries, as well as degenerative muscle diseases, in an aging population.
Fahrni is a professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Forest is associate professor in the Woodruff School. They hope to demonstrate the development and application of a suite of tools to enable more extensive research aimed at elucidating pathways and signaling functions of copper in neurodegenerative diseases. Then, they’ll use the data from this project as a springboard to submit a BRAIN Initiative proposal next year.
Konstantinidis, associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Storici, associate professor in the School of Biology, intend to use their award to discover new mechanisms in how the environment shapes the genome of its communities in the wild.
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience