2018 Fall Funded Proposals
Seven proposals representing five colleges were selected for funding through the Office of Research and Economic Development's (ORED) Equipment and Infrastructure Support (EIS) award program. The program supports equipment purchases, upgrades and repairs to enhance research, scholarship and creative activity at the university. In this competition, ORED awarded a total of $102,982 in funding. Recipients were selected from a competitive field that included 12 submissions requesting a total of $179,036. Awards ranged from $5,625 to $38,852.
Kenneth Cain, Professor, Aquaculture and Fish Health, and Associate Director, Aquaculture Research Institute, Department of Fish and Wildlife, College of Natural Resources. The College of Natural Resource’s Aquatic Animal Laboratory (AAL) is a key University of Idaho facility with unique features that support faculty research, teaching, and outreach programs on-campus. This facility is integral to U of I’s highly recognized programs in fisheries, aquaculture, and aquatic sciences. Countless graduate and undergraduate students have been and continue to be trained in this facility. The AAL provides independent isolation rooms that are supplied with specific pathogen-free, dechlorinated municipal water available on-demand at ambient, chilled, or heated temperatures. This allows for many studies that require temperature control and/or pathogen free high quality water. The controlled environment in the AAL and the fact that water is discharged to the wastewater treatment plant provides one of the only such facilities in the region and supports studies in fish disease and vaccinology, aquatic toxicology, behavior and ecological studies, and aquatic invasive species studies. The facility is also used extensively in teaching and training of undergraduate students who take lab courses in the AAL or assist with various research projects. The facility requires immediate replacement of dechlorination media, chiller maintenance/refurbishment, and various plumbing upgrades key to current ongoing projects.
Vibhav Durgesh, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering. We request funds for the acquisition of a Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system. A PIV system has the ability to provide spatially resolved, two-component velocity field data in a region of interest. A common theme to the research that will be enabled and enhanced by the PIV system is to elucidate complex fluid dynamics processes, which have applications in diverse fields of research pursued by the PI and co-PIs. We are currently working on projects focusing on the study of aerodynamics at low-Re, active flow control, fluid-structure interactions, geophysical flows, hydrological flows, and biofluids. The insight gained from this experimental work will aid in developing new research ideas and submitting competitive proposals to federal funding agencies. The PIV system will be housed in the Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and will be shared between the collaborators for their research projects. The PIV system will also be used as for demonstration in an undergraduate measurements class and in graduate classes to illustrate complex fluid dynamics phenomena and advanced measurement principles. The acquisition of the PIV system will thus significantly enhance experimental fluids research capabilities on the U of I campus.
Ann Hoste, Chair, Department of Theatre Arts, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences. Just as successful student athletes need appropriate training and practice facilities, successful student actors need adequately equipped training and rehearsal studios. Although the U of I is home to one of the top Theatre Arts programs in the Pacific Northwest, the department’s primary training/rehearsal facility is located in a converted vocational education shop; the other is a converted dormitory meeting room. The flooring in both rooms is inadequate for actor-training purposes. We request support to purchase and install durable, safe, and appealing studio flooring in CLASS Annex Room 13 and in Shoup 100. Shock- absorbent flooring has force reduction technology to prevent hip, knee, and stage combat injuries during movement classes, rehearsals, and performances. This infrastructure improvement will transform our existing spaces into functional acting studios that will directly impact the scholarly achievement of our students, creative activity of faculty members, and our bid for National Association of Schools of Theatre accreditation in the future. Theatre patrons and other U of I entities who also use our studios, will appreciate this upgrade.
Jason Kelley, Assistant Professor, Department of Soil and Water Systems, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Agricultural weather networks provide critical real-time information for farm planning and decision support. Although weather networks are maintained throughout the region, very few agricultural weather stations are located in northern Idaho, and regional weather networks are not able to install or maintain new stations. As a result, agricultural producers and commodity groups do not have access to appropriate weather data. Farm production requires real-time, localized information about: degree days and timing of farm practices; crop water use; frost and weather events that damage crops; and wind, rain, and other factors that affect spraying and fertilizer application. Research methods such as eddy covariance and remote sensing can augment the value of weather stations, but require basic weather data be collected to provide long term context over a regional extent. The proposed project will install three permanent weather stations on University of Idaho research farms in the Moscow area. The data collected will be automatically uploaded to a public website available to researchers, local farmers, government agencies, and others in agricultural production. Furthermore, the data from these weather stations will be used to research new methods to predict and model crop water use, weather related crop damage, and decision support for farm practices.
Denise Konetchy, Assistant Professor, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Blood immune chemistries and markers has gained national recognition in many research applications as an accurate and reliable data collection tool for evaluation of research objectives and health status in the study of livestock animals. Furthermore, establishing known health status in our Animal and Veterinary Science (AVS) research livestock animals prior to a study is a basic research parameter for many researchers, yet because of the expense associated with general baseline hematology and blood chemistries this is often overlooked and animals are deemed healthy based on visual assessment by the researchers. Having the availability of a hematology and blood chemistry machine in the AVS department would allow for easier collection of blood metabolites and markers as well as basic animal health assessment with minimal expense. The importance of these instruments to the research efforts in the AVS department is critical to meeting the needs of the industry in the state of Idaho. The addition of this piece of equipment to the department will allow us to maintain a competitive position, meeting the research needs of animal agriculture.
Gregory Turner-Rahman, Program Head and Associate Professor, Department of Art & Design, College of Art and Architecture (A&A). Art + Design provides the foundational drawing courses for all College of Art and Architecture students. Studio classes are typically three hours long and, in the fall semester, students typically sit facing either a still life or live model and draw on large tablets of paper leaned against the edge of their stools. Students currently sit on benches called ‘horses’ and, while this arrangement works for certain types of drawing, the arrangement of the classroom is limited due to the weight and size of the drawing horses. Additionally, during Spring semester the drawing course is more focused on sketching and representation not from actual sources. Tables are therefore more appropriate for those courses. We cannot, however, use other spaces in the college due to scheduling limitations because of the size and number of drawing courses. The optimal solution, then, is to purchase a number of foldable tables and stackable chairs so the room can be quickly re-configured for the various drawing classes. Stackable easels will also allow for more flexibility in room arrangements and provide a cleaner, more organized space.
Min Xian, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Idaho Falls Center, College of Engineering. The mortality rate of breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries is three times higher than in high-income countries because of the unavailability of affordable techniques for cancer early detection. Portable ultrasound machines are 20 times cheaper than conventional devices for breast cancer detection and have great potential to lower the screening cost. Previous research has focused on developing computer-aided approaches for accurate breast cancer detection; and the long-term goal is to make low-cost, early detection of breast cancer available to more women. This proposal seeks funds for a portable ultrasound machine to support our interdisciplinary research in developing affordable techniques for the early detection of breast cancer. The ultrasound machine will be used for collecting images, evaluating imaging quality, and validating the performance of new algorithms running on mobile devices, e.g., smartphone and tablet. The machine will be used for undergraduate and graduate projects, and will affect faculty from several different departments, including Computer Science, Industrial Technology, Statistics, and Chemical and Materials Engineering. Peer-reviewed publications, preliminary results for external funding, e.g., NSF smart connected health, and NIH RM1, and software packages are expected from the proposed project.