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Recent Grant Awards

Institutional Awards

The Herman Goldman Foundation. $10,000. This grant will supplement the existing Herman M. and Mary Brauner Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund at Dickinson.

Pennsylvania Consortium for the Liberal Arts (PCLA) - Sustaining Under-Represented Faculty. $10,000. (Catrina Hamilton-Drager and Noreen Lape/Provost’s Office). This grant is to support expenses related to a faculty mentoring program focused on retaining non-majority-identified faculty in their first, second, or third year at the college. Separate training will be offered for mentors and mentees, and institutional programming and lunch will be offered once per month, followed by a mentoring meeting in that same month. A survey instrument also will be developed to assess the efficacy of the program and determine areas requiring improvement.

Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation, $10,000. This grant supplements our existing Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Scholarship Fund to provide additional tuition assistance to worthy students to support their pursuit of a Dickinson College undergraduate education.

Campbell Foundation. $35,000. (Julie Vastine/ALLARM) “Susquehanna Stream Team – continuation grant.” This grant will support the continuation and expansion of Susquehanna Stream Team, a project that engages volunteers in stream assessments and data collection for local change. ALLARM will collaborate with County Conservation Districts, Master Watershed Steward coordinators, the Susquehanna Riverkeepers and other local partners to expand and continue Susquehanna Stream Team. Objectives for 2024 include: 1) 80 Volunteer Teams collect credible scientific data and interpret that data to help inform local water quality approaches; 2) Coordinated Stream Teams to help address water quality monitoring spatial and temporal gaps within Susquehanna tributaries; 3) Evaluate current volunteer engagement practices and identify areas for growth (e.g., celebrating volunteers); 4) Convene Stream Team coordinators (CCDs, MWS, Riverkeepers, etc.) to evaluate data collection priorities and site distribution in the Susquehanna Watershed; and 5) Facilitate Stream Team data interpretation and data use approaches with participating volunteers.

PA Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning – Keystone STARS Continuous Quality Improvement Award. $6,500. (Regina VanKirk, Dickinson College Children’s Center)

John Crain Kunkel Foundation. $25,000. (Matt Steiman, Dickinson College Farm) This grant will help support the construction of a waste-to-energy biodigester and manure management system, to be used for public education, pollution reduction, and renewable energy generation. The grant will be used for general construction costs for components of the project that are not yet fully funded, which include completion of the combined heat and power (CHP) engine installation and completion of biogas and hot water pipefitting to the CHP engine.      

American University of Sharjah (subaward). $61,155. (Sam Brandauer, CGSE and Lindsey Lyons, CSE) “The Transformative Sustainability Project”

Max Kade Foundation – German Writer-in-Residence Program. $14,000. This grant will support a Max Kade German Writer-in-Residence at Dickinson College during the spring semester of 2024, Marie Gamillscheg. This will be a particularly appropriate time for her to be in residence, as Professor Kamaal Haque will be teaching a senior seminar for German majors at that time on the topic “Mountains in the German Cultural Imagination.” He will have his students read and discuss excerpts of Gamillscheg’s work for at least two weeks of the semester, and he plans to invite her to class regularly. Gamillscheg will also be involved in the co-curricular programs of the department, such as German Table. Her scholarly work on Eastern Europe and her innovative novels will also create additional opportunities for interdisciplinary connections with other departments of languages and cultures as well as Environmental Humanities. The German department plans to work with other departments of language and culture across campus to make this possible.             

Faculty Awards

Penn State University, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), Materials Research Facilities Network (MRFN) – Faculty Fellow Program. $5,000. (Sarah St. Angelo, Chemistry) “High Resolution Electron Microscopy Analysis of Catalytic Nanomaterials” The MRFN grant for PUI faculty would be used to gain access to instrumentation and technical support at Penn State University’s materials research center. The advanced characterization tools, including high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM), are needed to effectively describe the materials my students and I have already synthesized and used as catalytic materials. The HR-TEM instrumentation includes other in situ analysis including specialized imaging modes and elemental analysis. Additionally, I plan to perform experimental work during my sabbatical that may result in new materials to characterize. Acknowledgement: The use of these facilities and instrumentation are supported by NSF through the Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center [DMR-2011839].

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation – Fellowship. $55,000. (Amy Wlodarski, Music) “The International Reception of Viktor Ullmann's Der Kaiser von Atlantis”

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. $56,434. (Maggie Douglas, Environmental Studies) “Mapping and mitigating pesticide hazard for pollinators in the Great Lakes Basin using native bees as the focal species. Phase 1. Pesticide Hazard Decision Support Tool. Modeling and data expertise.” Agricultural pesticides pose a risk to the wild and managed pollinators essential to food production and the function of natural ecosystems. We propose leveraging recently generated novel datasets describing pesticide use by active ingredient (kg, 1997–2017 and potentially more recent data if available) and aggregate insecticide load (kg and honey bee toxicity thresholds, 1997–2014 - and potentially other native bee toxicity data sources) for state-crop combinations in the states associated with the Great Lakes Basin to predict hazard faced by insect pollinators in the Region. These data allow mapping of pesticide indicators at fine spatial scales relevant to pollinator research and conservation. Coupled with information on pesticide fate and species occurrence, we can provide insights to pollinator conservation decision-making in the Great Lakes Basin: (1) where and how are pesticide hazards to pollinators distributed over the landscape, and (2) where and how can pesticide mitigation most effectively aid pollinator conservation? Addressing these questions will aid in planning for pollinator habitat restoration and enhancement (“low” chemical hazard areas), habitat protection (low chemical hazard environments in high-quality pollinator habitat) and pesticide mitigation (high-hazard environments otherwise suitable for pollinators).

University of Sassari – Visiting Professor Programme. €4,608.29. (Nicoletta Marini-Maio, Italian and Film Studies) 

National Institute for Health and Care Research. $33,026.63 (subaward). (Amalia Pesantes Villa, Anthropology) “Implementation of the Community Health System Innovation project in low- and middle-income countries, COHESION–I”

Institute of International Education – Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award (Chile). $10,500 (estimate). (Ben Edwards, Geosciences)

American Philosophical Society – Franklin Research Grant. $6,000. (Amy Wlodarski, Music)

American Physical Society – 2024 Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution. $12,000. (Lars English, Physics) For innovative experiments involving undergraduate students on nonlinear patterns in electrical lattices and networks that have elucidated the interplay of nonlinearity and geometry in the emergence of coherent spatial and temporal structures.

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. (Brett Pearson, Physics and Astronomy) “Advancing Multidimensional Spectroscopies: Development of Broadband, Temporally-Shaped UV Laser Pulses Using an Adaptive Pulse Shaper”

National Institutes of Health – Academic Research Enhancement Award for Undergraduate-Focused Institutions. $351,294. (Colin Rathbun, Chemistry) “Orthogonal split luciferases for imaging multiplexed cellular behaviors” Disease states are characterized by complex interactions that occur between a variety of cell types and biomolecules in an organism. Researchers have turned to bioluminescence imaging (BLI) to track the behavior of these cells and understand the underpinnings of disease and the development of effective treatments. BLI utilizes the light-emitting ability of bioluminescent enzymes to sensitively illuminate individual cells without the need for surgery. Because organisms do not glow, BLI is exquisitely sensitive, with the ability to detect as few as one glowing cell in the body of a mouse. This has enabled researchers to study the efficacy of cancer-killing drugs, the location and progression of infection, and the success of stem cell treatments. Despite its ubiquity in the field, BLI of multiple different cell types simultaneously remains difficult. Our research seeks to further expand the utility of this tool through a unique approach to multicomponent bioluminescence imaging. To accomplish this, we will repurpose a split bioluminescent protein called NanoBiT. NanoBiT comprises a heterodimer binding pair made up of a small peptide, called SmBiT, and a larger protein subunit, called LgBiT. NanoBiT is only capable of light emission when SmBiT and LgBiT bind. In Aim 1 of the proposal, we will use protein engineering and directed evolution techniques to produce orthogonal SmBiT-LgBiT binding pairs. Libraries of LgBiT enzymes will be cloned, and a panel of SmBiT peptides will be synthesized. High-throughput techniques will evaluate the light emission of each LgBiT mutant in combination with each SmBiT peptide. “Winning” mutants will be sequenced via next generation sequencing (NGS) and mutations will be combined to form optimized orthogonal probes. In Aim 2 we will test our new orthogonal NanoBiT probes in mammalian cells, tissue models, and in the bodies of live mice. First, to improve the tissue penetration of NanoBit light emission, we will modulate the color of bioluminescence by appending small molecule fluorophores to our SmBiT peptides. Stable mammalian cell lines containing our probes will next be tested with our SmBiT-fluorophore probes in tissue models and in live mice. Probes will be judged by their sensitivity and selectivity. This work will represent the first effort to adapt NanoBiT for multicomponent imaging. Our protein engineering data will be immediately useful to the bioluminescence imaging community. Further, these probes will be useful for imaging protein-protein, host-pathogen, and cancer-immune cell interactions. Disease progression is characterized by a complex interplay of a variety of cell types in living organisms. The ability to “see” these interactions is crucial for understanding the causes and potential treatments of illness. We are developing bioluminescent proteins that will illuminate multiple cell types at the same time in the body of a mouse to study such interactions. This research is supported by the National Institute Of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15GM151711. The results of this research will be solely the responsibility of the Principal Investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History – Short-Term Fellowship Program (Smithsonian Marine Station, Fort Pierce, FL). $3,000. (Marcus Key, Geosciences) “Bryozoan fouling of sea turtles”

Studio Verde – Artist in Residency Program. (Andrew Bale, Art and Art History)

Engagement Scholarship Consortium – Engaged Scholarship Research/Creative Activities Grants Program for Faculty. $5,000. (Andrew Bale, Art and Art History) “Ukrainian Refugees: A Participatory Mapping Initiative in Slovakia”

Student Awards