UMD Division of Research Announces Summer 2018 Tier 1 Award Winners

UMD Division of Research Announces Summer 2018 Tier 1 Award Winners

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The University of Maryland Division of Research is pleased to announce the winners of the Summer 2018 Tier 1 Awards.

The seven winners were selected from a total of 33 applicants, representing six of UMD’s 12 colleges and schools. Tier 1 Awards, made possible by Designated Research Initiative Fund (DRIF) faculty incentive funds from the Vice President for Research and individual units, support new research directions with the potential to attract funding, shape scholarship, impact society, and bring visibility to the UMD research enterprise.

There are currently two types of Tier 1 Awards– proof of concept seed grants which support faculty pursuing new, high-potential research directions, and enabling seed grants which facilitate research in fields with more limited external grant opportunities (LEGO). 

Research abstracts for this summer’s awardees are listed below.



Infrastructure, Urban Flooding and its Influence on Social Vulnerability and Mobility: A Place-based Study in Southeast Washington, D.C.

Marccus Hendricks, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Allison Reilly, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Urban flooding has increased in Washington, DC by nearly 400% since 1960 as a result of increased development and impervious rain cover combined with outdated storm water management infrastructure. Additionally, low-income and minority neighborhoods are more susceptible to flooding, leading to decreased quality of life and perpetuating disparities. This project will launch a study to better understand the extent of flooding in DC neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River, the extent to which flooding reduces the quality and serviceability of infrastructure, and whether repeated flooding creates a negative cycle prohibiting social mobility among the socially vulnerable.


Using Chaos to Suppress Multipactor

Rami Kishek, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Technology that relies on modern electronic vacuum systems, such as communications satellites, microwave tubes, and novel particle accelerators, risk a catastrophic electron avalanche known as multipactor, which is caused when electromagnetic waves and stray electrons interact in a vacuum. Current standards for multipactor design rely on an outdated theory from the 1950s, but Kishek has recently published a theory that includes the full complexity of multipactor by drawing on tools from nonlinear dynamics. This project will comprise of pilot experiments to validate the theory, potentially allowing scientists to develop satellites that are smaller but can carry more internet traffic and more reliable high power microwave devices for the warfighter.


Text Reuse and the Formation of Rabbinic Literature

Hayim Lapin, College of Arts and Humanities

Text reuse is common in early Rabbinic literature, but it is difficult to identify parallels in the various texts in order to study this reuse and better understand the history of the early Rabbinic movement and how the literature was formed. This project will use various algorithmic approaches to analyze digital transcriptions of early Rabbinic texts to create a “map” of overlap in the literature which will be publicly available and help researchers form new understandings of how early Rabbinic literature developed.


Expanding Our Knowledge of the History of Women's Health Through Documentation and Preservation

Amanda Lazar, College of Information Studies

Due to stigmas surrounding women’s health, we are missing a great deal of information surrounding menstruation, including the materials women have used to manage menstruation in the past. There currently is a valuable collection of menstrual history resources in New Carrollton, Maryland, which can be a hugely helpful resource for researchers but is now vulnerable due to being stored in a space with dust and water damage. In this project, Lazar will collaborate with the owner of the materials to restore and catalog the collection to prevent further damage to the materials and make the archive accessible to future researchers.


Racial Differences in Vascular Function Following Induced Acute Inflammation

Sushant Ranadive, School of Public Health

High blood pressure is more common among African American men than Caucasian men, and although there is evidence that this imbalance is due to differences in vascular function, scientists do not yet understand how racial differences contribute. This study will explore mechanisms which could potentially explain racial differences in vascular function so that future steps can be taken to lessen the prevalence of hypertension among African American men.

The Role of Depression in Unintended Pregnancy

Julia Steinberg, School of Public Health

More than half of pregnancies in women between the ages of 18 and 29 are unintended, and 15.9 percent of women in the same age group experience a major depressive episode each year. Also, 54 percent of unintended pregnancies are the result of not using contraceptives, and 41 percent are caused by using contraceptives incorrectly. This study will examine the role of depression in contraceptive use to better understand whether there is a link between depression and unintended pregnancy while also gathering vital data for related research.

Role of Cell Mechanics in Engineering Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Brain Endothelial Cells

Kimberly Stroka, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Stem cells have received a great deal of research attention among the scientific community for their usefulness in regenerative therapies and in vitro disease models, and it has been discovered that adult human cells can be reprogrammed to have similar properties to stem cells, allowing the creation of patient-matched cell sources, called hiPSCs. Studies on these hiPSCs thus far have only been completed in two-dimensional static cultures. This study intends to fill the gap in the literature by gathering data on the role that matrix mechanics and composition play in the growth of iPSCs, differentiation into brain endothelial cells, and barrier function of the iPSC-derived endothelium.


The Tier 1 competition is currently being updated; the new changes will be presented to the Dean’s Forum at the beginning of the fall semester, and the updated guidelines will be presented soon after. The next deadline for the Designated Research Initiative Fund (DRIF) faculty incentive funds will be November 1. A list of all Tier 1 awardees since the program began in 2009 can be found at: http://research.umd.edu/development/faculty-incentive

August 8, 2018


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