Interdisciplinary innovation fueled by President’s Research Excellence program

Posted: December 13, 2022

Two College of Engineering faculty members, including a CEGE faculty member, are leading projects chosen for President’s Research Excellence (PRE) program funding in 2022, while another nine are co-investigators on teams that also earned grants.

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Jeffrey Bielicki

The PRE program supports the university’s goals to help grow its research and innovation enterprise by attracting more externally sponsored research funding, enabling basic and use-inspired research and discoveries, and addressing large, complex societal challenges.

A team led by Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering Professor Jeffrey Bielicki was awarded a $200,000 Catalyst grant. PRE Catalyst grants support cross- and interdisciplinary teams to pursue large-scale, high-impact research that addresses emerging or existing challenges of national and international societal importance.

Bielicki’s project will investigate transitions to a hydrogen economy that enhance sustainability. It is a multi-disciplinary, convergent collaboration of faculty from engineering, chemistry, law, policy and sociology, and positions Ohio State to respond to many basic, applied and convergent opportunities.

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Xueru Zhang

Computer Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Xueru Zhang earned one of 15 $50,000 Accelerator grants, which are designated for small teams formed to pursue curiosity-driven, novel, high-risk and high-reward research. She and her colleagues will develop a framework for fair machine learning models in healthcare to improve health equity and adapt to various real-world clinical settings.

“When we bring together different expertise and different points of view, we have the potential to solve some of society’s biggest problems,” said Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, vice president for knowledge enterprise at Ohio State. “This funding provides a vital seed for Ohio State researchers to explore their ideas to solve complex problems and a mechanism to drive convergent research across the university.”

Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Daniel Gallego-Perez and Assistant Professor Natalia Higuita-Castro are co-investigators on a PRE Catalyst grant led by College of Medicine Associate Professor Kristin Stanford. The team will investigate age-induced impairments specific to adipose tissue, their effects on inter-tissue communication, and whether or not promoting adipose tissue plasticity mitigates aging-induced risks for disease.

Seven College of Engineering researchers, inlcuding another member of CEGE's environmental engineering faculty, are co-investigators on PRE Accelerator grants, including:

  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Research Scientist Christopher Lucas, “Cis-inhibition of Notch pathway activity in development and disease: Identification and analysis of novel ligand receptor interactions,” led by Molecular Genetics Professor Susan Cole.
  • Materials Science and Engineering Professor David McComb and Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Shamsul Arafin, “Developing the ‘van der Waals’ vacuum as a host for quantum bits,” led by Physics Professor Jay Gupta.
  • Computer Science and Engineering Associate Professor Thomas Bihari and Lecturer Leon Madrid, “Developing a Transformative Social-Emotional Learning Program for Adolescents,” led by Educational Studies Associate Professor Tzu-Jung Lin.
  • Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering Assistant Professor Ryan Winston, “What lies beneath: Using microsporidian parasites to control mosquito breeding in stormwater catch basins,” led by Entomology Assistant Professor Sarah Short.
  • Computer Science and Engineering Professor Rajiv Ramnath, “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Accelerate Life-Saving 911 Care,” led by Dr. Henry Wang, professor of Emergency Medicine.

Since the program began, 43 teams of Ohio State researchers have been awarded $3.3 million through the President's Research Excellence program. Of the projects chosen for Catalyst funding in 2021, College of Engineering faculty lead three and are involved as co-investigators in four. Seven teams led by engineering faculty earned 2021 Accelerator grants, and ten teams included an engineer as a co-investigator.

-by College of Engineering Communications

Categories: ResearchFaculty