2008 S&T Fund Awards

Professor Wayne Burleson – UMass Amherst – Integrated Payment Systems: Consortium on Security and Privacy. Funds will be used to establish a multi-campus research consortium focused on integrated payment systems (IPS), a critical technology for electronic commerce. The consortium will bring together and leverage a number of active and complementary activities, such as research programs in radio-frequency ID technology, embedded security systems, and intelligent transportation systems. Existing industry partners include EMC, Raytheon, ThingMagic, Intel, and IBM. The program’s research thrusts include electronic payment systems technologies, security and privacy technologies, and IPS applications in transportation. Amount awarded: $125,000.

Professor Al Crosby – UMass Amherst – Improved and Novel Materials for Total Knee and Hip Replacement Surgery. The project is a collaboration between faculty on two campuses to develop improved and new implant materials for knee and hip replacement surgery. With nearly one million such procedures performed each year in the U.S. currently and an expected six-fold increase over the next two decades, materials that will enhance performance of implants is critical. The research plan focuses on the development of both polymeric and metallic materials and more robust antibiotics, which together are expected to significantly increase the longevity of implants and reduce the need for-and cost of-revision surgery. The project is representative of the type of focused collaboration which the proposed UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) is designed to catalyze and facilitate. This activity will be included in the UMCCTS portfolio as the University pursues funding from NIH for the Center. Amount awarded: $150,000.

Professor Paul Kostecki – UMass Amherst – UMass Amherst Advanced Energy Research Initiative. The initiative builds on the efforts of the system-wide Clean Energy Working Group with a strategy to accelerate and expand clean energy-related research initiatives at Amherst-which represents a majority of the current UMass portfolio-and foster inter-campus collaborations. Advanced energy research spans the entire energy continuum, from harvest, use, and conservation to the environmental, social, and economic impacts of these activities. A number of priority areas, including off-shore wind power; low-cost, high-efficiency photovoltaic materials and fuel cells; cellulosic biofuels; “green” gasoline; and zero-energy homes and buildings have been identified for growth. The initiative will support development of the Amherst research enterprise and collaborations with researchers at other UMass campuses. Amount awarded: $90,000.

Professor Jim Manwell – UMass Amherst – Offshore Windpower Science and Technology Initiative. The project entails a broad-based research program in offshore wind energy that places an emphasis on institutional partnerships and industry collaborations and leverages the existing federal and state investment in the Wind Technology Test Center. Researchers from four campuses are involved and additional regional partners (including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the New England Aquarium) are expected to join. A number of industry partners with significant New England presence, including Saint-Gobain Ceramics, TPI Composites and American Superconductor, have been identified for participation. The consortium’s goal is to pursue over the next two years a targeted set of federally-funded research centers, including the DOE Energy Frontiers Research Center, NSF Industry/University Collaborative Research Center, and NSF Engineering Research Center. Close engagement and interaction is expected with Commonwealth officials and the Marine Renewable Energy Consortium. Amount awarded: $125,000.

Professor Zsuzsa Kaldy – UMass Boston – Screening Tools for Early Detection of Anxiety Disorders. The research project focuses on the creation of standardized behavioral assessment tools that can be used in the diagnosis of anxiety disorders in young children (ages 2-3). Its specific objectives include the identification of early neurocognitive markers of anxiety disorders and subsequent development of a new clinical test, with accompanying support materials, for use by healthcare professionals. The faculty team is well-positioned to claim a leading role in this largely-neglected area of study. The effort is consistent with priorities identified by NIH’s National Institute for Mental Health for pediatric mental health, and it is strongly aligned well with the campus’s emphasis on developmental science. Research partnerships exist with NIH intramural researchers and scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition, the long-standing collaborations of one of the investigators with Yale Medical School will be a resource for the team. Amount awarded: $125,000.

Professor Daniel MacDonald – UMass Dartmouth – Marine Renewable Energy Consortium. The projects advances the efforts of a newly-formed university-industry consortium to focused on research, development and deployment of marine renewable energy technologies, including wave, tidal and offshore wind. Funds will support both partnership-building activities of the consortium and the initiation of the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program. The partnership activities include 1) consortium development and coordination, 2) outreach, and 3) institutional collaboration and capacity building. The RD&D effort focuses on numerical modeling and analysis, experimentation and model testing, materials and component testing, and ocean energy and environmental assessment. Close engagement and interaction is expected with Commonwealth officials and the Offshore Windpower Science and Technology Initiative. Amount awarded: $160,000.

Professor Jayant Kumar – UMass Dartmouth – Materials Research and User Friendly Facility Using Focused Ion-Beams. Project will support the development of a new materials science research and user facility utilizing the campus’s high-energy ion accelerator. Funds will be used primarily for acquisition of equipment, creating a facility that is unique in the region. It will expand research programs in priority areas for the campus (e.g., nanomaterials, nanomanufacturing, optoelectronics, biomedical devices and biotechnology), promote further collaborations with industry, and provide valuable materials processing and characterization services to companies and federal research centers. The new capabilities of the facility will provide tools that can be applied across a wide range of applications and industries, such as semiconductor, photonics, microarray fabrication. A number of life sciences applications are also anticipated. Amount awarded: $125,000.

Dr. Christian Mueller – UMass Medical School – An Integrated “Fundamental Science to Clinical Development” Approach to Gene Therapy. The project entails a highly complementary partnership in the area of gene therapy and involves investigators at two campuses. A significant and ongoing hurdle to the development of effective treatments of genetic disorders is the actual delivery into cells of remedial nucleic acids. This collaboration, using a set of novel polymer-based gene delivery vehicles, has potential for advancing the field of gene and RNAi therapy. Using relevant animal models of genetic disorders, these delivery vectors will be tested for effectiveness and future clinical applicability, modified and further developed. This interdisciplinary effort is intended to lay the groundwork for NIH (individual and program project) and DoD proposals and broader collaborations between the campuses. Amount awarded: $175,000.