College of Sciences Research: A Busy Year for Grants in FY20

Work by scientists in all six schools earns recognition and continued research opportunities

June 2, 2020

Despite the current worries and stressors facing researchers because of the Covid-19 pandemic, an overview of the grants awarded during the 2020 fiscal year shows the state of the College of Sciences research program remains strong, according to Julia Kubanek, Associate Dean of Research.

“This year, assistant professors among our six schools have been recipients of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award, a Cottrell Scholar award, a Sloan Research Fellowship, and four National Science Foundation CAREER awards,” says Kubanek, who is also a professor in the Schools of Biological Sciences, and Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Other early and mid-career faculty have been named Kavli and Scialog Fellows, experiences that will expose these faculty to additional collaborative and funding opportunities through engagement in elite research networks.”

Kubanek says multiple large-scale, broadly conceived proposals for center funding and graduate training grants, led by science faculty, are currently under peer review. “These future projects will grow our leadership and impact in research communities across psychology, biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, earth and atmospheric sciences, physics, and mathematics,” she says.

Here are the major grants and awards presented to College of Sciences faculty in FY20 (links lead to previous coverage of the announcements during the Spring 2020 and Fall 2019 semesters):

Collaborative Covid-19 Research Receives National Science Foundation RAPID Grant

Antibody testing research, led by Biological Sciences’ Joshua Weitz and Emory University professor Benjamin Lopman, earns an NSF urgent funding grant to further study Covid-19 ‘shield immunity’.

Rahnev Receives Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award

School of Psychology assistant professor Dobromir Rahnev is one of two Georgia Tech winners of the Office of Naval Research's Young Investigator Program Awards. Rahnev will research how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps can use technology and science to update and enhance job skills training.

Elisabetta Matsumoto Is 2020 Cottrell Scholar for Research on the Math and Science Behind Knitting

Elisabetta Matsumoto, an assistant professor in the School of Physics, is a 2020 Cotrell Scholar thanks to her research on the mathematics and physics hidden in the knots and weaves of knitting.

Jenny McGuire, Lutz Warnke Receive NSF CAREER Awards

A pair of College of Sciences professors -- Jenny McGuire in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences/School of Biological Sciences, and Lutz Warnke of the School of Mathematics --  are receiving coveted National Science Foundation CAREER Awards, which will fund future research for five years.

Colin Parker, assistant professor in the School of Physics, and Henry (Pete) LaPierre, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, have also just received FY20 National Science Foundation CAREER Awards.

Georgia Tech Faculty Awarded Research Fellowships by Sloan Foundation

Yao Yao, assistant professor in the School of Mathematics, is among 126 early career researchers selected to receive 2020 Sloan Research Fellowships. 

Scialog: Signatures of Life in the Universe Fellows Named

Four College of Sciences early career scientists – Jen Glass, Chris Reinhard, Gongjie Li, and Amanda Stockton – are named Scialog Fellows for a new research initiative, Signatures of Life in the Universe.

Pamela Peralta-Yahya to Collaborate with Caroline Genzale on NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Award

Pamela Peralta-Yahya, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is part of the collaborative effort to study innovative aerospace concepts.

M.G. Finn to Collaborate with Susan Thomas on $3.2 Million National Cancer Institute Grant for Follicular Lymphoma Research

Susan Thomas, Woodruff Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, collaborates with Professor and School of Chemistry and Biochemistry Chair M.G. Finn, to try to improve treatment of follicular lymphoma.

Dobromir Rahnev Awarded $2.2 Million by NIH to Study Architecture of Metacognition and a Promising Treatment for Neuropsychiatric Disorders: TMS-fMRI

An assistant professor in the School of Psychology will get more than $2 million in National Institutes of Health grants for two research proposals that focus on the brain's decision-making abilities, and on a promising treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Physics Researchers Awarded $2.3 Million to Develop NSF Einstein Toolkit for Astrophysics

NSF awards effort led by Pablo Laguna and Deirdre Shoemaker for the development of the Einstein Toolkit Ecosystem: Enabling Fundamental Research in the Era of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics

Georgia Tech Leads Team Effort to Reduce Georgia’s Carbon Footprint

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, incuding Kim Cobb with the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, are leading a first-in-the-nation effort to help identify solutions to help reduce Georgia’s carbon footprint in ways that are economically beneficial.

Georgia Tech Researchers Receive EPA South FL Initiative Award

One of the grant recipients is Neha Garg, an assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The funding will support the protection and restoration of water quality, corals and seagrass in South Florida. 

Fall 2019:

$1.7 M Grant for Robotic Soil Subsurface Explorer

An interdisciplinary research group from Georgia Tech, including School of Physics Professor Daniel Goldman, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to design an advanced self-propelled robot to explore the soil subsurface and record a range of signals as it advances.

Lachance Gets $1.88 million Award

The National Institutes of Health is supporting Petit Institute/School of Biological Sciences Assistant Professor Joe Lachance’s research strategy, which includes the analysis of ancient and modern genomes, mathematical modeling, and the development of new bioinformatics tools.

A Summer Bounty

When it rains, it pours. That’s how it felt last month when email after email from School of Psychology Acting Chair Mark Wheeler arrived in various inboxes, sharing the joyful news of a new award. The announcement of a $334,000 grant to Dobromir Rahnev in May has been succeeded by seven other research awards to eight faculty members.

Georgia Tech, Institut Pasteur Receive $2.5 M NIH Grant to Study Phage Therapy

Joshua Weitz of the School of Biological Sciences is part of a team of U.S. and French scientists who will research the interaction between bacteriophage, bacteria, and the innate immune response to enable use of phage therapy, even with patients with impaired immune systems. 

School of Mathematics Associate Professor Is Now a Kavli Fellow

A prestigious honor for young scientists is presented to Georgia Tech's Michael Damron, associate professor in the School of Mathematics. The Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, part of the National Academy of Sciences, issued its invite to Damron, one of a long list of Georgia Tech researchers to receive the fellowship.

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Renay San Miguel
Communications Officer
College of Sciences