Research grants provide magnified opportunities

Cooperative extension specialist Marc Braverman actually studies grant-making. The co-principal investigator on a $250,000 Packard Foundation award says evaluations of foundations' funding programs are often inadequate for improving their decision-making process.

"Many foundations require only perfunctory evaluations for their grants, and often donÕt take advantage of available information about program effectiveness," said Braverman, who is in the Department of Human and Community Development.

"The reasons can include lack of staff expertise, issues of organizational structure or culture within foundations, and the limited ability of many evaluators to adjust to the realities of the foundation world," he said. "The evaluation reports that foundations receive are often either too long, too late or too academic to be useful."

Braverman and co-principal investigators Jana Kay Slater and Norm Constantine, of the nonprofit Public Health Institute, have assembled a team of about 30 experts, including evaluation researchers and foundation officers, to discuss strategies for improving the evaluation process.

Braverman expects those discussions to result in a series of critical papers to be compiled into a book and a set of professional training workshops.

Award helps researcher take big strides in nanomaterials studies

Despite recent advances, statistics show women constitute less than 20 percent of science and engineering faculty in four-year colleges and universities. Adjunct Assistant Professor Valerie Leppert is the recipient of an award from the National Science Foundation's ADVANCE Fellows program -- a highly competitive program designed to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.

The grant, for nanomaterials studies, is just one of dozens that UC Davis researchers have received recently.

Leppert will use her $448,833 award to develop a new characterization technique for investigating the size-dependent magnetic, optical and electronic behavior of nanomaterials.

The technique, electron energy-loss spectrometry in the transmission electron microscope, will be useful in developing nanoscale materials for high-speed optical computing and as biosensors for environmental toxicology, including chemical and biological weapons detection, and medical research.

"My former position as a part-time post-doc was great because it gave me the opportunity to do fundamental science work with Subhash Risbud, a leading researcher in nanomaterials, at the same time I started my family," said Leppert.

But, she said, it also put her in a "women who've done extended postdocs" category, which she believes makes finding a full-time faculty position difficult.

Fellows awards are given to individuals who have experienced career limitations and who demonstrate high potential to develop or resume full-time, independent academic careers in a science or engineering field.

The following is a sampling of the campus's other recent public sector awards, listed by principal investigator, administering department, sponsor, ending date, amount, and project title.

Freeman, Richard; Engineering - Applied Science; California Post Secondary Education Commission; to Sept. 30, 2004; $568,456; Rural Reform Initiative.

Lasky, Ty; Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering; California Department of Transportation - Division of New Technology and Research; to Feb. 27, 2004; $431,418; A Bridge-Height Sensing and Database Management System for Reliable and Efficient Oversize Permitting and Routing.

Witschi, Hanspeter; Institute of Toxicology and Environmental Health; National Institutes of Health - National Cancer Institute; to March 31, 2003; $298,250; Chemoprevention in Mice after Tobacco Smoke Exposure.

Ishida, Andrew; Neurology, Physiology and Behavior Section of the Division of Biological Sciences; National Institutes of Health - National Eye Institute; to March 31, 2003; $296,750; Pharmacology and Physiology of Retinal Ganglion Cells.

Hagerman, Paul; Medicine: Biological Chemistry; National Institutes of Health - Institute of Child Health and Human Development; to March 31, 2003; $267,075; Expression of the Fragile X Gene.

Farouki, Rida; Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering; National Science Foundation; to April 30, 2004; $254,552; Advanced Topological Methods for Robust Surface Intersection Algorithms and Trimmed Surface Representations.

Hall, Linda; Medicine: Human Physiology; National Institutes of Health -Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood; to June 30; $228,927; Molecular Genetic Analysis of Calcium Channels.

Wang, Guo-Yong; Neurology, Physiology and Behavior Section of the Division of Biological Sciences; National Institutes of Health - National Eye Institute; to Feb. 28, 2003; $222,600; Organization of Retinal Ganglion Cells.

Kunnath, Sashi; Civil and Environmental Engineering; National Science Foundation; to Aug. 31, 2004; $199,976; Development of an Enhanced Pushover Procedure for Performance-Based Seismic Evaluation of Buildings.

Craigmill, Arthur; Environmental Toxicology; U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; to April 30, 2004; $168,993; Minor Use Drug Program: Western Region.

Lacy, William; Human and Community Development; Portland State University; to Sept. 14, 2002; $162,256; Public Goods and University-Industry Relationships in Agricultural Biotechnology.

Lau, Derick; Medicine: Internal Medicine - Hematology/Oncology; National Institutes of Health - National Cancer Institute; to Feb. 28, 2003; $148,292; Capturing Cancer Cells with Peptide-Bead Technology.

Vazquez, Ana; Medicine: Otolaryngol-ogy; National Institutes of Health, Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; to Aug. 1; $142,280; Regulation of Gene Expression in Noise Susceptibility.

Elmore, Clyde; Vegetable Crops; University of Florida; to Sept. 14, 2003; $135,618; Methyl Bromide Alternative Program for Cut Flower and Ornamental Bulb Growers in Florida and California.

Kowalczykowski, Stephen; Micro-biology; UC Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; to Sept. 1; $100,710; Structural Cell Biology of DNA Repair Machines Multi-Component Complexes in Homologous Recombination.

Plant, Richard; Agronomy and Range Science; California Department of Food and Agriculture; Jan. 31, 2005; $98,556; Site-Specific Variable Rate Fertilizer Nitrogen Application in Cotton.

Boyce, Walter; Veterinary Medicine: Wildlife Health Center; California Department of Parks and Recreation; to Jan. 1, 2004; $86,075; Feral Horses in Coyote Canyon.

Leigh, Paul; Medicine: Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine; UC San Francisco; to Sept. 29, 2002; $79,708; Outcomes of the Revised California Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.

Burger, David; Environmental Horticulture; UC Riverside; to Jan. 31, 2005; $60,230; Development of BMPS for Fertilizing Lawns to Optimize Plant Performance and Nitrogen Uptake while Reducing the Potential for Nitrate Leaching.

Harter, Thomas; Land Air and Water Resources; California Department of Food and Agriculture; to March 31, 2004; $58,468; Evaluating the Impact of Nutrient Management on Groundwater Quality in the Presence of Deep Unsaturated Alluvia Sediment.

Hanson, Blaine; Land Air and Water Resources; California Department of Food and Agriculture; to Jan. 31, 2004; $56,070; Crop Nitrate Availability and Nitrate Leaching Under Micro-Irrigation for Different Fertigation Strategies.

Velinsky, Steven; Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering; California Department of Transportation; to Oct. 31, 2002; $52,500; 3-D Laser Imaging and Visual Modeling to Improve Work Zone Safety.

Zhang, Michael; Institute of Transportation Studies; UC Berkeley; to June 30, 2003; $45,729; Development of a Path Flow Estimator for Deriving Steady-State and Time Dependent Origin-Destination Trip Tables.

Kung, Hsing-Jien; Medicine: Cancer Center Administration; U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service; to September 30, 2002; $40,000; Mutagenesis of Marek's Disease Virus vIL8 and MEQ Genes.

Salmon, Terrell; Wildlife and Fisheries Biology; California Department of Food and Agriculture; to Dec. 31; $29,114; Development and Field Evaluation of a Deer Mouse Bait Station.

Davis, R. Michael; Plant Pathology; UC Agriculture and Natural Resources; to August 31, 2002; $25,060; Characterization of California and Australian Isolates of Fusarium Oxysporum f. sp Vasinfectum.

Li, Hongzhe; Medicine: Internal Med-icine - General Medicine; UC San Francisco; to March 31; $23,732; Failure Time Methods for Family Disease Studies.

Chiang, Shirley; Physics; UC Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Sept. 30; $23,600; Thin Film Oxide Growth Studied by STM, RHEED, and Optical Reflectivity Difference Technique.

Ferenc, Daniel; Physics; UC Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; to Sept. 30, 2002; $23,118; Gamma-Ray Survey of the Galactic Plane.

Freeman, Richard; Engineering - Applied Science; UC Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; to Sept. 30; $22,786; Investigations of Energy Transport in Over-Dense Material Initiated by Ultra-Short Pulse, High Energy Laser Pulses.

Niemeier, Debbie; Civil and Environmental Engineering; California Department of Transportation; to June 30, 2003; $22,000; Two-Day Transportation-Related Air Quality Training Course.

Whisson, Desley; Wildlife and Fisheries Biology; UC Agriculture and Natural Resources; to Aug. 31; $21,882; Impacts and Management of Roof Rats in Riparian Areas in California.

Larson, Eric; Geology; California Department of Parks and Recreation; to June 30, 2003; $21,790; Crayfish Barrier Flume Study: Phase 1 - Initial Design and Materials.

Gandara, Patricia; Education; UC Berkeley; to Sept. 30; $20,000; Latino Students and the Transition to Higher Education.

Martin, Philip; Agricultural Economics; UC Agriculture and Natural Resources; to Dec. 15; $20,000; Farm Labor and the Changing Face of Ventura County.

Grattet, Ryken; Sociology; UC Irvine; to Dec. 31; $19,421; From Policy Innovation to Application: The Policing of Hate Crime in California.

Ditomaso, Joseph; Vegetable Crops; California Department of Food and Agriculture; to Aug. 31; $15,000; Cape Ivy Distribution, Ecology, and Reproductive Biology.

Nadler, Steven; Nematology; National Science Foundation; to Aug. 31, 2002; $12,000; Classical and Molecular-Based Monographic Revision of the Cephalobina: Integrating Databases and Training in Microbivore, Plant and Animal Nematology.

Affolter, Verena; Veterinary Medicine: Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology; American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology; to Nov. 30; $9,990; Canine Reactive Histocytosis: a Possible Cytokine and Chemokine Driven Immune-Dysregulation.

Owings, Donald; Psychology; National Science Foundation; to March 31, 2004; $9,950; Social and Ecological Influences on the Anti-Predator Defenses of Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs: a Role for Behavior in Conservation.

Sharrow, Marilyn; Library; UC Office of the President; to Dec. 31; $8,740; Collection Management Initiative.

Brown, Patrick; Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Deans Office; Iowa State University; to Sept. 30; $8,208; Experimental Learning for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Food and Society Nexus.

Sperling, Daniel; Institute of Transpor-tation Studies; California Environmental Protection Agency - Air Resources Board; to Jan. 31; $4,984; California Strategies for Reducing Petroleum Demand and Their Economic and Environmental Impacts.

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