Vice President for Research and Innovation offers perspective on FY2019 extramural funding

Jim Oris, Vice President for Research and Innovation

FY2019 saw a continuation of the success Miami faculty and staff have in securing funding to support their research, scholarship, and creative activity. For the second year in a row, we exceeded $24 million in extramural funding.

Piechart showing breakdown of FY2019 funding by purpose: $17.2M/71% of funding supported research; $2.6M/11% of funding supported service; $1.9M/8% of funding supported instruction; $245K/1% of funding supported fellowships; $2.1M/9% of funding supported student financial aid
FY2019 funding by purpose

Highlights of FY2019’s external funding include the following:

Xin Wang reviews work with a labmate
Xin Wang (left)

Microbiologists D.J. Ferguson (Hamilton Campus) and Xin Wang (College of Arts and Science) received a $343,030 Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant from NSF to study microbes that produce the potent greenhouse gas methane. One goal of the research is to determine how these microbes use naturally occurring compounds found particularly in brackish and marine environments as a food source to produce methane. Read more about Ferguson and Wang’s work.

Cricket Meehan working with students
Cricket Meehan (second from left)

Psychologist Cricket Meehan (College of Arts and Science) and educational psychologist Amity Noltemeyer (College of Education, Health, and Society) received nearly $700,000 from the Ohio Department of Education in support of two projects. One raises awareness of mental health needs among youth while implementing services to improve well-being of students and their families. The other works to improve school climate and reduce problem behaviors.

Sue Sepela and Regional Campuses students
Sue Sepela (second from left)

Learning assistance staff member Sue Sepela (Hamilton Campus) received two U.S. Department of Education grants totaling $516,752. One grant supports the Regional Campuses’ Upward Bound program, which helps prepare low-income and first-generation high school students to pursue higher education. The other grant helps provide a comprehensive program of academic support to students on the Regional Campuses.

Rick Page talking with a student.
Rick Page (right)

Chemists Gary Lorigan and Rick Page (both College of Arts & Science) were each awarded about $1.8 million over five years as part of NIH’s Maximizing Investigator’s Research Award (MIRA) program. These highly competitive awards support the PIs’ research programs: membrane protein channels that are directly related to heart disease in Lorigan’s case and protein quality control and antibiotic resistance in Page’s. Read more about Lorigan’s and Page’s research and their MIRA program awards.

Like Lokon and a student working with an OMA participant
Like Lokon (center)

Gerontologist Like Lokon and Scripps Gerontology Center staff member Joan Fopma-Loy (both Research & Innovation and Graduate School) received more than $75,000 to support Opening Minds Through Art (OMA), an award-winning intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia. The program provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders.

Cameron Hay-Rollins teaching class
Cameron Hay-Rollins

Anthropologist Cameron Hay-Rollins (College of Arts and Science) received $100,000 from Interact for Health for research on housing available to those recovering from opioid addiction in Greater Cincinnati. The project includes a baseline analysis of available recovery housing, building a searchable and update-able database of existing resources, and identifying perceived needs and opportunities to enhance support of people in recovery. Read more about Hay-Rollins’ project.

Jason Berberich looking at contents of a test tube in the lab.
Jason Berberich

Chemical and biomedical engineer Jason Berberich (College of Engineering and Computing) received $177,800 from The Procter & Gamble Company for research on the enzyme lipase, which is commonly added to household cleaning products, including laundry detergent, to help break up grease and other fats. Berberich’s research aims to improve the stability of cold-active lipase in detergents at high temperatures.

Daryl Baldwin addressing an audience.
Daryl Baldwin

Myaamia Center director Daryl Baldwin (Research & Innovation and Graduate School) received $311,647 from the NEH in support of the Breath of Life indigenous language revitalization initiative. The initiative consists of a series of workshops for researchers from endangered language communities. The goal is to build capacity around methods in archives-based research for community-directed revitalization efforts. Read about Breath of Life’s Indigenous Languages Digital Archive (ILDA).

At the same time FY2019 marked continued success, it also marked the beginning of a new era for Miami. Over the course of the last 12 months, Miami embarked on an aggressive strategic planning process that resulted in ambitious goals for graduate programs and research efforts. In recognition of the expanded importance of these operations, in September 2019, the university’s trustees approved a resolution submitted by Provost Jason Osborne to separate the two positions I have held since 2011: dean of the Graduate School and associate provost for research. In October, I was appointed as the inaugural Vice President for Research and Innovation.

I will remain in the role of Vice President until I retire, effective June 30, 2019. This will bring an end to my 34 years as a faculty member and administrator at Miami — my entire academic career. I have held many positions during these years, enjoyed personal and professional accomplishments, and received awards and recognition. But my highest sense of accomplishment has come from the success of my students and, for the past 11 years, my professional staff and administrative colleagues. Miami has been a special place to work and have a life. The place is a key component, but the people are what I will miss the most. I will leave behind a vibrant and growing research and innovation enterprise, and I will look back with pride that I was able to participate in such a wonderful organization.

Written by Jim Oris, Vice President for Research and Innovation, Miami University.

Photos by Miami University Photo Services.

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