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University of Wisconsin Faculty Awarded Over $2M to support 11 Research Projects

Posted by Gloria Beverage on Tue, Aug 28, 2018

More than $2 million in grants were awarded to 11 University of Wisconsin faculty members for a wide range of research projects on the Madison campus. Ten of the projects, with an average award of $194,000, were selected by the university’s Data Science Initiative. The 2018 Burroughs Wellcome Award, which provides $500,000 over five years, supports the advancement of biomedical science on campus.

Soil_Science building Wisc
Soil Science's was among the departments awarded grants.
(Image courtesy of James Steakley via wikimedia)

The Big Data Ecology-Advancing the Study of Climate Change Vulnerability through Data Science project will leverage data from eBird, an online citizen-science program that allows volunteers to enter bird observations from anywhere in the world. 

The Data Science Initiative projects range from creation of a data pipeline for freshwater science data repositories to characterizing the variations of gut microbial composition with age and age-related inflammation and diseases, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison News.

Data Science Initiative funding was provided by the Chancellor’s Office, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education (VCRGE), Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the Graduate School.  

The 10 winning projects were selected from 54 proposals submitted across the university campus:

  • Thea Whitman, assistant professor of soil science, is the principal investigator for the study, “Addressing Misclassification in the Microbiome: A Data-scientific Approach to Propagating Uncertainty in Microbial Community Composition,” which aims to develop an improved method of microbial analysis.
  • Federico Ray, assistant professor of bacteriology and ZhengZheng Tang are co-principal investigators for “A Novel Longitudinal Study of the Association between the Gut Microbiome and Aging.”
  • Benjamin Zuckerberg, associate professor of forest and wildlife ecology, is overseeing “Big Data Ecology – Advancing the Study of Climate Change Vulnerability through Data Science.” The project will utilize data from eBird, an online citizen-science program that allows volunteers to enter bird observations from anywhere in the world.
  • Irene Ong, assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is principal investigator for “Development of Peptide Array Signal Detection Methods for Immune Profiling.”
  • Paul Hanson, research professor in the Center for Limnology, is leading the “National Scale Freshwater Research through Data Science” research project.
  • “Network-based Analysis of Cellular Heterogeneity” is the focus of a study being conducted by Sushmita Roy, assistant professor in the Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics.
  • “Robust Mendelian Randomization Methods to Identify Casual Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease” is the study being conducted by Department of Statistics assistant professor Hyunseung Kang.
  • “Statistical Methods and Software for 10X Genomics Data” is the focus of a study being conducted by Christina Kendziorski, professor in the Department of Biostatistics & Medical Informatics.
  • Qin Li, assistant professor of mathematics, is conducting the study, “The Power of Data in Partial Differential Equations Models,” which will examine physical systems by fusing machine learning approaches with PDE systems.
  • Holly Gibbs, associate professor of geography, is the principal investigator for “Using Data Science to Transform Global Supply Chains and Make Progress in Saving the Amazon Rainforest.”

The prestigious Burroughs Wellcome Award, a $500,000, five-year grant, was presented to Dr. John Demian Sauer, assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology, for continued research into how to diagnose, treat and prevent bacterial diseases, according to another U-Wisc News article.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities.

On Thursday, September 6th, 2018, Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will host its 19th annual University of Wisconsin, Madison BioResearch Product FaireTM Event. This event helps bring life science researchers together with vendors that exhibit products to help improve lab design, discover science solutions, and increase productivity.  

Interested lab and chemical supply companies are encourage to call Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. at 530-272-6675 or click the link below for more information. 

Exhibitors Attend UW Madison Event   11_UWisc

On-Campus researchers have free admittance and lunch provided at the trade fair. 



Researchers: Attend Madison Event 

Tags: Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Madison, UWisc, Alzheimer's, Research Funding, Madison, 2016, university research funding

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