Faculty Research Grants Announced

Nine research or scholarly works proposals will receive support from NMU Faculty Research Grants for the 2016-17 academic year. The recipients, along with the titles and brief descriptions of their proposals, follow:

Josh Carlson, Psychology, and Marguerite Moore, Health and Human Performance: “An Assessment of Prefrontal Cortex (De)Activity Following Concussion in Collegiate Athletes: A Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study (1 of 2).” Only a small minority of concussion studies include a neuroimaging component. There is a need for more neuroimaging studies of concussion. This interdisciplinary, collaborative project aims to address this need by assessing the potential utility of a novel neuroimaging device in measuring brain activity post-concussion.

Gabriel Brahm, English: Israel in Theory: The Jewish State and the Cultural Left. This book will explore the way Israel is understood today, especially by people in academia. Brahm will also address the philosophy behind what he describes as the “new anti-Semitism” expressed in literary and cultural studies, which can be summed up as “the belief that Jews should not exercise national sovereignty in their ancestral homeland.”

Matthew Frank, English: “Plutarch’s Influence on the Contemporary American Essay.” Frank will attend the Hellenic American Union in Athens, Greece, to present a joint reading and panel on creative writing—specifically on the malleable parameters of the contemporary essays as influenced by the tenets perpetuated by Plutarch in the first and second centuries AD. He will do so in collaboration with Adrianne Kalfopoulou, who directs the writing program at Deree College in Greece.

J. Marek Haltof, English: Polish National Cinema, Second Edition. Haltof is working to produce the second edition of his 2002 book, which offered the first comprehensive study of Polish cinema nominated for the 2003 American Theatre Library Award. While still widely used in academia and often cited, Haltof said the first edition risks becoming obsolete if it is not updated, revised and enlarged. Since its publication, more than 500 new Polish films have been released and dozens of old films have re-emerged from the archives.

Valerie Hedges, Biology: “Determination of Sex Differences in Tuf1 Protein Expression and Function in Syrian Hamsters.” Her proposal states the goal of her research is to better understand how males and females differ when processing rewards in the brain. Understanding how rewarding behaviors alter the brain between the sexes will enlighten knowledge of how brain circuitry is disrupted in pathological states of reward (drug addiction), which is known to differ between males and females.

Caroline Krzakowski, English: The Work of Diplomacy in British Fiction and Film, 1935-1970. Krzakowski is revising her book manuscript with the above title, which is under contract with Northwestern University Press. The project examines representations of international relations in fiction and non-fiction by Rebecca West, Lawrence Durrel, Olivia Manning and John le Carré and in the films of Alfred Hitchcock that respond to the political instability of the post-war period. She shows how matters of international relations—refugee crises, tribunals, espionage and diplomatic practice—have influenced the thematic and formal concerns of 20th century cultural production.

Erich Ottem, Biology: “Assessing Retrograde Transport Mechanisms in a Transgenic Mouse Model that Mimics the Pathology Associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.” This continuing study focuses on the origins of pathology associated with neuromuscular diseases, specifically the progressive neurodegenerative/myodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Russell Prather, English: “The Cut Worm Forgives the Plow: New Visual Art Work Exhibitions.” The grant will help advance the production and exhibition of new representations of ordinary objects made from acrylic paint applied to layers of transparent polyester film that are suspended from the ceiling. It will allow Prather to collaborate with a professional photographer and videographer to produce high-quality documentation of his work. He also will be able to secure tools and supplies for studio experimentation.

Eugene Wickenheiser, Chemistry: “Synthesis and Assessment of New MRI Cancer Contrast Agents.” Research collaborators from the University of Chicago have shown that VO(acac), a compound of low toxicity, is preferentially taken up by cancer cells and functions as an MRI cancer contrast agent by producing images that differentiate cancerous tissue from surrounding benign tissue. Several properties make VO(acac) superior to the currently used gadolinium-based cancer contrast agents; however VO(acac) is the only compound of its kind that has been tested to date. Wickenheiser seeks to prepare and test a series of similar complexes to VO(acac) by making small adjustments to its composition that will affect its properties, with a goal of identifying structures that have the greatest selectivity, the greatest intracellular concentration in cancers and that produce the greatest MRI cancer contrast. 

Prepared By
Cassidy Hinshaw
Student Writer