May 19, 2011 | Research Alert

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Research Prizes and Honors

[Have you or a colleague won a research-related prize or honor? Let the Research Alert know.]

Seven Faculty Receive Moncrief Grand Challenge Awards

Seven researchers are confronting what the scientific community has defined as this century's grand challenges in drug design, environmental sustainability and improved oil recovery using Moncrief Grand Challenge Faculty awards for 2011-12.

The awards, funded by the private donations of oilman and philanthropist W. A. "Tex" Moncrief of Fort Worth and an anonymous donor, enable scientists and engineers to work at the Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences (ICES) on challenges that affect the competitiveness and international standing of the United States.

The Moncrief researchers for 2011-12 and their projects are:

Todd ArbogastTodd Arbogast, right, professor in the Department of Mathematics, on methods for simulating long-term carbon sequestration.
 

Chandra BajajChandra Bajaj, left, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics, on three-dimensional imaging at the molecular level of therapeutic drug targets.
 

Tom HughesTom Hughes, right, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, on modeling the behavior of nanoparticles in blood vessels to design drug delivery systems.
 

Dmitrii MakarovDmitrii Makarov, left, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, on the design of molecular-level biosensors.
 

Mark MearMark Mear, right, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, on modeling reservoir stimulation techniques to improve recovery of oil and natural gas.
 

Tess MoonTess Moon, left, professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, on studying the ways mechanical loads are carried in proteins and their relationship to the progression of disease.
 

Pengyu RenPengyu Ren, right, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, on simulating drug binding to proteins to determine drug effectiveness.
 

News and Information

National Science Foundations Releases New Strategic Plan

The National Science Foundation's new strategic plan outlines three goals that the agency's programs and activities: transform the frontiers, innovate for society, and perform as a model organization. Read more about the plan and read the entire plan itself.

Quoted-UT Researchers in the News

The New York Times
May 18, 2011
HEADLINE: Top Hispanic Name Loses Ground, Even as Birthrates Stay High

Javier Auyero(In an article about changes in the most popular names for babies, Javier Auyero, professor in the Department of Sociology, warns against assigning larger meaning to the name selections).

Experts caution against assuming assimilation as a given. “Jonathan is a very popular name among the low-income groups in Argentina,” said Prof. Javier Auyero, a sociologist at the University of Texas, Austin. “That doesn’t mean they are Americanized.”

Research Opportunities

Important University Research Deadlines

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The University of Texas at Austin Stimulus Package Web page is online.

Funding Sources

Department of Education

Education Research and Development Center Program
Deadlines: Letter of Intent, July 21, 2011; Application, Sept. 22, 2011

Department of Energy

2012 INCITE Call for Proposals
Deadline: June 30, 2011

Terrestrial Ecosystem Science
Deadline: Sept. 12, 2011

National Institutes of Health

Virtual Reality Technologies for Research and Education in Obesity and Diabetes
Deadline: June 5, 2011

Exploratory/Developmental Grants Program for Basic Cancer Research in Cancer Health Disparities
Deadlines: June 23, 2011; Nov. 23, 2011

National Science Foundation

Long Term Research in Environmental Biology
Deadline: July 13, 2011

Instrument Development for Biological Research
Deadline: July 29, 2011

Solar, Heliospheric and Interplanetary Environment
Deadline: Aug. 17, 2011

Mechanics of Materials
Deadline: Oct. 1, 2011

Experimental Nuclear Physics
Deadline: Oct. 26, 2011

Social-Computational Systems
Deadline: Nov. 11, 2011

Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems
Deadline: Nov. 15, 2011

SBE Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants
Deadline: Vary for different programs

Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Texas Life Science Incubator Infrastructure Awards (PDF)
Deadline: Aug. 30, 2011

Arts, Humanities and Culture

National Humanities Center
National Humanities Center Fellowships 2012-2013
Deadline: Oct. 15, 2011

Other Funding Opportunities

UNESCO
UNESCO-L'OREAL International Fellowships Programme for Young Women in Life Sciences (2012)
Deadline: June 30, 2011

American Heart Association
Funding opportunities for range of academic levels
Deadline: See individual opportunities

Mazda Foundation
Grants
Deadline: July 1, 2011

Japan-US Friendship Commission
Japanese Studies in the United States
Deadline: Aug. 1, 2011

Research Project

Moving Boundary Methods for Stochastic Control Problems

Kumar MuthuramanRESEARCHER: Kumar Muthuraman, associate professor, Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management, principal investigator
AGENCY: National Science Foundation
AMOUNT:$200,000

The research objective of this award is to develop and extend an emerging class of techniques referred to as Moving Boundary Methods for solving hard free-boundary problems in stochastic control. Stochastic control refers to optimal decision making under uncertainty. Applications can be found in a variety of physical, economic, management and biological systems. Despite their wide applicability, problems in these classes are not analytically tractable except in very special cases and several remain unsolved even numerically. This award specifically identifies some problems in financial engineering, operations management and healthcare. Each of these problems, while being very significant by itself, also has distinct features that will make the methods developed, applicable to larger classes of problems.

If successful, the developed methods will solve a large class of decision-making problems previously considered intractable. The project brings together a set of very important and hard control problems under the unifying framework of free-boundary problems and seeks to develop a set of novel computational methods. Success in the project has two major implications. First, it significantly advances the research on stochastic control. Second, the results and insights gained in each of the four specific projects will have a direct impact in financial engineering, operations management and healthcare. Optimal decision-making in healthcare is in its infancy and is poised to have a huge impact in prolonging life expectancies and reducing costs. Success in this project will also give healthcare professionals the much-needed confidence to view more problems from a quantitative perspective.

The Research Alert is an electronic publication from the Office of the Vice President for Research at The University of Texas at Austin. It includes news of research honors and awards, news of research programs and deadlines, researchers quoted in news media, a listing of funding opportunities and a look at a current research project. It is available by e-mail and on the Web.

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