Research Excellence

UWM in the News Archive

Udvadia named a 2021 UW System Regent Scholar

April 15, 2021

Ava Udvadia, UWM associate professor of biological sciences, has been named by the University of Wisconsin System as one of three 2021 Regent Scholar recipients. The honor recognizes both Udvadia’s research into the genetics that allow healing of nerve damage and also her efforts to encourage undergraduates to participate in that work.

The UWS Regent Scholar program, which was introduced in 2014, provides a one-time $50,000 grant to individual faculty members or campus programs that undertake undergraduate research projects having the potential to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and talent development.

“This is significant recognition and a wonderful statement about the exponential impact of Dr. Udvadia’s work,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Udvadia and her students. I commend her for carrying the torch for future young scientists and researchers.”

Udvadia’s research may one day provide new treatments for human eye injuries or diseases, such as glaucoma, that cause permanent vision loss.

Her work is inspired by fish, which can restore full function of their optical nerve cells after damage and regain lost sight. Vision requires both the light information detected by eyes and its translation by the brain, a connection made by the optical nerve cells.

This process of replacing the cellular parts needed to transmit visual information to the brain is called regeneration. However, the central nervous system cells in humans do not regenerate, even though they have the same genes and pathways used by fish.

From All Directions

March 29, 2021

The 2021 UWM Research magazine highlights the diversity of approaches UWM is taking to tackle COVID-19: Pushing the boundaries of the natural sciences, social sciences, public health, and the arts.

  • Sandra McLellan, professor of freshwater sciences
    Using wastewater as a COVID-19 warning system.
  • Konstantin Sobolev, professor of civil and environmental engineering
    Developing a longlasting spray coating that could both repel and sterilize virus-laden droplets.
  • Anne Basting, professor of English
    Easing isolation through the power of imagination.
  • Min Sook Park, professor of information studies
    Investigating how people interpret information about COVID-19 in graphs, maps and charts presented by the media..
  • David Frick, professor of chemistry
    Seeking antiviral drugs to fight COVID-19.
  • Amanda Simanek, associate professor of epidemiology
    A social approach to fighting COVID-19 misinformation
  • Simone C.O. Conceição, professor of adult and continuing education
    Improving connections: Creating a sense of presence online to give students a fuller learning experience..
  • James Peoples, professor of economics
    Flying under ominous economic skies: Unprecedented challenges for the airline industry.

See UWM Research 2021 for these and many other articles on UWM research.

A look at UWM’s award-winning undergraduate researchers

February 4, 2021

UWM’s award-winning undergraduate research program encourages and highlights the work of students all over campus. Every year a number of these researchers are chosen to receive the Senior Excellence in Research Award (SERA).

Below are the 2020-21 award winners, and their faculty mentors.

Awardee Mentor
Jocelyn Jarvis, Psychology Krista Lisdahl
Ismael Coello Ramirez, Materials Engineering Benjamin Church
Anna Kaminski, Atmospheric Science Clark Evans
Louis Chapman, Civil Engineering Marcia Silva
Paul Newcomb, Ethnic Studies Rachel Ida Buff
Noah Wolfe, Exceptional Education Chris Lawson
Sofia Mattson, Psychology Christine Larson
Profiles of each researcher appear in the February 2 UWM Report.


UWM researchers among the top 2 percent of scientists worldwide, based on citations

December 18, 2020
Fifty-nine scientists at UWM are listed in a ranking of the top 2% of scientists in the world in a study by Stanford University. The list includes two who passed away in recent years, Arun Garg (Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering) and Richard M. Warren (Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Psychology). The study identifies the top scholars in their field by considering how often their work has been cited over the course of their careers. Their order of appearance on the list, and in the image (from top left) is below. Row 1 Pradeep Rohatgi, Distinguished Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
Leonard Parker, Professor Emeritus, Physics
Neil Oldridge, Professor Emeritus, Occupational Science & Technology (not pictured) Belle Rose Ragins, Professor, Management (Lubar School)
Michael Nosonovsky, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
George W. Hanson, Professor, Electrical Engineering
Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee, Distinguished Professor, Economics
Scott Gronert, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Yue Liu, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Mark D. Schwartz, Distinguished Professor, Geography
Nadya Fouad, Distinguished Professor, Educational Psychology
Karyn M. Frick, Professor, Psychology Row 2 Michael Weinert, Distinguished Professor, Physics
Fred J. Helmstetter, Distinguished Professor, Psychology
Peter O. Dunn, Distinguished Professor, Biological Sciences
Patrick R. Brady, Professor, Physics
Deyang Qu, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Mark Dietz, Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Dawn K. Erb, Professor, Physics
Patricia E. Stevens, Professor Emerita, Nursing
John L. Friedman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, PhysicsMike Allen, Professor, Communication
Lingfeng Wang, Professor, Electrical Engineering
Row 3 Peter M. Sheehan, Emeritus Adjunct Professor, Geosciences
Daniel F. Agterberg, Professor, Physics
Linda A. Whittingham, Professor, Biological Sciences
Mark J. McBride, Professor, Biological Sciences
John A. Berges, Professor, Biological Sciences
Ernest Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Urban Planning (not pictured) Robert Greenler, Professor Emeritus, Physics
David H. Petering, Distinguished Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Mark V. Johnston, Professor Emeritus, Occupational Science & Technology
David L. Kaplan, Professor, Physics
Fatemeh Mariam Zahedi, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Lubar School of Business
Barbara R. Pauloski, Associate Professor, Communication Sciences & Disorders Row 4 Wilfred T. Tysoe, Distinguished Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Alan G. Wiseman, Associate Professor, Physics
Konstantin Sobolev, Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Jolien Creighton, Professor, Physics
John Janssen, Professor, Freshwater Sciences
Carolyn Rubin Aita, Professor Emerita, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Krishna M. Pillai, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Adel Nasiri, Professor, Electrical Engineering
Changshan Wu, Professor, Geography
Christine R. Kovach, Distinguished Professor, Nursing
George Sosnovsky, Professor Emeritus, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Row 5 Elizabeth C. Devine, Professor Emerita, Nursing
Jun Zhang, Professor, Electrical Engineering
Hugo Lopez, Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
Anoop K. Dhingra, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Hope A. Olson, Professor Emerita, Information Studies
Dietmar Wolfram, Professor, Information Studies
Richard Grusin, Professor, English
Devendra K. Misra, Professor, Electrical Engineering
Junhong Chen, Professor, Materials Science & Engineering
Iris Xie, Professor, Information Studies
George Morris, Adjunct Faculty, Public Health

UWM astronomer helps discover extrasolar “space weather”

December 16, 2020

If you wanted to look for life on planets around stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets, you would first locate the ones in the “Goldilocks zone.” That’s the area – not too close, not too far – at just the right distance from a star where a planet might have liquid water.

Unlike the sun, most stars in the Milky Way galaxy are small, relatively cool red dwarfs – called M dwarfs. Proxima Centauri, the sun’s closest neighbor at only 4 light years away, is an M dwarf with two exoplanets that could be habitable.

However, stars, including M dwarfs, emit flares – brief but powerful eruptions of intense electromagnetic radiation that occur on the stellar surface. And, at least for the sun, these components of “space weather” are accompanied by clouds of ionized gas that could harm life.

Using the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope in Western Australia, astronomers including David Kaplan, UWM associate professor of physics, have linked stellar flares with accompanying bursts of radio waves.

Read more in the December 9 UWM Report.

Recent coronavirus research at UWM

November 24, 2020

UWM research spotlights pandemic’s impact on the arts

Nonprofit organizations in the arts face significant challenges as they try weathering fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report from the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management at UWM found that 40% of arts nonprofits in Wisconsin have been forced to provide programs or services at a “severely reduced” capacity. The median financial impact per organization surveyed in the report was a loss of $30,000.

Bryce Lord, associate director of the Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management, says the economic impact of the arts is often underappreciated.

Read more in the October 5, 2020 UWM Report.

UWM awarded COVID-19 rapid response grant from the Zilber Family Foundation

Lorraine Malcoe and the Zilber School of Public Health received a COVID-19 rapid response grant from the Zilber Family Foundation titled, “A Coordinated Community-Driven Response to COVID-19 in Milwaukee’s Black Communities,” that will focus on minimizing the immediate economic, social, and health impacts of the pandemic within Black communities in Milwaukee.

From the From the Office of the Provost November 23, 2020.

Improving the public’s understanding of COVID-19 data in charts and graphs

A UWM researcher is part of a team that is investigating how people interpret information about COVID-19 in graphs, maps and charts presented by the media.

A team of scientists from four universities, including UWM’s Min Sook Park, has been awarded a RAPID grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate not only whether the public understands these data representations, but also whether their level of understanding influences their perceptions of the pandemic’s severity.

Read more in the August 14, 2020 UWM Report.

Examples of UWM’s contribution to coronavirus research and community outreach

April 28, 2020

Physics faculty awarded NSF grant to study Coronavirus SARS-CoV2 Proteins

From the office of the Provost:

Abbas Ourmazd and Ghoncheh Mashayekhi (Physics) received an EAGER award from the National Science Foundation to use their latest machine learning techniques to determine the virulence-related structural changes in SARS-CoV2 proteins (the virus is responsible for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic). The proposal was accepted within days of submission. UWM is a world leader in protein dynamics and further awards to UWM researchers are anticipated. Congratulations, Abbas and Ghoncheh!

UWM research aims to test effectiveness of coronavirus screening tool

Information is critical in tracking the coronavirus and its impact.

The data can be vital in responding to future outbreaks, according to UWM researchers who are helping local hospital systems evaluate the accuracy of a new screening tool they are using. Subarna Paul (Biomedical and Health Informatics PhD program) is working with emergency rooms at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee and Ascension St. Joseph Milwaukee to evaluate how well the new tool works. The tool is embedded in hospital patient data software: St. Mary’s uses the Cerner software system; St. Joseph, the Epic system.

Paul is working with sub-investigator Min Wu, associate professor and chair of the Department of Health Informatics and Administration in the College of Health Sciences.

Read more in the April 20, 2020 UWM Report.

UWM Prototyping Center helping design reusable masks to aid COVID-19 first responders

When Kyle Jansson learned about a Milwaukee coalition aiming to mass-produce medical-grade filtration face masks for health care workers, he felt a particular responsibility to volunteer.

As director of the Prototyping Center at UWM’s Innovation Campus, mechanical engineer Jansson is armed with the component design experience and numerous production processes to take on modeling challenges of every description. The center helps clients turn an idea into a physical object.

Milwaukee MaskForce, led by Waukesha-based Husco International Inc., includes more than 25 organizations in business, academia and health care who are collaborating to design, test and mass-produce a reusable, medical-grade face mask. Those on the front lines battling the coronavirus epidemic are confronting shortages of lifesaving protective gear.

Making a Class II medical device with the same performance as N95 masks that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would take months. Jansson and his team, consisting of friends, colleagues and freelance engineers, jumped into the fray, helping to create, in a mere 60 hours, a functional proof-of-concept prototype that served as the coalition’s starting point. Two weeks out, MaskForce is getting close to having a final approved product.

Read more in the April 13 UWM Report.

Milwaukee’s Coronavirus Racial Divide: A Report on the Early Stages of COVID-19 Spread in Milwaukee County

Excerpt of report by Joel Rast, UWM Center for Economic Development:

Like many other densely populated urban areas, Milwaukee is experiencing a surge of reported COVID19 cases. On March 12 there was only one confirmed case in Milwaukee County. By April 8 there were 1,425 confirmed cases. The real numbers are likely far higher than that.

Lack of widespread testing has made the spread of the coronavirus difficult to measure with any degree of certainty.

Although we do not know precisely how many cases of COVID-19 there currently are in the Milwaukee area, the data that we do have has revealed disturbing patterns. At this point, African American residents are much more likely than white residents to have contracted the virus. As of April 8, nearly twice the number of African American county residents as whites had tested positive for COVID-19. African Americans represent 27 percent of the county’s population, but they account for 45 percent of confirmed cases. More disturbing still, of the 67 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Milwaukee County as of April 8, 46 of the victims were black. The disproportionate toll that the coronavirus is taking on African Americans—both deaths and confirmed cases—has been reported in other cities with large black populations, including Detroit, New Orleans, New York City, Boston, and Chicago.

Read the report.

Three faculty named fellows at UW System Institute for Research in the Humanities

April 15, 2020

Carolyn Eichner (History and Women’s and Gender Studies) The Name: Legitimacy, Identity, and Gendered Citizenship in France and Empire examines names as public representations of personal identity. Names form sites of engagement between people and states, colonies and metropole, autonomy and hegemony, custom and law, and tradition and modernity. Focusing primarily on 19th-century France and its empire, my study investigates the gendered and racialized ways the government used naming regulations to reify categories of inclusion and exclusion as it developed as a modern, imperializing state. It also explores citizens’ and colonial subjects’ responses to these measures, reactions to the state’s increased reach into peoples’ lives.

Kennan Ferguson (Political Science)
The attempt to escape debt underlies the most powerful formulations of politics, promising freedom, liberty, and autonomy. This is deeply misguided. Beholden: Between Freedom and Debt contests the presumption that obligations can (and should) be escaped, instead recognizing debt (moral, social, and economic) as both ubiquitous and unavoidable. Rather than presupposing the default goal of political action as“freedom,” activists should instead strive to encourage and develop forms of indebtedness most conducive to human flourishing: to remake communities, identify connections, and compound human emotions. The political potential of debt, in other words, orients toward association and intensification rather than oppression.

Lisa Hager (CGS English and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies)
For my IHR Fellowship, I will be starting a new book project, “Trans Victorians: Reconceptualizing Gender Identities in Nineteenth-Century British Literary Culture.” The central argument of this book is twofold: first, Victorian studies scholars must fundamentally reconceptualize our understanding of nineteenth-century gender to account for the possibility of movement between, across, and among genders; and, second, we must use this understanding to consider the possibilities of trans narratives within the diversity of gender identities represented in Victorian literature, periodicals, and authorial personae.
In centering transgender identities that redefine and remake sexed and gendered bodies, my project argues that the discipline of Victorian studies must bring to the fore the ways in which the oppositional, binary discourses of gender necessarily reveals their own contradictions in the form of bodies and genders that refuse to fit into one of only two gender identities.

Originally appeared on the Academic Affairs website April 6, 2020.

Three UWM faculty earn UW System research awards

April 6, 2020

2019-2020 Regent Scholar

Read more in the March 31, 2020 UWM Report.

UWM neuroscientist Karyn Frick has been honored by UW System as one of three 2020 Regent Scholar recipients. It recognizes Frick’s extraordinary efforts in support of undergraduate research, innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our UW System faculty and students are doing amazing research,” UW System President Ray Cross said. “It is important to recognize this vital work and celebrate the individuals who spearhead these innovations.”

Frick and members of her research team are exploring ways to prevent the memory loss that results from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, particularly in women, and the work has led to a startup company called Estrigenix Therapeutics Inc. View her Regent Scholars Award Video.

2020-21 Ignite Grant Program funding

Two UWM faculty earned funding under the 2020-21 Ignite Grant Program for Applied Research. Junjie Niu (Materials Science and Engineering, left) was awarded $48,000 for his project project, “A New Design of Lithium Ion Battery with Improved Energy Density for Electronic Devices and Cordless Power Tools.” Niu also earned a 2015-16 Ignite award. Alexander Timmer (Architecture, right) was awarded $50,000 for his project, “Mobile Design Box Retrofit: Addressing Urban Vacancy Through Entrepreneurial Infrastructure.”

The Ignite Grant Program for Applied Research is funded by the UW System and WiSys, a independent, nonprofit supporting organization for the UW System.

$10 million donation puts UWM on path to new research vessel

January 23, 2020

An anonymous donor of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has committed $10 million toward a new research vessel for the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences.

In recognition of the gift, which equals the largest ever received by UWM, the vessel will be named the Maggi Sue. It will replace the current vessel, the Neeskay, a converted Army T-boat that is more than 65 years old.

“This gift will transform UWM’s efforts to protect the Great Lakes, our nation’s largest freshwater resource,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “Its impact extends well beyond UW-Milwaukee and, frankly, beyond Wisconsin. It strengthens our efforts to protect the Great Lakes – all of them.”

More than 40 million people rely on the Great Lakes for clean drinking water, and the lakes sustain 1.5 million jobs and generate over $62 billion in annual wages. But they are ecologically fragile and monitoring their condition requires physical data collection.

“On behalf of UWM and our research partners, I extend my deepest thanks for this incredible act of generosity and for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s role in making it happen,” Mone said.

The gift amount covers half of the $20 million cost of the new vessel, which includes $15 million for construction and $5 million to sustain its operation. Mone said he hopes the gift will motivate other donors to contribute. Once fundraising is complete, it will take another 12 to 18 months for the actual construction of the vessel.

Originally appeared on in UWM News November 6, 2019.

New astrophysics insititute at UWM explores two NSF “Big Ideas”

January 22, 2020

The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and nine other collaborating organizations $2.8 million to further develop the concept for a Scalable Cyberinfrastructure Institute for Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (SCIMMA).

Multi-messenger astrophysics combines observations of light, gravitational waves and particles to understand some of the most extreme events in the universe. For example, the observation of gravitational waves and light from the collision of two neutron stars in 2017 helped explain the origin of heavy elements, allowed an independent measurement of the expansion of the universe, and confirmed the association between neutron-star mergers and gamma-ray bursts.

Read more in the October 24, 2019 UWM Report.

“Multi-messenger astrophysics is a data-intensive science in its infancy that is already transforming our understanding of the universe,” said Patrick Brady, UWM physics professor and director of the Leonard E. Parker Center for Gravitation, Cosmology and Astrophysics. “The promise of multi-messenger astrophysics, however, can be realized only if sufficient cyberinfrastructure is available to rapidly handle, combine and analyze the very large-scale distributed data from all types of astronomical measurements.

“The conceptualization phase of SCIMMA will balance rapid prototyping, novel algorithm development and software sustainability to accelerate scientific discovery over the next decade and more.”

“SCIMMA is supported by two of NSF’s Big Ideas—Harnessing the Data Revolution and Windows on the Universe,” added Nigel Sharp, program director in the NSF Division of Astronomical Sciences.

Liu and Chang awarded UWMRF Catalyst Grants

August 22, 2019

Congratulations to Yue Liu (left) and Woo Jin Chang (right), who received UWM Research Foundation catalyst grants for the period Aug. 1, 2019-Aug. 1, 2020.

The Catalyst Grant Program focuses on areas in which the university has the greatest potential to impact the local economy through commercialization activities including science and engineering.

Liu, a professor of civil & environmental engineering, was awarded $55,000 for his project “A Microscopic Agent-based Simulator and Data Analytics Tool for Smart Off-street Parking Facilities.”

Chang, as associate professor of mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, was awarded $30,000 for his project “Characterization and Optimization of the Water Sensors to Increase Technology Readiness Level.”

Originally appeared on CEAS website August 5, 2019.

Meier wins 2019 Shaw Scientist Award

August 22, 2019

After a record number of influenza deaths during the 2017-18 season, federal health officials are working to develop a universal flu vaccine that people would get only once in a lifetime as a way to boost participation in vaccination.

But before that happens, scientists need to answer a key question: Why do some older adults respond well to annual flu vaccines and others don’t?

“A universal vaccine would provide broad protection for all age groups against multiple strains of the flu virus,” said Helen Meier, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “But it may not be successful if we don’t first understand the aging immune system.”

See UWM Report article published June 4, 2019.

C21 announces 2019-20 fellows

March 12, 2019

We are excited to announce our 2019-20 C21 Fellows! Each year the Center constitutes a group of Fellows who develop a research project in the critical, public, or digital humanities. Fellows are released from some teaching duties to complete their research and contribute to the life of the Center that year. Our incoming Fellows span a range of humanities disciplines, and their work represents a vital cross-section of 21st century studies.

Aneesh Aneesh, Professor, Sociology
“Nationalism and Citizenship in the Global Age”
Aneesh’s research examines citizenship data from a range of countries to propose a new notion of citizenship: modular citizenship. In his proposed book, which he will draft during his C21 fellowship, modular citizenship provides a way to understand citizenship in an era of overlapping allegiances, global flows, and technological change. In this context, he shows how citizenship is not fixed, but a dynamically changing basket of rights, a system of fluctuating protections and participation dependent on one’s entry into a particular affiliative setting.

From the examination of migrant labor circulation and technological integration in a global market society to the investigation of actual and possible structures of citizenship in diverse democratic societies, Aneesh’s research deepens our understanding of how all modern institutions (e.g., education, health, law, or finance)—despite having no functional connection to ethnicity, religion, race, or nationality—are forever haunted by them.

Sukanya Banerjee, Associate Professor, English
“Loyalty and the Making of the Modern”
At once virtue and flaw, loyalty, commonly associated with premodern forms of allegiance and servitude, occupies an uneasy place in modern life. Banerjee’s book project, “Loyalty and the Making of the Modern,” traces its centrality to modernity. Banerjee studies loyalty across three sites crucial to the construction of modernity: the state (political loyalty), the family (conjugal loyalty), and the economy (consumer loyalty). Through examinations of literary and cultural examples of loyalty in these contexts, she shows how ideas of loyalty were idealized in the epoch of the industrial modern. In so doing, she identifies the nineteenth-early twentieth century transimperial circuit—particularly that between Britain and India—as key to stabilizing the seemingly counterintuitive relation between loyalty and modernity. Her book will show how attributes of loyalty, such as obedience, faithfulness, or allegiance (all of which imply a verticality of relations), are not rendered obsolete in the modern era. Rather, they are reassembled through particular articulations of political selfhood, notions of companionate marriage, and patterns of consumer behavior.

Christopher Cantwell, Assistant Professor, History
“’Remember Now the Days of Old’: Memory, Nostalgia, and the Making of American Evangelicalism”
During his fellowship year, Cantwell will finish his book, The Bible Class Teacher: Memory and the Making of American Evangelicalism, the first to demonstrate how nostalgia came to infuse the creation of the category of “fundamentalism” in the early twentieth century. It resituates fundamentalism’s rise away from the denominational conflicts scholars traditionally mine, instead locating it in the mass migration of white evangelicals from the country to the city over the last century. By attending to the pastoral imagery of evangelical devotions like the gospel hymn “The Little Brown Church in the Vale” (1865), the historical pageants urban churches put on for civic holidays like Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays, and the efforts congregations took to preserve their places of worship from urban renewal programs, Cantwell’s project documents how rural, white migrants made longing for an imagined past a central part of modern American evangelicalism. This “evangelical nostalgia,” Cantwell shows, proved crucial to fundamentalism’s rise.

Lia Wolock, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies
“Producing South Asian America: Diasporic Community and Digital Activism”
Wolock’s book project, Producing South Asian America, examines the nascent South Asian American movement. Its proponents seek to overcome entrenched divisions of religion, caste, language, and color to build a politically progressive identity and community across the South Asian diaspora in the US. A massive influx of professional South Asians in the 1960s shaped a stable image of a “model minority,” yet this caricature of South Asians in America as efficient, technocratic, and docile foreigners within has come under increasing strain in the face of a global “War on Terror,” shifts in transnational finance and labor, and mounting domestic investments in social justice-oriented activism.

Wolock’s book draws out the complicated positionality of South Asian Americans. Examining South Asian American identity as a network of economic, political, cultural, geographic, and technological ties that exceed the national and reconfigure our vision of home and abroad, she probes the nature of cultural citizenship in the United States at the beginning of this millennium. Producing South Asian America illuminates how a community can work to reimagine and articulate the connections that define them.

Warner (Bill) Wood, Associate Professor, Anthropology
“The Road to La Ventanilla, Voices and Images from the New Rurality”
Wood’s research project is a collaboration with the cooperative Servicios Ecoturísticos de La Ventanilla (“La Ventanilla Ecotourism Services”) in La Ventanilla, a small village on the Pacific Coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. Wood’s ambitious public humanities project has three aims. He is working with community partners to develop a community museum in La Ventanilla. He is also creating a traveling documentary photography exhibit that documents life in the ruinous landscape of La Ventanilla’s “new rurality” and the changed economic and ecological landscape of Oaxaca. Thirdly, this fieldwork will culminate in a book: an ethnographic study of identity politics and heritage in Oaxaca. Taken together, the community museum, the traveling exhibition, and his book will show how so-called “post-peasants” understand their lives and engage with new ways of making a living in the new rurality through environmental management and ecotourism work.

Originally published March 12, 2019 on the C21 website.

Roger O. Smith (Occupational Science & Technology) received U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funding for development of the Access Ratings NextGen App, which he calls a “system changer.” It will allow people with disabilities and aging populations to use crowd sourcing and social networking to assess the accessibility of public community buildings.

The goal is to make this information available to people with disabilities, building proprietors, and rehabilitation professionals. UWM received $600,000 for the project, titled “Interdisciplinary Technology Instruction Program for Individualized Technology Implementation Planning,” a collaboration with Florida International University, Texas Woman’s University, and Marquette University.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Smith a $1.22 million grant to develop an innovative training program to prepare special education and related service personnel to use assistive technology and universal design.

The five-year project includes multiple interdisciplinary UWM collaborators: the Rehabilitation Research Design and Disability (R2D2) Center , the Department of Occupational Science & Technology, the Department of Kinesiology, the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, and Exceptional Education in the School of Education.

Ten Largest Research Grants for 2018

UWM research expenditures were $58 million in fiscal year 2018. More than half of that amount—$29.5 million—came from federal agencies, supporting research issues such as renewable energy, the developing adolescent brain and the beginnings of the universe. Here is a look at the 10 largest active grants of 2018:

NanoGRAV Physics Frontier Center Xavier Siemens, Physics

  • $14.6 million over five years, National Science Foundation

Data handling and analysis infrastructure for gravitational wave astronomy Patrick Brady and Warren Anderson, Physics

  • $7.2 million over four years, National Science Foundation

How environment affects children’s brains Krista Lisdahl, Psychology

  • $3.8 million over three years, National Institutes of Health

Better catalysts for drug manufacturing Wilfred Tysoe, Chemistry

  • $3.6 million over six years, U.S. Department of Energy

Imaging biology with X-ray lasers Abbas Ourmazd, Marius Schmidt and Peter Schwander, Physics

  • $3.1 million over five years, National Science Foundation and SUNY-Buffalo

Effects of trauma that add up to PTSD Christine Larson, Psychology

  • $3.1 million over five years, National Institutes of Health

Getting more seniors to exercise Scott Strath, Kinesiology

  • $2.9 million over three years, National Institutes of Health

The energy potential of seaweed Filipe Alberto, Biological Sciences

  • $2.8 million over three years, U.S. Department of Energy

Is air pollution linked to autism and ADHD? Amy Kalkbrenner, Public Health

  • $2.4 million over five years, National Institutes of Health

Asthma treatment minus the inhaler James Cook, Alexander “Leggy” Arnold and Doug Stafford, Chemistry

  • $2 million over four years, National Institutes of Health
See article by Laura Hunt. Originally published in UWM Report.

Assistant Professor Yin Wang (Civil & Environmental Engineering) received a Department of Defense Grant in collaboration with the University of California, Riverside, to develop an innovative method to remove and destroy persistent synthetic chemical substances in groundwater.

Funding for the project, titled “Treatment of Legacy and Emerging Fluoroalkyl Contaminants in Groundwater with Integrated Approaches: Rapid and Regenerable Adsorption and UV-Induced Defluorination,” is $749,999, with $277,493 distributed to UWM. See original CEAS post. Also, the UW-Madison Water Resources Institute (WRI) is funding research by Wang and Associate Professor Shangping Xu (UWM Department of Geosciences) that the institute says “will ultimately help protect public health by filling critical gaps in knowledge relating to arsenic in Wisconsin.

UWM earned a 2018 Campus-Wide Award for Undergraduate Research Accomplishments. The Council on Undergraduate Research annually recognizes “institutions with exemplary programs that provide high-quality research experiences for undergraduates.”UWM has a long tradition of engaging undergraduate students in research, but over the last decade, the university has substantially expanded opportunities for collaboration between faculty and students through a wide array of programs offered through the Office of Undergraduate Research.

The award will be presented at the January meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) in Atlanta.

See full article on the UWM News site.

Zilber School of Public Health Assistant Professor Mustafa Hussein is leading a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded study to assess the short- and long-term effects of policies on the health and well-being of low-income adults. The two-year, approximately $250,000 study of the policies, popular in US urban areas in the mid-1990s and 2000s, is titled “Health at a Living Wage: Evidence from Natural Experiments.”

The “natural experiments” are created by the variations in timing and location of living-wage policy adoption and implementation across metropolitan areas. The team, which includes ZSPH Associate Professor Phoenix Do and UWM Department of Economics professor and chair Scott Adams, will analyze those variations in two population data sources: the Community Tracking Study, covering 60 metro areas from 1996 to 2007, and the Coronary Artery Disease Risk in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, a landmark cohort of some 5,000 young adults recruited in four major metro areas in 1986, with regular follow-up since then.

The other co-PIs are: Kiarri Kershaw, Assistant Professor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; Ana Diez Roux, Professor and Dean, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health; and James Shikany, Professor and Director, CARDIA Coordinating Center, University of Alabama Birmingham.

2018 Catalyst Grant seed funds from the UWM Research Foundation are supporting four new UWM research projects:

  • Associate Professor Han Joo Lee, Psychology: An online, self-administered, psychiatric diagnostic program.
  • Assistant Professor Mohammad Rahman, Engineering: A lightweight, powered hand-rehabilitation glove.
  • Assistant Professor Ionel Popa, Physics: A new method of purifying antibodies.
  • Professor Dazhong Zhao, Biological Sciences: A hybrid breeding system for sorghum.

The Catalyst Grant Program invests in promising early-stage research at UWM in areas where the university has the greatest potential to affect the regional economy through commercializing new technology. Now in its 11th year, the program has awarded more than $4.5 million to support 89 projects, which have led to 25 issued patents, 23 license/option agreements and more than $19 million in subsequent investments in UWM technologies. Supported by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation, the 2018 Catalyst Grants total $191,000.

For more information, contact Brian Thompson,, 414-906-4653.

The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and Center for International Education (CIE) have each received four-year, U.S. Department of Education Title VI funding for National Resource Center (NRC) and Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship programs. UWM is among just 55 institutions nationwide to earn such grants.
CLACS, a continuously funded National Resource Center since 1965, received $600,000 in partnership with UW-Madison. The NRC funds will support research and teaching across campuses, as well as regional and national outreach programming for K-16 educators. FLAS Fellowship funding will provide scholarships for students studying the less-commonly taught languages of the Americas—Portuguese, Haitian Creole and other indigenous languages.A first-time awardee of Title VI funds, CIE received $1.8 million. The NRC portion will support faculty work—including instructor certification and course development and redesign—in less-commonly taught languages: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian. The grant also will support curriculum development in the Global Studies program and outreach programs to K-16 and technical colleges. The FLAS Fellowship funding will provide scholarships for undergraduate students pursuing studies in the less-commonly taught languages.

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