<p>Fifteen individual faculty researchers and four interdisciplinary research teams were honored on Wednesday, receiving University grants totaling more than $553,000. The Seed Funds and Salomon Awards, administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research, allow researchers to develop promising projects for possible external funding.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Four interdisciplinary teams at Brown University have been awarded a total of $340,000 to pursue novel research projects, and a dozen faculty received individual research awards of up to $15,000, the University announced today at a ceremony at the Faculty Club.

The competitive grants come courtesy of the Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Awards and the Seed Funds administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR).

Clyde Briant, vice president for research, said the awards are primarily to stimulate new research projects by faculty. “We know oftentimes it’s hard to get (federal) funding” to begin major research projects, Briant said. “These funds are in place to help you do that.”

Salomon Awards and seed funds: Clyde Briant, vice president for research, congratulates recipients of individual research grants of up to $15,000 and group project grants totaling $345,000. Credit:&nbsp;Mike&nbsp;Cohea/Brown University
Salomon Awards and seed funds Clyde Briant, vice president for research, congratulates recipients of individual research grants of up to $15,000 and group project grants totaling $345,000. Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University
The Seed Funds program has been run by OVPR since 2003. It is designed to help faculty compete more successfully for large-scale, interdisciplinary, multi-investigator grants. Investigators may propose projects with budgets up to $100,000. To date, more than $3.8 million in Seed Funds has been given to projects proposed by University researchers. From that investment, the researchers have obtained, on average, 10 times more funding from outside sources, according to OVPR.

“We are the entity in modern society that’s charged with discovery,” said Provost Mark Schlissel, congratulating the award recipients. “This is what we thrive on, this is what we’re here for.” Schlissel, like Briant, noted the Seed and Salomon awards are important for jump-starting complex research projects by getting preliminary data. “These awards help get research projects off the ground and get them competitive for further funding,” Schlissel said.

The Salomon Awards were established to support excellence in scholarly work by providing funding for selected faculty research projects of exceptional merit. Recipients receive as much as $15,000. The Salomon Awards have been administered by OVPR since 2003, and a total of about $2 million has been awarded to 132 faculty.

This year’s Seed Fund winners will look at how traffic pollution may increase cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women, investigate chronic pain at the cellular and molecular levels, and seek to learn how families in low-income countries make decisions about when and where to seek healthcare.

One of this year’s Seed Fund recipients is James Russell, associate professor of geological sciences. He is teaming with three other Brown faculty and a scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., to study a lake in central Indonesia that could help answer questions about the origin and intensity of past El Niño cycles.

“Lake Towuti is an extremely remote location where little is known about modern environmental conditions, let alone the region’s past,” Russell said. “This seed funding allows us to better characterize the modern Lake Towuti — its geological setting, hydrology, limnology, and climate.”

With those preliminary studies, Russell hopes to lead an international team to extract sediment cores from the lakebed, which would offer an uninterrupted history of the region’s climate.

The 2012 Salomon Award winners

  • Nitsan Chorev, associate professor of sociology;
  • Eric Darling, assistant professor of medical science;
  • Erika Edwards, assistant professor of biology;
  • Rachel Franklin, assistant professor of population studies (research);
  • Eunhee Kim, assistant professor of biostatistics;
  • Savvas Koushiappas, assistant professor of physics;
  • Ebony Bridwell-Mitchell, assistant professor of sociology;
  • Nicola Neretti, assistant professor of biology;
  • Matthew Rutz, assistant professor of Egyptology and ancient Western Asian studies;
  • Vanessa Ryan, assistant professor of English;
  • Leigh Tarentino, assistant professor of visual art;
  • Michael Tesler, assistant professor of political science;
  • Mark Tribe, assistant professor of modern culture and media studies;
  • Joshua Tucker, assistant professor of music;
  • Petia Vlahovska, assistant professor of engineering.

Additional information on the Seed Fund recipients is available at www.brown.edu/research/2012-salomon-awards.

The 2012 Seed Award winners

  • Climate Change, Biological Evolution, and Biogeochemical Cycles in Lakes of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
    Principal investigators: James Russell, associate professor, geological sciences; Anne Giblin, Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole; Yongsong Huang, associate professor, geological sciences; Stephen Parman, assistant professor, geological sciences; Alberto Saal, associate professor, geological sciences
  • Traffic Pollution and Acute Cardiovascular Events in Post-Menopausal Women
    Principal investigators: Gregory Wellenius, assistant professor, epidemiology and Charles Eaton, professor, family medicine
  • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms Underlying the Transition from Acute to Chronic Pain
    Principal investigators: Julie Kauer, professor, medical science and Diane Lipscombe, professor, neuroscience
  • How Do Funding Mechanisms Affect Health Care Choices? Action for Health and Children’s Health in Mali
    Principal investigators: Anja Sautmann, assistant professor, economics; Mark Dean, assistant professor, economics; and Caitlin Cohen, medical student

Additional information on the Salomon Award recipients is available at www.brown.edu/research/2012-seed-awards.