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Jul 15 2014

NYIT Awards Research Grants

Old Westbury and Manhattan  (July 15, 2014) --  New York Institute of Technology has awarded $220,000 to 37 faculty members for research projects ranging from the development of a therapeutic robotic system for autistic children to a study of the science and art behind the growth of certain crystals.

Twenty-three awards have been announced in two categories of research: teaching and learning with technology grants and institutional support of research and creativity. (See full list of awardees and research projects.)

“I’m really proud of NYIT faculty -- they have always come through with new ideas and they recognize the fact that many complex problems we face require multiple perspectives and therefore multiple disciplines and expertise,” said Provost for Academic Affairs Rahmat Shoureshi, Ph.D.  “It shows that NYIT is at the leading edge of scholarship.”

Cutting-Edge Research from Teams and Individuals

Shoureshi noted there was a “healthy balance” between awards for teaching-related research and for new discoveries. About half of the awards were given to teams; the rest were awarded for individual projects.

“We always encourage individual intellectual curiosity and therefore it is pleasing to see a very good balance between single investigators and multiple investigators,” he said.

Among the individual research projects are: College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Jonathan Goldman’s exploration of new interdisciplinary directions in James Joyce studies, School of Engineering and Computing Sciences Assistant Professor Aydin Farajidavar’s work on an implantable system for monitoring gastric electrical activities, and School of Engineering and Computing Sciences Assistant Professor James Scire’s investigation of digital holography for the study of droplets and sprays.

“Sprays are everywhere but they are complicated,” said Scire. “Everything from car engines to fire hoses to drug delivery systems is impacted by the behavior of sprays.  Advances in the understanding of sprays - how droplets are formed, interact, coalesce, and break up - will lead to pollution reduction, better coatings, more effective drug delivery systems, and other advances.”

Awards for life sciences research will fund studies about DNA microarrays, RNA’s role in repairing fractures, and crystal growth. College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Niharika Nath, Ph.D., will investigate the effects of aspirin on mood-disorders, stress, and neurodegenerative disorders

“Hopefully, some of our compounds that have anti-cancer potential will also have potential against Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease,” Nath said.

In its second year of funding, School of Education Assistant Professor Megyn Shea’s project will incorporate interactive elements into videos used to train NYIT School Counseling internship students and their supervisors.

Another project involves the study of a robot that may improve communication and interaction skills of autistic children.

“Our goal is to make the connection between music/emotion and movements,” said School of Engineering and Computing Sciences Assistant Professor Chung Hyuk Park, Ph.D. “We will study how children with Autism Spectrum Disorder react to different sound or emotive cues in the form of movements, and generate music-emotion-motion mapping. With this, our ultimate goal is to create a framework for an interactive clinical session in which the children will play games or dance with the robot, during which music will be generated based on the interaction, enabling the children to be more engaging socially and emotionally.”

Chung is working with researchers from Michigan Tech University and Georgia Institute of Technology.

Global and Cross-Disciplinary Research

Grant applications have been more competitive, substantive, and sophisticated each year, said Lawrence Herman, PA, chair of the School of Health Professions Physician Assistant Studies program and chair of the committee that reviews applications and makes recommendations for awards.

“We found virtually all worthy of funding and ranking them was extremely challenging for the committee,” said Herman. “While everyone involved deserves praise, those applications that were ultimately funded were particularly cutting-edge and deserving of institutional support.”

One multi-disciplinary project involves the investigation of a wearable, wireless body area sensor network to study the gait of Parkinson’s disease patients and to understand whether symptoms are different at home and in clinical environments. Principal Investigator Ziqian (Cecilia) Dong, Ph.D. of the School of Engineering and Computing Sciences will collaborate with her SoECS colleague Huanying (Helen) Gu, Ph.D., and NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine Assistant Professor Ely Rabin, Ph.D. on the project.

Two research teams are collaborating from distant campuses and crossing disciplines in their studies.

College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Christopher Moylan, Ph.D., and School of Management Assistant Professor Anjum Razzaque, Ph.D., (Vancouver) will perform a study on the impact of cultural background and learning style on university assessment.

“Given the technical nature of education at NYIT, and the central importance of value education in its mission, it seems prudent to explore twenty first century ways of gauging student experience of the teaching environment in the classroom,” Moylan and Razzque wrote in their grant application.

College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Professor Gail Linsenbard and School of Architecture & Design  Assistant Professor Mathew Ford were awarded funds to develop a blended, cross-disciplinary global elective and companion website, “Philosophy of Technology in the Built Environment,”  to be offered in New York and Abu Dhabi next spring.

“Our collaboration will foster and sustain rich inter-cultural dialogue and exchange between New York and Abu Dhabi,” said Linsenbard. “I am certain that our Architecture and Design students will benefit enormously from the fruits of our collaborative research since it will offer them an invaluable opportunity to investigate and synthesize the multiple ways in which diverse philosophical ideas and perspectives inform and inspire the built environment in major cities throughout the world.”

Shoureshi said the grants often provide a boost to research that is later funded with larger, external grants from national organizations.

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
 
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, nearly 100,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.
 
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