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UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative welcomes a new round of awards supporting faculty research at UW–Madison

5.3.18 | UW–Madison News | Natasha Kassulke | Original Publication Original Publication

MADISON – Seventeen innovative projects on such diverse topics as personalizing diabetes prevention and treatment, transforming wood into a renewable electronic material, improving outcomes for incarcerated parents and their children, advancing the frontier of fusion energy sciences, and establishing a LandLab Institute and a forecast-based flood and health disaster preparedness system, have been chosen to join the UW2020: WARF Discovery Initiative cohort.

Two small kids playing on a computer
One UW2020 project will will focus on fostering positive family interactions and relationships between incarcerated parents and their children through visit coaching in the jail and home, and offering in-home video visits via One Laptop per Child. Photo: Courtesy of Julie Poehlmann-Tynan

These projects, with an average award amount of $432,442 were chosen from 111 proposals submitted from across the UW–Madison campus. The initiative is funded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

This is the fourth round of UW2020 project selections and brings the total UW2020 projects to 66, since the first round awards were announced in 2016. The awards this round include six infrastructure projects and 11 research projects that cross multiple divisions on campus.

The projects were reviewed by faculty from across the university, ultimately involving 102 reviewers. Funded projects include 125 faculty and academic staff investigators on the project teams from 10 schools and colleges.

Immunofluorescence image of a paraffin-embedded pancreas section stained with antibodies
Immunofluorescence image of a paraffin-embedded pancreas section stained with antibodies. Allowing for the precision treatment of individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, is a key goal of this UW2020 project. Photo: Courtesy of Michael Schaid, Kathryn Carbajal and Michelle Kimple

The UW2020 Council, a group of 17 faculty from all divisions of the university, evaluated the merits of each project based on the reviews and their potential for making significant contributions to their field of study.

The goal of UW2020 is to stimulate and support cutting edge, highly innovative and groundbreaking research at UW–Madison and the acquisition of shared instruments or equipment that will open new avenues for innovative and significant research.

“While previous rounds of UW2020 projects are now maturing and realizing their potential, we are excited to infuse the initiative with a new class of inspiring and novel projects that continue to showcase UW–Madison’s highly competitive and forward-thinking world-class faculty and staff researchers,” says Norman Drinkwater, interim vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “UW–Madison remains very grateful to WARF for continuing to support and partner with us on this initiative.”

The Graduate School also is supplying direct support for some research assistants.

Please see a list of projects below. To learn more and read project descriptions, please visit research.wisc.edu.

Research Projects

Four people wade through flood water on a sunny day
Another project has the potential to radically improve existing disaster management practices, and save lives and resources by providing advanced preparedness and response strategies. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Block

Advancing CRISPR-mediated Genome Editing Technology at UW–Madison to Model Human Disease
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Anjon Audhya, Associate Professor of Biomolecular Chemistry

All-Optical Electrophysiology-Electrophysiology without Electrodes
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Baron Chanda, Associate Professor of Neuroscience

Building a Translational Research Pipeline to Personalize Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Elizabeth Cox, Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Communication Ecologies, Political Contention, and Democratic Crisis
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Lewis Friedland, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Development of a Forecast-based Flood and Health Risk Management System to Support Advanced Disaster Preparedness
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Paul Block, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Gene Editing Nanomedicines to Correct Pathogenic Mutations in Retinal Pigmented Epithelium
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Krishanu Saha, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Improving Outcomes for Incarcerated Parents and their Children through Enhanced Jail Visits
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, Professor of Human Ecology and Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Center for Child and Family Well-being and the Center for Healthy Minds

Instrument Development to Study the Highest Energy Photons in the Universe
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Justin Vandenbroucke, Assistant Professor of Physics

Maternal Breathing Dysfunction during Pregnancy Increases Risk for Psychiatric Disorders in Her Offspring: A Paradigm-Shifting Concept
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Tracy Baker, Associate Professor of Comparative Biosciences

Toxoplasma Infection and Brain Function
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Meyer Jackson, Professor of Neuroscience

Transforming Wood into a Green, Renewable Electronic Material
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Michael Arnold, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

Infrastructure Projects

Accelerating Lead Optimization to Clinical Application Using Microscale Thermophoresis to Quantify Molecular Interactions
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Weiping Tang, Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Acquisition of an Illumnina NovaSeq Next Generation DNA Sequencer for UW–Madison
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Michael Sussman, Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Biotechnology Center

Data Science Hub for UW–Madison
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Brian Yandell, Professor of Statistics

Fusion Energy Research at the Next Frontier: Integrating Optimized Plasma Confinement with Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: David Anderson, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

State-of-the-Art, Reactive-Ion-Etching Instrument for Nanofabrication of Devices at UW–Madison
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Luke Mawst, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

The LandLab Institute-a Place for Ecological Solutions to Land Use Problems
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Randall Jackson, Professor of Agronomy