OU Researches Get Funding to Study Virus Impacts

Mike Seals - April 17, 2020 12:00 pm

OU Researchers Receive Internal Funding to Study Impacts of COVID-19

NORMAN, OKLA. – Ten research projects led by University of Oklahoma researchers will receive funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic. The recipients were selected from 72 proposals submitted in one week.

As specified in the call for proposals, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships on the OU Norman campus is funding these Rapid Response Research Seed Grants for short-term projects that position OU faculty and their collaborators to effectively compete for significant external funding opportunities related to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, diagnosis, treatment, social factors and disparities, risk assessment and decision-making, and societal impacts.

“Leading through a crisis requires managing the present while also taking the long view and anticipating what comes next,” said OU Vice President for Research and Partnerships Tomás Díaz de la Rubia. “This crisis is happening now, so the research we are supporting has the potential for significant impact on the pandemic now, but will also prepare our faculty to compete for future external research funding opportunities. We are thrilled at the number of researchers who wish to contribute their scholarship to fight COVID-19 during this time.”

The work being carried out for these grants is being conducted in close partnership with the Office of the Vice President for Research at the OU Health Sciences Center, and multiple OUHSC scientists are co-principal investigators on several of the grants.

“The selection committee looked for research teams who provided compelling ideas, approaches and solutions to address current issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships Ann West. “Each research project awarded is designed to turn around results within four to six months, and engaging students – both undergraduate and graduate – was highly encouraged. In addition to striving for immediate impact on the pandemic, another objective of the seed-grant program is to position OU researchers to generate new proposals in the near-term for significant external funding from federal agencies.”

West said proposals were broadly categorized as addressing issues related to the pandemic in technology development and advanced manufacturing; biomedical and antiviral development; societal impacts, including education and social or psychological factors; and public health, including community response.

The projects and principal investigators (PI) awarded are:

    • Sherri Castle, assistant director of research for the Early Childhood Education Institute at OU-Tulsa, for “Childhood in a Pandemic: Parent Stress, Resources, and Interactions During COVID-19.”
    • Adam S. Duerfeldt, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, for “Identification and Development of SARS-CoV-2 Viral Replication Inhibitors.”
    • Terrie Fritz, director of the Center for Social Work in Healthcare and instructor in the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work in the College of Arts and Sciences, for “Rapid, Multidisciplinary Needs Assessment for Patients with COVID-19 Transitioning Hospital to Home.”
    • Brittany L. Hott, Corey J. Peltier and Theresa A. Cullen (Co-PIs), all from the Department of Educational Psychology in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, for “Effects of e-Coaching to Support Special Educators in Delivering High Quality Remote Instruction To Rural Students with Exceptionalities during the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Crisis.”
    • Dean Fredrick Hougen, associate director and associate professor of the School of Computer Science in the Gallogly College of Engineering, for the design, implementation and testing of a prototype for “Co-Advisor,” a comprehensive pandemic tracking and response system.
    • Hank C. Jenkins-Smith, George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Public Policy in the College of Arts and Sciences, and co-director of the National Institute for Risk and Resilience, for “Development of a Multi-institutional Center for Integrated Public Health Monitoring, Analysis and Decision-making for Public Decision Makers and Health Care Systems.”
    • Lori L. Jervis, professor of anthropology and a director of the Center for Applied Social Research in the College of Arts and Sciences, for “Assessing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in rural tribal and non-tribal Oklahoma communities.”
    • Yingtao Liu, assistant professor in the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering, for “Advanced High-Throughput 3-D Printing of Novel Long-Term Self-Sterilizing Nanostructured Air Filters for N95 and P95 Respirators.”
    • Ken Marold, assistant professor in the Christopher C. Gibbs College of Architecture; Evan Floyd, assistant professor in the Hudson College of Public Health, OUHSC; and Bobby Reed, head of emerging technologies, University Libraries (Co-PIs); for “3D Printed Respirator with Variable Media Chambers: Scaling Up Production.”
    • Charles Nicholson, associate professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the Gallogly College of Engineering, for “Machine Learning Enhanced COVID-19 Propagation Models for Rural, Semi-Rural, and Small Urban Regions.”



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