UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Dr. Eric Grebing

Dr. Eric Grebing (SERVE Center) received new funding from RTI International for the project “Tableau Training and Support for RTI Center for Education Services.”

SERVE will provide customized professional learning to Research Triangle International Center for Education Services team members on basic data management for and creation of data visualizations in Tableau. The curriculum design does not require any prerequisite knowledge of Tableau.

Dr. Stacy Sechrist

Dr. Stacy Sechrist (NC Network for Safe Communities) received a continuation of funding from the Lexington Police Department for the project “Support of Lexington Police Department’s Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative.” Dr. John Weil is principal co-investigator on the project.

North Carolina Network for Safe Communities (NCNSC) has been the training/technical assistance and evaluation partner for the replication of the Offender Focused Domestic Violence Initiative in Lexington, North Carolina, since the project began in 2014. A portion of Lexington Police Department’s grant with the NC Governor’s Crime Commission (GCC) will be to continue to support NCNSC’s on-the-ground support of the initiative in Lexington, which will include continued data tracking and evaluation, assistance with systems and processes, and documentation of the new addition of a Jessica Gonzales victim assistant within the police department, including outcomes and process changes. The Jessica Gonzales position will be a position funded through the GCC grant to Lexington Police Department.

Dr. Stephen Sills

Dr. Stephen Sills (Center for Housing and Community Studies) received new funding from the Reinvestment Fund, Inc./Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the project “Invest Health Greensboro Supplemental Funds for Technical Assistance, Site Visits, and Learning Exchanges.”

Safe and affordable housing can act as an upstream “prescription” for asthma. Greensboro is presently positioned to engage and develop upstream policy and program solutions to tackle health issues that are exacerbated by substandard and unhealthy housing. By investing in affordable housing and supportive services, municipalities and health systems can leverage financial resources to improve housing quality. The researchers’ pipeline of building projects will address the link between substandard housing and asthma and build a healthier community with affordable, quality housing opportunities for more than 26,000 individuals in the city who suffer from chronic asthma (CDC 500). The goal is to meet the needs of those most affected by 1) targeting substandard homes in neighborhoods most impacted by respiratory illness, while 2) helping to improving the quality of existing housing and reduce household utility and healthcare costs, and thereby 3) improving health conditions and reducing disparities. This project requires collaboration and continued systems/policy changes by institutional actors as well as direct input from those most affected. The project brings together a team of community members, housing advocates, a major health system, developers, municipal officials, and data scientists.

The Supplemental Funding from Invest Health is for Targeted Technical Assistance, Multi-Team Technical Assistance, as well as Site Visits/Learning Exchanges. This will includes travel to/from Spokane Washington in partnership with the IH Spokane team; a series of technical assistance webinar/virtual convening open to other IH teams (Policy Link,  Corporation for Supportive Housing, Abt); Capacity building in our local team through CSH Training Subscriptions and attendance at the Center for Community Progress Reclaiming Vacant Spaces Conference; and most importantly face-to face technical assistance meetings meetings with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Charlotte, North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, North Carolina Housing Coalition, and Duke Law School Community Enterprise Clinic.

Dr. Paul Knapp

Dr. Paul Knapp (Geography, Environment, and Sustainability) received new funding from UNC Wilmington for the project “Next Generation Optogenetics for Vision Restoration.”

This research project will investigate fire history at the Nichols Preserve, a rare, old-growth piedmont longleaf pine ecosystem undergoing restoration. Researchers will examine fire scars in remnant longleaf-pine stumps in order to determine the historical fire frequency of this forest. Results from this project will inform management practices for the North Carolina Zoo and will have broader impacts for longleaf pine growing throughout the Piedmont region.

Dr. Deborah Lekan

Dr. Deborah Lekan (Nursing) received new funding from the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses for the project “Frailty Risk Using EHR Nursing Data for ICU Transfer and Mortality.”

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the performance of a Frailty Risk Score (FRS) derived from nursing flowsheet data in the electronic health records (EHR) of hospitalized adults 50 years and older admitted to a health system during 2013 to 2017 for two outcomes: Time to ICU transfer, and in-hospital mortality. Applying frailty in risk prediction models may improve model performance and identification of high risk patients who need more resource-intensive care and care coordination.

Dr. Zhiyong Yang

Dr. Zhiyong Yang (Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality & Tourism) received new funding from from the North Carolina Small Business and Technology Development Center for the project “Faculty Liaison Grant.”


Dr. Kenneth Gruber

Dr. Kenneth Gruber (The Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from the Greensboro Housing Coalition for the project “Build Health Challenge 3.0 Collaborative Cottage Grove.”

It is becoming widely recognized that it is important to identify social determinants of health as both causal and ameliorative factors affecting the health and welfare of children and families. Childhood asthma exacerbated by environmental conditions in the home represents a prime example of a health issue for which a solution extends beyond the doctor’s office. A partnership with the local Health Department, hospital system, safe and health housing advocates, and families living in unhealthy homes will be established to create a replicable model that can make a major impact on childhood asthma.
The goal of this project is twofold: 1) reduce the prevalence of asthma attacks (resulting in emergency department (ED) and hospital visits) among children caused by unhealthy housing conditions and 2) improve the attendance and school performance of children with asthma living in housing that may be exacerbating their asthma. To achieve this goal, the researchers will employ an intervention approach that will address the housing environments of children with asthma through family education, housing condition assessments, and remediation of asthma triggers present in the home environment. Public health nurses involved with case management of students with asthma in 10 elementary schools will provide the sampling frame for this project. Approximately 600 students attending these schools have been identified with asthma. The nurses will contact families of these children to invite them to participate in the project. Project participation will involve a healthy homes assessment, assistance with remediation of asthma trigger conditions if present, and general education about maintaining a safe and healthy home.

Dr. Sat Gupta

Dr. Sat Gupta (Mathematics and Statistics) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “REU Site at UNC Greensboro in Complex Data Analysis using Statistical and Machine Learning Tools.”

The REU project aims to provide 10-week sophisticated training in Complex Data Analysis using statistical and machine learning tools to eight highly-motivated, nationally-selected undergraduates from Mathematical Sciences during summers of 2020 and 2022. The eight students will be divided into 4 to 5 research teams, each headed by a faculty mentor and supported by a co-mentor.

Intellectual Merit:
The focus of the training will be on complex data analysis involving topics such as high dimensional data analysis, subdata selection, machine learning, robust data analysis, and data confidentiality. The six mentors associated with the training have strong publication record in these areas, and five of them have strong experience in student mentoring. Emphasis during the training will be on both theory and applications. In addition to focused research in these specific areas, the program will offer participants a broad professional development training. As part of the training, students will undertake trips to major research centers in North Carolina such as SAS, SAMSI (Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute), and the Joint School of Nano Science and Nanoengineering.The researchers expect that the research completed as part of this training will be of very high quality and will lead to journal articles and conference presentations, as was the case for the 2018 ASA REU program.

Broader Impact:
UNCG has a welcoming culture and specifically attracts women and minority students and faculty. Our aspirational target will be to recruit in the program at least 4 women, at least two minority students. The students will live in the same residence hall on campus so that they can develop a long-lasting network.  The program will have plenty of social events (field trips, picnics, movies, bowling etc.) to foster team environment. The mentors will remain in contact with student participants even after the program is completed, as they did for the 2018 ASA REU students, and offer them continuous mentoring towards their transition to graduate school and overall professional growth. The program involves a good mix of senior and junior mentors so that the junior faculty gets an opportunity to learn the art of mentoring from senior faculty and be able to present a strong case for tenure and promotion.

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic (Communication Studies) will moderate the upcoming panel at the Greensboro History Museum: Writers as Witness: Free Speech in a Time of Hate. The panel, part of Scuppernong Books’ and Greensboro Bound’s Writers as Witness series, will discuss the role of language and speech in the current political moment. Jovanovic will be joined by independent researcher Alejandro Buetel, PEN American’s Jonathan Friedman, and Allen Johnson of the News & Record. The panel will be Jan. 29, at the Greensboro History Museum, at 7 p.m. See more info here.

Joy Everhart

Joy Everhart (Center for Youth, Family, and Community Partnerships) received new funding from Guilford County Partnership for Children for the project “Equity in the Earliest Years Program.” Dannette McCain is a co-principal investigator on the project.

There is a critical need for addressing social issues as early as infancy and toddlerhood. In North Carolina, a child can become involved with the Juvenile Justice System at the age of six. According to the 2017 annual report of the NC Juvenile Justice System, 1,364 juvenile justice complaints were received in NC for children ages ten and younger. In addition, children with low socioeconomic status who do not receive quality early childhood education can be impacted by devastating consequences and life outcomes. For example, students living in poverty who do not receive high quality early childhood education are 50% more likely to be placed in special education, 60% less likely to attend college, and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime (Heckman, 2008).

These facts point to the importance of equipping ECE Professionals with knowledge and skills to (1) build equitable, high quality early learning environments and (2) work effectively with infants and toddlers facing multiple risk factors for negative outcomes in later childhood and beyond.

The target population for this project is ECE Professionals in Guilford County. As a pilot of the EEY Program, the initial plan for this funding cycle is to train 25 professionals, including teachers, teacher assistants, and childcare center directors. In selecting the initial cohort for this program, priority will be given to those working directly with infants and toddlers in programs serving predominantly children of color from families with lower incomes, given their elevated risk of juvenile justice system involvement.

Dr. Anne Hershey

Dr. Anne Hershey (Biology) received new funding from North Carolina State University for the project “The Impact of Antibiotics on Stream Nitrate Removal via Denitrification.”

In this project, microcosm experiments will be performed to evaluate the effects of an antibiotic mixture on denitrification in stream sediments.

Dr. Talia Fernós

Dr. Talia Fernós (Mathematics and Statistics) received new funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “Young Geometric Group Theory IX.”

Funding is for U.S.-based participants of the Young Geometric Group Theory (YGGT) meeting to be held at Saint-Jacut-de-la-Mer, a small village located in Brittany, France,  February 24 to 28, 2020. The main audience for the meeting consists of graduate students and early-career researchers. The central goal is twofold. The conference gives the young researchers a platform to present their work, learn from each other, and encourage future collaboration. Mini-courses given by senior mathematicians and plenary talks by mid-career mathematicians will also introduce important current ideas in geometric group theory, and the participation of the more senior researchers will give networking opportunities to young participants. This meeting is distinctive in its focus on young researchers in a specific area, both as speakers and as the intended audience for the mini-courses, and for drawing together a large number of participants from both the U.S. and Europe. Each year, the meeting sees a new influx of graduate students and postdocs, and showcases areas where current research is particularly dynamic. It is thus an important annual event for the international geometric group theory community.

Dr. Louis-Marie Bobay

Dr. Louis-Marie Bobay (Biology) received a continuation of funding from the University of Texas at Austin for the project “Dimensions: Ordering the microbial world into natural genetic, ecological, and functional units.”

The project goal is to classify prokaryotes into biological species based on gene flow and analyze the dynamics of gene flow within and between prokaryotic species.

Researchers will conduct three main analyses:

Year 1: Re-classify all prokaryotic genomes into biological species based on the detection of gene flow with the ConSpeciFix program developed and improved by Dr. Bobay.
Year 2: Re-classify all prokaryotic genomes into species based on commonly used methods and compare the different classification schemes to the biological species.
Year 3: Evaluate the dynamics of gene flow within and between species.


Dr. Chris Rhea

Dr. Christopher Rhea (RISE Network) received new funding from the UNC System Office for the project “UNC Greensboro’s Science Everywhere event on the main campus and at the Moss Street Partnership Elementary School.” Dr. Tracey Howell, Dr. Christina O’Connor, and Dr. Kim Sousa-Peoples, are co-principal investigators on the project.

The project maintains an expansive footprint which includes the signature Science Everywhere event on UNCG’s campus and a mini-science event at the Moss Street Partnership Elementary School (MSPS), located in Reidsville, which is operated by UNCG in partnership with Rockingham County Schools. All activities are free and open to the public. The event at MSPS will lead into the Science Everywhere event on UNCG’s main campus. The 2020 theme of “The Future” will be incorporated in two ways. First, “The Future” can be defined as the future leaders and professionals of STEM, which will be engaged in our events that cater to K-12 students. Engagement at an early age is a key pathway in the development of a STEM workforce pipeline. Second, “The Future” can be defined as the future of STEM. What better way to show the future of STEM than by including futuristic demonstrations, such as using virtual reality for medicine or how to grow plants in outer space.

At UNCG’s 6th annual Science Everywhere event, families will engage in new and interesting scientific ideas, will have access to labs, and will interact with science experts in many fields. Collaborators include UNCG’s Research and Instruction in STEM Education (RISE) Network – a coalition of STEM educators and researchers, faculty and students – the Provost’s Office, the Office of Enrollment Management, the School of Education, and University Communications.

Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt

Dr. Kimberly Kappler-Hewitt (School of Education) received a continuation of funding from the University of Kansas for the project “Equity Leadership in High Need Schools.”

UNC Greensboro will partner with SWIFT Education Center to support development of Equity Leaders through the SWIFT Education Center Equity Leadership program. The partners will provide coordination and logistics support, as well as actively participating in a series of learning sessions and providing coaching support to one school district’s selected principals and their teams in four cohorts over four years. The Equity Leadership series will include three, 2-day learning sessions for each cohort of participating principals and will be held in – or near- district.

Dr. Carrie Rosario

Dr. Carrie Rosario (Public Health Education) has been appointed by Governor Roy Cooper to the North Carolina Institute of Medicine as a member at-large. She currently serves as a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine’s Healthy North Carolina 2030 Task Force.

Her research interests relate broadly to addressing tobacco-related health disparities as communities of color and low socioeconomic communities bear a disproportionate burden of tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. She specifically examines institutional, community, and policy-level influences on tobacco product usage patterns within young adults and college students.

Most recently, Rosario has explored the intersection of health literacy and tobacco use, elucidating the relationship between health-related messages sent by the university culture and college students’ health literacy and tobacco use behaviors. Currently, she is investigating the relationship between health literacy dimensions, alternative tobacco product and poly use to determine how it can inform tailored health communication interventions and tobacco regulatory policies.

Dr. Ramji K Bhandari

Dr. Ramji K Bhandari (Biology) received new funding from NIH National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for the project “Correction of endocrine disruptor-induced transgenerational epimutations by CRISPR-dCas9.”

Although epigenetic profiles are highly specific to cell lineages and differ from cell to cell within a tissue, some of those transmitted via germline are more uniformly distributed throughout the body as the zygote gives rise to the whole individual. Environmentally induced transgenerational alterations in DNA methylation, also called epimutations, have been demonstrated in mammals and fish. It is not clear if transgenerational epimutations can be inherited by soma and corrected by CRISPR-dCas9 epigenome editing tools in vivo. A successful method to correct transgenerational epimutations in vivo has promising applications in health and disease. Fish models can provide excellent opportunity to develop such tools as several transgenerational studies have already demonstrated environmentally induced phenotypes and epimutations comparable to mammals. In two successive transgenerational studies, we found reproducible male medaka fish phenotypes with approximately 20-30% reduced fertilization rates at the third generation (F2) after exposure of embryos during the first generation (F0) to birth pharmaceutical estrogen, 17?-ethinylestradiol (EE2), suggesting that embryonic EE2 exposure alters programming of developing germ cells. EE2-exposed fish germ cells maintained global hypomethylation including DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1) expression at a suppressed state at F0 generation, which was maintained in the germ cells and soma at F2 generation. We, therefore, hypothesized that EE2 induces hypomethylation in germ cells’ genome at F0 generation which is inherited by F2 generation germ cells and soma resulting in alterations of transcriptional network and gene expression leading to reproductive impairment in male gonads. We, therefore, propose to screen for EE2-induced transgenerational epimutations by whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) and to correct epimutations in vivo by CRISPR-dCas9 genome editing method.

The study has two specific aims.  Aim 1 will identify EE2-induced genomewide epimutations in F0 and F2 generations.  EE2-induced epimutations will be analyzed in F0 sperm and eggs and in F2 sperm and testicular somatic cells by WGBS. Unique epimutations that were present in F0 generation and are associated with reproductive impairment at F2 generation will be selected for genome editing. Aim 2 will remove epimutations (DNA methylation or demethylation marks) by CRISPR-dCas9 tools to recover reproductively healthy phenotype at F2 and F3 generations using the embryos with demonstrated epimutations (offspring of the F1 and F2 parental lineages from Aim1). The researchers will microinject programmable CRISPR-Tet1-dCas9  or CRISPR-Dnmt3ba-dCas9 or CRISPR-Dnmt1-dCas9 into F2 and F3 zygote at 1-cell stage. Resulting adult males will be tested for recovery of reproductive functions. Results from this proposed R21 study will be used to develop a R01 project directed toward development of epigenome editing tools to correct other phenotypes in vivo. Researchers believe that this will ultimately bring new insights into epigenetic mechanisms underlying transgenerational diseases in humans and their therapeutic applications.

Dr. Keith Debbage

Dr. Keith Debbage (Geography, Environment, and Sustainability) received the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2020 Media Achievement Award for his efforts in finding the right voice to bring geographic scholarship to the public sphere.

Debbage’s research spans local-scale urban planning, regional economic decline and recovery, and the impacts of creative economies. The AAG notes that Debbage “breaks the complexity down into jargon-free and readable packets of knowledge.”

“Debbage draws on his scholarship, extensive professional service, including his appointment as a Coleman Foundation Fellow, and his lived experience when communicating with the public, such as in his recent columns on the power of local-scale entrepreneurialism and the role of higher education in the economic and cultural life of North Carolina,” the Association’s award announcement continues. “A disarming folksiness is underlain by decades of applied scholarship, much of it completed with external grant and contract funding.”


George Hancock

George Hancock (SERVE Center) received new funding from Alamance-Burlington School System for the project “Haw River Elementary School Comprehensive Needs Assessment.”

Hancock also received new funding from Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools for the project “Moore Magnet Elementary School Comprehensive Needs Assessment.”

These projects are a systematic assessment of practices, processes, and structures within a school to assist school leadership and key stakeholders in determining needs, examining their nature and causes, and setting priorities for future actions. The assessments guide the development of a genuine school improvement plan that is grounded in data and provides a road map to future progress. Research supports the fact that schools who undertake a true comprehensive needs assessment make better decisions, resulting in improved outcomes relative to the achievement of their students.

An assessment team (2-3 team members) will visit each school, providing an opportunity for teachers, support staff, school improvement team members, and other stakeholders to outline current perceptions relative to leadership, instruction, professional development, planning, and operations, and family and community engagement.


Dr. Ayesha Boyce

Dr. Ayesha Boyce (Educational Research Methodology) received new funding from Indiana University at Bloomington for the project “Network for Computational Nanotechnology – Engineered nanoBIO Node.”

Dr. Boyce will oversee evaluation for the project using a mixed-methods strategy in which data from one type of method (quantitative or qualitative) is merged, connected, and/or embedded with data from another type of method. Mixed-methods evaluations provide richer data allow for better triangulation of data, and result in more nuanced evaluation results. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected concurrently as a way to extend the breadth, scope and range of inquiry, to learn about different phenomena within the same study, and to capture the richness and diversity of the program and program participant experiences. This evaluation will provide formative data to guide NCN improvement and summative assessment of nanoBIO Node quality and impact. Evaluation questions will center on: nanoBIO Node theory of change, implementation, effectiveness, diversity/inclusion/equity, communications, outcomes, and impact.

Dr. Sara Heredia

Dr. Sara Heredia (Teacher Education and Higher Education) received new funding from the Exploratorium for the project “The Phenomenal Genome: Evolving Public Understanding of Genetics in the Post-Mendelian Era.”

Heredia will be responsible for supporting the design team in developing and researching the teacher component of the project. This includes an on-site meeting at the Exploratorium with the advisory board to ideate and prototype experiences for science teachers to explore their current understanding of genetics. In years two and three, Heredia will travel to the Exploratorium each summer to collect data on implementation of experiences within the context of professional development settings. Heredia will also interview teacher participants in the year following their participation to inquire about if and how the teachers changed their instruction in relation to genetics. In the final year of the project, Heredia will work on data analysis and writing to disseminate research to multiple science education research audiences.

Dr. Eric Josephs

Dr. Eric Josephs (Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering) received new funding from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

The researchers will experimentally validate new molecular tools that they computationally predict could dramatically accelerate the production of crop variants with targeted genetic modifications (‘precision breeding’) to address future agricultural challenges. They expect the tools will be especially potent in important NC crops like tomato, sweet potato, tobacco, soybean, and cereals.

Luciana Lilley and Frank Donaldson

Luciana Lilley (English) and Frank Donaldson (Media Studies) spoke last Sunday at Triad Stage productions. Lilley discussed Triad Stage’s adaptation in Winston-Salem of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, directed by Preston Lane, a UNCG CVPA faculty member and co-founder of Triad Stage. Donaldson spoke in Greensboro on the golden age of radio, connected to Triad Stage’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

Dr. Wendy McColskey

Dr. Wendy McColskey (SERVE Center) received new funding from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for the project “2019-2020 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cohort 14 Level I Grant Application Review and 2018-2019 Annual Evaluation Reporting.”

SERVE will conduct the Level I application reviews of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Cohort No. 14 grant applications in the spring/summer of 2019 and 2) conduct Cohort No. 12 and No. 13 evaluation activities for the 2018-19 school year.

The 21st CCLC supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities (i.e., before, during and/or after school programming) for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. The program helps students meet state and local student standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and math; offers students a broad array of enrichment activities that can complement their regular academic programs; and offers literacy and other educational services to the families of participating children.

Dr. Audrey E. Snyder

Dr. Audrey E. Snyder (School of Nursing) received new funding from The Edward M. Armfield, Sr. Foundation for the project “School Health Coordination at Moss Street Partnership School.”

This project will help to develop the School Health Coordinator/Nurse role, nurse health room and create a new and innovative student clinical practice site at Moss Street Partnership School (MSPS). Moss Street Partnership School was specifically chosen because it offers UNCG students an opportunity to make a positive contribution with an at-risk population in a rural and underserved community, address some of the significant health education needs in the community and participate in interprofessional collaboration with other health professionals. The goal of this project is to create a unique learning environment for undergraduate students to have real world nursing experiences in community and school-based health.

Dr. Mitchell Croatt

Dr. Mitchell Croatt (Chemistry & Biochemistry) received new funding from the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute for the project “TAK1 Inhibition by (5Z)-7-Oxozeaenol Analogues for Anticancer Leads.”

This project will develop new anticancer drug leads based on the natural product pharmacophore.

Dr. Sonja Frison

Dr. Sonja Frison (The Center for Youth, Family and Community Partnerships) received a continuation of funding from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for the project “NC Healthy Transitions for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Disorders.” Dr. Ayesha Boyce and Dr. Tiffany Smith are co-principal investigators on the project.


Dr. Nadja Cech

Dr. Nadja Cech (Chemistry & Biochemistry) was recently featured as a Face of Mass Spectrometry in the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) journal.

The recognition is part of a new interview series that highlights the diversity of ASMS members, as well as demonstrates the various paths that one can undertake to achieve a career in mass spectrometry.


Dr. Shanmugathasan Suthaharan

Dr. Shanmugathasan Suthaharan (Computer Science) received new funding from Fondation Voir et Entendre – Institut de la Vision for the project “Next Generation Optogenetics for Vision Restoration.”

Rod-cone dystrophy (RCD) can be caused by numerous genetic variants that result in a range of phenotypes. The clinical imaging the researchers will use in project 1 allows them to assess these losses at the tissue level, determine the status of disease, and identify patients who may be candidates for novel treatments. It is essential for the researchers to be able to evaluate the status of the retina at the level of single cells.

Since the researchers’ objective will be to treat patients based on the status of either remaining cones, bipolars, and/or retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), they must develop tools that can identify and quantify these various cell types reliably in patients. Adaptive optics ophthalmoscopy (AOO) is the only tool that allows researchers to evaluate the living human retina at the level of single cells. Their imaging toolkit in AOO remains incomplete, with several cell classes such as bipolar cells and photoreceptor nuclei yet to be revealed.

Since light must pass through these structures to reach the photopigment in the outer segments of the photoreceptors, they scatter very little light and are nearly transparent. In normal healthy eyes, the photoreceptors provide a strong signal from directionally backscattered light that masks the signal from these other structures that may be more weakly scattering. Off-axis imaging approaches minimize the collection of directionally backscattered light to optimize the detection of weakly backscattering structures. Multi-offset detection has been shown to successfully image inner retinal neurons, including RGCs.

In non-human primates this approach achieved subcellular resolution – cells were also seen in humans, but with lower contrast. However, these early investigations have demonstrated that these tools require further refinement before they can be successfully deployed routinely on patients. Imaging of other weakly scattering structures such as bipolar cells or photoreceptor nuclei has not yet been demonstrated and requires additional work to understand how imaging configuration may be optimized to achieve this goal.

Finally, these off-axis techniques have yet to be fully characterized in patients that have missing photoreceptors due to disease, so it is essential that researchers understand the limitations and advantages in these conditions, which differ substantially from what is encountered when imaging normal eyes with intact retinal layers. The researdhers hypothesize that these approaches may be more effective at visualizing remaining cells when the strong signal from the cones is absent in RCD and that improved detection techniques and image processing can be used to enhance the contrast of the remaining cells in RCD, revealing the cells that are undetectable in normal eyes and enhancing our imaging toolkit for RCD.

Dr. Jonathan Henner

Dr. Jonathan Henner (Specialized Education Services) received new funding from the University of Rochester for the project “Developing a validated quantitative scale of language deprivation in the deaf population.”

Dr. Henner will work as a methodology and analysis consultant to examine data collection methods to ensure the integrity of the data collected and that the data collection is appropriate for the population studied. He will advise on the best way to analyze the data to create the results necessary for the best way to develop a quantitative assessment of language deprivation in targeted populations. Henner will ensure that the development of the quantitative assessment follows proper test development procedures to ensure psychometric validity and reliability of the resulting instrument.

Dr. Carrie Hill

Dr. Carrie Hill (Nursing) has accepted the position of RN-BSN program director, as of January 1, 2020. She is a pediatric nurse who is in her second year teaching in the School of Nursing. She has been active at Moss Street Elementary Partnership School, where she has a community clinical group this fall.

Dr. Emily Stamey

Dr. Emily Stamey (Weatherspoon Art Museum) has received new funding from the North Carolina Arts Council for the project “To the Hoop: Basketball and Contemporary Art.”

The Weatherspoon Art Museum will present an original exhibition (Feb. 1 – May 15, 2020) titled “To the Hoop: Basketball and Contemporary Art.” From its invention in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith as an activity for “incorrigible” youth, to its multibillion-dollar industry today, basketball has captured America’s imagination — and stolen North Carolina’s heart. North Carolina is a fabled hotbed of college basketball rivalries, and “To the Hoop” will capitalize on this enthusiasm as the museum works to cultivate new audiences. Exploring the game’s intersections with contemporary art and culture, the exhibition is timed to correspond with Greensboro’s hosting ACC and NCAA tournament games in 2020.

Dr. Terri Shelton

Dr. Terri Shelton (ORE / Center for New North Carolinians) has received new funding from FaithAction International House for the project “Safe Transitions After Resettlement (STAR).”

The purpose of this project is to provide family violence prevention training and education to immigrants and refugees in Guilford County and throughout the state. Specific responsibilities include providing training to immigrant and refugee community leaders and partnering with a cohort of leaders from faith-based and ethnic-specific organizations to increase their capacity to serve families experiencing family violence.

Shelton is the Vice Chancellor of Research and Engagement and holds the Carol Jenkins Mattocks Distinguished Professorship.

Dr. Aaron Beveridge

Dr. Aaron Beveridge (English) received new funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the project “MassMine Advancement Grant for Sustainable Data-Driven Humanities Research.”

This Level III Digital Humanities Advancement Grant will extend the functionality and accessibility of MassMine for data-driven humanities research. MassMine is a digital humanities research software that automates the collection and processing of data from digital sources to support the interdisciplinary research of social media and digital networks. MassMine currently supports data collection and processing from Twitter, Google Trends, Wikipedia, Tumblr, as well as collecting and archiving text data from any web URL (general web scraping). In 2015, MassMine’s initial development was funded through an NEH Digital Humanities Level II Start-Up Grant, and in successful completion of the Level II grant the MassMine team released version 1.0 of the software, as well as producing massmine.org to provide complete user documentation, “Getting Started” tutorials, and example Twitter analyses. The primary objectives of the 2015 Level II grant were: (1) to refine the MassMine tool to support the collection and use of social media and other digital data in humanities research, and (2) to develop a training program and online resources to support the broad use of MassMine, regardless of technical experience.

Dr. Kimberly Littlefield

Dr. Kimberly Littlefield (Office of Research and Engagement) received new funding from the National Organization of Research Development Professionals for the project “Building a Case for the Essential Associate Dean for Research.” Dr. Robert A. Henson is co-principal investigator on the project.

The goal of this project is to begin building a comprehensive characterization of the associate dean for research (ADR) role to inform the creation and provision of training and professional development programs and resources. To that end the objectives of project are to: (1) develop and deploy a survey to collect scope, responsibilities and indicators and measures of success for the ADR role; (2) apply concept mapping analysis to survey and structured interview data to identify primary structural information about, and the essential knowledge and resource needs of, ADRs; and (3) informed by concept mapping analysis, design curricula and implement training and professional development programs (webinar and workshop) for ADRs.