RIT honors researchers

Reception celebrates funding awards and induction of 12 new ‘PI Millionaires’
Group of 14 people holding awards and smiling.

Brendan Miller

RIT recognized 20 recipients of Seed Funding Awards, which are $5,000 grants given to proposals written over the fall semester and refined over the course of a two-day Grant Writers’ Boot Camp.

Rochester Institute of Technology honored researchers who served as principal investigators on active awards in fiscal year 2018 at an April 11 reception. Also recognized were the 20 recipients of Seed Funding Awards and 12 new inductees in RIT’s PI Millionaires.

RIT investigator efforts led to $78 million in research funding in the 2018 fiscal year, and a forecasted $70 million in the 2019 fiscal year.

“We continue to build RIT’s reputation as a nationally recognized research university,” said Ryne Raffaelle, vice president for research and associate provost. “The principal investigators we are celebrating today are making critical contributions to the advancement of knowledge in many of the most significant interdisciplinary challenges faced by society today. The growth in sponsored research reflects the commitment, dedication, and talent of our researchers in all areas and is a tremendous source of pride for RIT.”

Seed funding awards are $5,000 grants given to proposals written over the fall semester and refined over the course of a two-day Grant Writers’ Boot Camp. Proposals are reviewed by teams of peers and revised to better position awardees for external funding.

The 2019 Seed Fund award recipients are:

  • Yewande Abraham, assistant professor, College of Engineering Technology, for “Creating Informed and Engaged End Users in High-Performance Campus Buildings for Improved Energy Efficiency and Enhanced Comfort”;
  • Duygu Akdevelioglu, assistant professor, Saunders College of Business, for “Wearable Technologies and Consumer Engagement in Social Media”;
  • Nasibeh Azadeh Fard, visiting professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Monitoring and Improving Length of Stay and Readmission Rates Using Learn Management Techniques”;
  • Makini Beck, research associate, School of Individualized Study, for “Advancing Culturally Relevant STEM Learning Experiences for Underrepresented Students”;
  • Chris Campbell, research associate professor, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, for “The Use of Keyword Error Rate to Determine the Quality of Automated Speech Recognition Systems”;
  • Ke Du, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for “Highly Efficient Capture and Detection of Deadly Zaire Ebola virus (EBOV) via Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) Heirarchical Nanostructures”;
  • Kyle Dunno, assistant professor, College of Engineering Technology, for “Development of Bioplastic Packaging Solution for the Transport of Apples”;
  • Geo Kartheiser, postdoctoral researcher, NTID, for “Learning to Sign Before Birth”;
  • Mary Kitzel, visiting assistant professor, NTID, for “Chasing Ancestors, Part 2: Searching for the origins of American Sign Language in East Anglia, 1620-1851”;
  • Yu Kong, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Vision-based Few-Shot Prediction via Adversarial Similarity Networks”;
  • Rui Li, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “A Principled Model Selection Method for Deep Learning in Protein Function Analysis;”
  • Yangming Li, assistant professor, College of Engineering Technology, for “Robotic Collaborative Perception and object Manipulation for Effective and Affordable Elder Care”;
  • Guoyu Lu, assistant professor, College of Science, for “Arctic Sea Ice Image Reconstruction and Localization”;
  • Nishant Malik, assistant professor, College of Science, for “Integrating dynamical systems and machine learning to study paleoclimate data”;
  • Michael Mior, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Benchmarking Integration of Relational and Non-Relational Data Systems”;
  • Pradeep Murukannaiah, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Principedia: A Privacy Incidents Community Platform”;
  • Alexander Ororbia, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Neurocognitively-Motivated Conversational Assistants Based on Distribution Representations”;
  • Kristin Schipull, Golisano Institute for Sustainability, for “Framework for Development of Impact Calculator for Cleaning Methods”;
  • Yi Wang, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Implicit Gender Biases and Decision-Making in Professional Software Development”;
  • Ziming Zhao, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for “Enabling Trusted Computing on Industrial IoT Devices: Software-only TPM on Microcontrollers.”

In addition to the Grant Writers’ Boot Camp, RIT offered an advanced boot camp focused on the National Institutes of Health. Participants in the NIH Boot Camp submitted proposals for seed funding to help develop competitive proposals or revise proposals to specific NIH programs in the coming year. Awardees will receive up to $10,000 and include:

  • Jason Kolodziej, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
  • Elizabeth Ruder, College of Health Sciences and Technology
  • Michael Schertzer, Kate Gleason College of Engineering
  • Nicole Trabold, College of Health Sciences and Technology

Also recognized was a new class of PI Millionaires, a designation given to RIT researchers who have achieved funding of $1 million or more since 2000. Inducted as PI Millionaires were:

  • Irshad Altheimer, associate professor, College of Liberal Arts;
  • Mishkat Bhattacharya, associate professor, College of Science;
  • Thomas Gaborski, associate professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Aaron Gerace, associate scientist, College of Science;
  • Keith Jenkins, professor, College of Liberal Arts, vice president and associate provost, Division of Diversity and Inclusion;
  • Dhireesha Kudithipudi, professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Cristian Linte, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Drew Maywar, associate professor, College of Engineering Technology;
  • Mehdi Mirakhorli, assistant professor, Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences;
  • Matthew Montanaro, senior scientist, College of Science;
  • Tomicka Wagstaff, assistant vice president, Division of Diversity and Inclusion;
  • Jing Zhang, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering.

The celebration event, in RIT’s University Gallery, was hosted by Sponsored Research Services, which has recognized 139 PI Millionaire researchers since 2001.

For more information on research at RIT, go to https://www.rit.edu/research/.


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