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Third Round Awarded Proposals

Posted On April 23, 2013
Categories Proposals
There exists a “glass ceiling” for literacy and graduation rates among deaf children in the face of new opportunities afforded by early identification, early intervention, and enhanced technologies such as powerful hearing aids and cochlear implants. This may be associated with the changing paradigm from home to school interventions, confusion over the role of the dual languages, English and American Sign Language (ASL), in the regular classroom, and the high percentage of DHH children from homes where English is a second language. Yet nationally, literacy and graduation rates have not improved in recent decades. Better outcomes are possible. Building on the research capacity of its interdisciplinary members, Breaking the Glass Ceiling will establish a research center with a visionary paradigm of instructional excellence for DHH children’s classroom achievement, especially in the areas of language and literacy necessary to support positive academic outcomes. The cluster hires combine basic and applied/translational researchers to better understand factors related to reading achievement in this diverse population. Specifically, the cluster hires will have expertise in auditory and phonological abilities of DHH children who have cochlear implants, in reading of DHH children who are bilingual in American Sign Language and English, and in DHH children whose home language is not English. The new hires will use existing interdisciplinary contexts to support and develop their collaborative research programs. Worldwide, communication is imposing increasing challenges; we are facing the decline of world languages and increasing dependence on literacy for success in multiple arenas. Resolving the communication issue for multi-lingual DHH children will provide insight into communication challenges globally, furthering GSU’s leadership in this arena. Intended outcomes include increased acquisition of grants of national and international significance, collaboration with technology experts, an annual “Think Tank” of top innovators to synergize efforts to create new pathways to break the glass ceiling of achievement for DHH children, and the development of a longitudinal database.

Contact: Susan Easterbrooks, Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education; Rose Sevcik, Professor, Department of Psychology

Basic research investigations of microbial pathogens, with the goals of understanding their pathogenesis and preventing/treating the diseases they cause, continue to be a major focus of federal agencies. The proposed research cluster focuses on studying the complex interactions between host cells and medically important pathogens or microbial toxins, and is expected to have a significant impact on the prevention and treatment of diseases caused by these agents. Faculty with unique strengths in the area of microbial pathogenesis within the Departments of Biology and Chemistry represent the nucleus of this cluster. A cluster hire will consist of one senior faculty member and two tenure track faculty with demonstrated ability to do high quality research on microbial pathogens or toxins. The new hires will bring “state of the art” capabilities and funded basic research projects with strong translational potential, and will significantly expand the research training opportunities despite the absence of a medical school at GSU. Members of this cluster will investigate different pathogens or pathogen model systems, but will cooperate with significant synergy and foster the exchange of ideas and technical expertise within the group. The cluster members will be expected to maximize the use of the enormous existing investment and nationally unique resources of the Cores and specialized laboratory (including BSL-3/4) facilities in the Center for Biotechnology and Drug Design, the Viral Immunology Center and the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. Cluster faculty will collaborate with GSU faculty in the Molecular Basis of Disease Area Focus, the Center for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection, and the Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics as well as with other researchers and clinicians. The establishment of this cluster will create the critical mass of faculty needed for competitiveness for federal training grant applications and will increase the potential for extramural support from Center grants. Resubmission of this proposal was invited.

Contact: Margo Brinton, Professor, Department of Biology

Neuroethics has emerged in the 21st century as an increasingly significant interdisciplinary area of research. Neuroethics considers how ethical theories inform neuroscientific practice and how neuroscientific discoveries inform ethical theorizing. For instance, it addresses the ethical implications of brain scanning technologies now being used for lie detection, marketing, and predicting future behavior. It considers questions regarding brain science and the law, including legal responsibility and punishment. Neuroethics includes research on the neuropsychological processes that underlie moral cognition and behavior, as well as the impact of such discoveries on debates about ethics and moral psychology. For instance, does modern neuroscience threaten our conceptions of self, free will, or moral responsibility? The 2CI hires in neuroethics will allow Georgia State University to build an internationally recognized Neuroethics Program at the forefront of this increasingly influential field. The program will be highly interdisciplinary, drawing on the resources of the Department of Philosophy, the Neuroscience Institute, the Department of Psychology, and the College of Law. The new hires will build on this foundation and form the core of a new Neuroethics Program, including a Neuroethics Concentration within the Neuroscience PhD degree.

Contact: Eddy Nahmias, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy & Neuroscience Institute

The Atlanta Portfolios of the Poor project seeks to advance our understanding of how the urban poor make savings decisions; how they manage financial and non-financial risks; and how their investment and consumption decisions change over their lifetimes. These research questions are timely given the current state of the academic literature and because the world’s population is becoming increasingly urbanized where many of the new residents of urban areas, particularly the new residents of mega-cities, will be poor.

Unfortunately the ability of the urban poor to access formal financial and risk management products and services is limited even though research shows their need for such products and services are just as great as that of more affluent households. By developing a better understanding of the financial and non-financial risks facing the urban poor, policy-makers and businesses will be better able to design public and private solutions that allow the urban poor to save, borrow, and insure themselves in ways that help them break the cycle of poverty that is otherwise difficult to escape and even more difficult to escape on a permanent basis.

We will accomplish three primary goals in the project. First, we will recruit a cluster of research faculty members at the intersection of behavioral economics and household finance who will leverage existing research resources to study how the urban poor make household financial decisions, how formal financial products can be better tailored and delivered to these households to increase their ability to take advantage of household investment opportunities and how to more efficiently finance and mitigate the significant financial and non-financial risk exposures they face.

Second, we will build a longitudinal data set that will document in minute detail the portfolios of the Atlanta poor. These data will track transactions made by poor households using a “financial diary” format that will span both financial and non-financial dimensions of the lives of the poor. We plan to collect this data following the same households over several years rather than taking a “snapshot” at one point in time. We also plan to complement traditional survey methods with controlled field experiments, to allow the whole database to contain information on behavioral traits that are often critical to rigorous theoretical understanding of decisions and the implementation of effective policies.

The final goal will be to bring this research back to the classroom as several distinguishing features of the type of data collection proposed here make it an ideal vehicle for a “signature research experience” for advanced undergraduates in Risk Management & Insurance and Economics. It is labor-intensive, requiring a small army of undergraduates to conduct most of the surveys and experiments. It is continuing over several years, because of the need for a longitudinal baseline. And it requires that basic concepts in these academic fields be translated into operational survey questions and experimental choice tasks. We therefore will propose that a major capstone undergraduate course for economics or risk management majors (and perhaps others) be developed around the research initiative. This facet would provide an inspirational research experience to allow those students to help GSU show the benefits of careful research for the development of individuals and families in those very neighborhoods.

Contact: Richard Phillips, Professor, Department of Risk Management & Insurance

Over half of the world’s people and 80 percent of Americans live in cities. From this fact alone, a compelling case can be made for the importance of thriving cities. But not all roads lead cities to prosperity: many cities around the world are suffering under the weight of their own growth and sprawl, with attending problems of pollution, traffic congestion, and expensive services; others are stagnating and decaying under the forces of blight. Well-crafted laws and policies are crucial to lead cities in the right direction.

The starting point for shaping the future of cities is literally to shape the cities themselves ‘to focus on cities’ design and physical and social infrastructure, with a view to procuring desirable places in which to live, work, and play. This means providing affordable housing, efficient transportation, and urban amenities like green space, clean air, and clean and abundant water supplies.

The Andrew Young School of Policy Studies (AYSPS), with its departments of Economics and Public Management and Policy (PMAP), the College of Law (COL), and the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Sociology share a common strength in urban policy, with internationally recognized experts in the area of urban and local public economics, social networks, urban planning, growth management, smart growth, zoning, and environmental and land use law.

This initiative builds on these existing strengths with a cluster hire of four faculty members working in urban policy and land use law. This proposal directly advances the university’s strategic cities initiative, building momentum behind GSU’s proposed Council for the Progress of Cities and advancing the university’s goal of global distinction, while simultaneously building on and tying together the existing infrastructure of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth (COL), Fiscal Research Center (AYSPS), and the Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies (A&S).

Contact: H. Spencer Banzhaf, Associate Professor, Department of Economics

We propose a cluster-hiring plan for three positions in the general area of biomarker-based and imaging- guided therapeutics, which represents the future trend in developing novel and targeted therapeutics and is along the directions of national funding agencies such as the NIH. Such a plan combines our existing extraordinary strengths in diagnostics with therapeutics, builds upon the extensive available expertise in the component departments and the results of a previously funded 2CI cluster proposal in diagnostics, expands into new directions (biomarker-based and imaging-guided therapeutics), and creates synergistic results. The effort will be critical to the future of GSU’s biomedical research effort. The team is very strong with 27 members, three GRA Eminent Scholars, and Prof. Jenny J. Yang as the lead person. This plan is also in line with the strategic directions of the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA), the Georgia Cancer Coalition (GCC), the newly formed Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics (CDT), and the three component units: Chemistry, Biology, and the Neuroscience Institute. Excellent infrastructure exists to allow for the recruitment of high caliber candidates and for new hires to start making a major impact upon their arrival. The hiring plan focuses on areas of drug development that complements and strengthens the existing programs, addresses current needs and the “critical mass” issue for future center and program project grant efforts. Specifically, we plan to hire in three of the following areas: animal, new target identification, imaging-guided therapy and drug delivery, and drug fate and pharmacokinetic studies.

Contact: Jenny Yang, Professor, Department of Chemistry