Collaborative Research Seed Grant Recipients - Fall 2019

6 headshots of women faculty in a grid smiling at the camera

This seed grant program fosters the development of innovative and equitable collaborative research projects among UMass Amherst faculty. Funded seed grants at UMass will contribute to the mission of the National Science Foundation ADVANCE program. Collaborative teams receive logistics support from the ADVANCE team and are supported in applying for external funding opportunities based on the seed funded project. The following teams have been awarded seed grants.

Elucidating mechanoselective adhesion and antibiotic resistance for catheter-associated bacterial infections using genomics approaches

This project explores the genetic underpinnings of bacterial cell adhesion to catheter coatings to inform the development of infection-resistant catheters. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections are the most prevalent healthcare-associated infection in the United States, accounting for over 30% of acute hospital infections. This interdisciplinary team combines Schiffman’s expertise in materials science with Andrews’ in synthetic biology to study how the mechano-chemical properties of catheters impact cell adhesion and in the development of CRISPR-based genomic tools for uropathogenic E.coli and a novel library of tunable biomaterials. 

Principal Investigators:

  • Lauren Andrews, Marvin and Eva Schlanger Faculty Fellow, assistant professor, department of chemical engineering
  • Jessica Schiffman, James M. Douglas Career Development Faculty Fellow, associate professor, department of chemical engineering

Consumer and fisherman attitudes towards sustainable local seafood 

This project addresses the need for sustainable new markets for seafood from New England. Climate change challenges the socio-economic and environmental sustainability of New England's seafood industry. A warming Gulf of Maine compounds the complex puzzle of ecosystems, fish population dynamics and catch limits for specific fisheries. Cascading effects on fishermen, seafood processors, markets and restaurants provide a network of challenges that are difficult to disentangle. This proposal brings together a team with diverse expertise in ecology, climate change adaptation, economics, stakeholder engagement and product development. We aim to support the fishing industry by investigating consumers’ seafood choices, sustainable fishing practices, and seafood products that contain lesser-known yet abundant species.

Principal investigators:

  • Alissa Nolden, assistant professor, department of food science
  • Jill Fitzsimmons, assistant research professor, department of resource economics
  • Amanda Kinchla, extension associate professor, department of food science
  • Katherine Kahl, extension assistant professor, sustainable fisheries and coastal resilience, department of environmental conservation