The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Awards

The Provost, in coordination with the Chancellor and the Deans of the Colleges and Schools, launched a new initiative to support interdisciplinary research at UMass Amherst in Spring 2020. The goals of this program are to empower creativity; to promote collaborations, especially those that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion; and to attract external funding.

These newly created Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Awards are interdisciplinary awards up to $40,000 offered to teams of at least three faculty members from at least two different colleges with the University. The research proposed by the team represents a new interdisciplinary collaboration. Expected outcomes of these awards are proposals to external funding agencies, small business start-ups, patents, scholarly articles, artistic works, or other significant, tangible results. Special preference was given to projects that address large-scale problems with significant societal impact.

Proposals for these awards were solicited in March 2020. Applications were reviewed by a committee consisting of the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Deans or Associate Deans from Colleges where faculty have submitted an application. Awardees were notified in May 2020.

Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Awardees:

  • Cathal Kearney, Meghan Huber, and Ilia Karatsoreos: "A Stitch in Time: Synchronizing Wound Healing with our Body Clock"
  • Carrie-Ellen Briere, David Sela, and Joseph Jerry: "Cellular Components of Human Milk: An Examination of their Role in Infant Health and Development"
  • Torrey Trust, Allison Butler, and Robert Maloy: "Civics, Government, and Media Literacy Learning for Middle and High School Students and Teachers"
  • Peng Bai, Markos Katsoulakis, and Sarah Perry: "Designing an AI framework for high-throughput materials development"
  • Michael Zink, Senay Solak, and Daiheng Ni: "Dynamic route optimization for autonomous aerial vehicles in inclement weather with socio-economic cost considerations"
  • Memnun Seven, Mark C. Pachucki, and Raeann LeBlanc: "Evaluation of family and community social network characteristics among high-risk family members to improve cancer-related health behaviors"
  • Forrest J. Bowlick, Camille Barchers, and Rebecca Seifried: "Georectifying the MacConnell Air Photo Collection for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration"
  • Yu Chen, Xian Du, and Zhichao Jiang: "Intelligent 3D Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for Assessment of Transplant Organ Viability"
  • Caitlyn Butler, Anne Gershenson, and Manasa Kandula: "Interdisciplinary Active Colloids in Biofilms"
  • Noy Holland, Curt Griffin, and Rachel Green: "Love What Lives, Save What's Left"
  • Michael Krezmien, Andrew Lan, and John Francisco: "Monitoring INdividual Differences in MAth Problem Solving (MIND-MAPS): Using Technology to Transform Math Learning for Incarcerated Learners"
  • Elizabeth Harvey, Nilanjana Dasgupta, and Sarah Fefer: "Racial differences in parent-teacher perceptions of childhood ADHD symptoms: An examination of the role of stereotypes and prejudice"
  • Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, Lynnette Leidy Sievert, and Tara Mandalaywala: "Social touch interventions to reduce stress, anxiety and depression in young adult women "
  • Pari Riahi, Yahya Modarres-Sadeghi, and Ali Sarvghad: "Sustaining the Creative Arc: Implementing a Cross-Disciplinary Analysis and Problem-Solving Method for Design Thinking"
  • Katherine Reeves, Guodong Zhang, and Zhenhua Liu: "Triclosan exposure and risk of colon disease in women"
  • Brenda Philips, David Jensen, and Qian Yu: "Understanding and predicting human response to personalized severe weather warnings for urban flash floods"

Any questions regarding this initiative should be directed to Tilman Wolf, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (