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College of Science Accolades: June – July 2020

Three Impact Grant proposals selected for the Provost Office Curriculum Impact Grants funding this year included College of Science faulty.  A faculty and curricular activities committee and a team of peer reviewers evaluated 20 highly competitive submissions and selected eight curricular projects to fund. The projects selected with College of Science faculty are: “Preparing Rising Scientists to Navigate the Science Policy Interface: Developing a Cross-disciplinary Minor in Science and Technology Policy.” (Jennifer Salerno, Environmental Science and Policy, Jessica Rosenberg, Physics and Astronomy, Karen Akerlof, Environmental Science and Policy, Lee Solomon, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Peter Blair, CHHS) “STEM in Society Minor.” (Brian Platt, CHSS, Cortney Hughes Rinker, CHHS, Kamaljeet Sanghera, VSE, Larrie Ferreiro, VSE, Laura Poms, CHHS, Padhu Seshaiyer, College of Science, Mathematical Sciences, Vita Chalk, CHSS)  “Climate Change Minor.” (Cristiana Stan, Jim Kinter, Atmospheric and Oceanic Earth Sciences, Juliete Shedd, Carter, Padhu Seshaiyer, College of Science, Mathematical Sciences, Sara Cobb, Carter)

Taylor Anderson, Geography and Geoinformation Science, along with Co-PI’s Hamdi Kavak, Computational and Data Sciences, and Andreas Zufle, Geography and Geoinformation Science, was awarded $199,998 for RAPID: An Ensemble Approach to Combine Predictions from COVID-19 Simulations by the National Science Foundation.

Dieter Bilitza, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $189,798 for Space Physics Data Facility (SPDF) Science Support bythe Catholic University of America. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Ylenia Chiari, Biology, along with graduate student Nickolas Moreno, co-authored a paper titled “Ecological, behavioral, and phylogenetic influences on the evolution of dorsal color pattern in geckos” in Evolution

I-Wen Chu, Physics and Astronomy, along with Co-PI Robert Weigel, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $9,050 for Analysis and Visualization of SuperThermal Electron Transport (STET) Code Results by the Catholic University of America. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Liping Di, along with Co-PI Eugene Yu, Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, was awarded $27,000 for GMU CSISS participation in OGC OWS-16 by Open Geospatial Consortium Incorporated.

Paul Dirmeyer, along with Cristiana Stan, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, were named liaisons to the U.S. Weather Research Science Working Group (WRSWG) Subseasonal-to-Seasonal (S2S) Subgroup from the World Meteorological Office’s International S2S Prediction Project. The WRSWG provides scientific leadership and coordination for U.S. participation in international weather research projects, and provides program guidance to U.S. research funding agencies regarding project recommendations.

Nirmal Ghimire, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $48,910 for Synthesis and Characterization Topological Materials by Argonne National Laboratory. Prime Sponsor: US Department of Energy.

Gregory Foster, Chemistry and Biochemistry, along with Co-PI’s Thomas Huff, Shared Research Instrumentation Facility, Randolph McBride, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, and Scott Glaberman, Environmental Science and Policy, was awarded $94,795 for Survey of Micropollutants in Fluvial Sediments and Water from Hunting Creek and the Freshwater Tidal Potomac River for 2020-2022 by Alexandria Renewal Enterprises. (Awarded under the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center)

Donna Fox, College of Science, was awarded $2,163,475 for USUHS EMDP2 UG and Grad Years by US Department of Defense.

Scott Glaberman, Environmental Science and Policy, along with Co-PI Gregory Foster, Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded $10,000 for Next-generation effects-based monitoring of contaminants in the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers by University of District of Columbia. Prime Sponsor: US Geological Survey (USGS).

Matthew Holzer, Mathematical Sciences, was awarded $252,772 for Stability and dynamics of invasion fronts in spatially extended systems by National Science Foundation.

Christian Jones, Environmental Science and Policy, along with Co-PI’s Randolph McBride, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, Benoit Van Aken, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Amy Fowler, Environmental Science and Policy, and Kim De Mutsert, Environmental Science and Policy, was awarded $140,958 for An Ecological Study of Hunting Creek 2020- 2022 by Alexandria Renewal Enterprises.

Fatah Kaschanchi, along with Co-PI Ramin Hakami, School of Systems Biology, was awarded $28,699 for Evaluating the cell culture antiviral activity of Pentarlandir against Corona viruses by SyneuRx International Corp.

Eduardo Lopez Atencio, Computational and Data Sciences, was awarded $99,259 for Modeling Search and Matching in Network-constrained Environments: The Case of Employment Dynamics inside Large Institutions by the US Department of the Army.

Chao Luo, along with Co-PI Paige Mikell, Chemistry and Biochemistry, was awarded $430,977 for Organic and Polymer Structure Engineering for Na-ion and Multivalent Metal Batteries by National Science Foundation.

Igor Mazin, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $448,548 for Ising superconductivity and beyond: a real materials approach by the US Department of the Navy.

Aarthi Narayanan, School of Systems Biology, National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, was awarded $250,000 for Evaluation of Chimeron Bio’s novel vaccine candidates for BSL-3 infectious agents by Chimeron Bio Corporation. Narayanan was also awarded $40,000 for Development of therapeutic approaches for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection by Stanford University.

Dusan Odstrcil, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $7,031 for Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) by Southwest Research Institute. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Emanuel Petricoin, School of Systems Biology, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, along with Co-PI’s Valeria Calvert, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, and Lance Liotta, School of Systems Biology, Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, was awarded $732,437 for Targeted Prevention for Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer by University of Arizona. Prime Sponsor: Department of Health and Human Services (NIH).

Peter Plavchan, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $14,875 for Measuring Stellar Activity With Chromatic Radial-Velocities in the Active and Planet-Bearing Nearby M Dwarf AU Mic by Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Plavchan also published a paper titled “A planet within the debris disk around the pre-main-sequence star AU Microscopii” inNature. The planet discovery was featured in a NASA press release, video with 50k views, and Exoplanet Travel Bureau poster, with simultaneous press releases from 12 institutions around the globe, with international news coverage including CNN, Fox News, and ABC Australia.  Plavchan also published "The Case for Cohorts" in Inside Higher Ed, debuted a new lecture series in partnership with the Smithsonian called "Space Tuesdays with GMU Observatory," published the first monthly issue of The MOON: Mason Observatory Outreach Newsletter, and kicked off a Virtual public lecture and telescope viewing version of Mason's Evening Under the Stars.

Joel Schnur, along with Co-PI’s Ali Andalibi, and Divita Mathur, College of Science, was awarded $13,406,037 for Innovative Solutions to Important Research Issues in Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering by the US Department of Navy.

Padmanabhan Seshaiyer, College of Science, Mathematical Sciences, was awarded $59,999 for Collaborative Research (RAPID): Modeling, Analysis and Control of COVID-19 Spread in an Aircraft Cabin using Physics Informed Deep Learning by National Science Foundation.

Dann Sklarew, Environmental Science and Policy, wasnominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education to recognize his contributions to sustainable development at Mason and other higher education institutions and environmental partnerships around the world.

Cristiana Stan, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, was awarded $133,178 for IPA- Cristiana Stan by US Department of Energy. Stan was also awarded $290,267 for ENSO-MJO Diagnostics in an Energetic Framework by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Daniel Tong, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Earth Sciences, was awarded $100,000 for WF-3 - Development and readiness of satellite products for fire and smoke forecasting: Improving the applicability of GBBEPx products for CAM-CMA by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Tong was also awarded $220,392 for WF-1 Accelerate Unified Forecast System (UFS) modeling of wildfire smoke impacts: Developing a comprehensive emission dataset for CAM-CMAQ by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Lastly, Tong was awarded $180,000 for Integrated modeling of air quality, carbon, and climate at a city scale for co-benefit mitigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Robert Weigel, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $44,797 for Ground Magnetic Field Perturbations under Extreme Space Weather Conditions by the Catholic University of America. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Chaowei Yang, Geography and Geoinformation Science, Center of Intelligent Spatial Computing, was awarded $99,956 for Collaborative Research: RAPID: Building a Spatiotemporal Platform for Rapid Response to COVID-19 by the National Science Foundation.

Erdal Yiğit, Physics and Astronomy, proposed a research topic titled “Coupling Processes in Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres” to Frontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences, which has been accepted and is open for submissions. 

Jie Zhang, Physics and Astronomy, was awarded $92,993 for Implementing novel methods to solve thermodynamics in 3D modeling of the solar atmosphere by Catholic University of America. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Zhang was also awarded $83,986 for WSA Coronal and Solar Wind Modeling Research and Development Support by the Catholic University of America. Prime Sponsor: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Faculty and Staff News

Jennifer Fraze, College of Science Finance Team, graduated in May 2020 from George Mason University with her Master’s degree in History.