CCAS Research Activity Hits New High

August 9, 2023
A man and woman in a lab

Research expenditures at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (CCAS)—grant funding spent by faculty to conduct research—soared to $19.7 million during fiscal year 2023, a record high and a 21.5 percent increase over the previous year.

In addition, there were 151 research proposals submitted by CCAS faculty during that time frame, and 139 principal investigators—the lead researchers on a project. 

“These numbers are reflective of the research success of our faculty and our work as a preeminent research institution,” said CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck

During FY 23, funding awards to faculty members across the disciplines were also impressive. They included a nearly $2.7 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to Rebekah Tromble, associate professor of media and public affairs and director of the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics, to create strategies that aid journalists facing online harassment campaigns; and a $1.5 million NSF award to Associate Professor of Biology Carly Jordan to study the impact of Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) on student success with the goal of building a more diverse and skilled STEM workforce.

The following are other recent major awards of $250,000 and above:

Maria Frawley (English): $487,000 from the Mellon Foundation to support “Story for All: Disability Justice Collaboratories,” a project aiming to provide marginalized populations with the empowering capacities of storytelling.

Leon Grayfer (Biology): $415,550 from NSF to examine how macrophages contribute to an amphibian skin’s antifungal defenses.

Sylvain Guiriec (Physics): $395,061 from NASA to support work on data analysis pipelines and GRB observation predictions using the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), a soft gamma-ray survey telescope. 

Gustavo Hormiga (Biology): $499,294 from NSF to study the systematics and evolution of onychophorans (velvet worms), particularly the least-understood group of Onychophora, the Neotropical Peripatidae, and their radiation around the Caribbean region.

Neil Johnson (Physics): $561,857 from the University of Tennessee to understand the dynamical emergence of new cultural authorities across social media.

Yonatan Lupu (Political Science): $299,768 from NSF to analyze whether current deplatforming strategies mitigate harmful communication throughout social media.

Arnaud Martin (Biology): $655,390 from NSF to examine the molecular, developmental and functional basis of silk across a diversity of uses.

Gabriela Rosenblau (Psychology): $493,938 from the Simons Foundation to investigate and constrain the heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by providing a mechanism to characterize the relationship between two symptom dimensions of ASD: restricted or highly-focused interests and challenges in social cognition.

Frank Sesno (Media & Public Affairs): $250,000 from The Walton Family Foundation to support Planet Forward

Chet Sherwood (Anthropology): $349,604 from NSF to study learning-related aspects of brain organization in great ape species.

Adelina Voutchkova (Chemistry): $440,301 from NSF to study the efficient and minimally wasteful methods to prepare complex molecules from renewable starting materials containing carbonyl groups.