Academic Spotlight
Faculty Research, Performance and Exhibitions

Bowdoin Faculty Research Grants Top $3 Million

Story posted July 31, 2008

During the 2007–2008 academic year, Bowdoin faculty research, scholarship and programming garnered $3,026,047 in support from a wide range of prestigious foundations and institutions nationwide.

Individual grant money in support of Bowdoin faculty research and programming totaled $1,641,566 for the 2007–2008 academic year, which ended June 30, 2008. The grants represented a broad distribution of disciplines across the sciences, fine arts, humanities and social sciences.

Institutional support for the College totaled $1,384,481, including a $1.1 million four-year grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in support of classroom, laboratory and co-curricular activities in the biosciences. This is the fourth time Bowdoin has received HHMI funding, and it will allow the College to increase the number of students doing research, develop a peer-science mentoring program, and other initiatives to broaden opportunities and pathways into the biosciences.

"This impressive level of continuing support for Bowdoin faculty is confirmation of the importance of their work on a national and international level," noted Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd. "We are very fortunate to have faculty who are making important contributions to their fields and involving undergraduates in their research and scholarship."

A summary of grants received:

Barbara Weiden Boyd (Classics) was awarded a grant from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation in support of her commentary on Ovid's Remedia amoris.

Deborah DeGraff (Economics) received support from the National Institutes of Health for a two-year pilot project between the University of Maryland and Bowdoin College exploring the effects of early-life decisions on late-life well being in Mexico. The long-term goal of this research is to prepare another larger research proposal, with special emphasis on labor force, marriage, and fertility decisions of women, and human capital investments in their children.

Danielle Dube (Biochemistry) was awarded a startup grant from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc., earmarked for promising new faculty in the chemical sciences who are teaching at primarily undergraduate institutions. Dube uses a blend of chemistry and biology to study carbohydrates, molecules found on the surface of all cells. The broad goals of the Dube lab are to develop novel antibiotics that target sugars found exclusively on human pathogens and to create tools to better understand the role of carbohydrates in human disease. The grant will support a wide range of research opportunities for Bowdoin biochemisty and chemistry students.

David Gordon (History) was awarded a fellowship at the Humanities Research Center at Rice University for spring 2009. During his fellowship, Gordon plans to complete a book on the influence of Christianity on political ideas and practices in south central Africa over the last century, the culmination of research conducted over the past five years. Read more.

Laura Henry (Government) received a Fulbright-Hays Scholar Research Abroad Fellowship to travel to Russia to study ways in which Russian citizens are trying to influence social policies, particularly those concerning healthcare and housing. Henry is conducting interviews with protesters and activists in St. Petersburg and Vladivostok and collaborating with sociologists at the Center for Independent Sociological Research Institute in St. Petersburg. Read more.

Guillermo "Ta" Herrera (Economics) was awarded Maine Sea Grant Program funding to develop a progression of models comparing the performance of fishery management at different spatial resolutions. The proposed research will inform the decisions of fishery managers and stakeholders regarding whether and how to implement an area management strategy for ground fish. It is a jointly held grant with Dr. Daniel S. Holland of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Read more.

Susan Kaplan (Arctic Studies Center) received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create an exhibition, "Northward Over the Great Ice," commemorating the 100th anniversary of the day that American explorer Robert E. Peary became the first person to reach the North Pole. She also received a grant from The Kane Lodge Foundation to support the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum's public traveling exhibit using MacMillan's lantern slides. The 35 images will be on tour across the United States and Canada as part of the Peary expedition centennial. Read more.

Jane Knox-Voina (Romance Languages, Russian) received a grant from the Maine Humanities Council in support of a film and lecture series at Bowdoin and in the community on the new wave of Kazakh films and filmmakers. Read more.

Bruce Kohorn (Biology) has been awarded a major grant from the National Science Foundation for his continuing work on the role of Wall-Associated Kinases (WAKS) in plant-cell expansion and in pollen tube growth. The Research for Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant gives undergraduate students in biology and biochemistry the opportunity to perform their own research projects, to be exposed to the scientific thought process, and to make contributions to the academic field. Read more.

Genevieve LeMoine (Arctic Studies Center) was awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), along with co-investigator, Dr. Christyann Darwent (University of California–Davis), for archaeological excavation of two Thule/Inuit sites in Inglefield Land in Northwest Greenland. Two graduate students, undergraduate, and high school students also will participate, as will a team of up to 14 researchers. The project addresses questions of basic culture history; culture contact, both between indigenous groups and between Euro-Americans and Inuit; adaptation to changing environment; and mammalian biogeography. The award is part of NFS's International Polar Year. Visit archaeological blog.

Barry Logan (Biology) received a grant from the Australian Research Council to continue his study, "Eucalypt growth in past and future environments—a novel approach to understanding the impacts of atmospheric CO2 and climate." The aim of the project is to determine the impact of drought on the integrative responses of trees to increasing temperature and past and future atmospheric CO2. The research is motivated by predictions that environmental change in Australia will accelerate rapidly with unknown consequences for Australian species and ecosystems. Read more.

Scott MacEachern (Anthropology) was awarded a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to support his research on the pre-history of the northern Mandara Mountains of Cameroon, in Central Africa. Research will be conducted over two ten-week field sessions at sites that contain the earliest-known archaeological remains in one of the most densely settled human landscapes in sub-Saharan Africa. The project will provide hands-on training for a number of American, Cameroonian and Canadian graduate and undergraduate students. Read more.

Arielle Saiber (Romance Languages) was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Research Fellowship and accepted a Fellowship at Villa i tatti, Harvard's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy, to complete a book manuscript on the intersections between the mathematical and literary imaginations of early modern Italy. The yearlong fellowship begins in September 2008. Read more.

Laura Toma (Computer Science) received a three-year NSF grant to continue her work developing scalable algorithms for realistic terrain processing in geographic information systems (GIS) applications. A major component of the grant is development of a GIS lab at Bowdoin to fully engage undergraduate students in contemporary research spanning theoretical algorithms and algorithmic engineering. Read more.

Susan Wegner (Art History) and Katherine Kline (Bowdoin College Museum of Art) received grants from the Fisher Foundation and the Cowles Charitable Trust in support of the art exhibition Beauty and Duty: The Art and Business of Renaissance Marriage. The exhibition was on display at the Museum through July 27, 2008, and was accompanied by an interdisciplinary series of lectures, concerts, film showings and other dramatic presentations relating to Renaissance marriage. Read more.

Mary Lou Zeeman (Mathematics) received a grant from the National Science Foundation to help organize the workshop, "From Global Prediction to Local Action," which brought climate scientists, economists and mathematicians together to discuss climate change at the Joint Math Meeting in San Diego, Calif., held in January 2008. View podcast movie.

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