Rutgers Global Grants 2024

Rutgers Global is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 Rutgers Global Grants. These modest seed grants are offered yearly to all Rutgers faculty, including tenured, tenure-track, clinical, and NTT faculty. 

This year, there were four categories of grants: (1) International Collaborative Research, (2) Global Health, (3) Global Environmental Change, and (4) Faculty-led Study Abroad

Congratulations to this year’s Rutgers Global Grants recipients! Please scroll down to read more about each recipient's project.

International Collaborative Research:
Kimberlee Moran, Chemistry, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Camden
Finding Children in the Archaeological Record

Rahul Mittal, Health Informatics, School of Health Professions, RBHS
Taxonomy of the Voluntary Sector in Cornwall, UK

Hadi El Farr, Human Resources and Management, School of Management and Labor Relations, New Brunswick
Investigating Job Desperation as a New Managerial Concept: A Cross-Cultural Analysis in the US and France

Sarah Gallo, Learning and Teaching, Graduate School of Education, New Brunswick
Intersections of Documentation and Dis/ability Education for U.S.-Born Students in Mexico

Sylvie Rangan, Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick
The Interaction of Low Energy Electrons with Matter: An Emerging Concern

Jonathan Gingerich, Rutgers Law School, Newark
Humanistic Ethics Network

Simiao Niu, Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, New Brunswick
Stretchable Textile with Functional Liquid-Metal for BodyNET

Krystal Strong, Education Theory, Policy and Administration, Graduate School of Education, New Brunswick
Political Education in Global Black Social Movements

Rajiv Malhotra, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering, 
Scalable Resilience of Critical Manufacturing Systems to Cyberattacks

Salim El Rouayheb, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering
Resilient AI/ML Algorithms in Decentralized Networks

Global Environmental Change:
Kristina Keating, Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Newark
The role of bofedales on water storage and availability in Phinaya, Peru

Andrea Restrepo-Mieth, Ralph Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Environmental planning under a changing climate in Galápagos, Ecuador

Fiorella Prada, Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick
Upwelling systems: thermal refugia for reef-building corals in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Global Health Seed Grants:
Selvakumar Subbian, Public Health Research Center, RBHS
Evaluation of a novel candidate drug against latent tuberculosis

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick
Wellness through Wisdom: Indigenous Women's cervical health Test Training

Hari Iyer, Cancer Institute of New Jersey, RBHS
Rutgers-University of Ibadan partnership for climate and health research

Ubydul Haque, Epidemiology, RBHS
Innovative approaches to overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase coverage in Ukraine

Lisa Lewis, School of Nursing, Camden
Cardiovascular Social Determinants of Health in the Caribbean Symposium

Faculty-led Study Abroad:
Jack Harris, Human Ecology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick
Scottish Sustainability

Tracy Chang, School of Management and Labor Relations, New Brunswick
SMLR Global Education: Conscious Leadership and Social Innovations

Mary D’Ambrosio, Journalism and Media Studies, School of Communication and Information, New Brunswick
Establishing our first study abroad course in Turkey

Janice Gallagher, Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Newark
Decolonizing Translation in US/Mexico Diaspora

Frederick Curry, Dance, Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick
Samba in Salvador, Brazil

Additional Information

2024 Grant Recipients & Project Descriptions

International Collaborative Research +

Kimberlee Moran, Chemistry, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Camden
Finding Children in the Archaeological Record

This project combines archaeology, forensic science, and educational outreach to answer the question: can fingerprints identify children in antiquity? Archaeologists have tried to use of friction ridge detail (FRD) left in a clay to assign an age to the FRD’s owner. In forensic science, such a method is not recognized, let alone used. The research team will connect children of the present with children of the past through a hands-on educational lesson that will provide the researchers with over 200 samples of FRD from both NJ and Greece. If the results of this research suggests that FRD measurements can produce reliable age estimates, it may lead to further studies within the forensic application of friction ridge analysis.

Rahul Mittal, Health Informatics, School of Health Professions, RBHS
Taxonomy of the Voluntary Sector in Cornwall, UK

The place of volunteers within healthcare in the UK has become increasingly prominent in recent years. Voluntary organisations have been drawn into the delivery of health and care services to augment a system which – like other healthcare systems in western economies – is struggling with an aging population and ever-increasing demand. Meanwhile, in rural areas, such as Cornwall, UK, these challenges are compounded by poor public transport, long journey times and low population density. Voluntary organisations clearly need support to navigate the new demands placed on them, but we lack a clear understanding of the number and type of voluntary organisations in Cornwall. This project will develop the collaboration between the academic and non-academic stakeholders currently attempting to define and support the role of voluntary organisations involved in healthcare. It also forges a new working relationship between the University of Exeter and the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers.

Hadi El Farr, Human Resources and Management, School of Management and Labor Relations, New Brunswick
Investigating Job Desperation as a New Managerial Concept: A Cross-Cultural Analysis in the US and France

The project titled "Investigating Job Desperation as a New Managerial Concept: A Cross-Cultural Analysis in the US and France" explores the emerging concept of "job desperation" within the context of management. This research project is motivated by the concerning trend of employees worldwide expressing dissatisfaction with their current employment situations and a desire to change jobs. The study seeks to define and conceptualize job desperation, translate and validate a job desperation scale, investigate the factors contributing to it, explore its impact on employee motivation, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions, and compare job desperation trends between the United States and France. The project will adopt a mixed-methods approach. Success measures include establishing dimensional invariance of the job desperation scale between the two countries and disseminating findings in academic journals and popularization channels. The study's potential for beneficial partnerships with scholarly institutions and organizations is highlighted, and sustainability plans involve extending the research internationally and across various sectors.

Sarah Gallo, Learning and Teaching, Graduate School of Education, New Brunswick
Intersections of Documentation and Dis/ability Education for U.S.-Born Students in Mexico
Mexico and the United States have one of the most expansive histories of immigration and schooling, yet their approaches to support students with dis/abilities who attend school across borders are misaligned. Family members’ undocumented status further complicates how students with dis/abilities access cohesive and supportive schooling in the US or Mexico. To better understand this important student population, we will conduct a multi-sited testimonio interview study across three contrasting sites in Mexico with 30 undocumented caregivers with U.S.-born children with dis/abilities and 30 educators working with border-crossing children with dis/abilities to better understand how dis/ability, documentation status, and education shapes families’ and educators’ experiences across borders. As a team of public policy and teacher education scholars, we will then engage key stakeholders with our findings to create policies, pedagogies, and practices to better support students with dis/abilities from mixed-status families whose lives cross borders and national schooling systems.

Sylvie Rangan, Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick
The Interaction of Low Energy Electrons with Matter: An Emerging Concern

This project addresses an emerging global concern: the fundamental aspects of how low energy electrons interact with matter. Despite the central role they play in so many areas of science and technology, the interaction of low energy electrons with solid surfaces is very poorly understood and is currently limiting technological breakthroughs. Our objective is to create an instrument that can produce well defined beams of low energy electrons in order to characterize their behavior at and near solid surfaces. We will adapt an electron source recently designed by Prof. Alessandro Ruocco of Roma Tre University (Italy). The specific goal of this proposal is to facilitate travel between Rutgers and Roma Tre to extend the performance of the source to lower electron energies, to adapt it to our experimental system at Rutgers University, and to complement our state-of-the-art surfaces characterization capabilities.

Jonathan Gingerich, Rutgers Law School, Newark
Humanistic Ethics Network

This project will develop approaches ethical theory with methods that are continuous with those of literary and film studies, art theory, and the humanistic social sciences. Such humanistic approaches to ethical theory remain relatively uncommon in philosophical ethics, political philosophy, and legal theory. However, a growing stream of publications in leading philosophy and ethics journals suggests there is an emerging renaissance of humanistic ethics. Such approaches to ethics tend to be marked by a stronger awareness than philosophers and legal theorists have traditionally exhibited to the values of human embodiment, irrationality, and vulnerability. This project will ensure that Rutgers researchers are well-placed to participate in this burgeoning theoretical movement; simultaneously, it will provide opportunities for collaboration between faculty and graduate students at Rutgers and Oxford in law, political theory, and moral and political philosophy. Project activities will include an international workshop to be held at Merton College, Oxford in June 2024, and an Oxford-Rutgers Humanistic Ethics Reading Group to be held over the course of the 2024-25 academic year.

Simiao Niu, Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, New Brunswick
Stretchable Textile with Functional Liquid-Metal for BodyNET

In this project, we propose the development of a body area sensor network technology to monitor various human physiological signals to effectively manage their chronic disease. To do that, we proposed to collaborate with Prof. Ying-chi Lai at National Chung Hsing University to integrate his expertise in energy harvesting and liquid metal. With his collaboration, we will develop an energy harvesting textile made from liquid metal and a capacitive coupling wireless communication method, solving two bottlenecks of the current technology: the interconnect robustness and power source. The developed bodyNET will accurately collect heart rate, body temperature, respiration, and body movement, effectively monitoring various disease. The project aligns well with the International Collaborative Research Grant criteria. 1) It offers high research value. 2) It helps to establish a partnership between National Chung Hsing University and Rutgers. 3) The interdisciplinary initiative combines materials, biomedical, and electrical engineering. 4) The seed funding will be used to gather preliminary data for external funding applications, contributing to the project's success and future applications.

Krystal Strong, Education Theory, Policy and Administration, Graduate School of Education, New Brunswick
Political Education in Global Black Social Movements

Learning and knowledge production are core elements of social movements’ organizing capacities and their ability to draw individual and collective participation into political struggle. The proposed research investigates the practice and impact of political education within global Black social movements in collaboration with the organizers on the frontlines of global struggles for racial justice. Expanding upon ongoing research and organizing within the Movement for Black Lives in North America and youth-led movements in Africa, this research examines how Black organizers engage in practices of knowledge production and collective, intergenerational learning. Investigating politicized learning across Black social movements will surface radical praxes of learning that have much to teach the academy and other social movements about how to enact transformative processes of learning and solidarity that are “forged with, not for” marginalized communities.

Rajiv Malhotra, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering, 
Scalable Resilience of Critical Manufacturing Systems to Cyberattacks

Manufacturing systems worldwide are prey to cyberattacks whose focus is shifting to impairing part functionality with adverse impacts on the economy, public good, and national security. This project addresses this challenge via a collaboration between Rutgers experts in AI-based manufacturing and hardware cybersecurity and experts at the Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay) in physics-based modeling and experimental characterization of manufacturing systems. The goal is to understand how to imbue manufacturing systems with resilience to cyberattacks in a secure and scalable manner. This will be achieved by creating a data-driven framework via a bidirectional collaboration between the universities. This project will be the first to allow continued high-quality fabrication during cyberattacks and to demonstrate its scalability and robustness across diverse manufacturing and material systems and different users and applications of such systems. If successful, this project will be further expanded with collaborative proposal submissions to existing solicitations for Indo-US collaborations.

Salim El Rouayheb, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering
Resilient AI/ML Algorithms in Decentralized Networks

This proposal lays out a collaborative research agenda between Dr. El Rouayheb at Rutgers and Dr. Wachter-Zeh at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the top engineering university in Germany. One of the main objectives of this work is to obtain seed results for a fully-fledged proposal that targets the new NSF/DFG funding opportunity above. The work proposed here will also catalyze a sustained collaboration involving summer research internships, exchange of graduate students and workshop organization. On the long run, Dr. El Rouayheb will work with the ECE department at Rutgers on establishing an official collaboration with TUM.

Global Environmental Change +

Kristina Keating, Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Newark
The role of bofedales on water storage and availability in Phinaya, Peru

Water security is one of the most pressing environmental problems across both the developing and developed world. Research in a small watershed in Andean Perú, highlighted the importance of the humid puna, a post-glacial seasonally dry grass and shrub-land, in regulating water yield. Bofedales, small peat-forming wetlands, play a critical role in the humid puna biome by storing water in the wet season and sustaining perennial streams in the dry season. However, a scarcity of hydrologic data in the humid puna limits our ability to draw broad conclusions about the role of bofedales in dynamic water storage across Andean Perú. We propose to use a Rutgers Global Environmental Change grant to form a new collaboration with hydrologist, Prof. Nilton Montoya Jara, at the Universidad National de San Antonio Abad del Cusco; and perform a two-week long hydrogeophysics field campaign in Phinaya, Peru to establish a baseline dataset quantifying wet-season bofedal extent.

Andrea Restrepo-Mieth, Ralph Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Environmental planning under a changing climate in Galápagos, Ecuador
This project brings together communities, conservation organizations, and local governments in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, to work on the co-construction of environmental plans that can help address pressing issues such as flash floods, lack of tree cover, and biodiversity loss, which are expected to worsen due to climate change. The research is designed as a case study employing a tree census and qualitative methods, and draws primarily from interviews, the review of historical documents, and work with a team of community scientists. The community scientists are a group of residents who are interested in learning more about the environment and how they can help improve it. The census would create an inventory of the number, species, size, and health of trees growing in the municipality of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal Island. The census provides a route for conservation organizations to interact with urban planners and community members. I will analyze if and how can activities designed around multi-actor involvement such as a tree census change existing perceptions about an actor’s role in environmental planning and their involvement in environmental planning.

Fiorella Prada, Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick
Upwelling systems: thermal refugia for reef-building corals in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

Corals of the eastern tropical Pacific live in a marginal and oceanographically dynamic environment. Along the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, stronger seasonal upwelling in the Gulf of Papagayo transitions to weaker upwelling towards the south of the Guanacaste province, resulting in complex regional oceanographic conditions that drive differential coral-reef growth. Here we aim to test the hypotheses that coral reefs exposed to colder and nutrient-rich upwelling waters in the Gulf of Papagayo may serve as a refuge for corals during severe thermal events linked to the ongoing El Niño phase. This proposed project will build the international partnerships and collaborative climate change research between Rutgers University and Universidad de Costa Rica and will provide preliminary data for a wider research program that will incorporate automated technologies (e.g., underwater gliders) to obtain high resolution spatio-temporal biological and environmental data in this unique natural laboratory for climate change research.

Global Health Seed Grants +

Selvakumar Subbian, Public Health Research Center, RBHS
Evaluation of a novel candidate drug against latent tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial disease that killed 1.3 million people and caused 10.3 million new cases worldwide in 2022. Moreover, 1/4th of the global population harbors asymptomatic latent TB (LTBI), which can reactivate into symptomatic TB in situations such as co-infection with HIV or diabetes etc. Unfortunately, current multidrug TB therapy is inefficient in clearing the bacteria in LTBI cases. Therefore, new drugs are urgently needed to stop the transmission of TB, particularly in endemic countries. In this international collaborative research grant, we propose to evaluate the potential of a promising novel anti-TB drug developed by FNDR (collaborator) against LTBI using clinially-relevent methods. Dr. Subbian's group at Rutgers has recently established a research collaboration with the team at FNDR and plan for effective coordination is in place. Successful outcomes of the activities proposed in this application will enable future funding applications using the dataset generated through this proposal. A follow-up collaborative application for the NIH R01 grant on International Research in Infectious Diseases (NIH-RFA-AI-23-023) is being planned accordingly.

Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick
Wellness through Wisdom: Indigenous Women's cervical health Test Training

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer (CC), one of the deadliest types of cancer among women around the world, especially in low-income countries (WHO, 2008), due to lack of access to clinical screening. In the Venezuelan southern jungles, indigenous women suffer twice the already high national CC mortality of 47 cases per 100.000 women. Amerindians exhibit high prevalence of HPV (over 70%) with uncommon HPV profiles (3-5) and high infection by only virulent strains (6,7). This project will educate to introduce a system for CC surveillance in remote villages, building a local health network of female indigenous agents and cultural awareness, supporting HPV vaccination in the region. The proposed project will broaden Rutgers’ opportunities for scholarly collaborations and serve as model for other regions in the world.

Hari Iyer, Cancer Institute of New Jersey, RBHS
Rutgers-University of Ibadan partnership for climate and health research

There is urgent need to study chronic disease impacts of climate change in African settings. We will establish a research and training partnership between faculty at Rutgers University and the University of Ibadan to study these issues. We will deliver training in geospatial analysis, provide mentorship to early career researchers seeking to build programs in climate change and chronic disease epidemiology in Nigeria, and develop partnership-based research projects between faculty at Rutgers and University of Ibadan. In Phase 1 (1 month), senior faculty and researchers at University of Ibadan will attend a 10-day virtual training in geospatial analysis software for climate and epidemiologic research. In Phase 2 (6 months), we will lead a monthly hybrid seminar for 25-30 graduate students affiliated with University of Ibadan, along with visiting virtual lectures from Rutgers University faculty. In Phase 3 (3 months), we will provide mentorship in manuscript and grant writing.

Ubydul Haque, Epidemiology, RBHS
Innovative approaches to overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase coverage in Ukraine

The number of armed conflicts globally seems to be at an all-time high, with devastating effects on vaccination coverage. Nearly 400 million children (one in six) worldwide are living in conflict areas. Though military conflict is a major contextual determinant of lower vaccination coverage, the extent to which armed conflict affects child vaccination seems to be poorly studied and inadequately assessed. Studies did not evaluate the long-term effect of early exposure to armed conflicts on vaccination. Our research in an ongoing conflict setting about vaccine hesitancy, challenges, and barriers has the potential to improve strategy, partnerships, and advocacy efforts for increasing vaccination coverage. We will use a quantitative approach to implement this study. We will determine the mediating role of risk factors and the structural equation model to determine the causes of vaccine hesitancy and infrastructural barriers. The findings will help to identify areas for interventions to improve patients' experience in clinical research and healthcare.

Lisa Lewis, School of Nursing, Camden
Cardiovascular Social Determinants of Health in the Caribbean Symposium

The Caribbean faces a significant burden of cardiovascular diseases due to various social determinants of health. Addressing these determinants is crucial for reducing CVD disparities. The Cardiovascular Social Determinants of Health in the Caribbean Symposium aims to build capacity for behavioral research to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the Caribbean. The symposium will convene interdisciplinary experts to discuss social determinants of cardiovascular health and establish international partnerships between Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing and Caribbean universities. The two-year project includes planning and execution phases, involving content development, speaker identification, and symposium organization. The symposium consists of three sessions focused on education, policy development, and community engagement. The symposium's innovation lies in fostering international partnerships between Caribbean and U.S. universities, recognizing the interconnectedness of cardiovascular health and social determinants. The Caribbean faces a significant burden of cardiovascular diseases due to various social determinants of health. Addressing these determinants is crucial for reducing CVD disparities. The Cardiovascular Social Determinants of Health in the Caribbean Symposium aims to build capacity for behavioral research to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease in the Caribbean. The symposium will convene interdisciplinary experts to discuss social determinants of cardiovascular health and establish international partnerships between Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing and Caribbean universities. The two-year project includes planning and execution phases, involving content development, speaker identification, and symposium organization. The symposium consists of three sessions focused on education, policy development, and community engagement. The symposium's innovation lies in fostering international partnerships between Caribbean and U.S. universities, recognizing the interconnectedness of cardiovascular health and social determinants.

Faculty-led Study Abroad +

Jack Harris, Human Ecology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, New Brunswick
Scottish Sustainability

This project develops a faculty-led study abroad program to explore Scottish sustainability using a comparative, cross-cultural perspective that highlights the multiculturalism and gender equity of Scotland. The intent and design of the program is to have students learn from people deeply engaged with problems of sustainability in their communities and regions. Students will explore community buyouts, renewable energy, sustainable food systems, local businesses, and urban sustainability projects. Students will also meet with government leaders at the local and national levels to gain an understanding of the legal and institutional drivers of Scottish sustainability. The program is interdisciplinary and will appeal to students with diverse academic and pre-professional interests.

Tracy Chang, School of Management and Labor Relations, New Brunswick
SMLR Global Education: Conscious Leadership and Social Innovations

The project will create a 3-credit faculty-led study abroad course in India for 12 students in Winter 2025 as part of the School of Management and Labor Relations Global Education. It introduces academic concepts of conscious leadership and social entrepreneurship and UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It offers high-impact, real-world experiential learning through transformative cultural experiences and service-oriented activities through establishing a partnership with the Isha Foundation, an international non-profit volunteer-based public service organization headquartered in Coimbatore, India. For 14 days abroad, students will interact with social innovators and observe and participate in the implementation of Isha Foundation’s innovative projects – educating rural children with employable skills, lifting farmers out of poverty, revitalizing textile workers' industry, rejuvenating rural communities, and reviving soil that curbs climate change. Students will learn classical Hatha Yoga, challenge long-held beliefs about “yoga,” and create new first-person knowledge of how the science of yoga contributes to leadership and innovation toward achieving SDGs.

Mary D’Ambrosio, Journalism and Media Studies, School of Communication and Information, New Brunswick
Establishing our first study abroad course in Turkey

This is a proposal to establish our first faculty-led academic trip to Turkey, as part of “Writing the Mediterranean,” a 4-credit traveling course I created for my Department of Journalism and Media Studies. The course, part of our Global Media Specialization, has traveled successfully to Italy, and (at a previous university) Spain. Students learn the principles of narrative journalism; then at spring break, will take a reporting and writing trip to Istanbul, with the aim of publishing their work. We’ll report on urban expansion and gentrification; youth culture; and the exploding migrant and refugee populations, while exploring the culinary and artistic heritage of one of the world’s most mesmerizing cities. As our visit will fall during the holy month of Ramadan, we’ll participate in evening iftars, or festive community dinners, and mingle with local residents. We’ll also sail up the Bosphorus strait, and visit the beautiful nearby island of Buyukada.

Janice Gallagher, Political Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Newark
Decolonizing Translation in US/Mexico Diaspora

In this two week, 1.5 credit Winter 2025 study abroad course, 12-15 students will travel to Mexico for an immersive research experience. Students will engage with indigenous communities as they confront the challenges posed by migration and work to preserve their local cultures and languages. Through an interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty in SASN Political Science and Lives in Translation, students will learn the central elements of culturally competent translation and interpretation and will apply this knowledge as they collaborate with Spanish- and indigenous language-speakers in Mexico. They will partner with NGOs in Mexico City and organized indigenous communities in the rural states of Puebla and Tlaxcala Mexico to translate public-facing text, document the local organizing around language and cultural preservation, and produce English audio visual products. Through these activities, students will contribute substantially to the mission of these organizations, gain translation and interpretation skills, and deepen their understanding of the lived reality of indigenous Mexicans and those struggling to address the root causes of migration in Mexico.

Frederick Curry, Dance, Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Brunswick
Samba in Salvador, Brazil

The proposal is to develop a short-term, joint Dance Education and Music Education faculty-led study abroad program in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The vision for the program is an immersive centering of Samba as a community and culturally sustaining practice that fuses dance and music evolved from African, European and Indigenous traditions. The broad curricular lens will be (1) New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Dance and Music and (2) New Jersey Professional Standards for Teachers as they intersect with Afro-Brazilian community-evolved and culturally sustaining pedagogies. The proposed program expands the Dance Department’s Movement Practices curriculum, which aims to provide students with excellent education in diverse approaches to dance training, dance scholarship and dance-making–including Afro-Latinx forms such as Samba. It also aligns with the Music Department’s emphasis on Afro-Latin music styles as evidenced by several existing ensembles. The music education program emphasizes a wide range of musical genres and styles represented in New Jersey, including Afro-Latin music styles.

2023 Grant Recipients & Project Descriptions

International Collaborative Research +

Benedetto Piccoli, Department of Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-Camden, Innovative models for pandemics with mutating viruses

The main goal of the research is to develop equity-focused predictive models of COVID-19 incidence, hospitalization, and mortality and to shape these models into a web-based tool that can be used by policymakers and researchers to forecast consequences of different possible COVID-19 scenarios and state responses to those scenarios. The proposed project will bring together novel mathematical methods for handling virus variation with insights from bioinformatics to inform the ordering and distribution of the variants themselves. Such a model will allow for not only more precise predictions about virus trajectories, but also larger scale predictions.
The methods implemented here are also capable of describing sociodemographic
characteristics in a measurable way to be used as driving parameters in the modeling
efforts. This method could shed light on previously unknown consequences of health
inequities in the various populations reacting to the pandemic. The requested funding
will both push these ideas towards fruition, and allow a channel for the commencement
of a collaboration with a leading international researcher in the field of epidemiological COVID-19 modeling.

Hunter King, Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-Camden, Physics of structure and material choice in bird nest construction 

The PI currently leads an experimental/computational research program to understand the mechanical logic of bird nests, viewing them as disordered, animal-engineered metamaterials. The proposed project aims to develop two new angles of approach, by enlisting a theorist, who works on a promising elasticity model for our mechanically rich system, and an animal behaviorist who can probe the material choice and nest construction protocols of live birds. Combining these perspectives will take place during one single, two week visit by the PI to the two prospective collaborators' institutions in Scotland, and result in the primary deliverable in the form of submission of a full proposal for a substantial 3-year collaborative grant from the Human Frontiers Science Program in September 2023, a funding source that appears uniquely suited to our aims and profiles. The ongoing project has gained reception in popular media and high profile publication despite a gap between the far-reaching questions we have honed and our baby-step approach so far. The new expertise and prospective external funding stand to propel our research forward and set foundations for continuing collaboration.

Chie Ikeya, Department of History, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers New Brunswick, Remapping Asia’s Great Migrations and Mobility Revolution, 1840–1940 

We have proposed a multi-sited, multilingual, interdisciplinary collaborative project that brings together scholars, local historians, and curators from across the world to redefine research and scholarship on Japanese migrations and settlements in pre-WWII Southeast Asia. Much scholarship has been produced recently on the mass migration of Asians, especially from China and the Indian subcontinent, during the “mobility revolution” (1840-1940), which, unbeknownst to many scholars, was destined primarily for Southeast Asia. Yet we still know little about Japanese migrants who, not unlike their Chinese and Indian counterparts, traversed and operated in territories under British, French, Dutch, and U.S. colonial jurisdiction both with and without the official backing of the Japanese state. Exploring a vast array of archives and sources in imperial, national, and regional languages located across Asia, the project will remap Japanese movements and settlements in prewar Southeast Asia and critically assess prevailing understandings of the history and legacy of Asian migration, racial capitalism, and settler colonialism produced in the context of the Americas and East Asia.

Siobain Duffy, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, School of Environment and Biological Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Early detection of cassava brown streak ipomoviruses by ML-trained spectroscopy

Cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) limits cassava production in sub-Saharan Africa. CBSD has subtle symptoms that make it hard to visually detect prior to harvest. Our collaborators have developed an active multispectral imaging (A-MSI) device that can detect CBSD infection weeks before molecular testing can in controlled laboratory conditions (95% accurate at 28 days post infection). We will test the accuracy of the A-MSI in a screenhouse experiment and in the field in Tanzania at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. We will infect susceptible and tolerant varieties of cassava, testing weekly with the A-MSI in parallel with a sensitive molecular method. This will provide preliminary data for grant applications and determine how much additional training the machine learning models interpreting the A-MSI scans need to accurately detect CBSD in the field in East Africa. This technology, when accurate and effective, can transform cassava ‘clean seed’ production and assure truly uninfected planting material is supplied to small subsistence farmers. The A-MSI can improve security of the second most significant source of calories in sub-Saharan Africa.

Stephan Schwander, Department of Urban-Global Public Health, School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, Air quality and food preparation in a low-income community in Kampala/Uganda

The proposed collaborative research project is a cross-over cooking stove comparison study in Namuwongo, in a very low income (<100 USD/ month) community in Kampala/Uganda where household air pollution exposure is a major hazard and health risk causing large global morbidity and mortality, particularly to vulnerable low-income slum populations. 

We will take advantage of our preexisting (we have a joint RO1 grant, award Sept 2022), strong community interactions and city support, academic expertise at Makerere University and Rutgers and other institutions in Canada and the US to explore, in our RU GHI International Collaborative research project. the indoor air quality (particulate matter levels), fuel use, convenience, cost, and user satisfaction comparing a new steamer stove (samuchit) and the traditional charcoal stove (sigiri). 

Besides its potential importance for the study community, this project will allow expanding RU cross-sectional, international, transinstitutional research, revives academic interactions between RU and Makerere University and allows for additional research/educational (Fogarty) and implementation science funding with pilot data from this.

Kent Harber, Department of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers – Newark, Emotional Disclosure and Listening to Opposing Views: An Arab-Israeli Model 

Careful, mindful listening can greatly benefit speakers and listeners, but it is sometimes difficult to do. This might be especially so when speakers’ views threaten listeners’ beliefs. However, emotional disclosure can relax defensiveness. The proposed research tests if emotional disclosure abets empathic listening. It does so among Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis, regarding the fraught issue of Arab-Jewish relations. In a fully controlled experiment, Arab and Jewish Israelis will recall a personal travail, unrelated to Arab-Jewish relations, and then write their thoughts and feeling about this event (disclosure) or write factually about it (suppression). They will then listen to a member of their respective outgroup opine on Arab-Jewish relations. Disclosers are expected to register greater emotional nuance, recall the speaker’s content more equitably, and rate the speaker more sympathetically than suppressors. Results could greatly advance conflict resolution. Researchers are recognized experts in disclosure (Harber, PI) and listening (Itzchakov, Israeli collaborator), who merge the basic analyses of experimental psychology with the macro approaches of social welfare.

Hao Wang, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Sustainable Concrete Materials for Coastal Infrastructure and Marine Habitats

The primary objective of this proposal is to initiate the new collaboration between the PI, Dr. Hao Wang of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, United States, and the project partner, Dr. Abhijit Mukherjee of Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia for collaborative research on development of sustainable concrete materials for coastal infrastructure and marine habitats. We hope to strengthen the collaboration between the two institutions through research activities and knowledge development through faculty/student visits and the pursuit of external grant funding. The specific project goal is to develop marine-friendly and biologically advanced porous concrete materials to tackle the problem of microplastic debris in water resources. The research will focus on merging the current development of geopolymer concrete with nature-inspired ways to create multi-functional materials for coastal applications.

Esther Ohito, Department of Learning and Teaching, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers-New Brunswick, African Indigenous Knowledge of Social Justice Education 

Scholarly conversations interrogating the power of language in shaping African ontologies, epistemologies, and identities in relation to the continent’s colonial history have been ongoing. This multidisciplinary project focuses on Luo language and literature within the context of social justice education. Drawing on language and literature that centers Luo cultural ways of knowing and being, the project highlights the theoretical insights and empirical research of multilingual educationists situated in Maseno University in Western Kenya, home to the Luo people. The project contributes to emplaced and embodied research, practice, and/or policy that critically engages issues of power and oppression with the goal of illuminating how education can be employed for decolonization efforts that propel us toward pluriversally just global futures. As articulated in a strategic plan, the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers aspires to gain national and international distinction as a center for research and innovation. This project aims to contribute to research and educational excellence in that vein vis-à-vis diversity and equity with regard to socially just teaching and learning.

Preetha Mani, Department of Comparative Literature, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Tamil New Poetry, Indian Literature, Poetic Modernism

This project, in collaboration with the Institut Français de Pondichéry (IFP), explores the development of Tamil putukkavitai (new poetry) poems and criticism through an examination of how this genre manifested in Tamil print culture from the 1960s -1980s. It proposes that putukkavitai writing was a primary avenue through which Tamil writers belonging to various literary approaches crossed ideological boundaries to draw inspiration from new poetry movements elsewhere. Putukkavitai writing offers insight into how conversations around new poetry provided a means for generating ideas of a postcolonial pan-Indian literature built on poetic form. The IFP is a preeminent institution for the study of modern Tamil literature in India. This collaboration will open a pathway for PhD students and postdocs training in Tamil poetry at the IFP to bring their expertise to Rutgers through joint publications, online teaching exchanges, and scholarly discussions that bring Tamil new poetry in conversation with other modern poetry traditions being examined at Rutgers. A Rutgers Global Grant will fund a 2-day symposium at the IFP and my IFP colleague’s visit to Rutgers to present our findings.

Alisa Belzer, Department of Teaching and Learning, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Critical educational life history study of low literate adults in six countries 

Globally, it is estimated that 773 million adults lack literacy skills (UNESCO, n.d.). Low-income countries represent a disproportionate share of this figure. However, millions of adults struggle with literacy in high income countries as well. The consequences of low literacy are individual, familial, intergenerational and social. The simple explanation for why such a large proportion of adults have low literacy skills is a lack of adequate and effective education. Many agree that this is related to race, class, gender, and colonialization. Qualitative inquiries aimed at understanding the causes of adult low literacy from the perspective of those impacted and analyzed through a critical lens could make a helpful contribution. This international collaborative research proposal, involving researchers in six countries, requests funds to conduct a pilot study to collect educational life history interviews with adults who have low literacy skills as a way to begin to strengthen understandings along these lines.

Global Health Seed Grants +

Alfred Lardizabal, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) ECHO Pilot 

The ECHO Model, is an evidence-based tele-mentoring intervention where physicians meet virtually with peers to discuss cases and best practices while offering and accepting feedback and guidance. The model has demonstrated improvement in knowledge and skills as well as patient outcomes. GTBI has developed an ECHO for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) testing, treatment, and management among providers in the Northeastern US. ECHO has also been implemented in Kenya for susceptible, multi-drug resistant, and pediatric TB management. The purpose of this application is to adapt our regional LTBI ECHO to expand the Kenyan ECHO to include LTBI. The goal is to increase diagnosis and treatment of LTBI, focusing on newer short-course regimens for increasing treatment completion. Additionally, we wish to expand coverage in eligible persons. LTBI treatment is part of the Kenya TB Strategic Plan, and, therefore, scale-up of this approach can play a key role in health systems strengthening.

Takashi Amano, Department of Social Work, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-Newark, Understanding underdiagnosis of dementia in the context of indigenous older 

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) is a devastating condition that profoundly affects the lives of people who have the condition, their family members, and society. Although early and timely detection of the condition is crucial for necessary support and possible treatments, ADRD tends to be undetected. Indigenous older adults are especially susceptible to the issue of undetected ADRD due to their historically grounded economic, social, and cultural features. However, underdiagnosis among indigenous older adults is understudied especially in Global South. This community-engaged study aims to understand the underdiagnosis of ADRD in the context of indigenous older adults in Ecuador. Specific aims of this study include developing a culturally appropriate screening tool and describing the underdiagnosis of ADRD from the perspectives of older indigenous people, their families, and the community. The developed culturally appropriate screening tool and knowledge of the underdiagnosis of ADRD will contribute to establishing an equitable system capable of effectively providing vulnerable populations with dementia care in Latin American countries.

Karen D’Alonzo, School of Nursing, Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, Expansion of the Buen Vecino program to improve the health of Mexican immigrants 

The Buen Vecino (Good Neighbor) program is a partnership between Rutgers School of Nursing (RSON), and the Mexican Consulate of NYC to provide wellness services, health education and preventive health screenings to Mexican immigrants in New Brunswick. Beginning in 2014, undergraduate students and faculty from RSON along with promotoras de salud have delivered health education and screenings on a monthly basis. Post-pandemic, we are proposing to restart and expand the program, as follows:

1) Continue diabetes and hypertension screening; collaborate with CINJ to add cancer screenings;
2) Include DNP students to perform health assessments, health interviews and referrals for treatment of chronic illnesses;
3) Recruit students and faculty from other RBHS schools to provide health education and counselling in nutrition, social services, pharmacology, physical therapy, and dental services to participants;
4) Expand service to cover the entire state of New Jersey;
5) Collect data on the most frequently encountered health conditions to plan future preventive programs;
6) Provide clinical opportunities for nursing students in Mexico during clinical and/or research stays with RSON.

Jamille Nagtalon-Ramos, School of Nursing, Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, Sexual and Reproductive Health Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors Among Urban Young Adult Women in the Philippines

The adolescent pregnancy crisis in the Philippines is a national emergency. In 2019, a total of 180,916 births were among girls between 10 to 19 years old. The passing of the Reproductive Health Bill in 2012 indicated a societal shift in the Philippines; however, strong opposition from pro-life groups and the Catholic church deterred the Bill’s intentions to take into full effect. The research is sparse on how sexual and reproductive health care information is alternatively attained if sexual health education is severely limited in schools. This study aims to better understand how sexual and reproductive health care information is obtained by urban young adult women in the Philippines and the influence on attitudes and behavior and the acquisition of health care services. The preliminary data from this study will be utilized to develop culturally relevant and community-informed interventions to reduce disparities related to adolescent pregnancies.

Matthew Matsaganis, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Developing a Rutgers Model for Training Global Health Communication Experts 

Recent epidemics and climate change-related disasters have created a need for a diverse global health workforce that can implement evidence-informed principles, strategies, and planning of health communication interventions. The competencies and skills needed to perform this work go well beyond design and dissemination of health messaging to include competencies related to community and stakeholder engagement, building and sustaining effective partnerships, and using research in strategic and operational decision-making. An interprofessional program capable of delivering 21st century health communication training at scale is not yet available. The goal of this project is to lay the foundation for creating and instituting this program at the Rutgers Global Health Institute with input from key internal and external stakeholders. The five activities outlined in the proposal in pursuit of this goal also include a needs assessment and testing the concept of the program in Greece, where the population and healthcare system have battled challenges related to a 10-year-long economic recession and an ongoing refugee crisis.

Global Environmental Change +

Jose Guillermo Cedeno Laurent, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Justice, School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences, Addiction and climate change: opioids effect on mortality during heatwaves 

Public health faces several concomitant crises. Two of the most devastating ones are climate change and the opioid crisis. Yet, little is known about the interaction of these two phenomena. However, a closer look into extreme heat mortality shows a worrisome picture: In 2020, substance use played a role in 58% of all heat deaths, and up to 72% deaths among people without shelter in Maricopa County, Arizona. In addition, there is evidence that the pandemic has led to an increase in opioid-related poisoning hospitalizations. 

The aim of this project is to establish a research collaboration with Université de Sherbrooke, in the Province of Quebec, Canada. The specific aims of the project will be to:

1) Explore publicly available records in both the Province of Quebec and New Jersey on opioid use, as well as morbidity and mortality statistics.
2) Develop temperature exposure profiles for the geo-location of the existing health records. 
3) Perform a comparative analysis of the differences in the number of hospitalizations, incidence of heat related illness, and mortality and their association with opioid use.

Richard Alomar, Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers – New Brunswick, Green infrastructure: Stormwater Management as a Health Strategy 

This collaborative project with the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico addresses health issues related to flooding, water quality and access in San Juan, Puerto Rico using green infrastructure, stormwater management and outreach strategies. The goal of the project is to build knowledge and stakeholder capacity by researching the current state of water management in San Juan, charting and assessing community needs and proposing programs to provide federal, local, educational and grass root organizations with recommendations on how and where these strategies can be used and the network of stakeholders available to help. This collaborative effort between two landscape architecture program has the additional benefit of providing case study and content for lectures and studio projects.

Ning Zhang, Department of Plant Biology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers – New Brunswick, Climate monitoring to study the impact of climate change on biodiversity 

The New Jersey Pine Barrens is one of the most flammable landscapes in North America. The dwarf pine forests embedded in the Pine Barrens have even more frequent fires than surrounding areas where regular statured pines grow. However, detailed records on temperature, precipitation, and fire intensity in these areas are lacking or incomplete. Our past decade’s research indicates that this unique ecosystem may provide an excellent model for studying the impact of climate change on biodiversity and ecosystem responses. This is an interdisciplinary project proposed by a biologist and a climatologist, who plan to collaborate on the installation of a weather station in the dwarf pine forests. Data generated from this proposed project will add to the knowledge for prediction of ecosystem responses to future climate change. This infrastructure and research will result in publications and establish new collaborative partnerships and will increase our chance to obtain additional external funding.

Laura Schneider, Department of Geography, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers New Brunswick, Intersection of land use and climate in Costa Rica 

This proposal seeks to address the intersection of land use and climate in Costa Rica, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots as well as a hotspot for global climate change. We hypothesize that changing patterns of land use in Costa Rica have demonstrably impacted and continue to impact climate both locally and remotely. To begin to address this hypothesis, we have identified two study sites—La Selva Biological Research Station and Finca La Hilda—where we aim to (i) explore historical patterns of land use and their relationship to climate over the recent past and (ii) contribute to an ongoing field study in collaboration with faculty colleagues from the University of Costa Rica to address physical mechanisms relevant to the land use-climate intersection using a suite of comprehensive surface-based observations and methods. Our project is conceived under a broader vision of promoting international connections between EOAS/Rutgers and Costa Rica through research and teaching, including an embedded study abroad program in Costa Rica involving the project team members.

Benjamin Black, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Miocene carbon cycle disruption as an analog for Anthropocene climate 

The overarching objective of this proposal is to reconstruct carbon release rates from volcanic activity during a period of high CO2 and warm surface temperatures from around 16.5-14 million years ago. Present-day atmospheric CO2 levels are around 410 ppm—a level not seen since the Mid-Miocene—and therefore the Miocene time interval is commonly seen as a critical analog for Earth’s near-future climate. This collaborative effort will involve field work and measurements of Miocene lavas thought to be the source of elevated CO2. In a novel twist, the project will further use published climate records and a carbon cycle model to test the hypothesis that pulses of CO2 release from these lavas drove disequilibrium between the deep and shallow ocean, placing new constraints on the pace of volcanism. The project will strengthen a key Rutgers-University of Oregon collaboration and provide seed support for a planned proposal led by the early career Rutgers PI to the National Science Foundation.

Faculty Innovation in Global Learning +

Isadora Grevan De Carvalho, Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers Newark, Study Abroad in Brazil in Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture 

This project is a Study Abroad program in Brazil for the study of Portuguese Language and Brazilian Culture as well as a partnership between PUC-Rio and Rutgers University. The program has, as a focus, the theme of art and resistance. The main goals of the program are threefold: the expansion of participants’ knowledge about Brazil and Portuguese language, expansion of students’ academic curriculum through a hands-on exploration of resistance through art expression, and the implementation of this knowledge in their respective fields to impact their local as well as global communities. Moreover, the project will have a significant impact on promoting learning at Rutgers Newark about important knowledge of the similarities and differences between the US and Brazil in relation to the African diaspora, indigenous cultures, immigration as well as the importance of learning about Latin America from the comparative perspective of Brazil and the Portuguese world.

Yonaira Rivera, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers-New Brunswick, Health Inequities and Health Communication Across the Health Professions in the Caribbean: Summer School in Puerto Rico

This Faculty Innovation in Global Learning grant aims to increase study abroad access to graduate students at Rutgers by developing a collaborative glocal study abroad program in Puerto Rico (PR) entitled “Health Inequities and Health Communication across the Health Professions in the Caribbean.” Rutgers SC&I and SPH faculty will work with program directors at the University of Puerto Rico’s Medical Sciences Campus to develop a curriculum that exposes students to systemic inequities in health outcomes associated with sociocultural, environmental and other social determinants of health through an array of educational, applied, cross-cultural, and interdisciplinary activities. The program will (1) increase access to study abroad by expanding access to a cultural immersion that costs less than traveling to countries in other continents; and (2) bridge local and global sociocultural issues by providing participants with a lens for exploring real-life concepts of health inequities and developing cultural competencies to address these inequities. We propose this first program in PR, with the goal of future expansion to Jamaica and other Caribbean islands in subsequent years.

Nrupali Patel, Department of Plant Biology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers – New Brunswick, Medicinal Plants and Foods in India  

The Departments of Plant Biology and Food Science (Rutgers SEBS) are collaborating to expand our curricula and educational opportunities for students in Food, Agricultural, Natural Resources, and Human (FANH) sciences. As part of achieving this goal, we propose a 3-week study abroad course in partnership with Amrita Vishwa Vidyalayam (Amrita University) in South India, exposing students to how a different culture approaches traditional medicinal treatments using plant-based natural products. Our proposed course is divided into two parts that include learning: 1) the culturing and processing of geographically unique plants and plant natural products; and 2) utilizing the products as food-based therapeutics and curatives as traditional Indian medicines. Students will experience Eastern Culture traditions, engage in international academic learning, and learn about cultural field and laboratory experiences that differ from those in western societies. These experiences will allow students to compare and contrast varying approaches to human medicine, and broaden their minds to the uses of plant natural products and health care alternatives.

Hyacinth Miller, Department of Africana Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers – Newark, The Caribbean and the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

The Caribbean and the 21st Century, our inaugural study abroad project for Africana Studies - Newark, will provide opportunities to both explore and interrogate the comparative complexities of Black people’s history, culture, and experiences across the African Diaspora with a focus on the Caribbean. A study abroad in Barbados will provide students with an engaging learning experience that offers insight into the ways that a Caribbean small island developing state serves as a microcosm of contemporary global challenges and opportunities. This interdisciplinary project aligns with the University’s strategic plan to “integrate study abroad with the curriculum,” and is subsumed under the increasing access to study abroad and glocal learning global learning themes within the faculty innovation in global learning section.

2022 Grant Recipients & Project Descriptions

International Collaborative Research Grants +

Honesty as a Communicative Tool in Punishment: A Comparative Pilot Study of Judges in the U.S. and Australia    
Colleen Berryessa, Assistant Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers – Newark    

According to communicative theories of punishment, recognition of an offender’s honesty about his criminality may refigure punishment-related decisions made by judges during sentencing. Yet it is well-known that cultural contexts influence attitudes toward and modes of punishment. Particularly, the U.S. and Australia fundamentally differ in values underpinning their legal systems. Such differences may have implications for how offender honesty is understood and valued by judges, what they believe honesty communicates and if and how it should be factored into sentencing. This comparative study examines the significance and role of offender honesty as a communicative tool in punishment for judges in the U.S. and Australia. This study not only represents the first known empirical test of this general theoretical framework, but also provides cultural, social, and political contexts to such an examination in order to examine if and how communicative theories of punishment translate across national cultures and legal systems.

Comparison of Alzheimer’s disease risk between African Americans and Yoruba people of West Africa    
Mark Gluck, Professor of Neuroscience & Public Health, Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers – Newark  

We seek to compare genetic/lifestyle interactions between African Americans and Nigerian Yoruba, using novel cognitive assessments of generalization developed at Rutgers, while linking individual differences in cognitive function on these tasks to variations in candidate genes and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) risk. In this study, we seek to cross-validate current findings on risks of AD in African Americans in greater Newark area with a different but similar and related population cohort of Yoruba people of West Africa. A majority of African American descendants of slaves have their ancestry (and hence, genetic variations) linked to the Yoruba people of West Africa.  Our research will address a key question: Are African Americans and Yoruba people similar in their behavioral and neural risk markers for AD, specifically with regard to interactions between genetics and modifiable health and lifestyle factors, especially physical fitness?

Exploring biomarkers and nutrient iron in Antarctic snow through international research collaboration    
Yuan Gao, Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Rutgers – Newark 

This project will be carried out jointly by scientists from Rutgers University in the US and Tianjin University in China. Through joint international efforts on Antarctic snow sample analyses, biomarkers and nutrient element iron stored in snow will be identified. The new data are critically important for a better understanding of the biosphere and atmosphere interactions, advancing Antarctic science and promoting interdisciplinary research. This project also provides a unique opportunity for a Rutgers graduate student to be engaged in international research.

Characterization of mental, bodily, and shared awareness in dyadic Feldenkrais practices distinguishing spontaneous exploratory from deliberate goal-directed learning modes    
Elizabeth B. Torres, Professor, Psychology, Rutgers – New Brunswick

This project aims to create a bridge between the Rutgers Sensory Motor Integration Lab and the Academy of Music and Dance of Jerusalem. In Israel, the team will use biosensors to record how children and instructors interact and build rapport conducive of improvements in scholastic learning, during mindfulness exercises. At Rutgers, the team will analyze the biophysical data and create apps to alert teachers of instruction readiness and attentional capacity. The app will also inform the teacher of triggers of anxiety and discomfort, to help the child to learn how to self-regulate using the mindfulness (Feldenkrais Scholastic Learning) techniques. The children have special needs (including autism and other developmental disorders), so the instructors and teachers are already trained to help them cope with the learning difficulties. The project will support of the Israeli ministry of education and of the NJ governance through this official research bridge that aims to mirror this already successful Israeli program at our state. Science will help reproduce it and disseminate it through the NJ Governor’s Council funded Autism Center of Excellence.

Developing Collaboration between Rutgers University and Royal University of Bhutan     
Mukund V. Karwe, Distinguished Professor and Dean of International Programs, Food Science and Office of International Programs, Rutgers – New Brunswick 

This proposal is focused on initiating and developing institutional partnership between Rutgers University and the College of Natural Resources (CNR) at Royal University of Bhutan (RUB). Although the initial interaction will be with the Food Science & Technology Department at CNR-RUB, it is anticipated that at end of the project period, several areas of mutual interest will be identified for potential future sustainable collaborations between Rutgers and RUB.  The outcomes of the proposed project include (a) Meaningful connections between RUB-CNR and Rutgers & SEBS for sustainable collaborations, (b) Opportunities for SEBS students to Study Abroad in Bhutan and faculty research in the (i) Sustainability, (ii) Environment protection (iii) Ethnic food products and customs, and (c) Possible collaboration opportunities for non-SEBS programs such as Asian studies, anthropology, history, etc.

Epistulae: Collecting the Correspondence of Roman Emperors    
Serena Connolly, Associate Professor, Classics, Rutgers – New Brunswick 

The Epistulae Project is an international collaborative digital humanities project that intends to compile a database of ancient epistulae in Latin and ancient other languages to aid production of original research by members of the team and by the broader academic community too. Epistulae are pieces of correspondence from ancient Roman emperors to their officials or subjects that provided directives, statements, or advice on legal matters. Thousands of these letters exist, with the bulk dating to the third century CE, a historically pivotal period in Classical antiquity that is otherwise relatively deficient in linguistically, philologically, and historically significant texts. The database will comprise texts, translations, and scholarly commentary on these letters. A culminating conference and co-authored publications based on analyses of database material will give us insights into the contemporary culture, social world, and politics, some of which we know in only the broadest outlines.

Towards dissection of Mre11 nuclease activities    
Katsunori Sugimoto, Associate Professor, Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Rutgers – Newark    

DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs) can form by exogenous agents such as ionizing radiation or chemotherapeutic agents. DSBs are also generated physiologically during meiosis and immune response. Defects in DSB repairs are associated with human disorders including birth defect and immune disorders, and especially cancer. Therefore, a better understanding of DSB repair will facilitate research progress in many biomedical disciplines. The Mre11 complex, which is conserved from bacteria to humans, plays a central role in the cellular response to DSB induction. Mre11 exhibits two different nuclease activities. This collaborative study will determine how these two different nuclease activities are activated during DSB repair. The proposed research will be conducted in three labs with different types of expertise. Rutgers students will not only receive hand-on laboratory training but also experience how international collaboration research is conducted. 

Rutgers Ethics Equity Transparency Research Exchange with Universidad Nacional de Asuncion (UNA) in Paraguay    
Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor, Community Leadership Center, Rutgers – Camden    

The project is anchored under a USAID funded effort to develop the Higher Education Center for Ethics, Equity and Transparency (HECEET) through a Rutgers-UNA partnership. HECEET’s strong multidisciplinary EET-focused research coaching program between Rutgers faculty and UNA faculty and practitioners is fundamental to this project. Last year, Rutgers and UNA faculty worked together on research projects using an integrity lens that challenges systems linked to strengthening EET in Paraguayan society. Funding from this grant would ensure continued support for these projects and invest in faculty and research development which is vital for the overall capacity building focus of HECEET. 

Electrically Driven Carbon Dioxide Reduction Using Organobismuth Compounds    
Demyan Prokopchuk, Assistant Professor, Chemistry, Rutgers – Newark    

Global research efforts must be undertaken to develop strategies for converting atmospheric CO2 into usable chemical feedstocks and fuels for the 21st century. Therefore, discovering new electrically driven CO2 reduction catalysts using abundant, inexpensive, and non-toxic elements would be transformative to mitigate anthropogenic CO2 emissions in a sustainable manner. This proposal aims to prepare the first molecular bismuth catalysts that reduce CO2. This project, in collaboration with the University of Marburg, will advance our fundamental understanding of how CO2 can be converted into industrially useful chemicals using bismuth, an inexpensive and non-toxic element. 

Towards Reliable Wind Power with Machine Learning: A Collaboration between Rutgers and Cairo Universities    
Ahmed Aziz Ezzat, Assistant Professor, Industrial & Systems Engineering, Rutgers – New Brunswick

This project will establish a collaborative research initiative between Rutgers and Cairo Universities to address key challenges related to the reliable operation of wind farms through a machine learning (ML) lens. Unlike fossil fuels, wind power is largely weather-dependent, which causes significant operational challenges to wind farm engineers and grid operators, hindering the large-scale integration of wind power into electricity systems. Both Rutgers and Cairo Universities are presented with a unique opportunity to address emerging challenges within their respective states/nations. On one hand, NJ has set an ambitious milestone to integrate 7.5 GW of offshore wind by 2035, while Egypt, on the other hand, envisions a 14% wind energy penetration by 2035. In response, the project will research pathways for ML to address two critical challenges for the growing wind industries in NJ and Egypt: (i) improved wind energy forecasting via ML; and (ii) improved wind energy operations via ML. To achieve those objectives, the project brings together two interdisciplinary research groups from Rutgers and Cairo with expertise in power engineering, ML, and atmospheric science.

Chiral Metasurfaces for Enhanced Valleytronics using 2-Dimentional Materials    
Deirdre O'Carroll, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering; Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Rutgers – New Brunswick

The objective of this research project is to fabricate chiral plasmonic metasurfaces operating in the visible wavelength range using nanostructured metals that control the efficiency and polarization of valley-state emission from semiconducting MoS2 monolayers. This project is a collaboration between the group of Prof. Deirdre O’Carroll (Rutgers) and Prof. Patrice Genevet (Universite Nice Cote d’Azur, France) on the subject of hybrid plasmonic metasurfaces. 

Religion, Medicine, and Childbirth in Medieval East Asia    
Jessey Choo, Associate Professor of Chinese History and Religion, Asian Languages and Cultures, Rutgers – New Brunswick

In medieval East Asia, women's bodies and well-being were understood and approached from a variety of angles. Buddhist and Daoist practitioners, Yin-Yang diviners, physicians, and women themselves all accumulated and disseminated knowledge about infertility, menstruation, conception, pregnancy, miscarriage, and childbirth. This collaborative project will bring together five specialists on medieval East Asian religion and medicine from Belgium, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States for an intensive 3-day workshops. These sessions will focus on reading and translating hitherto unstudied magio-medical texts representing the diverse, and frequently incoherent, perspectives on the inner workings of women's bodies and various aspects of childbearing. The workshop participants will produce the first collaboratively annotated English translations of these diverse religious and medical texts, as well as a special journal issue of Asian Medicine, paving the way for future research on the intersections of religious and medical knowledge and practices in medieval China, Japan, and Korea.

International collaboration to digitize and analyze the archived data of Prof. Jurgen Aschoff
Kwangwon Lee, Associate Professor, Biology, Rutgers – Camden

Ludwig Maximilians University - Munich will collaborate on the historical Aschoff’s bunker data. Jurgen Aschoff, one of the founders of the modern circadian biology, performed a series of experiments using humans as subjects in isolation units. Aschoff himself was the first human subject in this historical experiment in 1966. Aschoff’s foundational work established key features of the circadian clock in humans. The isolation units were used for experiments until the early 1980s. The data are still in the original form, namely on paper. For the next two years, Rutgers University and Ludwig Maximilians University - Munich will collaborate on digitizing the historical Aschoff data.

Investigating the neural basis of emotional eating in women    
Morgan James, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School    

This project initiates an exciting international collaborative project between the laboratories of Drs. Morgan James (Rutgers) and Robyn Brown (University of Melbourne, Australia). Dr. James will visit the Brown lab to be trained in a rodent model of emotional eating, recently developed by Brown and colleagues. This model is the first of its kind and provides a platform to explore the brain mechanisms that contribute to obesity, specifically in women, which is a global health priority. James will then establish the model in his lab at Rutgers, combining it with novel technologies to identify the specific neuronal populations that control emotional eating. Data collected will form the basis of joint funding applications to be submitted to funding bodies in both the USA and Australia. 

Rutgers Meets Japan: Foreign Teachers, Missionaries, and Overseas Students in the Late Nineteenth-Century    
Haruko Wakabayashi, Associate Teaching Professor, Asian Languages and Cultures, Rutgers – New Brunswick    

This project explores a rich history of Rutgers-Japan relationship in the late nineteenth-century that involved Japanese students who studied at Rutgers College and Grammar School and Rutgers alumni who went to Japan as teachers and missionaries. It was initiated in Fall 2020 as part of the celebration of 150 years of friendship between Rutgers and Japan. The project focuses specifically on the trans-Pacific network, which spanned not only across national boundaries, but also across class, gender, and professions. We bring together 15 experts in multiple areas and disciplines from the U.S., Canada, and Japan to work towards publication of a collection of essays. The project will be a significant contribution to the history of early U.S.-Japan relationship, as well as the history of diversity at Rutgers and the role it played in Japan’s modernization. As our Japanese partners, we invited scholars affiliated with the universities that have historical connections with Rutgers and the Dutch Reformed Church. As we revisit our historical ties with these universities in Japan, we also aspire to reestablish the network for our future academic collaborations. 

North-South Learnings and Collaboration on Emigration, Immigration and Latino Studies, 2022-2024    
Aldo Lauria Santiago, Professor and Director, Center for Latin American Studies/Latino & Caribbean Studies/History, Rutgers – New Brunswick

The Center for Latin American Studies, in collaboration with the Rutgers Latino Studies Research Initiative, will use funding from the International Collaborative Research Grants to establish a partnership with institutions from five Latin American countries in organizing a permanent seminar on research on Latino/Latin American Communities in the US.
Activities will address: 1.) Lack of knowledge about (especially non-immigrant) Latino communities and history in academic circles in Latin America. 2.) Lack of knowledge among US scholars including those that focus on US communities about deep national dynamics related to emigration and the local impact of transnationalism in Latin American communities. 3.) Lack of scholarly communication, publishing, and even conceptual apparatuses between academics in the US that focus on Latinos and Latin American immigrants and researchers and researchers and teachers in Latin America.

Encapsulation and delivery of bioactive peptides from oysters using nanoparticle systems    
Paul Takhistov, Associate Professor, Food Science, Rutgers – New Brunswick

There is a strong public demand for a healthier and more diverse diet. One of the most potent sources of new health-promoting ingredients is the world ocean. The ultimate goal of the research is to develop processing technology to convert low-grade raw materials into high-value bioactive compounds that have direct applications in the food, pharmaceutical industries. We propose to use Rutgers's expertise in interfacial engineering and food nanotechnology to develop novel functional ingredients from underutilized byproducts of oyster processing. This planned research activity will facilitate our international collaboration with the University of Philippines, and potentially, will create new opportunities for the NJ Oyster industry.

Quantifying the Effects of Drought on the Soil Ecosystem at a Long-Term Experiment in a Mediterranean Climate: A Collaboration between the University of Tel Aviv and Rutgers University    
Daniel Gimenez, Professor, Environmental Sciences, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Global changes in the amount and distribution of rainfall have led to severe drought events that disrupted natural and managed ecosystems and contributed to food insecurity for significant portions of the global population. The capacity of soils to absorb and retain water can temper the negative effects of droughts, but drought attributes likely alter that capacity through feedback mechanisms involving the plant and microbial community. Long-term experiments (LTE) in which precipitation is reduced by rainout shelters can shed light on the effects of drought on soil properties. We seek support to initiate a collaboration between Rutgers University (RU) and Tel Aviv University (TAU). Funding will be used to prepare a large proposal to explore soil-plant-climate feedbacks at a unique LTE site maintained by TAU using expertise available at RU. Samples from the LTE will be analyzed at RU and the results will be used to strengthen the proposal.

Global Health Seed Grants +

Ectoparasites and Diseases of Poverty in Low-Income Urban Communities     
Alvaro Toledo, Assistant Professor, Entomology, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Low-income communities are disproportionally affected by neglected infectious diseases of poverty. These diseases are responsible for a hidden health burden in poor communities and are associated, among other things, with rodents and rodent ectoparasites. This proposal aims to assess the risk of human exposure to these diseases in low-income urban communities by screening arthropods collected from rodents in human dwellings. These arthropods can serve as sentinels and facilitate surveillance which is a priority need. We will screen arthropods collected from house mice for human pathogens using a combination of generic primers and species-specific probes. 

Integrative community therapy for intimate partner violence survivors in Quito, Ecuador

Chiara Sabina, Associate Professor, Center for Research on Ending Violence, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Given the scale of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the limited reach of traditional services, new alternatives are needed that better respond to the needs of the community. This proposal seeks to train IPV survivors in Quito, Ecuador in integrative community therapy (ICT), a group-based non-hierarchical approach to promote community support and self-empowerment, through collaboration with Muyumpa, a training center for ICT in Quito, Ecuador. We will train 10 IPV survivors (participant facilitators) in ICT and they will conduct 30 dialogue circles with women at high risk of IPV (circle participants).  Effects for both participant facilitators (e.g., empowerment, leadership) and circle participants (e.g., self-esteem, health and well-being, resilience, violence attitudes, post-traumatic growth) will be evaluated via survey and qualitative interviews. The project builds on an established 5-year collaboration between Muyumpa and Dr. Sabina and will lead to opportunities for expansion with other populations and locations.

Examining the influence of food environments on infant and young child feeding among subsistence farming communities in Senegal     
Shauna Downs, Assistant Professor, Urban-Global Public Health, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices among subsistence farming households in Senegal are suboptimal leading to malnutrition. Lack of knowledge related to IYCF best practices as well as a lack of availability, affordability and/or acceptability of nutrient-rich foods contribute to these suboptimal feeding practices. Our research will build on an already funded NIH R21 study to comprehensively map the food environments of 102 village boutiques/daily markets and 20 weekly markets across two seasons in our NIH study communities. This will allow us to combine the household IYCF practice data obtained from our NIH study with community level data regarding the availability, affordability, and acceptability of nutrient-rich foods to examine how the food environment influences IYCF practices and where there are asymmetries between IYCF guidance provided (e.g., feed your child animal source foods) and the food environment (e.g., lack of affordability of animal source foods). The findings of this research will help inform the development of a package of food systems interventions in these communities and to examine their impact as part of a future NIH R01 funding proposal.

Using Machine Learning to Examine Quality of Care and Analyzing Nursing Notes to Investigate Racial Inequity in Brazil

Charles Senteio, Assistant Professor, Library and Information Science (LIS), Rutgers – New Brunswick    

Given the potential to identify persistent racial inequity of hospital-based outcomes across large hospital systems in Brazil, and the association between nursing notes and patient deterioration and mortality, the project objective is to describe the factors which increase likelihood of difference between racial minority patients and nonracial minority patients for the frequency of nursing notes, and words and phrases which appear in nursing notes. Use of stigmatizing words and phrases are indicators of cognitive biases in healthcare delivery shown to impact quality of care. For example, stigmatizing language in the medical record used to describe patients and/or their behaviors can influence clinicians’ attitudes and beliefs towards patients which impacts care delivery and care decisions (e.g. medication prescribing behavior). Examining the words and phrases used in the medical record can identify biases which can help inform interventions designed to promote patient-centered care and reduce inequities across various stigmatized patient populations. Long-term goals include informing clinical decision support systems to alert clinicians to the circumstances of racial bias.

Impact of Social Factors and Birth Weight on Mental Health, Self-Efficacy, and Parent-Infant Bonding among Postpartum Mothers in Nepal    
Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri, PhD, DNP, RN, APN, FNP-BC, CPN, Assistant Professor, Nursing, Rutgers – Camden  

Mental health issues during the postpartum period are a global health concern and may contribute to impaired parent-infant bonding, which is essential for positive, long-term developmental outcomes among children. Although the prevalence is much higher, the ongoing stigma related to mental health issues among women contributes to disparities in seeking and receiving care in Nepal. Additionally, low birth weight and social factors may further compound the risk contributing to disparities in mental health care. However, research examining their impact on postpartum mental health and infant outcomes is sparse. This mixed-method pilot study aims to examine the relationships between mental health, parenting self-efficacy, and parent-infant bonding among postpartum mothers in Nepal. Participants will be recruited from immunization clinics at two hospitals in Kathmandu, Nepal. This research will help to strengthen partnerships with researchers from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. The findings of this study will provide information to develop evidence-based interventions aimed at reducing health inequities in postpartum mental health in Nepal.

Global Environmental Change Grants +

Food Security for Island Nations in a Changing Climate    
Oscar Schofield, Distinguished Professor and Chair Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers – New Brunswick    

This project will develop a holistic approach to sustainable food systems for Island communities. We are requesting a seed grant to advance Rutgers’ efforts to develop a scalable, replicable sustainable food system model for Island states and nations in partnership with the Micronesian state of Pohnpei. The Government of Pohnpei State has already reached out to Rutgers Marine Science and the Rutgers Center for Agricultural Food Ecosystems to assist their island state build human capacity for their local food system movement with the goal of supporting long term food security and strengthening climate resilience.

Comparative thermal proteome profiling to understand mechanisms of thermotolerance in coral photosymbionts    
Adam Kustka, Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers – Newark 

The loss of coral reefs through elevated ocean temperatures is a global catastrophe. Healthy coral harbor photosynthetic organisms(algae) that provide them with ~90% of the food they need to thrive, yet high temperatures somehow causes the algae to leave or be expelled by the coral; this phenomenon has been termed “coral bleaching”. Some algal strains are resistant to higher temperatures while others are sensitive. We apply state-of-the-art tools - initially developed to screen for drug-protein interactions - to better understand why and how some strains are more tolerant to high temperature, specifically identifying which proteins are adversely affected by high temperature in sensitive strains. This may help in efforts to select for or breed tolerant strains. This lab-based research sets the stage for international collaboration in the Red Sea, where warming rates are among the highest but the natural communities of algae seem to be the most tolerant.  

Collaborative Metocean Observing in Cuba: Step 1 - High Frequency Radar    
Scott Glenn, Distinguished Professor, Board of Governors Professor, Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Hurricanes cause more damage nationally than all other weather and climate disasters combined. Our warming climate is increasing the number and intensity of North Atlantic hurricanes.  While hurricane track forecasts have improved dramatically, intensity forecast skill has lagged. Improved forecasts require observations of upper ocean heat content and transport to inform an interdisciplinary Earth systems approach. But the global ocean conveyor belt circulation that redistributes heat throughout the world ocean is changing faster than expected, and traditional ocean monitoring programs for rapid climate change are expensive.
Cuba is critically located between two narrow restrictions (Straits of Yucatan and Florida) in the conveyor belt circulation, and along a frequent hurricane pathway across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Despite Cuba’s critical location, technological advances in Cuban-based metocean observing have lagged.  Working with Cuba’s national weather service (INSMET), Rutgers and TAMU have identified a path to bring advanced metocean observing technologies to Cuba, to train Cuban operators, and to share data for research and forecasting for the common good.

Faculty Innovation in Global Learning Grants +

Study Abroad in Senegal: Public Health, Environment, and Development (Preliminary Visit)
Genese Sodikoff, Associate Professor & Director, Center for African Studies, Rutgers – New Brunswick  

This project will develop a 2-week Study Abroad Program focused on Public Health, Environment, and Development in Senegal.  The program will focus on the problem of schistosomiasis and efforts by international organizations and Senegalese agencies to control it via biocontrol, biomass removal, public outreach, and access to treatment. We will visit 1) projects designed to limit infections, 2) development projects that have contributed to the increase of the reservoir species (snails), and 3) people who would potentially lead seminars and/or guided site visits in the future curriculum. This project was initiated by students in the Rutgers Enactus Chapter and will appeal to students interested in global health, environment, and development issues.

Chile - Food and Agriculture    
Karl Matthews, Professor and Chair, Food Science, Rutgers – New Brunswick

Food is essential to life, bridging local and global issues. Increasing access to global learning opportunities linked to food is desirable across academic disciplines. Chile is selected for a study abroad experience since the Chilean food industry is modern and developed; and the geography of Chile provides diverse growing environments for indigenous fruits and vegetables, and for export of food products throughout the world. The goal of this project is to develop programs in collaboration with the Universidad de Santiago de Chile that provide in-country peer-to-peer learning and virtual interactive experiences. Two programs will be developed: 1) Study abroad course, and 2) Experience based-interactive learning. The flexible design of the program will ensure sustainability since multiple faculty can be involved.  Funding to sustain the program will be provided by the department of food science and education grants (e.g., USDA).

Doing Business on Silicon Beach Course/Partner Development Proposal    
Gary Minkoff, Assistant Prof. of Professional Practice, Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick    

This project will identify and secure suitable global/local learning partnerships/initiatives based in Israel and/or the UAE, and will support in-country planning for a Winter Course, “Doing Business on Silicon Beach-Exploring the Entrepreneurship Ecosystems of the UAE and Israel".  Cultivating these relationships requires much lead time and traditional face to face interaction to be most effective.. 

"Culture, Conflict, and the City in the Arab World:" a spring 2023 embedded course in Amman, Jordan    
Amir Moosavi, Assistant Professor, English, Rutgers – Newark

This will establish a new, two-week embedded course in Amman, Jordan in collaboration with the Sijal Institute, the leading independent cultural institute in the country. The course, “Culture, Conflict, and the City in the Arab World,” would begin on the Rutgers-Newark campus in the spring 2023 semester. It will introduce students to the importance of the metropolitan city as the setting and subject of modern and contemporary Arabic culture, as well as the spirited social and cultural debates that take place within modern Arabic literature, film and art. When the semester ends, students in the course will have the opportunity to go to Amman, one of the primary sites covered during the course, to tour the city, attend seminars and cultural events with writers, scholars, and artists, visit art exhibitions, and learn firsthand how Amman, and the modern Arab city generally, both informs the arts and is represented by them. The immediate concern of this project is this course, but its larger goal is to build a partnership between the Sijal Institute, Rutgers Global/Rutgers Study Abroad, and the growing minor in Middle East and Islamic Studies at RU-N.

Local-Global Community-Engaged Education    
Mary Curran, Professor of Practice, Learning and Teaching, Rutgers – New Brunswick  

Local-Global Community-Engaged Education brings together two GSE projects. The first is a new virtual exchange program between Rutgers and Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan students focused on the science of corn, De la Milpa a la Tortilla. The second is the Conversation Tree: Community-based Language Learning Partnership Program in which Rutgers students are prepared as conversation facilitators and offer welcoming spaces for community members to practice English. These programs offer transformational experiences for Rutgers undergraduates and graduates in credit bearing courses. 

Cultivating Critical Global Citizenship for Teachers: A Virtual Global Educational Exchange    
Tanja C. Sargent, Associate Professor, Educational Theory, Policy and Administration, Rutgers – New Brunswick    

This project will develop a virtual exchange course for the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, entitled “Critical Global Citizenship for Educators.”  A combination of asynchronous learning and multiple, flexible synchronous interactions according to time zones and availability of individuals collaborating across space in small groups to complete their assignments. Students will complete three projects and engage in collaboration and interaction around these three projects: 1) a language ethnography of their surrounding community in order to have a direct experience of diversity on a glocal scale; 2) comparative analysis teaching videos and interviews from each of the countries; 3) the design of global lessons with their future students in mind.    

2021 Grant Recipients & Project Descriptions

International Collaborative Research Grants +

Colonialism, Interwar Europe, and Archaeopolitics

Sadia Abbas, PhD., Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark; Center for European Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partners: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; Simon Fraser University

This collaborative research project examines archaeopolitics in Independent Greece, the Turkish republic, colonial and postcolonial India and Pakistan, and interwar Europe. Archaeopolitics is a face of biopolitics used to organize populations according to a predetermined love for things ancient modeled on the European relation with classical antiquity. This transnational study of identities and histories exposes the politicization of narratives of the past. It will lay the foundation of a partnership between Rutgers, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (Greece), and Simon Fraser University (Canada).


Plant adaptation and evolutionary ecology in urban landscapes for application to landscape design

Myla F.J. Aronson, PhD, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: University of Melbourne

Cities contain novel, specialized environments that give rise to unique selection pressures on urban plant populations. Very little research has been performed on plant evolutionary ecology in urban landscapes, but it is clear that certain plants species are successful and some cannot survive in urban conditions. However, it is not well known if plants are successful in urban areas due to preadaptation, plasticity, or rapid evolution. Assessing how urban conditions select for particular plant morphological, functional, and phenological traits is the first step toward understanding how cities act as agents of natural selection and evolution. This knowledge can provide tools to address issues related to conservation, design, and planning for biodiversity in cities. I propose to examine traits of several native and non-native plant species and test the adaptative and heritable potential of these traits in experimental! gardens in cities across climate gradients in the United States and Australia.


Reliability and Resilience of Electrical Power Generation and Distribution to Facilitate Renewable Energy Sources: Collaboration between Rutgers and Tecnológico de Monterrey

David W. Coit, PhD, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Tecnológico de Monterrey

This international collaborative research is to establish an initiative between Rutgers and Tecnológico de Monterrey to study energy issues involving electric power grid resilience with renewable energy. This research is to develop a preliminary framework expanding integration of renewable energy (e.g., wind) while improving grid resilience. This is critical for the expansion of renewables to combat climate change while assuring the public of grid reliability. The electrical power grid is susceptible to unlikely extreme events, such as the recent winter storms in Texas and northern Mexico, or Sandy Hurricane in 2012. Planning and grid expansion models to minimize cost or improve reliability do not sufficiently consider or provide protection from these catastrophic events due to their infrequency and unpredictability, and they do not consider the social or societal issues associated with renewable energy.


The Significance of Religion for Providing Sanctuary to Immigrants in the EU and the US: Legal and Theological Perspectives

Rose Cuison-Villazor, JD, LLM, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: Center for Theology and Public Issues, University of Edinburgh Divinity School

This project seeks to establish a new collaborative partnership between Rutgers Law School’s Center for Immigration Law, Policy, and Justice and the University of Edinburgh Divinity School’s Center for Theology and Public Issues. Through the lens of law and religion, the project compares the ways that governmental and non-governmental agencies and actors address the humanitarian needs of immigrants in the E.U. and the U.S. Faith-based organizations working on national and international levels will be examined from legal and theological perspectives in order to explore the roles that religion plays in their efforts to assist immigrants crossing into the E.U. or the U.S. By engaging in this international and interdisciplinary comparative analysis, the project seeks to understand the legal, racial, cultural, and political barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance to immigrants. Ultimately, this project aims to foster expanded research in the fields of immigration law and theology.


Rutgers University Archaeological Field School in Andalusia (Spain)

Gary D. Farney, PhD, Department of History, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partners: University of Huelva; Fundación Río Tinto

This project will establish a new archaeological field school at a Roman settlement-site near the Río Tinto mines in Andalusia, Spain. Led by faculty members at Rutgers, this field school will be established in collaboration with the University of Huelva (Spain) and the Fundación Río Tinto (Spain), a local heritage foundation serving the Río Tinto mining communities in Huelva. The field school will train Rutgers undergraduate and graduate students in archaeological and anthropological techniques and recording strategies. A historical and cultural study-experience focused on the rich history of southern Spain will complement the field school.


Ethical AI through Data Curation: A Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration between Rutgers and Australian National University

Lauren M.E. Goodlad, PhD, Department of English, Program in Comparative Literature, Center for Cultural Analysis, and Center for Cognitive Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Australian National University

Despite world-scale impact, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poorly understood and subject to hype and anxiety. Talk of making AI “ethical,” “democratic,” and “human-centered,” suffers from a lack of cross-disciplinary dialogue. At the heart of this social dilemma is the determinative power of data: the leading technologies derive their “intelligence” from collecting and mining huge troves of data through powerful but opaque and resource intensive computation—producing serious social and environmental harms. At both Rutgers and Australian National University researchers across the disciplines are looking to data curation to mitigate some of AI’s worst problems including the underrepresentation of marginalized perspectives, reproduction of bias, and loss of historical memory. Our sustainable collaboration with Australia’s leading research institution will include a reading group, web platform, year-long workshop, student labs, the writing and publication of a peer-reviewed special issue.


Impact of Redox Environment on Microbial Transformations of Arsenic in Rice Paddy Soils

Max Häggblom, PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partners: Can Tho University; Hanoi University of Science and Technology

This project will establish a research and intellectual exchange between Rutgers University and Can Tho University and Hanoi University of Science and Technology in Vietnam. The proposed activities will enable development of a joint research effort to investigate how microbes impact the fate of arsenic in rice paddy soils. Arsenic contamination of groundwater and rice paddy soils is of serious concern in many regions of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, and threatens the health of populations relying on rice as a staple crop. The joint project will examine how the interaction of water level-driven variation in redox conditions and microbial community composition of paddy soils controls the geochemistry and bioavailability of rice. To achieve our objectives, we will leverage on-going research at Rutgers and our collaborators in Vietnam to form a project team with complementary expertise that spans microbiology, geochemistry, soil science, and crop cultivation practice.


Visions of Europe: Cinema and Migration in Contemporary Germany

Regina Karl, PhD, Department of German, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Institute of Comparative Literature, University of Bielefeld

The ongoing refugee and humanitarian crisis, the European debt crisis, Brexit, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic have irrevocably changed the face of Europe in the past decades. In that light, our project seeks to explore current cinematic representations of migration and postmigrant societies in Europe. By way of an in-depth study of contemporary German films which reflect upon the current cultural and socio-political climate, we will investigate the visions—past, present, and future—of multiethnic communities that are at stake in the Europe today. The project will ask what it means to build and maintain a European Union after 1945 by addressing four major axes of inquiry: the notion of European (post-)migrant cinema, the ethics and politics of representing migration, German filmmaking as transnational cinema, and recent trends of technological mobility.


Establishing an International Honeypot Ant Consortium

Lily Khadempour, PhD, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark

 Collaborative Partners: University of Fribourg; American Museum of Natural History

Honeypot ants are distributed globally, and have evolved repletism, a characteristic where certain ant workers serve as a food storage vessel for the rest of the colony in times of scarcity. These ants belong to at least six different genera that have evolved independently in semi-arid habitats, and are a classic example of convergent evolution. This grant would fund the establishment of an International Honeypot Ant Consortium with researchers who will work collaboratively to study convergent evolution of the ants and their microbiomes. It will fund the gathering of preliminary data (DNA sequencing and proteomics) as well as the first meeting of the consortium at the AMNH Southwestern Research Station to discuss our findings, and to facilitate further collaboration and research, with the ultimate goal of expanding the consortium to include researchers and institutions from around the world (US, South Africa, and Australia) where different honeypot ants are found.


Chinese NGOs Going Global: The Internationalization of Chinese NGOs

Jiahuan Lu, PhD, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: China Agricultural University

The second decade of the 21st century has witnessed a significant growth in the number of international aid and development projects by Chinese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in or towards developing countries. Along with China’s rising economic and political power, the internationalization of Chinese NGOs has important global implications. Unfortunately, current research on Chinese NGO internationalization is severely limited by the lack of systematic data. This collaborative project will combine different data sources to map Chinese NGOs’ cross-border activities and collect preliminary data on their organizational characteristics, financial conditions, and managerial challenges.


Latin America’s “Green” Energy Frontiers: Pilot Study in Bolivia

Andrea Marston, PhD, Department of Geography, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Labora y Agrario (Laboral and Agrarian Development Research Center, or CE DLA)

This project aims to gather preliminary information about how the global transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy sources is influencing the social and environmental dynamics of mining in Latin America. Although “green” technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels promise a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, they nevertheless require extensive mineral inputs. Notorious controversies have already emerged over minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and “rare earths,” but this project will focus on the green energy transition’s impacts along less-publicized mining frontiers, such as zinc, lead, silver, nickel, copper, and tin. Many of these minerals are located at high altitude, where mining can exacerbate the effects of climate change on freshwater resources, ironically resulting in a local negation of the benefits promised by renewable energy. Bolivia was chosen for this pilot study because of its many active high-altitude mines and its ongoing struggles around climate change and drought.


Encountering “the Other” prior to Colonialism

Susan Mokhberi, PhD, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden

Collaborative Partner: Université de Paris

The seventeenth century was the age of modern state formation and rules of international diplomacy and a period when Europeans encountered Asians and Africans, absorbing and learning from foreign practices. Yet, scholars have attributed the forging of state identities and international relations to Europeans while foreigners and other minorities have been left out of the history. Our aim is to compare encounters between Europeans, Africans, and Asians to find early patterns in approaches toward foreigners. These snapshots of encounters reveal how various nationalities grappled to make sense of foreign cultures, but even more importantly exemplify how societies developed rules and norms to cope with the differences they encountered. This research will explore how societies from the early modern era continually reshaped their identities when challenged with difference, uncovering a lost history of global diversity and the evolution of race relations that underpin our own attitudes today.


Global Consortium on Bigotry and Hate

Nela Navarro, Rutgers Writing Program, Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Alex Hinton, PhD, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark and Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partners: Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Moscow State University; European Center for Democracy Development (Latvia); Peace and Conflict Studies Graduate Program, University of Manitoba; Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Center

Across the globe, bigotry and hate are on the rise—not just in atrocity crimes hot spots like China, Ethiopia, and Myanmar, but also in Europe and the United States, where anti-Semitic and white
nationalist attacks have taken place with increasing frequency. In part because of their broad scope, discussions about such bigotry and hate often remain highly general and experience-distant. Much less attention has been paid to how state, sub-state, and regional actors have both come to understand these phenomena and developed strategies to prevent them. The Global Consortium on Bigotry and Hate fills this critical gap by bringing together scholars and practitioners from across the globe to discuss local manifestations of and responses to bigotry and hate.


Many-body systems localized far away from equilibrium

Jedediah Pixley, PhD, Department of Physics and Astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Quantum many body systems far from equilibrium present some of the most fascinating open questions in modern physics today. More importantly, these systems hold exceptional promise for technological advancement with various applications to quantum computing and quantum information sciences more broadly. This project aims to formalize an international collaboration with PIs from Rutgers University and the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India on non-equilibrium quantum systems. Utilizing our recent theory, we propose to classify a broad range of nonequilibrium quantum systems and show how these systems can be used as a quantum memory device thanks to the lack of thermalization.


Transparency and Civic Engagement in Palmira, Colombia

Gregory Porumbescu, PhD, School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: Alberto Lleras Camargo School of Government, Universidad de los Andes

This project supports the establishment of a collaborative research project between Rutgers–Newark and University of the Andes to assess the effect of government transparency initiatives on civic engagement in Colombia. While transparency and civic engagement are critical to promoting effective democratic governance, most of what we know about this relationship comes from a handful of relatively affluent democracies in North America and Western Europe. This research imbalance is problematic because the vast majority of democracies more closely resemble Colombia than they do the United States or Denmark. To address this gap in knowledge, our research team will collaborate with the City of Palmira, Colombia to investigate the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of government transparency as a tool for enhancing civic engagement.


CBD as a valid pharmacological target against mitochondrial dysfunction in PD

Maria de la Encarnacion Solesio Torregrosa, PhD, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden

Collaborative Partner: Miguel Hernandez University

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder. Currently, we have no effective pharmacological therapies to prevent or to cure PD. While the etiopathology of this disorder remains mostly unknown, the presence of increased mitochondrial dysfunction has been proven to be an early event in PD. Specifically, dysregulated bioenergetics could be one of the main triggering events in the dysregulation of the organelle. Several studies have shown the neuroprotective effects of cannabidiol (CBD), which is a compound which lacks potential for addiction. Interestingly, these effects include the decreased presence of oxidative stress. It is well-known that the main component of oxidative stress is the increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are a typical byproduct of mitochondrial energy production. Herein, using an innovative mouse model that mimics the progressive progression present in PD patients, we propose to study the protective effects of CBD against mitochondrial dysfunction.


Studying calcium dynamics in Plasmodium falciparum using transgenic parasites expressing calcium indicator proteins

Andrew P. Thomas, PhD, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Collaborative Partner: University of São Paulo

Malaria causes extensive mortality and morbidity in developing countries, and with increasing drug resistance there is a need for novel treatment strategies. Past collaborations between the project’s PIs have revealed the importance of calcium signaling for Plasmodium falciparum proliferation and survival in the symptomatic human erythrocyte stage, and in particular the role of calcium signaling in mediating a unique coupling of the malaria life cycle to the host circadian rhythm. It is important to understand the host signals and downstream targets of calcium signaling in the parasite. The Garcia lab has developed a P.falciparum strain expressing a genetically-encoded calcium indicator GCaMP3, which can be used to study calcium dynamics in intraerythrocytic parasites using cell imaging approaches available in the Thomas lab.


Multi-axis Miniature Quantum Sensor for Inertial Navigation

Xuejian Wu, PhD, Department of Physics, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers

Atom interferometry is a powerful tool for measuring inertial forces, such as gravity, acceleration, and rotation. Meter-scale atom interferometers have been widely used in measuring fundamental physics constant and testing fundamental laws of physics. Miniature atom interferometers would open up applications in navigating vehicles independent to the Global Positioning System and detecting subtle geodetic anomalies. However, atom interferometers lag behind other commercialized atomic-physics techniques, such as atomic clocks, in terms of miniaturization. The goal of this collaborative research project is to develop a compact and sensitive atom interferometer that will sense six-axis accelerations and rotations simultaneously. We will advance the strength of using Bloch oscillation for coherently splitting atoms with large photon momentums and the elegance of trapping ultracold atoms inside a centimeter-scale pyramid mirror to develop a drone-borne sensor and apply it for navigation, hydrological studies, and natural hazard monitoring.


Collaboration in Diversifying Discovery

Sonia Yaco, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Durham University

Our project will establish a new partnership with Durham University UK to explore the possibility of multi-disciplinary research using AI and machine learning on Japanese cultural heritage collections. We will hold workshops to examine ways to use machine learning to make our collection on the modernization of 19th century Japan more accessible and provide new tools for jointly interrogating collections held separately. These workshops will prepare for a larger project, seeking to understand how computational analysis of geographically distant, digital primary materials can generate new knowledge. This research holds promise for an enormous impact on both institutions and the public by opening the door to a whole new way to access our holdings, providing new tools for jointly interrogating collections. It will also serve to create connections between our two collections, which have important synergies in their industrial and technology focus, along with unique materials concerning the history of science education.


Trustworthy Data-Driven AI Scheduling in Instant Delivery for On-demand Economy

Desheng Zhang, Department of Computer Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Peking University

Instant Delivery for On-demand Economy (IDOE) such as Uber Eats in the U.S. has a tremendous growth recently. The rise of AI for delivery task scheduling has significant impacts on IDOE workers due to potential “algorithmic biases.” Researchers have accumulated abundant knowledge on how to optimize these current delivery services. However, these optimization methods do not account for real world IDOE environment complexities. In such cases, AI-based decisions (e.g., task scheduling) may have negative impacts on IDOE workers. Given the current and future increasingly complex interactions of AI-based systems and IDOE workers, it is important to consider various real-world technical, social, and economic factors such as equity beyond profits. In this project, we propose a Trustworthy Management Framework called TrustWORK to enable Mutually Beneficial Worker-AI Partnership for IDOE work by working with one of largest on-demand platforms in China, Eleme, and its academic collaborator in Peking University.

Global Health Seed Grants +

Enhancing Capacities of the Believe in a Healthy Newark Coalition by Engaging Rutgers University–Newark Students 

Jesse Liss, PhD, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark

Bernadette So, PhD, Career Development Center, Rutgers University–Newark 

Grant Category: Education, Training, and Capacity Building

Collaborative Partners: Believe in a Healthy Newark; Center for Public Health Workforce Development, Rutgers School of Public Health; Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies, Rutgers School of Public Health

This project establishes an undergraduate internship program at Rutgers University–Newark (RU–N), whereby students will be trained and matched with community organizations that are leading public health initiatives in Newark’s underserved neighborhoods. The goals are twofold: augment the capacities of the public and nonprofit organizations that comprise the Believe in a Healthy Newark coalition, and create experiential learning opportunities in public health so that RU–N students can gain exposure to career pathways in this field and enhance their professional skills.


Expanding Train-the-Trainer Programs for Lifesaving Bleeding Control Techniques in Resource-Limited Settings

Ziad Sifri, MD, FACS, Department of Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Grant Category: Education, Training, and Capacity Building

Collaborative Partners: Centro de Salud Carabamba, Julcán; College of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences, University of Sierra Leone; Department of Emergency Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School; International Surgical Health Initiative; Office of Global Affairs, Rutgers School of Health Professions

The COVID-19 pandemic has stunted New Jersey Medical School’s Stop the Bleed training series, which teaches individuals who are not otherwise medically qualified how to stop bleeding in severely injured people and potentially save their lives. In low- and middle-income countries, where emergency medical resources are incredibly lacking, there is tremendous need for more people to become certified in these lifesaving techniques. This project will support the creation and promotion of virtual teaching resources to recruit and certify Stop the Bleed instructors in Ghana, Peru, Sierra Leone, and elsewhere, while also providing medical-grade tourniquets for training and real-world use in these resource-limited settings.


Youth and Family HIV Stigma: Examining Potential Barriers to HIV Services and Stigma-Reduction Interventions 

Emilia Iwu, PhD, RN, APNC, FWACN, Division of Nursing Science, Rutgers School of Nursing, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Grant Category: Research

Collaborative Partners: Institute of Human Virology Nigeria; Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria
Through focus groups comprising adolescents and youth living with HIV (AYLHIV) and their adult caregivers in Nigeria’s River State, this research explores the impact of stigma on this population with respect to their physical and mental health and health care engagement, especially adherence to HIV treatment regimens. Additionally, the study will examine how AYLHIV and their caregivers feel about interventions to reduce stigma’s impact on their wellbeing and what they would recommend for a future intervention.


Exploring Scalable Multimodal Approaches to Identify Vulnerable Populations in the Congo 

Woojin Jung, PhD, MPP, MSW, Rutgers School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Grant Category: Research

Collaborative Partners: Microsoft, World Food Programme

This project will use artificial intelligence technologies to more accurately and rapidly identify areas of extreme poverty in the Republic of the Congo, informing humanitarian responses to the country’s surging food insecurity in the wake of COVID-19. The research will incorporate daytime satellite imagery, nighttime luminosity, and social media data to create algorithms that estimate the wealth and livelihood of geographic regions. The robust and objective information that is produced will allow for more precise targeting of social safety net programs.


Real-Time Monitoring of Suicidality in Depressed Adolescents: A Smartphone-Based Ecological Momentary Assessment Study 

Vincent M. B. Silenzio, MD, MPH, Department of Urban-Global Public Health, Rutgers School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences

Grant Category: Research

Collaborative Partners: Central South University; Xiangya School of Public Health; The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University

To gain a highly nuanced understanding of suicide-related thoughts and behaviors among adolescents who are experiencing depression in China, this research will use smartphone-based survey apps and wearable monitoring devices to collect real-time data from study participants over a 28-day period. These data-collection methods will provide the interdisciplinary research team with a high volume of contextually specific data points and information that can influence the development of new national protocols for suicide prevention and intervention.

Global Environmental Change Grants +

Understanding the interactive effects of temperature and nutrients on ecological processes across scales

Angélica L. González, PhD, Department of Biology and Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden

Warming and nutrient deposition are two main components of global change, and both have intensified over the past century due to human activities. As changes in temperature and nutrients are likely to operate in combination, an increasing number of experiments are now focusing on manipulations of both drivers. These studies have improved our understanding of their synergistic effects, however, their generality has yet to be the subject of quantitative syntheses. Further, biased research toward temperate ecosystems has limited our understanding of how these drivers may interact to affect the structure and functioning tropical ecosystems. To help filling this gap we propose to perform a meta-analysis of ecological responses to temperature and nutrients, from the organismal to the ecosystem scales and to test experimentally the simultaneous effects of temperature and nutrients on whole-ecosystems, in the tropics.


Dangerous while asleep: landslide and lava flows hazards of the dormant Barva volcano

Vadim Levin, PhD, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Currently dormant, Barva volcano in Costa Rica nevertheless presents an obvious natural hazard to the capital of this rapidly growing and modernizing Central American nation. Even without the resumption of eruptive activity, it poses a significant hazard of catastrophic landslides from its steep slopes composed of poorly consolidated volcanic deposits. This international, student-oriented demonstration research effort will involve the integration of multiple types of data collectively pertinent for the volcanic landslides and lava flows hazard assessment. Specifically, we will establish, test, and document a workflow for building a multi-resolution representation of a landslide-prone area on the slopes of Barva volcano. As part of this effort, we will collect new advanced UAV-enabled photogrammetry (oriented photography) data. We will train a student in performing necessary data manipulation tasks and will use the experience to develop a long-term collaborative program of student research in volcanic hazard assessment.


Vulnerability to extreme events, climate change, and COVID-19 among rural communities in Yaguajay, Central Cuba: adaptations and coping mechanisms

Victoria C. Ramenzoni, PhD, Department of Human Ecology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Impacts from extreme weather events (EWEs), such as rapidly intensifying hurricanes and droughts, along with sea level rise and the COVID pandemic, have broad and dire repercussions for Caribbean populations. While current research is focused on economic and infrastructural costs of EWEs, there is a gap in our understanding of how rural communities cope with such threats and the impact on diet and physical activities. The objective of this project is to determine the energetic costs of adaptation to EWEs among coastal communities in the district of Yaguajay, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba. Building on an existing collaboration between Rutgers University and Universidad de La Habana, our interdisciplinary team will conduct anthropometric, dietary, activity and socioeconomic assessments relative to EWEs to: 1) characterize adaptive responses, 2) identify impacts of EWES on households, 3) measure changes in diet and activity, and 4) work with community organizations to transition findings into recommendations. The results of this highly innovative project will be used to support new guidelines for EWEs preparedness and mitigation policies in at-risk areas of the world. 


Exploring Biological Links Between Expanding Terrestrial and Shrinking Glacial Ecosystems

Daniel Shain, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden

Approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface is covered with ice, but this number is shrinking rapidly as a direct consequence of our changing global climate. With models projecting staggering losses of ice mass within the next generation, the contribution of these unique ecosystems to global ecology, local watersheds, and the biological connectedness between ice and terrestrial environments is becoming increasingly more relevant. In our proposed study, we will evaluate the biomass and biodiversity of apex consumers (e.g., rotifers, tardigrades) in Norwegian glaciers with an emphasis on comparing profiles between glaciers that are differentially visited by terrestrial animals (e.g., reindeer, birds). We anticipate that the levels of connectedness between adjacent terrestrial and glacial ecosystems will impact the composition, diversity, and stability of animal communities in both habitats, as documented by annual collections at selected glaciers followed by detailed taxonomic and molecular analyses. In addition to gauging the ecological links between expanding (terrestrial) and shrinking (glacial) habitats, these studies will position Norwegian glacial fauna in a global context by comparisons with glacier animals recently discovered in climate-threatened glaciers worldwide.

Virtual Exchange Course Development Grants +

Urban Ecological Design for Climate Change Resilience

Myla F.J. Aronson, PhD, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


Autonomous Vehicle Dynamics and Control

Laurent Burlion, PhD, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: CentraleSupélec, Paris-Saclay University


Global Art Exchange at the Venice Biennale

Alexandra Chang, Department of Arts, Culture, and Media, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: Auckland University of Technology


Introduction to Korean Culture & From Sijo to K-Pop: Song Lyrics as a Literary Genre

Young-mee Yu Cho, PhD, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Ewha Womans University


Civic Engagement and Community-Building: Understanding Health Disparities

Timothy Eatman, PhD, Honors Living-Learning Community, Rutgers University–Newark

Jennifer Bucalo, PhD, Academic Foundations Center, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: University of Pretoria


Mediterranean Crossings: Refugees, Migration, and Displacements (1492-Today)

Mayte Green-Mercado, PhD, Department of History, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark

Collaborative Partner: Birkbeck, University of London


Sefrou: Collaborative Multiculturalism Museum

Becky Schulthies, PhD, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Collaborative Partner: Sefrou Museum of Multiculturalism; Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University

2020 Grant Recipients & Project Descriptions

International Collaborative Research Grants +

Dr. Arash Azadegan, Program in Supply Chain Management, Rutgers Business School–Newark and New Brunswick, Rutgers University–Newark and Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Humanitarian Relief in Refugee Camps: A Focus on Supply Chains Collaborations
What draws NGOs to collaborate in managing refugee camps? Meeting the needs of refugees includes taking into account complex contexts in a cross-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary settings approach that interfaces with moral, political, and ideological paradigms. These factors highlight the significance of collaboration and coordination in the challenge of managing refugee camps. In this research, we focus on differentiating the effectiveness of cooperation between the “dry” and “wet” (i.e., monsoon) seasons in how the Rohingya refugee camps in Southern Bangladesh operations. Moreover, we try to explain how the coordination of larger sized organization is differentiated from smaller sized ones. Through in-depth interviews of NGO managers and government representatives, we will gain further insight into inter-organizational collaborative efforts. The results of the study are aimed at top operations and supply chain management journals. 

Dr. Valerio Baćak, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University–Newark
Is there a Cycle of Sexual Violence in Adolescence?
It is widely documented that violent victimization is harmful for a range of outcomes, such as physical and mental health. But victimization also has other, less obvious, consequences: studies have linked the experience of victimization to an increased risk of engaging in violent behavior by victims themselves. This thesis is known as the “cycle of violence.” We know significantly less, however, about this cycle with respect to sexual violence among adolescents in Southeastern Europe. In this region, norms surrounding violence, gender, and sexuality are different from norms in North America and Western Europe where most of this research has been performed. The goal of the project is to start answering the question—Is there a cycle of sexual violence in adolescence?—by collaborating with scholars at the University of Zagreb, and using data from one of the first surveys in the region to assess sexual behavior in a longitudinal perspective.

Dr. Nada Boustany, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Combining FRET Microscopy with Optical Tweezers for the Study of Mechanobiology
Changes in cellular morphology and function in response to mechanical forces play an important role in tissue growth and repair, and affect several conditions including tumor development or tissue repair after injury. Understanding these mechanisms can shed light on novel pathways that could be exploited to promote disease prevention or tissue regeneration. The objective of this research project, which lies at the interface of optics, biophysics, and biology, is to leverage the advanced optical engineering and physics program at Institut d’Optique (Palaiseau, France) to develop an instrument that combines optical tweezers (N. Westbrook) with FRET microscopy of molecular tension probes (N. Boustany at Rutgers) to investigate the signaling pathways underlying mechanotransduction.

Dr. Laura Cuesta, School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
A Comparative Analysis of Child Support Systems of Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay
Child support from a nonresident father is a critical source of income for single-mother families, yet the majority of these families do not receive this monetary transfer, especially in less affluent nations. These two concepts beg the questions: How do child support systems operate in less affluent countries? How do these systems respond to changes in parents’ circumstances? An increasing proportion of children worldwide are raised by a single mother, and these families often experience poverty and material hardship. While we have begun to understand key processes behind this phenomenon, most of the prior research focuses on the U.S., with relatively little work on developing countries that experience high rates of union dissolution among parents of minor children. To answer these questions, we interview lawyers, child support agency staff, judges, and representatives of parents’ organizations in Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay. Findings will inform family policy and practice in the Americas.  

Dr. Karishma Desai, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Sarada Balagopalan, Department of Childhood Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
Skills for Youth in Neoliberal India: Aspirations, Anxieties, and Postcolonial Capitalism
How do youth across India experience and navigate skilling programs set up to regulate their transitions to work? Lauded as its “demographic dividend,” India’s youth have been constructed as a source of optimism and moral anxiety for the country’s future. To channel this youth potential, the government launched an unprecedented national skill development initiative in 2015 which has consequently shaped young people’s imaginings of, and for, the future. Yet, these efforts promise new, unattainable life pathways in an increasingly unstable and precarious economy. This multi-sited project brings together scholars from Rutgers University (Graduate School of Education and the Department of Childhood Studies) and Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar (IIT-G) currently researching this vast infrastructure of skills training established to craft new worker subjectivities among India’s youth in an effort to attend to the contested trajectories of aspirations and anxieties generated in the context of postcolonial capitalism.

Dr. Maria Dominguez Bello, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Jorge Marcone, Department of Spanish and Portuguese and Program in Comparative Literature, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Global Microbiome Network (GloMiNe)–Peru
What sustains the high gut microbiota diversity? Peru is a culturally, agriculturally biodiverse country, and we plan to initiate there the Global Microbiome Network (GloMiNe) to educate on the value of biodiversity of natural foods, and biodiversity of the human microbiome in peoples living traditional lifestyles. The courses will train students and faculty on standardized protocols to collect and preserve microbiome specimens, and promote collaborative and inter-institutional research and scholarship in relation to the human microbiome. The proposed activity will broaden Rutgers’ overall academic collaborations with Peru’s Academia, and will offer opportunities for scholarly collaborations. It will also initiate formation of the GloMiNe network, eventually adding countries with peoples living traditional lifestyles.

Dr. Donna E. Fennell, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Identifying a Dioxin Dehalogenase in Passaic River Microbial Enrichments
How do bacteria living in the sediments at the bottom of the highly contaminated Passaic River in New Jersey detoxify deadly dioxin? The lower eight miles of the Passaic River has a long history of industrial contamination. An important chemical pollutant found in the river is dioxin, one of the most harmful compounds known to humankind.  We cultured bacteria from the Passaic River that transform dioxin into less toxic compounds. Research during this project will identify the genetic elements (genes) that give these specialized bacteria the ability to convert dioxin into less harmful forms of the chemical.  Identifying the genes will allow us to develop ways to monitor the dioxin conversion process and better understand whether dioxin removal by the bacteria could be enhanced. In the future the bacteria could be used to clean up dioxin contamination from the Passaic River and other contaminated areas.

Dr. Weihong “Grace” Guo, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Digital Twin of Metal Additive Manufacturing for High-Quality Components
How to ensure quality in metal additive manufacturing (AM) with digital twins? Metal AM offers tremendous freedom to create complex parts without the design constraints of traditional manufacturing. However, the widespread adoption of AM for producing functional parts is hampered by product reliability and traceability, because the quality of AM parts is not easily predictable or trustworthy. The process–quality relationship must be learned for each new material, machine, geometry, etc., and this is usually done in experimental trial-and-error, neither efficient nor cost-effective. The goal of this collaborative research project is to advance the understanding of the Digital Twin mechanism underpinning the “AM process–digital signature–part quality” causal relationship. The specific research objectives are to (1) build a digital twin of AM by integrating process history with in-process monitoring and data analytics, and (2) leverage deep reinforcement learning coupled with process physics to establish the process–quality causal relationship.

Dr. Nicole Houser, Rutgers Writing Program, Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Neurodiversity and English Language Learners: Creating a Pedagogy of Inclusion for the Global Classroom
What are the best practices for teaching neurodivergent multilingual learners of English, and how can English language programs cultivate an awareness of neurodiversity through sustained faculty development? The Rutgers English Language Institute (RELI) and the Language School at San Miguel de Allende, ENES León, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) will collaborate to create curriculum and faculty development materials that take neurodiversity into account for learners of English as an additional language. Awareness of best practices in this field is particularly important for contexts without an established system of diagnosis and accommodation. Faculty will collaborate virtually to create guidelines for both contexts, and RELI will host UNAM visiting scholars for a weeklong workshop on inclusive teaching for neurodivergent students featuring experts from Rutgers University. Participants will develop inclusive classroom materials, a digital storytelling project connecting students from both institutions, faculty development guides, and scholarly articles sharing the results of this collaboration.

Dr. Allan Punzalan Isaac, Department of American Studies and Department of English, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Queer Filipino Mobilities and Urban Migrations
This interdisciplinary project—in conversation with urban studies, migration, Asian diasporic, gender, race and sexuality, and Filipinx studies—considers the effects of sexuality on how migrant Filipinos inhabit, navigate, and thrive in the urban spaces of Toronto, Manila, and metro-New York through informal organizing. More broadly, it investigates how discourses around race, gender, sexuality, and migrancy circulate through the transnational social networks and political exchanges that LGBTQ+ Filipinos participate in and embody. Through faculty workshops and site-specific archival research, faculty members at Rutgers University, University of Toronto, and Ateneo De Manila University will collectively examine how the movements and migrations of sexual minority Filipino migrants in key urban centers as political sites of transit and exchange expand the meaning of the Global City beyond money flows.

Dr. Radha Jagannathan, Program in Urban Planning and Policy Development, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Jersey Roots, Global Reach: Rutgers as a Center for an International Organization
This project will explore the possibility of establishing a North American Center for PASCAL International Observatory at Rutgers University. Founded in 2002, PASCAL focuses on lifelong learning and is a global alliance of decision-makers, academic entrepreneurs, researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners drawn from governmental and non-governmental organizations, higher education, and the private sector. The project will feature two components: (1) A lecture series by PASCAL associates worldwide on topics that are of interest to Rutgers student-body, and (2) A research collaboration on social capital investments between interdisciplinary teams of faculty from Rutgers and PASCAL associates from the University of Catania. Successful implementation of both initiatives will provide important feedback on the feasibility of establishing a Rutgers Center for PASCAL, which is expected to promote and facilitate research and teaching collaborations for Rutgers faculty internationally, and to provide higher levels of research exposure for Rutgers as well as for PASCAL associates. 

Dr. Mubbasir Kapadia, Department of Computer Science, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Cognitive Modeling of Human Wayfinding in Built Environments
This proposal will develop a sustainable, multi-disciplinary research and academic partnership between Rutgers and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to model the relation between human wayfinding and the built environment. The main goal is to develop a cognitively grounded computational framework of human wayfinding, which models the uncertainty, and fusion of multiple conflicting information sources. The proposed research will expand the scientific understanding of how humans navigate in complex environments and enhance practices for architects, planners, and civil engineers. We will ensure the sustainability of the partnership beyond the current grant, and develop a multi-disciplinary curriculum at both institutions, while training students at both sites. The team will organize workshops to kick-start a community in Human-Building Interaction, which includes world experts in Computer Science, Architecture, and Cognitive Science. The proposed activities can potentially have a long-term impact at both universities.

Dr. Debra L. Laskin, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
This global research grant between researchers at Rutgers and Sapienza University of Rome focuses on the role of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC)s in pulmonary fibrosis. MSCs are adult stem cells recently identified in the lung. Evidence suggests that MSCs can contribute to chronic lung pathologies; this occurs when MSCs differentiate into collagen producing myofibroblasts. Factors that regulate MSC differentiation and their contribution to fibrosis are unknown and this represents the focus of our collaborative research efforts. Research teams from Rutgers and Sapienza, consisting of the PI’s and two trainees from each University will participate in cross training followed by coordinated research activities. The research will culminate in a workshop to discuss results, manuscripts, and a joint grant application. This global collaboration takes advantage of unique expertise at the two universities; results will provide insights into the development of pulmonary fibrosis, and potentially identification of novel anti-fibrotic therapeutics.

Dr. Mark McGovern, Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy, School of Public Health, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Economic Evaluation of a Malaria Intervention in Partnership with the University of Bamako (Mali)
Which malaria interventions provide the best value for money? Malaria is a major contributor to premature mortality and morbidity, and has an impact that is concentrated on women and children living in disadvantaged households in low income countries. Therefore, tackling the effects of malaria are crucial for achieving social justice and addressing global health disparities. This project will build a multidisciplinary collaboration between Rutgers and the University of Bamako in Mali, one of countries most affected by malaria. Through a partnership focused on economic evaluation of an intervention aimed at children (Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention), we aim to build capacity in Mali for undertaking economic analysis of public health programs. This is crucial for identifying interventions that achieve the greatest possible impact on population health for a given budget, and building an evidence base for decision-making on interventions to improve maternal and child health.

Dr. Tobias Schulze-Cleven, Program in Labor Studies and Employment Relations and Center for Global Work and Employment, School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Crossing Disciplines and Boundaries: Moving from a “Future of Work” to a “Future of Workers”
Rapid technological change and deepened global economic integration have put the “future of work” (FoW) on the political agenda. This project seeks to redirect the predominant FoW discourse so that it takes into full account the agency that actors and advocates have in defining our collective future. Our objective is in part to address crucial blind spots in the overly narrow contemporary debate, which remains characterized by both technological and market determinism. To do this, we examine both how structural inequalities in contemporary societies shape the rollout of technology and how innovations in economic governance could better channel market forces to support a future in the interest of workers. With this agenda in mind, this project explicitly engages a FoW discourse that is intentionally global and inter-disciplinary in perspective. Affiliates of the Center for Global Work and Employment at the School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) actively collaborate with a student-led conference for PhD students forming the core of project activities.

Dr. Mi Shih, Program in Urban Planning and Policy Development, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Urban Housing Experiments: Case Study Research and Teaching
This project asks how solutions to urban housing challenges may be broadened and diversified if both informal practices and formal mechanisms are treated as possible sources of inspiration. Housing challenges include both housing accessibility and affordability. The project takes a case-study approach to examine how three urban experiments differently tackle housing challenges in the greater Taipei Metropolitan Region (TMR) in Taiwan. These three experiments are informal squatting, state-led land development, and regulatory measures. Collaborating with two institutional partners in Taiwan—National Cheng Kung University and National Chengchi University—the project will focus on three case studies: Treasure Hill settlement, Central North development, and density bonusing regulation. Each case study will examine the sociopolitical contexts through which specific housing practices arise and both the advantages and drawbacks associated with each housing experiment.

Dr. David Shreiber, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
This project’s goal is to understand how mutations in collagen associated with vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vEDS) affects tissue function. vEDS is a life-threatening connective tissue disorder that includes a risk of increased blood vessel and organ fragility. Professor Fei Xu from Jiangnan University in China is developing collagen-like peptides (CLPs) that form hydrogels. These peptides are made in bacteria, and the peptide sequence can be changed with relative ease to include common mutations from vEDS. We plan to use principles of tissue engineering to culture smooth muscle cells in these hydrogels and allow the cells to reorganize the gel into a tissue that mimics blood vessels. We will evaluate how different mutations affect the strength and composition of the engineered vessels.

Dr. Yuliya Strizhakova, Program in Marketing, School of Business–Camden, Rutgers University–Camden
Eco-Entrepreneurship in South Africa
Globalization has made environmental sustainability a preeminent global issue; however, individual engagement with environmental sustainability practices have yet to be fully examined, particularly in emerging markets where entrepreneurs are increasingly playing a significant role in economic development. With a focus on entrepreneurs in South Africa, our primary goal is to explore the interplay of global-local individual characteristics on the entrepreneur’s choices related to sustainability initiatives. Specifically, we are interested in entrepreneurs’ global-local identity and mindsets, with attention to contrasting entrepreneurs who are more versus less engaged with environmental sustainability. We will take a grounded theory approach and focus on depth interviews with South African entrepreneurs and relevant representatives of incubators who are engaged (not engaged) with environmental sustainability. 

Dr. Liping Zhao, Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology and Center for Nutrition, Microbiome, and Health, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Gut Microbiota as the Therapeutic Target for Traditional Chinese Medicine
This project aims to explore traditional Chinese medicine, with thousands of years of history, as the key to a new concept of microbiome-targeted interventions. Traditional Chinese medicine has been used as a complementary and alternative medicine and there is emerging evidence for a role of gut bacteria in mediating its therapeutic effects. This new partnership will leverage the expertise in microbiology and nutrition at the Center for Nutrition, Microbiome, and Health of Rutgers University and the clinical expertise at the School of Chinese Medicine of Hong Kong Baptist University to elucidate the mechanisms by which traditional Chinese medicine and the gut bacteria interact and determine the clinical significance of harnessing this interaction to improve human health. We see such synergy between basic and clinical research pivotal to integrate gut microbiome and traditional Chinese medicine into mainstream clinical applications.

Global Health Seed Grants +

Research Grants

Dr. Ann D. Bagchi, Division of Nursing Science, School of Nursing, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Development of a Mobile Health App to Improve the Safe Use, Storage, and Disposal of Opioid Medications
Collaborative Partners: Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, School of Health Professions; North Jersey Community Research Initiative 

Between 1999 and 2017, the United States saw nearly five times as many drug overdose deaths involving prescription opioid medications. A key driver of the epidemic is the misuse of legitimately prescribed opioid medications, such as more frequent dosing than prescribed and sharing prescribed medications with others. Education provided to patients via mobile technology may help to increase their knowledge of appropriate use of opioid medications; however, knowledge does not always translate into behavior modification. This study will use input from patients and providers to develop and test three versions of a mobile health app designed to improve appropriate opioid use. A goal of the study is to understand how patient-facing technology can be deployed to increase both knowledge and behaviors consistent with safe opioid use, storage, and disposal. Additionally, because the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased reliance on telehealth technologies, this study will provide evidence on how to ensure that telehealth solutions can be made more accessible and user-friendly for all consumers, beyond the opioid epidemic.

Dr. Edward J. Alessi, School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
The Development of an HIV Prevention Group Intervention for MSM Migrants in South Africa
Collaborative Partners: Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health; McGill University School of Social Work; People Against Suffering, Suppression, Oppression, and Poverty

HIV prevalence among South African men who have sex with men (MSM) is among the highest in the world. Yet, the country’s robust HIV/AIDS response over the years has tended to overlook MSM migrants, which is a significant population due to the country’s constitutional guarantees of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The resulting disparities MSM migrants face present a serious challenge to reducing new HIV infections in South Africa and globally. The COVID-19 pandemic may magnify this risk because existing structural and psychosocial drivers of HIV—such as housing insecurity, lack of health care access, and perceived homophobia within their diaspora communities—will likely intersect with pandemic-related stressors. These increasingly complicated dynamics have the potential to create unprecedented health inequities for MSM migrants in South Africa. This pilot study will develop a group intervention and test its potential to increase knowledge about HIV prevention, increase self-efficacy in managing HIV risk, and reduce HIV-related stigma among MSM migrants in South Africa. This will lay the empirical foundation for testing the intervention on a larger scale, which could involve multiple languages, peer facilitators, and a control group.

Dr. KiBum Lee, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Development of an Ultrasensitive COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Detection Method Using Upconversion Nanoparticle-based Biosensing
Collaborative Partner: Sogang University

Testing remains a linchpin in worldwide efforts to control and understand the COVID-19 pandemic. Fast, selective, and highly sensitive tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection are critical for rapid and effective disease management as well as for monitoring the disease’s global spread. Biosensor technology, which measures biological or chemical reactions by generating signals proportional to the concentration of a substance in the reaction, offers promise for a new testing method that would provide clinicians and researchers with even more resources to battle COVID-19. This project aims to develop a biosensor that is luminescent resonance energy transfer-based and uses upconversion nanoparticle constructs to detect SARS-CoV-2 in blood samples. The outcome will feature the design and synthesis of a highly uniform technique for measuring the fluorescence intensity of graphene oxide emissions, a biochemical reaction that occurs when the coronavirus RNA’s aptamer changes structurally, thereby indicating the presence of SARS-CoV-2.

Education, Training, and Capacity Building Grants

Dr. Diane Hill, Office of University-Community Partnerships, Rutgers University–Newark
Transdisciplinary Intergenerational Community Engagement Model for Senior Health Promotion in Greater Newark
Collaborative Partners: Advocates for Healthy Living Initiative, School of Public Affairs and Administration; Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research; Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; Health Equity and Multicultural Initiatives, American Heart Association; City of Newark Department of Recreation, Cultural Affairs, and Senior Services; City of East Orange Division of Senior Services; Hillside Senior Services; Newark/North Jersey Committee of Black Churchmen; Screen NJ; University Hospital; West Ward Community Coalition

Urban health inequity is rampant throughout America, creating detrimental lags in health literacy and appropriate health care utilization within urban communities of color. Complicating matters, the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to disrupt ways of connecting with communities well into the foreseeable future. In Newark, New Jersey, the state’s most populous city, older residents are at great risk for increasing declines in health and wellness due to the conflation of these factors. This intervention seeks to support the city’s senior population by launching a health promotion program, titled Living Your Best Life: Virtually. The initiative is delivered online as a five-week series of 15 video-based wellness workshops tailored for the city’s senior population, involving trusted members of the community as facilitators. The project also includes the creation of training webinars, designed for the Rutgers research community, on how to use the Transdisciplinary Intergenerational Community Engagement Model created by Rutgers University–Newark’s Office of University-Community Partnerships. This model focuses on the value of partnerships between university and community and how to create, strengthen, and nurture them.

Dr. Manuel Jimenez, Department of Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
A Cross-sector Partnership to Promote Equity in School Readiness
Collaborative Partners: Center for Literacy Development, Graduate School of Education; Department of World Languages and Cultures, Faculty of Arts and Sciences–Camden; Greater Brunswick Charter School; Eric B. Chandler Health Center, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Even before children start kindergarten, their “school readiness”—in a sense, their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development—is a critical indicator of their long-term well-being. This includes their potential to thrive well into adulthood, including college attendance, career trajectory, and saving money for retirement. Young dual- language learners from low-income Latino backgrounds are at elevated risk for poor school readiness. Additional hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will amplify the inequities these children and their families face. Preschool closures, for example, and anticipated future disruptions have created an urgent need for innovative solutions to mitigate harms. Beginning locally in New Brunswick, this interdisciplinary project will pilot test a family-oriented virtual program that promotes literacy and language acquisition in both English and Spanish through the discussion of important health topics, while also evaluating the role of technology throughout. The family literacy program leverages the expertise of educators and pediatric primary care health professionals and the relationships they have with parents and children. This work will lay the foundation to expand and to prepare for an uncertain future.

Global Environmental Change Grants +

Dr. Kristina Keating, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark
Evaluating the Impacts of a Changing Climate on Water Storage and Water Yield in Andean Peru
The Peruvian Andes are home to 71% of the world’s tropical glaciers. As glaciers continue to recede in response to global climate change, downstream water users in this region will become vulnerable to water scarcity. Evaluating and quantifying water storage and sustainable water yield is thus a critical step in helping Peruvian communities make informed water management decisions and to meet future water demands. In this project we will perform hydrogeologic and hydrogeophysical study to understand and quantify water storage and availability in two watersheds, the Ramuschaka watershed and the Marashuaycoco watershed, in Andean Peru. The Ramuschaka and Marashuaycoco watersheds are in the puna grasslands of the Andes, which are an understudied but important non-glacier fed water source within the region.

Dr. Cymie Payne, Dr. Karen O’Neill, Dr. Pamela McElwee, Dr. Rachael Shwom, and Dr. Victoria Ramenzoni, Department of Human Ecology, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Imagining Environmental Governance Futures in the Anthropocene
How can the environmental humanities, critical social sciences, law, and planetary observation creatively collaborate to reimagine effective, just, and legitimate governance for the Anthropocene? While governance models for the uncertainties of our era can include adaptive management, risk scenario planning, multicriteria decision-making, and other approaches, critical questions still exist regarding their effectiveness, implementation, public legitimacy, and acceptability to policy makers. The Sustainability and Governance in the Anthropocene (SAGA) initiative, based in the Department of Human Ecology, aims to improve governance to planetary stewardship through the key themes: institutional architecture, decision-making under uncertainty, and visioning sustainable futures. The initiative will include a public conference, Values and Visions: Governance for Sustainable Futures and a workshop, Research Needs in Global Environmental Governance and Models for Global Environmental Governance Centers, with leaders from other governance centers in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Through these activities SAGA will deepen and extend Rutgers’ engagement on global environmental governance.

Dr. Ying Fan Reinfelder and Mr. Caio Mattos, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Building Collaboration with Brazilian Scientists to Understand Amazon Forest Change 
How will the Amazon forest respond to a warmer climate and more frequent droughts? Can forests adapt to changing environments? Can water in the deep soil sustain plants during droughts? We will answer these questions through a collaboration with Brazilian scientists, initiated by Rutgers graduate student and Brazilian native Caio Mattos. In the Amazon rainforest, we will measure how much water is stored in the deep soils and how tree roots “find” the deep water, how deep soil water storage change from hilltops to valley floors, and how the properties of the forest reflect such changes. Instead of looking at trees as separate entities, we will examine them in the context of their physical environment to understand the role played by water availability in shaping forest response to drought. Results will shed new lights on how Amazon forests obtain their water, and how they may respond to future climatic change.

Dr. Åsa Rennermalm, Department of Geography, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; Dr. Kyle Mattingly, Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Mark Miller, Department of Environmental Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Towards Understanding Greenland Ice Sheet Melting by Mapping Boundary Layer Properties with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Greenland ice sheet mass loss is one of the leading causes of the current global sea-level rise. Since 2000, the majority of the ice sheet mass loss has been caused by an increase in surface melt, controlled by a warming atmosphere. However, exactly how warm air is able to penetrate the cold air layer over the ice sheet and generate surface snow and ice melt is unresolved. Detailed measurements of the atmosphere over Greenland are extremely rare, and none occurs at the tundra-ice sheet interface. In this project, unmanned aerial vehicles (i.e. drones) will be deployed at the tundra-ice sheet interface in Southwest Greenland. Here, the project team will measure critical parameters such as the temperature, humidity, and wind speed of the near-surface atmosphere. These data will be used to assess the feasibility of using drones to collect data that can expose the processes that underlie atmosphere-ice sheet interactions.

Dr. Amy Savage, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
Assessing the Resilience of Cuban Ecological Communities to Multiple Simultaneous Drivers of Anthropogenic Change 
A key goal of Ecology is to make accurate predictions about how populations, communities, and ecosystems will change over time. This goal is both more important and more difficult in the face of rapid, human-driven environmental change. Specific environmental changes caused by humans are both local and global in scale and often occur simultaneously, yet most studies investigate their effects in isolation. This disparity between the way that human-driven changes occur and the way that they are studied hampers our ability to make reliable predictions about how populations, communities, and ecosystems are likely to change over time. In this study, we will assess the simultaneous effects of disturbance from hurricanes and species invasions on the resilience of ant-honeydew producing insect networks. It will advance fundamental and applied ecological knowledge and lead to more accurate predictions about how diversity in the tropics will respond to local and global environmental change.

Dr. Kimberlee Thamatrakoln, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Disentangling the Biogeochemical Consequence of Algal Host-virus Interactions on Carbon Sequestration in the Gulf of Naples, Italy
Carbon cycling is arguably the most impactful process on our planet, driving ecosystem dynamics and the Earth’s climate. In the ocean, phytoplankton play a critical role in removing atmospheric carbon dioxide through sequestration. As these organisms die, their associated cellular material can be remineralized and recycled in the surface ocean or exported through sinking and lost to depth. This project will explore how viruses impact carbon cycling through infection and mortality of diatoms, a group of phytoplankton responsible for ~20% of oxygen on the planet. In the Gulf of Naples, the long-term ecological research station, MareChiara, routinely experiences Spring diatom blooms, providing an opportunity to explore the temporal dynamics of host-virus interactions through bloom progression. Using chemical, biological, and omic-based measurements, we will diagnose viral infection and quantify the ecological processes that facilitate remineralization and sinking to assess the biogeochemical consequence of infection on the fate of carbon in the ocean.

Dr. Erin Vogel, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Building On-the-Ground Conservation Infrastructure for Long-Term Monitoring of Anthropogenic Air Pollution and Its Impact on Forest Dynamics and Wild Bornean Orangutans
How do human induced fires in the peatland forests affect wild orangutan health and the ecology of the habitats they inhabit? Peatland fires in Indonesia have increased in magnitude over the past decade, resulting in increases in human population exposure to hazardous levels of smoke emissions. Adverse health effects, including heightened mortality rates in humans, have increased during peak exposure periods on an international scale. However, few attempts have been made to assess the consequences of this exposure on wildlife populations, despite the high density of endangered and endemic species in this mega-diverse country. We will monitor carbon emissions and document the impacts of smoke on the health of wild Bornean orangutans and the environment in which they live. Combining air quality monitoring with on-going assessment of forest dynamics and orangutan health, we will quantify the impact of human-induced smoke and climatic variation on local plant and wildlife populations.

Study Abroad Grants +

Curriculum Integration Grants

Dr. Jorge Contesse, Center for Transnational Law, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark
Law School Study Abroad Curriculum Integration: Center for Transnational Law
Rutgers Law School is committed to expanding its nationwide innovative curriculum globally. Legal practice requires that students be exposed to a number of issues with international and transnational implications, from intellectual property to maritime law, to international taxation to human rights law. Exposure to a variety of legal cultures can give Rutgers law students a deeper and more complex understanding of the law. This proposal aims at allowing the newly established Center for Transnational Law to become Rutgers Law School’s institutional platform to give our students learning opportunities that expand their legal education. The proposal builds on existing projects and seeks to establish new ones with the goal of expanding the Center’s (and the law school’s) reach and make Rutgers a global law school—both by allowing students to travel (contingent on travel restrictions) and by funding international and comparative scholars to spend time at Rutgers Law.

Dr. Christina Ho, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark
Law School Study Abroad Curriculum Integration: Global Crossroads Week
Rutgers Law School faculty work with a number of partners in other countries. For instance, we offer at least four courses (Cuba, Dominican Republic, South Africa, and Guatemala) with travel components where faculty bring groups of students to a foreign country over Spring or Winter Break for 1-week learning experiences, often embedded in a semester-long course. We propose to institute a Global Crossroads Week in spring where we reciprocate by inviting our partners in those host countries to Rutgers for one-week not only to deepen the engagement of students in our international immersive courses by arranging for repeated interactions with their international counterparts, but also to serve as a focal point for each of our other faculty to consider whether their Spring course has a global or comparative component that could be highlighted that week, and allow for the integration of our foreign partners as one-time visitors in their classrooms.

Dr. Sunita Kramer, Office of the Provost, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Ms. Lisa Hetfield, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
i.d.e.a and Institute for Women’s Leadership Pilot
The i.d.e.a. and Institute for Women's Leadership Pilot will integrate research, real world problem solving, and global experiences into the undergraduate curriculum. i.d.e.a. is designed to bring undergraduates into direct contact with the widest possible range of expertise and advanced research at the university. Students from the incoming class at Rutgers–New Brunswick will be invited to participate based on their interests and previous involvement with innovative activities in high school. A sequence of opportunities for participants in the i.d.e.a. interdisciplinary experience for New Brunswick students will include the Anita Ashok Datar Design Lab for Women’s Global Health, the i.d.e.a. IWL Byrne Seminar, and the Anita Ashok Datar Lecture on Women’s Global Health. This pilot program also seeks to bring in international partners from the University of Montpellier in France and Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Dr. Matthew Matsaganis, Department of Communication, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University–New Brunswick ; and Dr. Riva Touger-Decker, Department of Clinical and Preventative Nutritional Sciences, School of Health Professions, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
International Health Communication Summer Seminar: Advancing Health Communication Education in Greece and the U.S. through Intra-Rutgers and International Partnerships
The core objectives of this joint initiative between the School of Communication and Information and the School of Health Professions are to advance health communication and health professions research, education, and practice in the U.S. and internationally. The project’s co-PIs will engage graduate and advanced undergraduate students, faculty, and administrators in the development of the inaugural International Health Communication Summer Seminar (IHCSS). Through IHCSS, students will be introduced to key and cutting-edge dimensions of health communication, through the lenses of multiple health professions and from an international/intercultural perspective. Activities planned as part of the first IHCSS, including focus groups, will guide the future development of the program.

International Service Learning Innovation Grants

Dr. Jorge Contesse, Center for Transnational Law, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Newark
Center for Transnational Law – Summer Internships
Law is a global phenomenon.  Whether it is business transactions, family relations, or human rights issues, lawyers are increasingly exposed to foreign and international legal cultures. The Center for Transnational Law at Rutgers Law School provides students with opportunities to work as summer interns with leading human rights non-governmental organizations, in connection to specialized courses on international law, human rights, and comparative law offered at the Law School. Students will travel to Bogotá, Santiago and Washington, DC, to use their skills to work on human rights petitions, conduct legal research, and take part in social and cultural activities related to their work as legal interns. They will become part of teams of lawyers who are conducting cutting-edge work in countries with different legal traditions, thus providing a unique opportunity to integrate students’ legal education with actual work on global issues affecting populations in other places around the world.

Ms. Madinah Elamin, Global Village Program, Douglass Residential College, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Access to Africa
Research asserts that underrepresented minority (URM) students participate in service learning and study abroad at significantly lower rates than their white peers. Furthermore, even when URM students do travel, they often express feelings of alienation due to the low enrollment of other students of color and a stronger connection to the communities being served than to their peers. Access to Africa will provide a mechanism for URM students to travel and serve together as learners abroad in the majority. This funding will support a short-term international service-learning trip for underrepresented minority students in the Global Village program. More specifically, the funding will support a short-term service-learning trip to a country in the African Diaspora for approximately ten days in January 2022. After the trip, students will lead an event to share their experience with other underrepresented minority students who may be interested in study abroad or international service learning.

Dr. Rebecca Davis and Dr. Laura Johnson, School of Social Work, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Service-Learning on Gender-Based Violence and Global Social Work in Ethiopia
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant social, cultural, economic, and political issue in Ethiopia. Recognizing the significant barriers to independence that women and girls face as a result of GBV and other human rights issues, many non-governmental organizations (NGO) have been established within Ethiopia to address these disparities. Building on the program development efforts already initiated by the Rutgers School of Social Work, this proposed project will pilot a service-learning independent study for social work students. The topical focus of this program is GBV and global social work. Students will partner with Studio Samuel, an NGO that provides a range of services for girls in Ethiopia, with a primary focus on girls’ education. This pilot trip will identify a study abroad model for moving forward, building on established partnerships with Ethiopian universities, while exploring new partnerships. The formalized self-sustaining program will be offered in academic year 2021-2022 to 10-12 students.

Dr. Lorraine Minnite, Department of Public Policy and Administration, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–Camden
Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Food Systems in Cuba and New Jersey
Opportunities for non-traditional and low-income students to study abroad are often difficult to navigate. Our project involves a cross-campus collaboration that increases access for all Rutgers students to global and service-learning opportunities. Through a partnership between the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences’ (SEBS) Agriculture and Food Systems major, the Urban Ag Lab, and the Rutgers-Camden Urban Studies program we will develop innovative educational programming around sustainable urban agriculture that incorporates a 10-day study trip Cuba, a world leader in the field. The study trip is designed to provide students with academic and service learning opportunities for exploring community-based food systems centered on social and environmental justice. Activities include site visits to urban farm, garden, and locales of cultural significance across Cuba, where students can observe and contribute to the nation's decades long agroecological revolution. Returning home, students will evaluate their experiences and apply lessons learned to improving urban farming and agriculture in New Jersey's distressed cities.

Dr. Ziad Sifri, Department of Surgery, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences; and Dr. Harsh Sule, Department of Emergency Medicine, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Service learning and education for medical students and residents in medical and surgical care in Ghana
While there is a growing interest among medical students and residents in global health, when eager learners engage in inadequately vetted global health activities, they are often ill-prepared, not properly supervised, and worse yet can have a detrimental effect on the host community. This project leverages a long-term existing relationship with Tetteh Quarshie Memorial Hospital in Mampong, Ghana. Learners will receive pre-departure education on a variety of global health topics, disease burden and ethics, while on the ground they will participate in multi-disciplinary healthcare teams and educational initiatives including local personnel and Rutgers NJMS faculty. The project offers medical students and residents opportunities to be involved in a curated, longitudinal, and sustainable project while concurrently presenting an opportunity to improve their cultural awareness and build upon culturally tailored interventions related to the West African community of which there is a significant diaspora in the Newark area.

Dr. Ian Watson and Dr. Paul Sternberger, Department of Arts, Culture, and Media, School of Arts and Sciences–Newark, Rutgers University–Newark
Public Scholarship, Civic Dialogue, Democracy, and the Arts
This project is a 2-week international immersion experience that explores ways creative disciplines can be tools for community engagement and positive social change. Led by local Polish experts with many years of experience as cultural facilitators, academics, and workshop leaders, the program is based in two locations, at Warsaw University, and at the Sejny and Krasnagruda facilities of the Borderland Foundation. In Warsaw, students will participate in lectures, workshops, and visits to community-based organizations affiliated with the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Polish Culture, learning how arts-oriented strategies are employed in local urban communities as generators of civic engagement and grassroots-based social change. At the Borderland Foundation headquarters in northeast Poland, students will learn about and engage with Borderland’s work in both Poland and abroad in conflict regions around the world, and they will work with local communities and the Foundation’s partners in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Short-Term Faculty Led Program Development Grants

Dr. Salam Al Kuntar, Department of Classics, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Cultural Heritage and Human Displacement in Jordan and Lebanon
The project aims to create an undergraduate summer study abroad program in Jordan with an intellectual service-learning internship in Lebanon in 2022. It also seeks to develop a long-term archaeological field school in Jordan to begin in 2023. Together these three programs will create opportunities for students to explore the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East and learn about the ancient, classical, and Islamic history of the region. Students will consider the productive exchange between diverse ethnic and religious communities, their entangled histories of conflict, and the challenges of migration and displacements historically and in the present. The program in Jordan and Lebanon is new and original. By offering robust cultural and historical anchoring to the region and incorporating service-learning opportunities for students in contemporary challenges such as human rights and cultural preservation, it differs from other MENA-region programs offered by Rutgers that focus mainly on language acquisition.

Dr. Young-mee Yu Cho, Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Rutgers-Ewha Summer Abroad (RESA) Project
The proposed project, Rutgers-Ewha Summer Abroad (RESA), is a summer faculty-led study abroad program (SAP), based in Ewha Womans University in Seoul. This initiative will offer a diverse group of Rutgers students from the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures’ thriving Korean program the opportunity to extend and deepen their language skills and to better understand Korean culture and history through a dynamic curriculum. In addition to course offerings, the program will foster firsthand intercultural engagement through internships, service learning, and on-site visits to museums, institutes, archives, and memorials. Our program’s benefits will extend to the rest of Rutgers campus-wide, when students return with greater receptivity to internationalized perspectives and the ability to understand and meet local challenges within a global framework.

Dr. Ann Freedman and Professor Victoria Chase, Rutgers Law School, Rutgers University–Camden
Restorative Justice and Conflict Transformation in the United States and Northern Ireland
This proposal supports the creation of a travel study course exploring modalities developed to alleviate oppressive forces, harsh penalties, and other negative individual, familial, and community consequences associated with mainstream punitive justice practices. Alternative paradigms, including approaches built on theories of restorative justice, transformative justice, non-violence and conflict transformation promise to ameliorate these harms and offer more creative alternatives to the devastating effects of incarceration, violent conflict, and unjust social arrangements. Punitive hierarchies complicate and limit the impact of these alternative approaches. Reform efforts in the United States, thus far, have gained traction in a small range of contexts. This course offers an exploration of these models and the obstacles each encounters in application and opportunities for students to develop skills relevant to these practices. The course includes a travel study component to Northern Ireland to enable students to explore enduring restorative justice, community healing and conflict transformation practices and theory through immersion in a region deeply affected by sectarian and political conflict.

Dr. Sabiha Hussain, Department of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Educational Programming to Ensure Sustainable Internationalization of Quality Pulmonary and Critical Care
Global health education is especially important in training pulmonary and critical care fellows. The tremendous global burden of respiratory and critical care illness cannot be under emphasized. Disease entities like the current Coronavirus epidemic as well as prior epidemics such as SARS, H1N1, Ebola, the Zika virus point to the impossibility of medical isolationism. Successful global health programs that result in internationalization of care practices in pulmonary and critical care require partnerships and collaborations with international sites that emphasize bidirectional exchange. The aim of this project is to develop a global partnership between the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine and partners in Romania and, in the future, in Ghana and the Dominican Republic in order to provide a better quality of health care through educational initiatives.

Glocal Learning and Language Engagement Innovation Grants

Dr. Robert Scott, Department of Anthropology, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick; and Dr. Carole Allamand, Department of French, School of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Paléontologie en France
Paléontologie in France is a new 6-credit summer study abroad program designed to introduce students to both French and paleontology, but also to science as a worldwide cooperative activity. Held in beautiful southern France, this 6-week program is open to students with little or no experience in either domain. First, students will travel to Quarante, a village located in the region of Occitany, near the 10-million-year old fossil site of Montredon. In a 3-credit course held at the site and in the lab of the Paleontology Museum of Cruzy, they will learn techniques of excavation, identification, conservation, and cataloging of fossils. The group will then move to the town of Aix-en-Provence where they will be hosted in local families and spend mornings enrolled in a 3-credit intensive French course. Located in the heart of Provence, only 15 miles from France’s oldest city (Marseille), Aix is an ideal gateway to French culture and history, which students will discover through guided excursions in and around town.