Fayetteville, AR, United States
Fayetteville, AR, United States

The University of Arkansas is a public, co-educational, land-grant, space-grant, research university located in Fayetteville, in the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is the flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System which comprises six main campuses within the state – the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the University of Arkansas at Monticello, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, and the University of Arkansas for Medical science. Over 25,000 students are enrolled in over 188 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. It is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with very high research activity. Founded as Arkansas Industrial University in 1871, its present name was adopted in 1899 and classes were first held on January 22, 1872. It is noted for its strong architecture, agriculture , business, communication disorders, creative writing, history, law, and Middle Eastern studies programs.The University of Arkansas completed its "Campaign for the 21st Century" in 2005, in which the university raised more than $1 billion for the school, used in part to create a new Honors College and significantly increase the university's endowment. Among these gifts were the largest donation given to a business school at the time , and the largest gift given to a public university in America , both given by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.Total enrollment for the fall semester of 2013 was 25,365. The university campus comprises exactly 360 buildings on 512 acres , including Old Main, the first permanent academic building erected, and The Inn at Carnall Hall, which serves as an on-campus hotel and restaurant facility. Academic programs are in excess of 200. The ratio of students to faculty is 19:1. Wikipedia.

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The present disclosure provides compositions and methods for selectively killing senescent cells, wherein the selective killing of senescent cells delays aging and treats age-related disorders.

University of Arkansas | Date: 2015-01-20

In one aspect, affinity tags for recombinant protein purification are described herein which, in some embodiments, can mitigate or overcome disadvantages of prior affinity tag systems. In some embodiments, for example, affinity tags described herein permit efficient elution of desired recombinant proteins with simplified solution systems, such as alkali metal salt solutions. An affinity tag described herein comprises an amino acid sequence including a repeating amino acid unit of BXXXBXX, wherein B is an amino acid selected from the group consisting of histidine, lysine and arginine and X is an amino acid selected from the group consisting of amino acids other than histidine, lysine and arginine.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ARCTIC NATURAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 262.04K | Year: 2017

The Melting of the Greenland ice sheet is not a simple issue of warmer air temperatures melting the surface ice, which then flows into the ocean. Surface meltwater can flow deep into the glacier through natural pipes known as moulins. These subsurface channels not only transmit water to some outlet, where it flows into the ocean, but may also influence the downslope sliding of the glacier toward the ocean. To better understand the controls that govern glacier sliding, the PI?s propose to conduct field and model studies on the Greenland ice sheet. The PI?s will instrument a number of moulins with pressure sensors. Glacier velocity will be measured with GPS sensors. Discharge will be monitored through dye tracing. Simulations will be conducted to integrate the observations with a number of simple ?conduit? models in the hope of providing a better and more comprehensive understanding of the processes that govern glacier sliding.

Beyond the training of graduate and undergraduate students, the PIs will work with a journalism student at the University of Arkansas to produce a documentary about their field experience. This collaboration provides a unique opportunity to communicate to the general public.

It is thought that increased channelization reduces subglacial water pressure act to buffer the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) against large increases in ice velocity. However, few measurements of water pressure have been made in channelized subglacial drainage systems to test this hypothesis. The PI?s will obtain synoptic supraglacial stream discharge data, moulin water level and ice velocity at two moulin sites along an ice flow line in the Paakitsoq Region of the GrIS. Data will be analyzed, and used to parameterize model experiments, to determine the degree to which: 1) local versus regional inputs of melt water control moulin water levels; 2) changes in effective pressure that occur along ice flow paths affect local relationships between subglacial water pressure and ice velocity.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PHYLOGENETIC SYSTEMATICS | Award Amount: 629.86K | Year: 2016

Arachnids, including scorpions, harvestman, and mites, comprise an estimated 97,000 described species, but many new species remain to be discovered and described. Mites, in particular, due to their small size and wide distribution are poorly known and likely to harbor many new species. This research focuses on documenting the diversity and evolutionary relationships among velvet mites, chiggers, and water mites (Parasitengona). These particular mites are often the most abundant animals in a given habitat and can be useful indicators of ecosystem health in streams and forests. They have interesting life cycles, with parasitic larvae and predacious nymphs and adults. The larvae of most species are parasites of other arthropods and have been shown to affect host populations by shortening host life and reproductive capability. The larvae of one group - chiggers - are parasites of vertebrates and occasionally bite humans, causing irritation and public health concerns. The predatory nymphs and adults play important ecological roles as well, but they are also the most familiar, with some species being the largest and most colorful of all mites. This project will contribute to mite biology, but also has an extensive citizen science component that will engage the public and allow them to contribute to the knowledge of mites living in their area. Additionally, the project will work with K-12 educators to develop projects focused on the diversity of insects, scorpions, crabs, mites, and related animals (Arthropods) that will introduce students to the scientific method and improve observational skills and critical thinking.

The overall goal of this project is to integrate modern morphological and phylogenomic tools to develop a complete evolutionary picture of the largest radiation of mites, Parasitengona (velvet mites, water mites, and chiggers). The project will address this goal with two specific aims that will bridge the gaps in Parasitengona systematics and target key elements meant to reach broader audiences. The first aim is to create a robust phylogenetic hypothesis for Parasitengona using an anchored hybrid enrichment protocol to sequence approximately 1000 loci across 600 taxa. The resulting phylogenetic hypothesis will solidify the currently unstable classification and present a tool for testing many evolutionary questions, including two core events that have had the greatest impact on Parasitengona diversification: 1) the shift from predator to protelean parasite and subsequent host shifts; and 2) the invasion of freshwater. The second aim is to reconcile previous research on parasitengone morphology with modern approaches. An internal morphological survey will use modern non-destructive 3D imaging techniques such as confocal scanning microscopy to yield digital interactive models. An extensive external morphological survey using low-temperature scanning electron microscopy to gain unprecedented amounts of morphological information. Lastly, the project will integrate these new findings with legacy data into a matrix-format that will assist with understanding the evolution of the group and will be the first step to developing an online anatomy ontology for all mites. Overall, the project will produce an unparalleled amount of data for mites and develop a foundation for a multitude future research directions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECH EDUCATION PROG | Award Amount: 898.07K | Year: 2016

Opening Pathways to Employment through Nontraditional Geospatial Applications in Technical Education (OPEN-GATE) is a collaboration among four community colleges in the University of Arkansas system and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville that will enable the development of a workforce with job-specific geospatial skills for local industry and government. Regional surveys have shown a strong interest among employers for employees with skills in location-based services and other geospatial technologies as well as their industry-specific skills. OPEN-GATE will develop geospatial technology skill sets in targeted business sectors and emerging industries by augmenting existing programs of study at the four two-year institutions with relevant and industry-specific geospatial applications. The project will leverage educational materials developed by the GeoTech Center, an NSF ATE-funded center, as well as online content already developed by the University of Arkansas. Traditionally, the primary job market for people with strong geospatial educations has been in large cities. The selected integration of these skills with industry-specific training will help increase efficiency, competitiveness, and sustainability of businesses and government in the rural heartland.

The growing demand for geospatial technicians across multiple domains illustrates the need for a workforce which understands and utilizes spatial thinking and analysis, at the same time that the rapid evolution and incorporation of geospatial technology into daily life demands a spatially literate community. The goals of the OPEN-GATE project are to increase adoption of geospatial technologies statewide and to expand access to education and training in geospatial technologies in support of industry and government, including transportation, oil and gas, local government, and others. Working together, the UA system partners will formalize agreements to develop a system-wide structure for shared degrees, technical certificates, and/or certificates of proficiency to clearly articulate multiple educational pathways. Employer Advisory Boards for each program of study, made up of industry representatives and local employers, will advise the development of educational curricula to insure that it meets industry needs and act as liaisons between industry and educators. Annual industry-education partnership conferences will facilitate ongoing interaction between industry, faculty, and students, while outreach to secondary school teachers and students will foster early awareness of geospatial technologies, shaping the future workforce and economic development of the region. By enhancing the capacity of educational institutions in the region, the project will expand opportunities for education and training to regions of the state that are currently unserved or underserved.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRAST MGMT & EXTREME EVENTS | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

The focus of this Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award is a new class of decision models capable of harnessing the power of uncertain social data for disaster response logistics planning. Information critical in planning logistics activities to support disaster response has traditionally been gathered via time-consuming efforts such as on the ground assessments. The use of social media during emergencies enables collecting a larger amount of potentially life saving information in a shorter amount of time. Many emergency managers have indicated their agency would take action on social data only after verifying it. This strategy contradicts the timeliness of social data; one of its primary advantages. The products of this research will directly address concerns over the usefulness of social data in decision making by quantifying the value of considering the information at various stages of verification. Results will be translated to the first responder community via a simulated game to provide a comparative demonstration of response planning with and without social data. New generations of engineers will be inspired to pursue careers in humanitarian logistics and infiltrate the field with social data concepts by integrating games and case studies into courses and summer programs and involving students in the research.

Novel models for uncertainty in real-time logistics planning will be developed that contribute to dynamic and stochastic routing in a number of ways. First, traditional assumptions of homeostatic probability distributions for modeled random variables do not hold, as crowdsourcing efforts constantly provide new information regarding the relative degree of belief in the accuracy of uncertain social data. Second, the models will allow timely action on uncertain requests instead of delaying resource allocation until the complete demand scenario is known. Sampling methods to account for these differences will be developed. Seminars and expert interviews with the first responder community will be conducted to select relevant routing problem variants and information formats. These activities will also determine a set of social data logistics strategies of practical interest to emergency managers, defined as policies that specify to what extent social data should be incorporated in a response plan. Developed models will be used to assess strategy performance across a diverse set of test instances based on real disasters. This will result in the identification of scenarios where social data integration can improve response efficacy, potentially transforming disaster response with methods that enable serving (saving) a larger number of needs (lives) in a shorter amount of time.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: UBE - Undergraduate Biology Ed | Award Amount: 500.00K | Year: 2016

The Mississippi River and the Mekong River are among the largest river systems in the world. Both provide food, energy, water, and ecosystem resources to millions of people. The history of anthropogenic perturbations (e.g., dam building) and challenges due to climate change continue to impact these river systems and the ecosystems that they support. The purpose of the Food, Energy, Water, and Ecosystem Resources (FEWER) Research Coordination Network (RCN) project is to facilitate the networking of scientists within the Minority Institute Research Collaborative (MIRC) - which consists of faculty-scientists from more than 20 U.S. institutions and between MIRC-affiliated scientists and faculty from institutions in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia - to address scientific problems of mutual interest. The FEWER RCN will focus on four areas in biology: (1) Aquatic Biology and Ecosystem Science; (2) Traditional-Use Plants and Natural Products; (3) Biofuel Feedstocks and Enzyme Systems; and (4) Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity in the Mekong Basin. Specific research projects will be developed under one of these themes and research groups consisting of faculty and students from more than one institution within the network will submit position papers to the FEWER RCN steering committee so that the initiation of projects may be scheduled during the term of the grant. Faculty are expected to engage graduate students and undergraduates in this research using a variety of mechanisms, including institutional funding for undergraduates, REU funding that is available across the network, and other funding sources. A few student internship awards will be available directly through the RCN.

The FEWER RCN will enhance emerging areas in food, energy, water and ecosystem resources and facilitate new research collaborations between scientists within MIRC and between MIRC and the international partners. From an academic development perspective, this project aims to increase the number of minority and minority-serving faculty engaged in international research. It will also address scientific problems of importance to stakeholders within the Mississippi River system and the Lower Mekong Basin. This project is aligned with the goals of the U.S. Department of States Lower Mekong Initiative and officials from governments within foreign partner countries as well as the U.S. State Department are aware of and will be informed on a periodic basis of results from this NSF-funded RCN effort. This project is being jointly funded by the Directorate for Biological Sciences and the Directorate for Education and Human Resources, Division of Undergraduate Education as part of their efforts to address the challenges posed in Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action (http://visionandchange/finalreport/).

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 449.99K | Year: 2016

Polytetrafluoroethylene, better known by its brand name Teflon®, is widely used as a coating material on many products, for example, the coating on cookware to make it non-stick. However, polytetrafluoroethylene coatings are easily worn because of their poor adhesion to the substrates, severely limitating their applications. This award supports fundamental research on a novel approach to significantly improve the wear resistance of polytetrafluoroethylene coatings through nanoscale interface engineering by incorporating polydopamine as an adhesive underlayer and polydopamine coated nanostructures in both the underlayer and coating. This new approach will allow wear-resistant thin polytetrafluoroethylene coatings to be deposited on any substrate materials without changing the underlining surface topography, thus providing potential solutions to retain a wide range of surface properties that rely on both surface topography and chemistry, including, but not limited to, self-cleaning, anti-fogging, anti-icing, anti-corrosion, anti-biofouling, drag reduction, and solid lubrication. These properties are critically important for applications in energy, aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, healthcare, and biomedical industries. Therefore, results from this research will benefit the U.S. economy and society. Comprehensive education and outreach activities will be implemented which will significantly stimulate the next generation?s interest in nanomaterials and their applications and will improve America?s future competitiveness in nanotechnology.

The objectives of this research are to significantly improve the wear resistance of the polytetrafluoroethylene coatings through: (1) increasing the bonding strength between the polydopamine underlayer and the polytetrafluoroethylene coating and (2) increasing the bonding strength among the polytetrafluoroethylene nanoparticles within the polytetrafluoroethylene coatings. Polydopamine-coated nanostructures of various materials, shapes, and sizes will be incorporated into both the polydopamine underlayer and polytetrafluoroethylene coatings. The effects of adding polydopamine coated nanostructures into the polydopamine underlayer and the polytetrafluoroethylene coating, as well as the effects of nanostructure material, shape, size, and concentration, on the adhesion strength, mechanical properties, and wear resistance of the polytetrafluoroethylene coatings will be studied. This research program will establish fundamental understanding of the roles of the polydopamine underlayer and the polydopamine coated nanostructures in improving the wear resistance of the polytetrafluoroethylene coatings for potential surface wetting and tribological applications. This research will provide valuable information necessary to guide the rational design of wear-resistant thin polytetrafluoroethylene coatings enabled by a polydopamine adhesive underlayer and polydopamine coated nanostructures.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Chemical Catalysis | Award Amount: 406.29K | Year: 2017

Chemical feedstock molecules, such as ethylene and butylene, are used to a produce a wide range of consumer goods, and their efficient and economical production is crucial to a healthy economy. Currently, these feedstocks are refined from non-renewable resources such as crude oil. In order to secure a domestically-produced and renewable source of these chemicals, catalytic reactions can be used to convert plant-derived biomass material into feedstocks and other fuels. However, current technologies that produce these feedstocks also generate significant amounts of waste product that must be separated from the desirable materials. This project develops electrocatalytic methods, using electricity and chemicals that accelerate the reaction but are not themselves consumed in the process, to convert model biomass into feedstocks efficiently with water as the only byproduct. Broader impacts of the research are directly related to sustainable chemistry in the development of improved processes for the renewable production of industrially-important chemicals. This work also has broader impacts in developing a sophisticated workforce since it allows graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows to learn modern techniques in chemistry and the science of sustainable chemical production. The research work is integrated with a research boot-camp for undergraduate students that teaches them the fundamentals of chemical synthesis and characterization. The participants in this boot-camp are developing a linker libraryfor the immobilization of catalysts onto electrode surfaces. The immobilization strategies developed by the undergraduate participants in the boot-camp address issues critical to the scale-up of the electrochemical process to an industrially-practical level.

With this award, the Chemical Catalysis Program of the Chemistry Division of the National Science Foundation funds Dr. Stefan Kilyanek of the University of Arkansas to study the proton-coupled electron transfer (PCET) behavior of newly developed earth-abundant-metal-oxo catalysts for the deoxydehydration (DODH) of polyols for the production of alkenes and dienes. Electrochemical reduction of metal-oxo DODH catalysts via PCET is an attractive strategy for achieving catalyst turnover without using sacrificial reductants such as secondary alcohols and oxo-acceptors like aryl phosphines. Upon reduction via PCET, metal-oxo catalysts form complexes that are relevant to catalytically active intermediates in the DODH catalytic cycle. Density Functional Theory calculations are used to guide catalyst design by exploring the impact of steric and electronic environments on the thermochemistry of critical reaction steps. Catalysts containing the dioxo-molybdenum and dioxo-tungsten moieties in a variety of ligand environments are being studied. The catalytic PCET behavior is studied by cyclic voltammetry and other electrochemical techniques to probe the mechanism of catalyst reduction. Broader impacts of the research are directly related to sustainable chemistry in the development of improved processes for the renewable production of industrially-important chemical feedstocks. This work also has broader impacts in developing a sophisticated workforce since it allows graduate students, undergraduate students and postdoctoral fellows to learn modern techniques in chemistry and the science of sustainable chemical production. The research work is integrated with a research boot-camp for undergraduate students that teaches them the fundamentals of chemical synthesis and characterization.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: EXP PROG TO STIM COMP RES | Award Amount: 466.95K | Year: 2016

Nontechnical description: When a semiconductor absorbs light, an electron can be promoted to a higher energy level and leave behind a hole. The attraction between the negatively charged electron and the positively charged hole can cause the two particles to stick together. This bound electron-hole pair is called an exciton. In a new class of atomically thin semiconductors, excitons are extraordinarily stable, even at room temperature. The research team aims to understand, using both experiment and theory, the behavior of excitons in black phosphorus, and to find out whether it will be possible to construct potentially transformative optoelectronic devices using excitons in this class of materials. In particular, double layer black phosphorus (two atomically thin layers separated by an insulating spacer) provides a compelling combination of properties for the exploration of excitons, including longer exciton lifetimes and vertical orientation of the positive and negative charges making up the exciton. Both of these properties, combined with the relatively high electrical conductivity of black phosphorus, will promote both the fundamental study and device applications of excitons in this material. This research activity provides mentoring and training of a widely inclusive group of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Outreach activities focus on encouraging the enrollment of underrepresented groups at the University of Arkansas.

Technical description: Absent screening by a 3D bulk, 2D materials generate strong Coulomb interactions and therefore host excitons at high temperatures. This project aims to characterize and understand the basic properties of excitons in pristine, encapsulated, few-layer black phosphorus. Given sufficient carrier mobility and exciton lifetimes, it is possible to create excitonic devices that transport excitons from one part of a circuit to another. This movement of excitons could be used to encode and transmit information, or it could be used to modulate optical signals in a nanoscale structure. In particular, double layer black phosphorus (two atomically thin layers separated by a dielectric spacer) provides a compelling combination of properties for the exploration of excitons, including enhanced lifetimes, relatively high and anisotropic mobility, and vertically-aligned dipoles that promote control of exciton motion by non-uniform electric fields. The research team measures and analyzes exciton energies, linewidths, positions, and lifetimes as a function of black phosphorus thickness, temperature, and charge density (both electrons and holes) to provide baseline material properties of pristine black phosphorus. This information provides input to effective theoretical models, which guides the creation and understanding of excitonic devices in which excitons are controlled by gates voltages.

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