Eau Claire, WI, United States
Eau Claire, WI, United States

The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire is a public liberal arts university located in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, United States. Part of the University of Wisconsin System, it offers bachelor's and master's degrees and is categorized as a postbaccalaureate comprehensive institution in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With a student enrollment of more than 10,000 and an annual budget approaching 200 million dollars, UW-Eau Claire is the largest of the four postsecondary schools in the city.The campus consists of 28 major buildings spanning 333 acres . An additional 168 acres of forested land is used for environmental research. UWEC has been called "Wisconsin's most beautiful campus" because of its location on an "especially attractive portion" of the Chippewa River in the Chippewa Valley.The university is affiliated with the NCAA's Division III sports program and the WIACIntercollegiate Conference. The student body's mascot is Blu the Blugold. Wikipedia.

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MacKinnon D.P.,Arizona State University | Pirlott A.G.,University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Personality and Social Psychology Review | Year: 2015

Statistical mediation methods provide valuable information about underlying mediating psychological processes, but the ability to infer that the mediator variable causes the outcome variable is more complex than widely known. Researchers have recently emphasized how violating assumptions about confounder bias severely limits causal inference of the mediator to dependent variable relation. Our article describes and addresses these limitations by drawing on new statistical developments in causal mediation analysis. We first review the assumptions underlying causal inference and discuss three ways to examine the effects of confounder bias when assumptions are violated. We then describe four approaches to address the influence of confounding variables and enhance causal inference, including comprehensive structural equation models, instrumental variable methods, principal stratification, and inverse probability weighting. Our goal is to further the adoption of statistical methods to enhance causal inference in mediation studies. © 2014 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.

Halbesleben J.R.,University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Journal of occupational health psychology | Year: 2010

Occupational injuries remain an important concern for employers, particularly in the health care industry where injury rates have increased despite decreases in other industries. Testing the notion of resource investment from conservation of resources theory, I predicted that exhaustion would be associated with a greater likelihood of safety workarounds (alternative work processes undertaken to "work around" a perceived block in work flow, such as a safety procedure). Furthermore, I hypothesized that safety workarounds would lead to a greater frequency and severity of occupational injuries. I found support for this mediation model with a 2-sample, 3-wave survey study of a variety of health care professionals (nurses, sonographers, and others). I discuss the implications of this research for future research in occupational safety and provide ideas for the reduction of injuries through action research strategies that reduce burnout and workarounds.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PLANT FUNGAL & MICROB DEV MECH | Award Amount: 214.51K | Year: 2014

The ability to perceive and respond to light is vital to plant growth and development. Previous work by the Principal Investigator (PI) has identified and characterized two genes (LRB1 and LRB2) in the model flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana that regulate responses to red wavelength light. Mutant plants with disruptions of these two genes are, among other things, more shade tolerant. The PI has used these mutants as a basis for novel genetic screens intended to identify additional genes that have roles in light perception and response. This project will use a variety of standard molecular, genetic, and biochemical approaches to study these genes.

By identifying and characterizing genes which had not been previously implicated in light responses, this project will provide new insights into the mechanisms by which plants respond to their light environment. Shade responses are important in agriculture, as shading can reduce agronomic performance by increasing lodging (falling over), decreasing yield, and reducing plant defenses to pathogens and pests, therefore the information obtained in this project may help guide future work on light responses in crop plants. Also, the majority of work in this project will be conducted by undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (a four-year public comprehensive university), significantly enhancing their education and making them more competitive and better prepared as they enter graduate/professional school or the workforce.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: SOLID STATE & MATERIALS CHEMIS | Award Amount: 198.32K | Year: 2014

Non-technical Summary:
Liquid Crystals have become a mainstay of the scientific and technological community, emerging as one of the leading display materials of the past decade. An increased understanding of the stability of a liquid crystalline materials could would have considerable impact on the optical display industry. This project will prepare liquid crystalline systems that combine the stabilities of covalent species with the healing capabilities of hydrogen bonded chain structures, and through the incorporation of these groups, the PI plans to introduce important new and beneficial characteristics while at the same time improving the stability of liquid crystalline materials. Beyond the scientific impact of this project, the project will enhance the research infrastructure and support human resource development at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire. This low-cost public institution has a long-established tradition of strong undergraduate/faculty research collaboration that rivals those of top liberal arts colleges. As a result, a large fraction of UWEC undergraduates matriculate to graduate programs. Almost half of the student body are low-income, first generation students, and about 60% are female, both of which are underrepresented in the scientific communities. The research activities described will greatly enhance student training and intellectual development through hands-on experience with sophisticated equipment and the opportunity to present their findings at national meetings.

Technical Summary:
With support from the Solid State and Materials Chemistry program in the Division of Materials Research, this project will study the creation of new liquid crystalline systems. Liquid crystalline networks are an area that has received considerable attention due to the ability of the materials to couple the order of the mesogenic directors to the elasticity and deformation of the materials. The application of thermoreversible assemblies to liquid crystalline networks is a relatively unexamined area. The assembly of liquid crystalline materials using non-covalent interactions offers many interesting features involving living polymeric systems and the ability of the liquid crystals to self-heal and repair macroscale structural defects. This work will have a broad impact on the field of supramolecular liquid crystals. The creation of these new LC assemblies will provide valuable insight into the ability of a mesophase to stabilize in unfavorable, constrained (networked) conditions, as well as an understanding of stoichiometric balance and highly flexible non-mesogenic competitive assemblies. The same associations will be used to form both the networks and the mesogens. This association will vary according to functionality of the networking agent, rigidity of the hydrogen bond accepting group and flexibility of the networking agents. Additionally, the competition of different mesogens arising from identical starting mixtures will be investigated. Results from this project will provide insight into the nature of the formation of a mesophase, and a comparison of the quantity and strength of supramolecular forces involved in the formation of liquid crystals. In particular, the behavior of mesophase formation and stabilization in crosslinked conditions, and the role and interplay between rigidity and flexibility of the hydrogen bond acceptors plays for mesogen formation and mesophase stability.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Macromolec/Supramolec/Nano | Award Amount: 121.76K | Year: 2016

Plastics are made from polymers and polymer manufacture represents one of the largest and most dynamic sectors of the chemical industry. Companies are targeting better performing polymer materials derived from more economical and environmentally friendly (bio-renewable) feedstocks. These improvements are often driven by chemical advancements in polymer synthesis research, such as the work supported by this award. It is critical to the field of polymer chemistry to improve the basic understanding of the relationships between polymer structure and the properties of the resulting plastic, which is a primary goal of this research. Undergraduate students, including low income and first generation college students, perform laboratory work for this study and receive valuable training to prepare them for graduate school and/or employment in the chemical industry.

With the support from the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, and Nanochemistry Program of the NSF Division of Chemistry, Prof. Robertson of Northland College and Prof. Carney of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire conduct collaborative research to better understand the properties of ruthenium catalysts in polymerization reactions. Specifically, this project focuses on making advancements in five key areas: (1) preparation of polymers from bio-renewable monomers, such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), (2) polymer alternatives to polyurethanes (found in many paints, varnishes, adhesives, and foams), (3) increasing the utility of commodity plastics, (4) depolymerization methods to produce useful chemicals from waste plastics, and (5) synthesis of new ruthenium compounds to better understand the impacts of chemical structure on the catalysts performance. Toward this end, the research team is synthesizing and studying new ruthenium catalysts with structurally versatile N-phosphinoamidine and beta-diketimine ligand backbones.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 459.57K | Year: 2014

Non-technical: The acquisition of this confocal laser scanning microscope enables new research programs in the Materials Science, Biology, and Chemistry departments at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. The instrument significantly expands the imaging capabilities of the Universitys interdisciplinary Materials Science Center, and is used to solve problems in research areas such as smart suspensions, superconducting magnets, plant light responses, movement within nematode cells, neural cell interactions, fluorescent dye development, and nanomaterials. The instrument is also used to expand undergraduate research training efforts in hard materials, soft materials, nanomaterials and cellular biology, with an emphasis on underrepresented students in the STEM disciplines. The instrument is further integrated into the undergraduate lab curriculum of Materials Science and Biology, through courses such as Materials Characterization, Developmental Biology, and Research Methods. Existing industrial collaborations and K12 outreach efforts in the Materials Science Center also utilize this system.

Technical: This Confocal Laser Scanning Microscope at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire enables new research directions for faculty across disciplines, provides the most relevant research and research training experiences for STEM undergraduates, helps recruit high-quality researchers for the future, and enables collaborations with neighboring institutions and industry. The research of the principal investigators and senior personnel spans multiple disciplines, including the interdisciplinary Materials Science Center, Biology Department, and Chemistry Department. Current Materials Science projects include: (1) investigation of colloidal gels, both for fundamental molecular interactions research and for applications such as catalyst supports and membranes, using temperature-controlled confocal fluorescence microscopy to generate 3D reconstructions from confocal z-stacks for quiescent gels and fast resonant scanning for particle tracking of colloidal suspensions under flow, and (2) the characterization of fracture surfaces of low temperature and high temperature superconductors using high z resolution confocal reflectance height maps, which will help assess the role of the composite strand microstructure in the overall wire fracture toughness. Current Biology principal investigator projects include: (1) exploration of light response pathways in plants using high resolution subcellular fluorescent protein imaging in living plant cells and simultaneous detection of multiple fluorophores for determination of co-localization and Förster resonance energy transfer experiments, and (2) investigation of the movement of fluorescent-tagged components of the cilia of nematodes using fast resonant scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy and subcellular localization and co-localization of multiple fluorophores using high resolution confocal fluorescence microscopy. Additional projects include: (1) investigation of fluorescent rare earth ion-bound polypeptide aggregates using 3D confocal fluorescence imaging, (2) live cell imaging and kinetic studies of cell interactions using high resolution fast resonant scanning confocal microscopy and environmental control, and (3) the testing of new site-selective fluorescent dyes by staining and 3D imaging live cells using confocal fluorescence microscopy.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: TECTONICS | Award Amount: 224.92K | Year: 2013

Synorogenic Neogene foreland basins of the southern Central Andes (32-35 degrees S) provide a sensitive, but poorly constrained, record of the spatial and temporal patterns of tectonics, magmatism and orogenic exhumation across this classic convergent continental arc system. Basin evolution is strongly influenced by the segmentation of the Nazca plate: North of 33 degrees S, the subducting slab is subhorizontal, producing basement-involved thick-skinned contractional deformation, a broken foreland, and sparse magmatism; south of 33 degrees S, the subducting slab attains a normal subduction angle, with episodic magmatic activity, thin-skinned structural deformation and development of stacked piggy back basins. Segmentation of the margin into flat, transitional and normal slab segments produces longitudinal variations in arc magmatism, structural deformation and basin development that provide an ideal laboratory to examine contrasting along-strike patterns of orogenic exhumation and basin evolution. The primary objective of this investigation is to document the temporal-spatial pattern in Neogene orogenic exhumation and its relation to structural deformation, topographic evolution, basin development and sediment dispersal patterns in the southern Central Andes (32-35 degrees S). More specifically, this investigation will examine the relationship of spatial and temporal distribution of synorogenic foreland basins to variation in slab dip, the variation in pattern and rate of orogenic exhumation along strike, and the control of pre-existing basement configuration on orogenic exhumation and basin development. A systematic field-based research program will integrate isotopic analyses of detrital zircon (U-Pb, Hf, (U-Th)/He) with stratigraphic analysis, whole rock geochemistry and apatite (U-Th)/He thermochronology to constrain the timing, episodicity, provenance, depositional architecture and subsidence rate of Neogene synorogenic basins.

The south-central Andes Mountains provides an ideal laboratory to examine the dynamic linkage between the rate and magnitude of orogenic exhumation and the spatial and temporal pattern of adjacent basin development. Understanding this linkage will provide insight into the use of basinal stratigraphy to constrain the magnitude and rate of tectonic uplift in seismically active regions, the evaluation of the accumulation and preservation of economic resources and the accurate reconstruction of earth history. The project is tightly integrated with two international (Argentina, Chile, France, and United States) multidisciplinary regional-scale investigations studying Neogene crustal dynamics along three cross-Andean transects (32-35 degrees S). Students and faculty from University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and San Diego State University will collaborate closely with these groups in field and laboratory work and joint publications. Research in Argentina will be integral in interdisciplinary experiential learning activities at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. The project is supported by the Tectonics Program and the Office of International & Integrative Affairs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS IN CHEM | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2015

This project funded by the Chemistry Division supports a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site at that is designed to provide hands-on research opportunities to talented underrepresented minority (URM) students from two-year colleges throughout the United States where research opportunities are limited. The project is to bring in two-year college students to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire during the summer for ten weeks to work on research projects with faculty in the departments of Chemistry, Biology and Materials Science. The project aims to enrich and empower URM students learning through hands-on research, develops students interest and competence in the STEM fields, and enables them to bridge from two-year colleges to four-year colleges, thereby enhancing their professional opportunities. This project will increase the number of URM undergraduate students conducting research at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. This increased diversity in the research environment in turn will strengthen the programs in Chemistry, Materials Science and Biology. Students will gain practical, hands-on research experience using modern instrumentation, and become immersed in a student-centered research environment at a four year institution.

The scientific research projects that students are to work on include synthesis of new cyclic mucin peptides and of new smart biphenyl and terphenyl derivatives, development of reversible self-assembled smart copolymers, the study of microstructures of superconducting wires and the study of nitrile-Group IV Lewis acids complexes. Other topics to be investigated include electron and hydride transfer mechanisms of quinone reductases, long range molecular communication and dynamics within the Pro-tRNA synthetases, the synthesis and study of the properties of new metal-mathanobactin nanoparticles and, finally, the distribution of atmospheric ozone and CO over and along Lake Michigan,

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chem Struct,Dynmcs&Mechansms A | Award Amount: 228.69K | Year: 2014

Professor Stephen Drucker, Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire is funded by the Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms A (CSDM-A) program for Spectroscopic and Computational Studies of Alpha, Beta-Unsaturated Carbonyl Compounds in Triplet Excited States. Triplet states (species having two unpaired electrons) play a central role in many reactions that occur in the presence of light. Prof. Drucker and his group are investigating the nature of the triplet states of a series of organic molecules and aree exploring the differences between the triplet states and their singlet (the species that has no unpaired electrons) counterparts. These studies give fundamental insights into light induced chemical reactions. In addition, the experiments provide benchmark spectroscopic information for testing or refining computational treatments of chemical species. In this project, undergraduate group members will conduct in-depth research. Such opportunities add substantial value to the undergraduate education program, and can also foster rich opportunities for advanced study. Ongoing collaborations with investigators at Purdue will enable Prof. Druckers undergraduates to participate in a range of activities. In turn, graduate students in the collaborating research group will be able to explore faculty careers at undergraduate institutions as they interact with Prof. Drucker and his students from UW-Eau Claire.

The cavity ringdown (CRD) spectra of acrolein and isotopically substituted derivatives under the cooling conditions of a free-jet expansion, using a slit nozzle source are being recorded. These experiments afford high-precision inertial constants that will be used to determine a substitution structure for the T1 state. Experimental geometrical parameters will be compared with predictions of equilibrium geometry from high-level calculations. In a second component of the project, CRD at room temperature or in a planar free-jet expansion is used to characterize the lowest triplet states of monocyclic alpha,beta-unsaturated carbonyl compounds. Studies on cyclic enones, including cyclic lactones, provide information on the relative energies of the triplet (n,pi*) and (pi,pi*) states, the propensity for configuration mixing, and hyperconjugation between these molecules. The ability to reproduce such differences will constitute a stringent test of TDDFT or other computational methods.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2015

Partnership for Undergraduate Research: Enhancing the Mathematics Curriculum (PUR) will enhance and expand the undergraduate mathematics curriculum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) by creating a new comprehensive mathematics major focused on undergraduate research and graduate school preparatory courses. UWEC, a primarily undergraduate institution, will partner with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), a research institution and the most diverse institution in the University of Wisconsin System, to engage underrepresented students in mathematics research. The newly developed comprehensive major with research emphasis will incorporate formal instruction in research skills and ethics, training in writing and presentation skills, and a sustained undergraduate research experience.

This curriculum redesign allows students to integrate research in progress toward their degrees. Simultaneously, it creates opportunities to recognize faculty mentorship of undergraduate research as a teaching activity. The investigators will encourage UW System universities and other institutions to adopt the UWEC and UWM partnership model in order to increase access of underrepresented groups to STEM careers and actively develop a more inclusive environment. In addition, this project serves as a model of a sustainable way to increase the number of undergraduates participating in collaborative research by incorporating research into the undergraduate curriculum. Undergraduate participants will learn how to successfully do research, building skills necessary for conducting original research and disseminating their results. These skills include presentation and writing, surveying papers to find background information, collaborating with others through peer mentoring, and initiating and maintaining a research program. Thus, the program will increase the mathematical knowledge and research skills of undergraduates, better preparing them for graduate school and a globally competitive STEM workforce.

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