Milwaukee, WI, United States

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI, United States

The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is a public urban research university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the United States. It is the largest university in the Milwaukee metropolitan area and a member of the University of Wisconsin System. It is also one of the two doctoral degree-granting public universities and the second largest university in Wisconsin.The University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee has a total student enrollment of 27,813 and 1,623 faculty members. It is located in Milwaukee's upper East Side close to Lake Michigan, and is home to the only graduate school of freshwater science in the U.S., the largest School of Architecture, College of Nursing, and College of Health science in the State of Wisconsin. The University consists of 14 schools and colleges, and 70 academic centers, institutes and laboratory facilities. It offers a total of 181 degree programs, including 94 bachelor's, 53 master's and 33 doctorate degrees.The university is categorized as an RU/H Research University in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. In the year 2010, the university had a total research expenditure of 68 million US Dollars ranked 179th among US research universities by total research expenditure in 2010.The university's athletic teams are called the Panthers. A total of 15 Panther athletic teams compete in NCAA Division I. Panthers have won the James J. McCafferty Trophy as the Horizon League's all-sports champions six times since 2000 and are the reigning champions. Milwaukee also passed Notre Dame for the all-time lead in Horizon League Championships with 128. Wikipedia.

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A wealth of data collected in recent decades has demonstrated that ovarian sex-steroid hormones, particularly 17β-estradiol (E2), are important trophic factors that regulate the function of cognitive regions of the brain such as the hippocampus. The loss of hormone cycling at menopause is associated with cognitive decline and dementia in women, and the onset of memory decline in animal models. However, hormone therapy is not currently recommended to prevent or treat cognitive decline, in part because of its detrimental side effects. In this article, it is proposed that investigations of the rapid effects of E2 on hippocampal function be used to further the design of new drugs that mimic the beneficial effects of E2 on memory without the side effects of current therapies. A conceptual model is presented for elucidating the molecular and biochemical mechanisms through which sex-steroid hormones modulate memory, and a specific hypothesis is proposed to account for the rapid memory-enhancing effects of E2. Empirical support for this hypothesis is discussed as a means of stimulating the consideration of new directions for the development of hormone-based therapies to preserve memory function in menopausal women. © 2012 American Psychological Association.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: LIGO RESEARCH SUPPORT | Award Amount: 441.00K | Year: 2016

One hundred years after Einstein predicted that gravitational waves, ripples in the curvature of spacetime, should exist, scientists in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) measured the waves from a pair of black holes that collided 1.3 billion light years from Earth. This first detection has ushered in a new era of scientific discovery: an era in which gravitational-wave observations are of vital importance for understanding the transient universe. This grant supports the research activities of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee LIGO Scientific Collaboration (UWM LSC) group. The theme is gravitational-wave astronomy with an emphasis on activities on the critical path for the scientific success of LIGO. The projects strongest feature is the synergy: bringing highly-engaged faculty with a proven track record in gravitational physics, astrophysics, data analysis, and education and outreach together with undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs in a close collaborative environment to deliver gravitational-wave science and to engage the broader community in the discoveries to come. This project will convey the excitement of this budding branch of astronomy to the community through outreach efforts such as the UWM Planetarium.

The UWM LSC group will deliver critical elements to a low-latency search for transient gravitational waves including those produced during the coalescence of binary neutron stars and black holes. The group will help develop and operate the data-calibration system, an on-line search for signals from compact binary coalescence, and a rapid parameter estimation pipeline. Rapid identification of signals is an essential element of gravitational-wave science in the Advanced Detector Era, and will enable multi-messenger astronomy in which observations of several kinds (gravitational waves; electromagnetic waves; high energy particles) are synthesized to obtain a detailed understanding of the sources of the most cataclysmic events in the universe. Gravitational waves will reveal the inner mechanism of gamma-ray bursts, provide a means to measure the population of black holes and determine the channel by which massive black holes are grown, and probe the fundamental nature of matter above nuclear densities. New ways of measuring cosmological parameters will become available, complementing existing observations. To this end, this award supports work that will continue to produce gravitational-wave discoveries of binary coalescence, provide rapid sky-localization and parameter estimation to facilitate electromagnetic follow-up efforts, yield fast turn-around targeted searches prompted by triggers generated by other observational facilities, obtain the nuclear equation of state by measuring the tidal interactions of binary neutron stars just prior to their merger, and exploit gravitational-wave observations to measure various cosmological parameters. This award supports the integration of gravitational-wave science into the broader field of astrophysics. The UWM LSC group excels at educating new researchers. This project will train a new generation of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in gravitational-wave astronomy. A main deliverable is a calibrated data set for LIGO which has immense scientific broader impacts. In addition to being used in gravitational wave searches by hundreds of scientists around the world, calibrated data will be distributed to more than 250,000 Einstein@Home users in searches for gravitational waves. As per LIGO open data policy, the data set will also be made available to the scientific community and the public at large.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Chemistry of Life Processes | Award Amount: 499.97K | Year: 2016

With this award, the Chemistry of Life Processes Program in the Chemistry Division is funding Dr. Nicholas Silvaggi from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to study how protein structure affects its function. In particular he is studying an enzyme known as MppP which reacts with molecular oxygen to add a hydroxyl group into the amino acid arginine. What is most interesting about MppP is that, while its structure closely resembles that of several other related proteins, its chemistry is very different. By studying MppP the PI is learning how to make educated guesses about the functions of the many uncharacterized proteins uncovered in genome sequencing. In addition, understanding how MppP works is improving understanding of natural products biosynthesis and the processes by which existing enzyme structures are adapted to perform new functions. As part of this project the PI is also developing the PX Lab experience, a program designed to give exceptional students from area high schools an immersive experience in modern structural biology research. The students are working as a team with their teachers, and supervised by the PI and his graduate students, to clone, express, purify, crystallize, and determine the structure of a fluorescent protein. In this way, the research being done in the lab is also training teachers and tomorrows scientists.

The non-proteinogenic amino acid L-enduracididine (L-End) is a component of a number of bacterially-produced natural products. The pathway for the production of L-End from arginine is thought to involve some unique enzymatic activities, but the reactions catalyzed by the three biosynthetic enzymes, MppP, MppQ and MppR, are unknown. Recent findings show that MppP is a previously unknown class of oxygenase that requires only PLP and molecular oxygen to insert an oxygen atom into an unactivated C-H bond. This is an unprecedented activity for a PLP-dependent enzyme. The objective of this work is to understand how MppP catalyzes this reaction and which structural features account for its unusual activity.Ppre-steady state enzyme kinetics, together with kinetic isotope effects, NMR spectroscopy, and mass spectrometry are being used to probe the catalytic mechanism. Structural features of MppP required for its hydroxylation reaction is being identified by X-ray crystallographic and enzymes kinetics studies of mutant forms of MppP, both alone and in complexes with ligands. The outcome of the research is detailed mechanistic information about how MppP carries out its reaction, which is helping understand how evolution has modified the Type I aminotransferase fold to perform a new catalytic function. These outcomes are expanding knowledge of PLP-dependent enzymes, specifically, of enzyme structure-function relationships, as well as improving the accuracy of protein function predictions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 449.97K | Year: 2016

Recent investigations have shown that spectrally resolved fluorescence microscopy, in conjunction with Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer Spectrometry (or FRET Spectrometry), is an effective technique for uncovering the quaternary structure of membrane protein complexes in living cells. To realize the full potential of this approach and determine the supramolecular structures of protein complexes, as well as their relative concentrations, dynamics and spatial distributions Inside a cell or tissue, one must obtain three pieces of critical information at image pixel level: the concentrations of donor and acceptor molecules, and the FRET efficiency occurring between the two. Acquiring this information necessitates exciting the sample at two distinct wavelengths. Existing laser-scanning microscopes (including confocal, two-photon, and FLIM microscopes) perform two-wavelength excitation scans in a serial fashion. This leads to a long time delay (10-100 s) between the two successive scans on a pixel level. As membrane proteins can diffuse in and out of a pixel within 0.100 s, the two excitations are scanning different molecules, thereby compromising the molecular-level resolution. Furthermore, reducing the number of molecules per pixel requires increased spatial resolution, which is not available using current FLIM, confocal, or two-photon microscope technologies. Availability of this cutting-edge technology will open up a new avenue of research in cell signaling and provide an untapped source of pharmacological targets, which in turn may improve public health. The design of the instrument will be made available to other researchers, while the instrument itself will be made available for use by interested research groups. We will also partner with US companies to bring this instrument to the market. Besides to impacting the research programs of investigators around the nation and abroad, the proposed instrument will provide exquisite training opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate trainees in interdisciplinary research across the boundaries between biology, biochemistry, pharmacology and physics. This instrument also will be used for new education initiatives developed by the PI, which bring practical applications of physical and mathematical concepts to elementary and high school students as well as college freshmen, including underrepresented minorities.

In this proposed instrument development project, we will design and construct a two-photon optical micro-spectroscope capable of quasi-parallel excitation of tens of focal spots spread in one or two dimensions, and rapid switching between two different excitation wavelengths. This instrument will present several advantages over existing ones: (1) The parallel excitation of multiple sample voxels will lead to dramatically increased signal-to-noise ratio of 20X to 100X compared with single point-scan microscopes. (2) Spectrally resolved fluorescence will be collected at two excitation wavelengths separated by 10 ms; this switching time is 100-1000X faster than existing technology and will enable the currently unattainable determination of the localization of differently sized oligomeric species together with their size distribution (e.g., monomers, dimers, tetramers) on a pixel level. (3) Finally, this instrument will present both reduced out-of-focus blur and increased axial resolution (by about 2X) compared to existing two-photon microscopes. The dramatic improvement in temporal and spatial resolution as well as data accuracy will provide biologists with a means to determine how protein oligomerization and function affect one another. The multidisciplinary team assembled by the PI is ideally suited to develop and validate this technology, since it combines exquisite technical expertise, facilities, experience with developing and running an imaging facility, and close collaborations between physicists, biologists and other life scientists.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: INDUSTRY/UNIV COOP RES CENTERS | Award Amount: 199.76K | Year: 2017

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) is requesting to join an existing Phase Two I/UCRC center, Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES), which was established in 2009 with University of Arkansas as a lead and University of South Carolina as a site. The GRAPES has been providing significant benefits to the members and nation through advancing the knowledge in grid-connected power electronics and developing intellectual properties. The goal of the UWM site is to supplement and complement the existing expertise, capabilities, and facilities to better achieve mission of GRAPES to accelerate the adoption and insertion of power electronics into the grid in order to improve system stability, flexibility, robustness, and economy. UWM will add another geographical area and population center, diversity, cutting edge facilities of power electronics, microgrids, protection, energy efficiency, and energy storage into GRAPES. Milwaukee has traditionally been one of the largest power electronics hubs in the nation, home to many large and medium power companies. Majority of focus at the proposed UWM site will be on distributed generation integration, AC and DC Microgrids, distribution and protection, ancillary services, smart distribution, grid connected energy storage systems, and SiC-based converters. UWM will bring Midwest market and region to GRAPES. The facilities include a 350 kVA microgrid system, center for sustainable electrical energy systems, energy storage systems and interface, test setups for high voltage wide band gap devices, DC protection setups. UWM faculty expertise in converter level wide band gap devices, fault and protection, power electronics systems, energy efficiency, power electronics reliability, and integration of distributed generation greatly support the existing activities and capabilities at GRAPES.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) will join an existing Phase Two I/UCRC center, Grid-connected Advanced Power Electronic Systems (GRAPES). The objectives of GRAPES are three folds: (i) develop advanced technologies for grid-connected power electronics, power distribution, and smart loads, (ii) develop software and embedded controls for power electronics converters and systems, and (iii) develop workforce for the power and energy conversion and control industry. A group of four core faculty and a larger group of affiliated faculty at UWM with extensive experience and expertise in power electronics converters, controls, and systems, and strong support from industry will conduct cutting edge research on design, modeling, simulation, implementation, and testing of grid-connected power electronics devices and systems. The goal is to increase the penetration of power electronics into utility grid at all levels of generation, distribution, and smart load, in order to increase efficiency, reliability, sustainability, and to lower cost. UWM site will mainly focus on distributed generation integration, AC and DC Microgrids, distribution and protection, ancillary services, smart distribution, grid connected energy storage systems, and SiC-based converters. The main broader impact is to provide the highest quality integrated education, research, and engineering to meet the emerging workforce and needs of the nation?s energy industry. To conduct research, team members including professors, graduate and undergraduate students, and industry experts will collaborate. UWM GRAPES site will have broader impacts at many levels: high school students, UWM students, working professionals, minority and underrepresented groups, and member companies. Research results from projects will be integrated with courses for students and will be disseminated to industry through monthly webinars, semi-annual meetings, short courses, and publications. The center activities will also have profound impacts on the energy conversion and controls industry in Wisconsin and broader Midwest by developing new technologies and intellectual properties.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 392.69K | Year: 2016

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) and support from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation Program (CRIF), Professor Peter Geissinger from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and colleagues Graham Moran, Arsenio Pacheco, Deyang Qu and Nicholas Silvaggi have acquired a 500 MHz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer. This spectrometer allows research in a variety of fields such as those that accelerate chemical reactions of significant economic importance, as well as the study of biologically relevant species. In general, NMR spectroscopy is one of the most powerful tools available to chemists for the elucidation of the structure of molecules. It is used to identify unknown substances, to characterize specific arrangements of atoms within molecules, and to study the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution or in the solid state. The results from these NMR studies have an impact in synthetic organic/inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry and biochemistry. This instrument is located a general user facility managed by highly qualified scientists is an integral part of research, research training and teaching in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The spectrometer helps in the overall mission by providing students with NMR knowledge and enable their success in the chemical/engineering workforce for many industries (chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, engineering, environmental and others), government agencies and laboratories, educational and research institutions.

The award is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in areas such as (a) enzyme mechanisms; (b) non-proteinogenic amino acid L-enduracididine; (c) multi-heme respiratory enzymes involved in the interconversion of ammonia and nitrite; (d) enantio- and stereospecific methods to synthesize antimalarial and antileishmanial bisindole alkaloids; (e) asymmetric catalysts for organic synthesis; (f) vitamin D receptor modulators; (g) reactivity and function of DNA and its application for DNA sequence detection and drug discovery; (h) energy technologies and (i) reagents, media, and processes for the separation of metal ions.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 994.41K | Year: 2016

This National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) project at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will provide scholarships for talented, low-income students with demonstrated financial need pursuing bachelors degrees in engineering and computer science. In addition to scholarships, the program will provide academic and other support to increase the persistence of academically talented, low-income students. The project aims to provide a seamless graduation pathway for academically talented yet economically disadvantaged students. In recognition of the varied types of support needed by individual students, the program will utilize a holistic framework of evidence-based effective practices to ensure that the challenges particular to each scholar are addressed. Scholarships and support for academically strong students, who may not otherwise be able to afford college, will help to produce a well-trained workforce that will contribute to the economic vitality of the greater Milwaukee region and the nation.

The program organization is informed by research indicating that significant reasons for STEM attrition include poor classroom experiences of students, lack of faculty mentoring, and an unsupportive campus atmosphere. The proposal will test the idea that strong faculty mentoring and advising, community-oriented activities, undergraduate research opportunities, and selective participation in student organizations and professional societies will reduce isolation, increase connectedness, and improve STEM career commitment for talented low-income students whose initial connection to the university may be limited. The holistic framework established in this project builds on a variety of existing student support activities including pre-orientation and summer bridge programs, tutoring, a living-learning community, internship and undergraduate research opportunities, and participation in student organizations and professional societies. Scholars will have mentors who are experienced engineering and computer science faculty. An active cohort of scholars engaged in career development and community-oriented activities will help establish a supportive climate. The project will utilize the resources available in the industries located in the Milwaukee region. In addition to the opportunity for industrial internships, scholars will have industrial mentors. These mentors from industry will help students learn about the nature of the opportunities available in their prospective careers in engineering and computer science. The project has identified commitment to career goals as an important element in student persistence and anticipates that industrial mentoring combined with faculty and other career advising will improve student understanding of the prospects of their intended majors. The findings from the program will be disseminated widely to the STEM education community and help increase understanding of the attributes and practices of successful student scholarship and support programs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 874.67K | Year: 2016

The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO) is an NSF-funded project to detect gravitational waves, the ripples in space and time emitted by violent astrophysical events such as supernovae or colliding pairs of neutron stars or black holes. The first detection of these waves in September 2015 confirmed a central prediction of one the most fundamental theories in science: Einsteins theory of general relativity. With this and subsequent detections, LIGO is now operating as an astronomical observatory allowing us to explore the Universe using a completely new sense: gravitational waves. This award provides computing resources at UWM to analyze the LIGO data and will accelerate the discoveries enabled by the LIGO instruments. The computing cluster is designed to address the specific needs of Advanced LIGO data analysis. It is an integral part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) effort to analyze the full Advanced LIGO data sets. LIGO analysis activities will be prioritized on 90% of the cluster; other activities on the remaining 10% will include searches for radio pulsars/transients, the detection of gravitational waves using pulsar timing arrays by NANOGrav, and numerical astrophysics. Analyses to be run on the new cluster include searches for compact binaries and related parameter-estimation. The facility will be available to all 1000+ members of the LSC, and thus will have broad international impact. Moreover, these facilities have also been used by researchers at UWM and elsewhere for interdisciplinary research in fields such as astronomy and astrophysics. This will continue, thus ensuring that this instrument will have a broad scientific reach at UWM and beyond. The deployment and use of this instrument will also provide a hands-on opportunity for education and training to undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral scientists and academic staff in the use of large-scale computing hardware to tackle complex technical questions.

The baseline computational instrument will consist of 720 execute nodes with 2,280 modern E3-1241v3 CPU cores. The group will add several high-memory login nodes, storage servers (1,152 TB gross storage) and networking equipment. Theoretical peak performance will be about 300 TFLOPS (AVX2) with sufficient storage to host all of the calibrated data from advanced detectors (30 TB/yr) and several months of raw data (600 TB/yr). Benchmarks indicate that the cluster will be able to process over 28 million template matches in real time. The scale of this project is commensurate with a new aspect of this mission within LIGO data analysis as a secondary site for running the real-time (latency of seconds) search for compact binary mergers -- a task best handled at a dedicated site such as UWM. This instrument will facilitate and participate the discovery and the study of the exotic astrophysical events throughout the Universe that produce gravitational waves. This award will provide part of the computational resources needed to analyze the data as it is delivered by the new Advanced LIGO instruments. It will support an array of scientific activities including the detection of new gravitational-wave signals and the broader astrophysical and astronomical follow-on analyses.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Cooperative Agreement | Program: | Phase: PHYSICS FRONTIER CENTER | Award Amount: 7.00M | Year: 2015

General Relativity predicts the existence of gravitational waves, but none have yet been directly detected. In addition to testing General Relativity, the discovery of gravitational waves will make possible new tests of theories that explain the origin of the acceleration of the universes expansion and that reconcile quantum mechanics with gravity, two of the most profound challenges facing fundamental physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Through this Physics Frontiers Centers (PFC) award the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) will focus on the detection and characterization of gravitational waves with nanohertz frequencies-frequencies eleven orders of magnitude lower than those probed by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). NANOGrav will use observations of millisecond pulsars (pulsating neutron stars spinning with a period on the order of a millisecond) to search for these low frequency waves. The arrival times of the emissions from these pulsars will stray from their regular pattern if distorted by the passage of a gravitational wave. Correlating observations between different pulsars and monitoring pulse arrival times will enable NANOGrav to search for these low frequency gravitational waves in a way different from but complementary to LIGO. NANOGrav will also engage middle school and undergraduate students in their research efforts, including data collection, analysis, and characterization, as well as the search for gravitational waves in the data. The Center will have a targeted approach to increase student participation of women and traditionally underrepresented groups.

The NANOGrav Physics Frontier Center will monitor the pulse arrival times of millisecond pulsars (MSPs) in order to detect and characterize low frequency gravitational waves (GWs). In addition to known MSPs, the Center will search for new ones. Research goals and activities involve: the detection and characterization of low frequency GWs, including algorithm development, the study of electromagnetic counterparts to GW sources, and GW tests of gravity; the creation and curation of a GW dataset, including the creation of the time series analyzed to search for GWs, full characterization of the data set and its error budget, creation of a new, independent software package to create the GW data sets, as well as data mining and distribution; and the further enhancement and characterization of their low frequency GW detection method with increased sensitivity resulting from adding to the number of detection arms, characterizing their pulsars, and developing algorithms to increase the efficiency of their searches for new MSPs.

This Physics Frontiers Centers award is co-funded by the Physics Frontiers Centers Program in the Division of Physics and the Mid-scale Innovations Program in the Division of Astronomical Sciences.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.42M | Year: 2016

This Noyce Master Teaching Fellowship project will address the need for sustained, content-focused professional development for teams of secondary mathematics and science teachers in Milwaukee Public Schools. The project will include pathways for master teachers to (a) build content knowledge for teaching in focused areas of mathematics and science, (b) implement research-based best pedagogical practices to improve student learning, and (c) develop teams to design and conduct action research projects that lead to iterative cycles of professional development. The master teachers will acquire micro-credentials across three levels in content or pedagogical topic (such as the design of meaningful science lab experiences, or the teaching of statistics in high school mathematics courses), mentoring and leadership.

Acknowledging that the Wisconsin Strategic Plan identifies an ongoing professional skills gap for teachers across the state and that over 60% of the school districts in Wisconsin are currently designated as high-needs districts in mathematics and science, this project will create alternative incentives for the development of master teachers, which can be adapted by school systems across the state. A unique feature of this project is that the master teachers will be encouraged to customize their own professional development throughout the micro-credentialing process, making the teachers voice central to all of the training activities. Moreover, the credentialing processes for leadership and mentoring have been designed to require master teachers to work with other teachers in their schools or districts on action research projects. The products of these activities are expected to be modular, transportable, and replicable so that the master teachers will be able to conduct similar activities with other groups of teachers, further extending the impact of the project. Project evaluation will serve to provide documentation of the extent to which the projects core activities occur as intended, collect formative and summative feedback on the fellows experiences with project activities, and provide research support, which may include assistance with instrument or rubric development or provision of a reliability check on coding for a sample of data.

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