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Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 9:40am
RIT honors its researchers

 Rochester Institute of Technology honored researchers who served as principal investigators on active awards in fiscal year 2017 at an April 18 reception.

Also recognized were the 19 recipients of Seed Funding Awards and 10 new inductees in RIT's PI Millionaires. 

RIT investigator efforts led to $60 million in research funding in the 2017 fiscal year.

Seed funding awards are $5,000 grants given to proposals written over the fall semester and refined over the course of a two-day Grant Writers' Boot Camp. Proposals are reviewed by teams of peers and revised to better position awardees for external funding.

The 2018 Seed Fund award recipients are:

  • H.B. Acharya, assistant professor, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, for "Internet Censorship and Cross-Border Collateral Damage";
  • Evelyn Brister, associate professor, College of Liberal Arts, for "Disciplinary Capture as an Explanation for Failures of Interdisciplinary Integration";
  • Wendy Dannels, research associate professor, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, for "Accessible Dynamic Informal STEM Learning Using Mixed Reality for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing";
  • Pratik Dholabhai, assistant professor, College of Science, for "Designing Advanced Complex Oxide Thin Films by Modifying Interfaces";
  • Susan Farnand, assistant professor, College of Science, for "Relating visual appearance to physical measurements for 3D printed samples exhibiting goniophotometric differences";
  • Carli Flynn, future faculty fellow, Golisano Institute for Sustainability, for "Linking social networks with technical and ecological outcomes through integrative network modeling";
  • Craig Foster, visiting assistant professor, College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, for "Digitization of the Ward's Scientific Biodiversity Collection at the University of Rochester";
  • Bruce Hartpence, professor, GCCIS, for "Applying Neural Network and Machine Learning Techniques to Network Traffic and the Creation of a Repository in Support of the Research Community";
  • Mark Indelicato, associate professor, College of Applied Science and Technology, for "Resilient Intelligent Infrastructure System for Emergency Communications during Disasters";
  • Muhammet Kesgin, assistant professor, CAST, for "Travel Fear Scale: Conceptualization, Measurement, and Validation";
  • Daniel Krutz, assistant professor, GCCIS, for "Reducing Tactic Latency Uncertainty in Self-Adaptive Systems";
  • Ifeoma Nwogu, assistant professor, GCCIS, for "Learning Dynamical Models for Computational Social Cognition";
  • Poornima Padmanabhan, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering, for "Self-assembly of chiral mesostructures from block copolymers";
  • Michael Palanski, associate professor, Saunders College of Business, for "Leader Identity Development Across Domains";
  • Hanif Rahbari, assistant professor, GCCIS, for "Reliable Channel Coding for Security Parameters Exchange at the Physical Layer of Wireless Networks";
  • Kristen Shinohara, assistant professor, GCCIS, for "Academic Success for Blind Graduate Students in Computing and Information Sciences";
  • J A Stephen Viggiano, assistant professor, CIAS, for "Application of Copulas and Alternate Bijections to Models for Halftone-based Color Hardcopy";
  • Daniel Worden, visiting assistant professor, School of Individualized Study, for "History Cartoons: The Editorial Art of Clubb and Messner"; and
  • Hao Zhang, associate professor, Saunders College, for "Cultural and Social Factors and Corporate Behaviors."

In addition to the Grant Writers' Boot Camp, RIT offered an advanced boot camp focused on the National Institutes of Health. Participants in the NIH Boot Camp submitted proposals for seed funding to help develop competitive proposals or revise proposals to specific NIH programs in the coming year. Associate Professor Andre Hudson and Research Professor Hans Schmitthenner led the program and shared their experience as recent NIH reviewers and award recipients. Awardees will receive up to $10,000 and include:

  • Moumita Das, assistant professor, College of Science;
  • Maureen Ferran, associate professor, College of Science;
  • Stephanie Godleski, assistant professor, College of Liberal Arts;
  • Anju Gupta, assistant professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Barbara Lohse, director of the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition, College of Health Sciences and Technology;
  • Lea Vacca Michel, associate professor, College of Science; and
  • Jessica Trussel, assistant professor, National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Also recognized was a new class of PI Millionaires, a designation given to RIT researchers who have achieved funding of $1 million or more since 2000. Inducted as PI Millionaires were:

  • Charles Bachmann, associate professor, College of Science;
  • Donna Burnette, associate professor, Academic Affairs;
  • Matthew Dye, assistant professor, National Technical Institute for the Deaf;
  • Matt Ganter, research scientist, Battery Prototyping Center;
  • Andres Kwasinski, associate professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Andreas Savakis, associate professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Thomas Trabold, associate professor, Golisano Institute for Sustainability;
  • Gill Tsouri, associate professor, Kate Gleason College of Engineering;
  • Richard Zanibbi, associate professor, B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences; and
  • Ben Zwickl, associate professor, College of Science .

The celebration event, in RIT's Fireside Lounge, was hosted by Sponsored Research Services, which has recognized 127 PI Millionaire researchers since 2001.

For more information on research at RIT, go to

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