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The Office of Sponsored Programs is dedicated to working with Emmanuel College faculty in all aspects of sponsored programs administration to support your creative, scholarly and research activities. OSP provides high quality professional services in pre- and post-award grant and contract administration and research compliance. OSP reports to the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Recent Grants

OSP is pleased to announce faculty grant recipients and their projects:

The College received a workforce development grant of more than $580,000 from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC). CERTI-Biotech will certify competency in industry-vetted core skills and instrumentation. Informed by a comprehensive review of bachelors-level biotechnology job postings in the Boston metropolitan area and consultations with industry experts, the program will initially focus on certifying skills such as Good Laboratory Practice, Aseptic Tissue Culture, Flow Cytometry and Cell Sorting, and Fluorescent Microscopy and Image Analysis.Led by Emmanuel Associate Professor of Biology and Dean of the School of Science & Health Dr. Pádraig Deighan, the program aims to help streamline the biotechnology hiring process, diversify the talent pipeline, and boost the confidence and science identity of undergraduate student scientists.

Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Janel Cabrera received a three-year grant of $447,650 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) marking the largest NSF grant in the College’s history. Funding will enable Cabrera, who serves as the project’s principal investigator (PI), to engage student researchers in investigating mechanisms that affect gene expression during the early stages of development, using Drosophila melanogaster—the fruit fly—as a model organism. This particular award was funded through the NSF’s Building Research Capacity of New Faculty in Biology initiative, which supports pre-tenure faculty at minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and primarily undergraduate institutions, providing the means for new faculty to initiate and build independent research programs by enhancing their research capacity. One significant goal of this proposal is to increase the participation of persons excluded because of their ethnicity or race (PEERs) in undergraduate research experiences.

Professor of Sociology Dr. Catherine Simpson Bueker, Ph.D. received a grant of $68,720 from the Russell Sage Foundation for her project “Beyond White Picket Fences: How Established Residents Experience Increasing Diversity.” The overarching objective of “Beyond White Picket Fences,” is to better understand how established Americans—those who are born in the United States to US-born parents—are impacted by increasing diversity. The project is situated in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a town twelve miles west of Boston with a population of approximately 30,000.  

Emmanuel College received a $294,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation’s Clare Boothe Luce (CBL) Program for Women in STEM in support of 24 CBL undergraduate research awards in chemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics, and mathematics. Led by Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Program Director Dr. Michelle Watt, and in conjunction with the Women in Science at Emmanuel (WISE) initiative, this generous grant will enable the College and its faculty to build upon its commitment to advancing women in STEM fields by significantly expanding upon hands-on research opportunities.

Emmanuel College received a six-year, $529,500 award from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to fund transformative efforts to address the historic lack of diversity in the sciences. Through the Inclusive Excellence 3 (IE3) grant, Emmanuel and HHMI will collaborate to reflect on inclusive excellence and to foster an educational environment that seeks to dismantle the effects of systemic racism. Led by Dr. Anupama Seshan, associate professor of biology and HHMI Inclusive Excellence 3 program director, the College seeks to shift the institution from deficit- to achievement-oriented thinking and practices through five overlapping areas of activity: continuing education; inclusive curricula; student empowerment; inclusive collaboration; and broader approaches to institutional transformation. Leadership for the initiative represents areas across the Emmanuel community, including biology faculty and staff/administration from the offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Academic Affairs, Academic Advising, the Academic Resource Center (ARC) and Institutional Research.

Emmanuel College received a grant of $500,000 over 10 years from Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program in support of the  Emmanuel Business Collaborative (EBC). The EBC plans to use the funding support from Cummings Foundation to remove barriers related to program participation for local organizations that lack financial resources. While EBC-partner organizations gain useful input from student “consultants,” participation in a live-case project can represent an “opportunity cost” for new entrepreneurs who are often juggling multiple responsibilities associated with funding, business operations, marketing, etc.

Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Jason Kuehner was awarded a three-year, $372,026 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) to examine control of DNA traffic and regulation of gene expression.

Emmanuel College formally launched the PEER->CELL program, funded by a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. The Persons Excluded for Ethnicity or Race (PEER) Center of Excellence in Leadership and Life Sciences (CELL) program has been designed not only to prepare these students for successful careers in the field, but to cultivate a diverse talent pipeline for the ever-growing number of life sciences companies in Massachusetts. Led by Associate Professor of Biology and incoming Associate Dean of the School of Science & Health Padraig Deighan, the PEER->CELL program will serve 32 traditionally underrepresented students across the Colleges of the Fenway (COF).

Associate Professor of Physics Allen Price was awarded a three-year, $378,754 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate how proteins find specific locations in DNA. The grant, and the research, marks the continuation of a decade-long project that began with an initial NSF grant in 2012 and another in 2017, for a total of nearly $1 million. Through their research, Dr. Price and a team of undergraduates have worked to understand how cells access genetic information and how they use it.

Associate Professor of Mathematics Benjamin Allen was awarded $240,000 from the John Templeton Foundation for his project "Natural Selection for Collective Purpose." The project seeks to mathematically model collective, cooperative purpose as is widely exhibited in living systems from microbes to metazoans. A key output of this work will be a new modeling framework that is generally applicable to diverse biological scenarios and helps to unify existing theoretical resources for the evolution of agential features in living systems. The project was part of a larger, $15 million grant by the Templeton Foundation's “Science of Purpose” initiative.

Aren Gerdon, Associate Professor of Chemistry was awarded $350,316 over three years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for RUI: DNA and nanoparticle assemblies as biomimetic templates for calcium phosphate mineralization. The award will support and mentor undergraduate students pursuing research in biomaterials, mineralization, and biomimetics with an emphasis on analysis at the interface between inorganic materials chemistry and biochemistry. This award will primarily support student researchers in their first or second year, and ensure these students contribute to the larger scientific community.

The College received a $100,000 grant through Cummings Foundation's "$100K for 100" program. The grant will help support service initiatives through Emmanuel's Cardinal Seán O'Malley Center for Mission & Ministry.

The College received a $33,000 grant from the George B. Henderson Foundation to explore the exterior restoration and revitalization of the William Lloyd Garrison House, a National Historic Landmark that was once home to the great abolitionist, and part of the College's Notre Dame Campus, which was established in 2012.

Helen MacDonald, Assistant Professor of Psychology, received a $15,000 grant from The Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism to support further research and development of her Program for Mindfulness and Contemplative Learning at Emmanuel College. This award will enable the Program to build on MacDonald's existing research, and initiate the development and implementation of a mindfulness mediation group, a speaker series, a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) group program, and the creation of a Mindfulness Library, all open to the Emmanuel community. Together, these programs strive to foster mindfulness, psychological health, compassion, self-awareness, and emotion regulation throughout the College.

Violetta Ravagnoli, Assistant Professor of History, received a 2018 Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship in the amount of $6,500 to support her project, "Immigrant Kitchen and Identity in Glocal Perspective." Ravagnoli traveled to Italy to visit Gustolab International-Institute of Food Studies in Rome, meeting with the center's director to discuss developing experiences abroad for students that take her newly-approved course, "Immigrant Kitchens: A Gloal Perspective on Identity, Ethnicity and Foodways." She also visited Sciacca on the west coast of Sicily, which represents one of the key sending communities of late nineteenth-century Italian immigration to Boston, to meet with local families, work with the city's Pro Loco office, and participate in the Madonna del Soccorso Feast, which is reenacted every summer within the Italian-American community of Boston's North End. 

Padraig Deighan, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a four-year, $351,536 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to explore how bacteria rapidly adapt to their changing environments. In particular, the project aims to discover and characterize the protein-to-protein interactions that influence gene expression profiles in E. coli, information that will facilitate a greater understanding of how bacteria cause disease.

Allen Price, Associate Professor of Physics, received a three-year, $341,217 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate how protein molecules are able to find specific locations in the genome accurately and quickly-work that could have beneficial implications for the emerging field of gene editing, as well as the treatment of genetic diseases. This is Dr. Price's second NSF grant in five years.

Benjamin Allen and Christine Sample, Assistant Professors of Mathematics, were awarded a three-year $285,161 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study evolution as a mathematical process. Their project may aid the understanding and treatment of cancer, which can be seen as unwanted evolution occurring inside the body. Dr. Allen was the lead author of an article on the topic recently published in Nature, a prestigious multidisciplinary scientific journal.

Rebecca Moryl, Assistant Professor of Economics, received a 2016 Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship in the amount of $5,854 to support her project, "Urban Climate Adaptation: Environmental Economic Policy Innovation in South Africa." Moryl traveled to Johannesburg and Cape Town for research, and her findings will support new courses within the reinstated economics major.

Michael Jarvinen, Associate Professor of Psychology, has received a three-year, $266,003 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project, "Effects of vision loss on astrocyte maturation and oligodendrocyte myelination via BDNF-associated mechanisms in the visual cortex." The grant is part of the NSF's Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program and will allow three Emmanuel College undergraduate students to participate in his research study. Dr. Jarvinen's research has the potential to significantly advance the field of developmental neuroscience by expanding our understanding of the scope of regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and pro-BDNF on macroglial cells in the brain. It will also impact the field of vision science by providing comparative data of temporal and proximal macroglia changes in V1 in response to vision loss. The research project also involves two co-investigators, Clinton Mathias, Ph.D. of Western New England University in Springfield, MA, and Joseph Sucic, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan-Flint.

Catherine Simpson Bueker, Associate Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department, received a grant from the Spencer Foundation in the amount of $49,745 for her research project entitled, "The Intersection of Residential Arrangements and Schooling: A Comparison of Three Groups of Lower Income Students of Color in a High Income School District." The award is from the Spencer Foundation's Small Research Grants program in the area of Education and Social Opportunity. Bueker will use the funding to survey young women of color who were residents, commuters and boarders at a public school in an affluent community. She hopes through her research to better understand the social, emotional, and academic experiences of lower-income women of color who experienced the same elite public high-school, but distinct residential situations for the sake of gaining insight into how the residential interacted with the educational. The research will be conducted between November 2014 and August 2016.

Josef Kurtz, Associate Dean of Natural Sciences and Associate Professor of Biology and Todd Williams, Associate Professor of Biology and Department Chair, received $357,300 over three years from the National Institutes of Health for Function of hematopoietically-derived myeloid precursors to the central nervous system immune cell population. Professors Kurtz and Williams will investigate the contribution and function of bone marrow-derived progenitor cells to the central nervous system population of microglia, the resident immune cells. The interplay between the central nervous system and the immune system lies at the heart of many current neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's. Understanding how newly engrafted precursor immune cells function, compared to microglia, could uncover new avenues for treatment of many central nervous system diseases.The research will involve the active engagement of Emmanuel College undergraduate students. The interdisciplinary nature and multifaceted approach of this project allows them to actively participate and help steer the direction of the project themselves, in the manner in which many current research institutions are tackling biological questions.

Faina Ryvkin, Professor of Chemistry, received $5,100 from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation for her research project, "Sharashka Phenomenon in the History of Soviet Science and Technology." The primary focus of the project will be on the role played by imprisoned scientists (Soviet and foreign) in furthering Soviet science and the human cost in the scientific discoveries and accomplishments of the regime.

Helen MacDonald, Assistant Professor of Psychology, was awarded $9,922 over one year as part of a larger award to Boston University Medical Center from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for a study of family mental health outcomes and family functioning among families of service members deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OFI). Findings from Family Adaptation to OIF Deployment will be used to enhance family mental health adaptation to deployment by informing service delivery targets and prevention interventions among military and military veteran families. Professor MacDonald will provide training and consulting to the clinical assessor(s) in the conduct of structured clinical interviews, consult on instrument administration and scoring, oversee reliability modeling for a subset of the clinical interview measures, and participate in the preparation of manuscripts. 

Allen Price, Assistant Professor of Physics, was awarded $232,922 over three years from the National Science Foundation for Developing Models of Facilitated Diffusion for DNA Binding Proteins. Professor Price will study DNA binding proteins and the ways that these diffuse one-dimensionally along the DNA until they find their targeted sequence. Research results will have translational impact as well as contribute to understandings important to lab-on-a-chip applications. Performing this research as an undergraduate institution, Professor Price will train and employ Emmanuel undergraduates in his lab, develop introductory Physics course materials, and create a professional development course for high school teachers.

Aren Gerdon, Associate Professor of Chemistry, was awarded $240,086 over three years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Selection and assessment of biomimetic templates for mineralization. This award is part of a cross-cutting program within the National Science Foundation called Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI), which supports research by faculty members of predominantly undergraduate institutions and provides educational opportunities for undergraduate students. Professor Gerdon's award involves three Emmanuel undergraduates in rigorous academic research over three years. The research team will develop an understanding and control of calcium phosphate mineralization through improved analysis and an improved availability of biomimetic template molecules. 

$3,461 over one year from the Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grants Program for Promoting Excellence in Science Education. This funding goes toward the purchase of Chemistry equipment to improve science education at Emmanuel.

$14,460 over one year as part of a larger award to Forsyth Institute, Boston from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Matrix Protein Regulation of Enamel Mineral Formation.

Lenore Martin, Wyant Professor and Professor of Political Science; Arlyn Sanchez Silva, Associate Professor of Foreign Languages; and Susan Von Daum Tholl, Director of Library Services, received $100,000 over one year from OneWorld Boston, an affiliate of the Cummings Foundation, for A Program in Middle East Studies and Certificate in Arabic Language. This funding will support course development, faculty development and a one-week institutional colloquium that will focus on issues of human rights, social justice, and international understanding in the Middle East.

Jon Paul Sydnor, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, was awarded $5,500 over one year from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation to study Hinduism and interreligious relations in Trinidad.

Emmanuel has also received major institutional grants providing important new support for teaching and learning, faculty development, student retention, and green technology:

$100,000 from the George I. Alden Trust of Worcester, Mass., to support a project to improve the configuration and infrastructure of two computer classrooms. The planned project will remove mounted desktop computers and monitors from the classrooms and replace them with mobile carts containing 40 laptops each, for a total of 80 laptops. The College will upgrade the wireless network in these classrooms to support a high density of connected devices. Emmanuel will convert the two computer classrooms to a traditional classroom layout by replacing the static, fixed computer desks with tabbed arm chairs.

$25,000 over one-year from the New Balance Foundation, to support the College's Urban Food Project. The project, which will be based at the Notre Dame Campus in Roxbury, aims to provide nutritional education and information, as well as urban gardening strategies, for low-income families in Boston. The grant provides funding for three student program coordinators, supplies and tools for the planting and maintenance of the campus's garden, an urban gardening consultant, and materials to support community events and educational curriculum.

$206,347 over two years from the Davis Educational Foundation for Supporting Academic Excellence: Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes. This funding provides faculty development, training and support for continuous, embedded assessment of identified student learning outcomes in the general education curriculum.

$100,000 over one year from the George I. Alden Trust for a Green Technology Project. This funding supports the purchase and integration of a new system of blade servers and server virtualization that will have a significant and long-term impact on the College's operational efficiency, energy and cost savings, and waste reduction.

$50,000 over two years from the Council of Independent Colleges and the WalMart Foundation for College Success Awards. This funding supports Emmanuel's efforts to improve access and retention for first-generation, low-income and minority college students. In the summer before their first year at Emmanuel, admitted students are invited to participate in the ecPulse Program, which provides faculty and peer mentoring, academic and cultural support.

$200,000 over two years from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation for a Center for Teaching with Technology focused on faculty training, development and support. The College's goal is to increase the number of faculty who are proficient in incorporating new technologies into existing courses, and in building hybrid and fully online courses in ways that will measurably improve teaching and learning all along Emmanuel's education pipeline.