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X-Grant Program Funds Eight Interdisciplinary Projects

Round 2 of the X-Grants program recently closed with 72 Texas A&M researchers awarded $7 million in funding.
By Texas A&M University Research Communications and Public Relations Staff June 5, 2019

Eight interdisciplinary research projects will share $7 million in funding from Round 2 of Texas A&M University’s X-Grants program, an initiative of the 10-year, $100 million President’s Excellence Fund.

“These eight projects are designed to have a significant impact on our health, educational systems, aging populations and the future of computing and artificial intelligence,” said Mark A. Barteau, vice president for research at Texas A&M. “Interdisciplinary projects such as these are critical components in solving the rich and complex challenges that face our world. We are thrilled about the broad range of expertise brought to these projects by Texas A&M researchers and look forward to the advances they will make working together.”

The funded projects represent 72 faculty members and other researchers from eight colleges—Agriculture and Life Sciences, Architecture, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Science and Veterinary Medicine — as well as the School of Public Health and one state agency, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Project titles and team leaders for each of the eight projects are:

  • “Digital Twin City for Age-friendly Communities: Crowd-biosensing of Environmental Distress for Older Adults,” Changbum Ahn, associate professor, Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture.
  • “New Quantum Materials for Building the Next-generation Quantum Systems,” Dong Son, professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.
  • “3D Bioprinted Pancreas to Treat Type-1 Diabetes,” Akhilesh Gaharwar, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • “Mitigating Mental Health Stigma in Higher Education Through Complementary Facilitated Dialogues, Remote Monitoring and Telehealth Counseling,” Farzan Sasangohar, assistant professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, College of Engineering.
  • “Engineering Brain Health: Developing an Adaptive Closed-loop Optogenetic Stimulator (CLOPS) to Treat Neurological and Psychiatric Disease,” Stephen Maren, University Distinguished Professor and holder of the Claude H. Everett Jr. ’47 Chair in Liberal Arts, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts.
  • “Biology Hidden in RNA Structures and Modifications,” Xiuren Zhang, professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
  • “Eliminating Bias in School Discipline Through Teacher Training,” Jamilia Blake, associate professor, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development.
  • “A Brain-inspired Approach to Rapid and Energy Efficient Information Processing: AI on the Fly,” Sarbajit Banerjee, professor and holder of the Davidson Chair in Science, Department of Chemistry, College of Science.

There were 161 one-page proposals submitted during the initial phase of X-Grants Round 2. Fifty-six were chosen for preliminary proposal submission, and 23 were selected for final proposal submission. A final review panel chose eight projects to fund.

Media contact: Susan Wolff, (979) 847-9365, s-wolff@tamu.edu

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