Monthly Update From the Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development


Arkansas Research Alliance Scholars Jensen, Xiao Join U of A Faculty

Morten Olgaard Jensen (left) and Jie Xiao pose with their Arkansas Research Alliance Scholars certificates of recognition with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Photo courtesy of Arkansas Research Alliance

A scientist who specializes in energy storage and conversion and an engineer who focuses on experimental cardiovascular surgery are joining the University of Arkansas faculty as Arkansas Research Alliance Scholars.

Jie Xiao, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Morten Olgaard Jensen, an associate professor of biomedical engineering, were introduced Thursday in a news conference at the Arkansas Capitol. They are the sixth and seventh Arkansas Research Alliance Scholars since the program launched in 2010 to recruit research talent to the state.

Xiao and Jensen will each receive a $500,000 grant from the research alliance, paid over three years.

Xiao comes to the U of A from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where she was a senior scientist leading fundamental research and practical applications of energy materials and systems. Her specific research interest is the identification of new materials and novel technologies for energy storage and conversion.

Jensen’s research interests include medical device design and development, and cardiovascular fluid and tissue mechanics. He comes to the U of A from the Scandinavian School of Cardiovascular Technology in Denmark, where he was director of research.




NSF Renews Funding for National Hub of Geospatial Research in Archaeology

CAST researcher Katie Simon conducts a ground-penetrating radar survey among the architectural ruins of the palace of complex at San Souci, Haiti, as part of a SPARC-supported collaboration with the University of California, Santa Cruz. Photo courtesy of Christine Markussen

The National Science Foundation has renewed its funding for the Spatial Archaeometry Research Collaborations Program, an initiative at the University of Arkansas that acts as a national hub for geospatial research in archaeology.

The $277,264 grant allows the program, known as SPARC, to continue to provide funding for data collection in the field and lab analysis, along with research expertise for archaeological research projects that use 3-D measurement, geospatial analysis and remote-sensing technologies.

The SPARC Program helps researchers learn about spatial archaeometry, which measures properties of archaeological materials at all scales, including objects, sites and landscapes. The spatial properties of the measurements are central to their analysis and interpretation.

Since SPARC launched, CAST researchers have collaborated on more than 15 projects, including working with the City of Boston Archaeology Program to scan fingerprints on the unglazed ceramic potsherds found at colonial-era kiln and tavern sites and with the University of California, Berkeley, on magnetometry and ground-penetrating radar surveys to map the ancient Edomite complex in Busayra, Jordan.



Biologist Awarded Grant to Study Amoebae Cell Structures and Development

Amoeba proteus is the archetypical amoeba after which the group Amoebozoa was named. Photo by Fred Spiegel, University of Arkansas

Fred Spiegel, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Arkansas, has been awarded a $141,335 grant to study cell structures and development for certain species of amoebae that represent the range of their diversity.

The grant came from Mississippi State University as part of a National Science Foundation-funded project.
“Amoebae are often considered no more than flexible blobs of cytoplasm,” Spiegel said. “They are single-celled organisms when they are crawling around and actively feeding. To most people, they look like blobs. But they are subtle and display a wide range of structural diversity once you know what you are looking for.”

The overall project seeks to better understand the biology, taxonomy and evolution of amoeboid, single-celled organisms in the group formally known as Amoebozoa, the major group of protists that are the focus of the study. Matthew Brown, an assistant professor at Mississippi State and one of Spiegel’s former students at the U of A, is the principal investigator on the NSF grant.



RSSP Faculty Training Available for Pivot, RazorGrant, NSF/NIH Biosketches

Photo by Russell Cothren, University of Arkansas

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is offering several trainings sessions this fall for faculty who are interested in finding external funding for their scholarship.

The sessions will focus on three areas: Pivot, an online resource for identifying, tracking, and sharing grant-funding opportunities; RazorGrant, the university’s electronic grant-processing system; and the current National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health biographical sketch formats.

The Pivot training sessions are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 21, 3:30 p.m. Oct. 15 and 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 9. All sessions will be held in Arkansas Union, Room A354.

The RazorGrant training sessions are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 23, 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 13 and 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 10. All sessions will be held in Arkansas Union, Room A354.

The biosketch workshops schedule: 10:30 a.m., Sept. 30, Mullins Library, Room 104; 3:30 p.m., Oct. 29, Willard J. Walker Hall, Room 403; and 3:30 p.m., Dec. 1, Science Engineering, Room 202.






Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development
205 Administration Building
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

The Office of Vice Provost for Research and Economic Development has added several electronic distribution lists relating to subjects of interest to the University of Arkansas research community. More information about the types of lists and registering for them can be found here.

The following is a sampling of the top grants awarded to faculty and staff in August, with the principal investigator, the award amount and the sponsor. An asterisk (*) indicates the continuation of a previous award.

  • Jie Xiao, $500,000, Arkansas Research Alliance
  • Vincent Chevrier, $330,577, NASA
  • Xintao Wu, $287,159, National Science Foundation
  • Jackson Cothren, $277,264, National Science Foundation
  • Christophe Bobda, $273,557, National Science Foundation