START funding enables UMBC faculty to advance their research in new directions

UMBC’s Office of the Vice President for Research has named seven new recipients of Strategic Awards for Research Transitions (START). The awards are formerly known as Special Research Assistantship/Initiative Support (SRAIS). Reaching up to $20,000 each and beginning July 2016, the awards are intended to help faculty compete more effectively for external support and to pursue new areas of inquiry.

Rachel Brewster, associate professor of biological sciences, was awarded funding to study how zebrafish are able to survive extreme environmental conditions by entering hypometabolism.

Felipe A. Filomeno, assistant professor of political science, will receive START funding to study inclusionary policies on immigration settlement in Baltimore City. His case study will assess the outcomes of local immigration policies, examine how effective the policies have been in Baltimore, and advance understanding of local immigration policies.

Erin Green, assistant professor of biological sciences, will use the START funding to study the role of yeast genes in cellular stress response pathways. By understanding how yeast genes affect a cell’s response to stress, her work will expand the understanding of how environmental stimuli change the structure and function of DNA and proteins in chromosomes.

Marcella Mellinger, assistant professor of social work, was awarded START funding to study the evolution of anti-domestic violence advocacy efforts. She will gather qualitative data through focus groups and interviews, and identify themes that illuminate how advocacy work has shifted over time.

George Derek Musgrove, associate professor of history, will use START funding to conduct research and writing for the study “The Black Nationalist Resurgence and the Changing Nature of Black Protest in the Post-Civil Rights Period.” The study will focus on black political activism between 1980 and 1995, and will reframe this time period by displacing the popular teleological narratives in today’s discussions of race.

Hamed Pirsiavash, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE), was awarded START funding to develop computer algorithms that can make computers “see” the world and “interact” with the world in ways similar to humans, accounting for a level of uncertainty. Utilizing these algorithms, computers watching large-scale unlabeled videos should be able to predict what will happen next.

Meilin Yu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded START funding to develop a 3D computational fluid dynamics simulation tool that will be used to study the fin-body-flow interaction in fish locomotion. The findings of this research will help improve the design of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs).

Image: Associate professor Rachel Brewster. Photo by Marlayna Demond ’11 for UMBC.