Sept 23, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have been awarded a total of $838,018 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support two research projects.  The NSF funds research and education in science and engineering, through grants, contracts and cooperative agreements.  Harkin is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"Iowa and Iowa State have reputations for conducting cutting edge research, and these grants will help them move forward with two exciting projects," Harkin said. "Funding research is often the first step towards scientific breakthroughs that can improve the lives of millions - and both of these projects have the added benefit of training Iowa students while they move the science forward.  Congratulations to both schools on this funding."  

Details on the projects follow.

-    $520,009 to Iowa State University for a project entitled "Origin of the Electric Field-induced Strain in Lead-free Piezoelectric Ceramics." This project aims to uncover the fundamental mechanism of the piezoelectric deformation in lead-free ceramics. The research findings will ultimately lead to the production of ceramics that will replace lead-containing piezoelectric materials. Therefore, a significant impact on health and the environment is anticipated. In addition to getting graduate and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups involved, this project will also directly benefit the K-12 education in local schools in Ames, Iowa through the lectures on piezoelectric devices to the Science Olympiad ( team students.

- $318,009 to the University of Iowa for a project entitled "ATD Collaborative Research: A computational analysis of multi-strain structure in genetically diverse bacterial populations in a natural host environment."  The proposed work will provide general tools for quantifying an epidemiological similarity between newly detected pathogen variant and known bacterial species, which contribute to the general problem on the assessment of bio-threat associated with newly detected variants. The proposed estimation methods can be generally applicable for estimating PDE models used in epidemiological studies, as well as in other fields, e.g. finance. A computer package implementing the proposed methods will be freely available to the public. The research team will continue to maintain the strong record of training PhD students in cross-disciplinary research.  

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