Fellows capture MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Awards

Photo by Adrian S Jones Flickr Creative Commons

Four Institute on the Environment-related research projects have been awarded a total of $2 million from MnDRIVE’s Transdisciplinary Awards, a state-funded grant initiative. Nine IonE resident fellows from six colleges are named as principal investigators or co-investigators on projects to advance renewable energy use in rural food processing systems; produce a database of bacteria that break down chemicals in the environment; develop tools for early disease detection in fish and swine; and create new agricultural products from emerging agricultural technologies.

MnDRIVE – Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy – is a partnership between the University of Minnesota and the state of Minnesota, administered through the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research. Funding is intended to foster discoveries in four of the state’s key and emerging industries: robotics, sensors and advanced manufacturing; global food ventures; advancing industry, conserving our environment; and discoveries and treatment for brain conditions. The Transdisciplinary Research Program funds projects that bring together faculty and resources from multiple disciplines across the university, including researchers from the sciences, arts, humanities, business, education and policy.

The IonE-affiliated recipients of the MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program awards are:

Elizabeth Wilson, associate professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, is the principal investigator on a project that will explore how advanced sensors and control systems can be used to better integrate renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power with electricity demand to improve the sustainability and reliability of the electric power system. Timothy Smith, director of IonE’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Development and associate professor in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and Peter Seiler, assistant professor in the College of Science and Engineering, are co-investigators.

College of Biological Sciences professor Lawrence Wackett is the principal investigator on a project that will use computer modeling to identify optimum enzymes and bacteria for breaking down hazardous chemicals in the environment, as well as develop a method for detecting and degrading acrylamide, a chemical found in water from frac sand mining and in certain foods.

Meggan Craft, assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Jian-Ping Wang, Distinguished McKnight University Professor in CSE, are co-investigators on a team that aims to develop technology and mathematical models to detect and understand disease transmission in fish and swine that poses a risk to the food supply in Minnesota and globally.

Nicholas Jordan, CFANS professor, is the principal investigator on a project that seeks to reap economic, environmental and social benefits from emerging technologies that produce new products (foods, industrial products and biofuels) from new agricultural crops. Co-investigators include Timothy Smith; Volkan Isler, associate professor, CSE; and Carissa Schively-Slotterback, associate professor, Humphrey School.

To read more about the projects, visit the MnDRIVE website.

Banner photo: Adrian S. Jones (Flickr Creative Commons)

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