The Oliver Fund was created to support and enhance Tulane's faculty and intellectual capital as among the institution's most valuable resources. The fund is intended to represent an enabling resource to stimulate outstanding faculty research initiatives, to sustain such projects and to increase their competitiveness for national research support. The Oliver Fund supports a competitive, merit-based faculty award process, with focus on faculty-driven, interdisciplinary research initiatives in the sciences and engineering broadly defined. Competitions are held periodically, each focused on a particular area of research strength at Tulane. Award recipients are named as Oliver Fund Scholars.
A prize of $40,000 will be awarded to support research initiatives of the Oliver Fund Scholar. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of senior Tulane faculty and external experts, according to the following criteria:
♦ The scientific merit of the project.
♦ Evidence of accomplishment of the applicant.
♦ The potential to elevate the national visibility and reputation of Tulane University faculty for excellence in research accomplishment.
♦ The potential for future support from competitive national funding agencies. It is expected that a grant application to a federal agency (e.g., NIH, NSF) will be submitted within one year of the award.
♦ The potential to strengthen Tulane’s educational offerings through increased opportunity for student participation in research.
Dr. Ricardo Mostany
Department of Pharmacology
Dr. Mostany's research focuses on brain plasticity during development, sensory deprivation, stroke or other damage, and how it differs from plasticity in normal brain function. His lab uses state-of-the-art imaging techniques to study the dynamics of dendritic spines in vivo, and evaluate how these dynamics change in different models of study including ischemia, aging, and sensory stimulation. The Mostany lab is interested in the impact of these changes on the cortical circuitry, with the aim of understanding how the brain repairs itself after injury.
Dr. Stacy Drury
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Drury is the director of Tulane's Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Laboratory, and will continue to examine the genetic and epigenetic effects of childhood trauma on DNA. Her work has shown that children with a history of domestic violence or other traumatic events have significantly shorter telomeres than children from more stable households, a phenomenon linked to poor health outcomes in adulthood. Dr. Drury continues to study the home environment as an important intervention target to reduce lifelong adverse health effects in young children.
Dr. William C. Wimley
Department of Biochemistry
Professor Wimley will study antimicrobial peptides as a possible novel treatment alternative to antibiotics for the global epidemic of drug-resistant bacterial infections. A major advantage of these molecules over antibiotics is that bacteria do not develop resistance to peptides. His laboratory will develop methods for screening large numbers of peptides to identify those with antimicrobial properties, and determine which peptides are most effective, have few side effects, and are simple and inexpensive to manufacture.
Dr. Michael J. Moore
Paul H. and Donna D. Flower Early Career Professor in Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Moore's laboratory will begin to focus on uses for induced pluripotent stem cells (adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed to behave more like embryonic stem cells). The Neural Micro-Engineering Laboratory is developing a set of new nanomaterials designed to evaluate the ability of these cells to grow into functional nervous tissue, and ultimately be used to treat central nervous system disorders like stroke and spinal cord injury.
Dr. Torbjörn Törnqvist
Professor, School of Science and Engineering
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor Törnqvist will study sea-level changes due to melting ice in the period called the early Holocene, 12,000 to 6,000 years ago. The Mississippi delta region offers a uniquely favorable setting for collecting sediment cores that will provide new, more precise data about early Holocene ice sheet/sea level interactions. In addition to drilling new cores, Törnqvist will improve the record of sea-level changes using cores he has already collected.
Dr. Vivian Fonseca
School of Medicine
Professor of Medicine; Chief of Endocrinology
Tullis-Tulane Alumni Chair in Diabetes
Dr. Fonseca, who is also Vice President of Science and Medicine for the American Diabetes Association, will further his research in the management and treatment of diabetes. Dr. Fonseca's team is testing the efficacy of adult stem cells, cultured from the fat tissue of non-diabetic subjects, in controlling inflammation and tissue damage caused by diabetes.
Dr. Hiroyuki Kobori
School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Physiology
Tulane Hypertension and Renal Center of Excellence
Dr. Kobori's research aims to develop a more thorough understanding the renin-angiotensin system in the kidney and how it relates to the development of hypertension and kidney disease. In addition, Dr. Kobori hopes to establish guidelines for the development and selection of treatments for hypertension, along with a monitoring system that will follow and evaluate patients during treatment.
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