NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs has announced the recipients of its annual Research and Creative Activity grants. The RCA grant program was created to help support the initial research efforts of SFA faculty members and help prepare them and their research for submission to national grant programs.

ORSP and Academic Affairs conduct a university-wide call for proposals, and the deadline for submissions is typically the end of October. The University Research Council conducts a blind peer review of all applications. Grant awardees are notified early in the spring semester and funded through the remainder of the fiscal year.

This year, ORSP received 13 applications, and the University Research Council selected seven recipients. The total monies awarded is more than $120,000.

2017 Research and Creative Activity Grants:

Dr. Odutayo Odunuga - Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Sciences and Mathematics
Structural Studies of M4 Proteins with Inhibitors for Potential Therapeutic Outcomes

Dr. Odunuga's research is part of an international collaboration, headquartered in Norway, to investigate natural or synthetic organic compounds as putative antibacterial drugs by inhibiting activities of certain bacterial metalloproteases (M4 proteins). M4 proteins are secreted by bacterial pathogens, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, to avoid the host's immune system by digesting the host's proteins. The critical part of this research is to identify compounds that will selectively block the bacterial M4 proteins but spare the host's M4 proteins. Dr. Odunuga's role in the collaboration is to establish laboratory protocols to extract and purify the bacterial M4 proteins in large quantities to study their interaction with the small inhibitory organic compounds.

Dr. Matibur Zamadar - Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Sciences and Mathematics
The Preparation of Tin Porphyrin-Ruthenium Complex for Targeting Tumor Hypoxia in Cancer Treatment

Dr. Zamadar is attempting to synthesize a new, water-soluble drug (TinPorRuthenium), which can be employed as a photosensitizing agent as well as a chemotherapeutic agent to treat a variety of cancers. This drug is designed to address the challenges associated with current photodynamic therapy treatment, especially tumor hypoxia, target selectivity and water solubility. The drug has the potential to cure solid tumors, particularly the tumors with low oxygen concentration, by producing and saturating tissues with oxygen gas from a series of photochemical reactions. In addition, because of the cationic porphyrin moiety in the drug's structure, it is expected to have good target selectivity and water solubility. Another remarkable advantage of using this drug will be the fact that it can cure the cancers by its chemotherapeutic action and have reduced side effects compared to currently used chemotherapeutic drugs, such as cisplatin.

Dr. Yuhui Weng - Forestry and Spatial Science, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.
Incorporating Climate and Soil Variables into Site Index Models for Loblolly Pine Plantations in East Texas

Dr. Weng proposes to investigate whether soil and climate variations affect the Site Index, the most widely used method for measuring productivity, in Loblolly Pine plantations. The study will measure whether variations in climate and soil affect the height/age functions of Loblolly Pines and whether adding soil/climate variables increase the accuracy of existing Site Index modeling techniques. This is a preliminary study that Dr. Weng hopes will open avenues to broader investigations.

Dr. Matthew Beauregard - Department of Mathematics and Statistics, College of Sciences and Mathematics
Nonlinear Splitting Algorithms for Systems of PDEs with Self and Cross Diffusion

Dr. Beauregard's research investigates and develops a mechanism to explore deterministic mathematical models of aquatic ecosystems. The mathematical models are intrinsically nonlinear, which complicates the mathematical theory and presents numerous challenges to the ensuing analysis and predicative capacity. To circumvent these complications, relevant interactions and features of the ecosystem are often neglected. In this research, these complexities are not ignored and will develop new numerical procedures to accurately simulate the mathematical models. The computer simulations will provide incredible insight into the behavior and interaction between the involved species that cannot be established through current theoretical tools. It is imperative to develop numerical procedures that are accurately representing the behavior and re?ect the underlying mathematical properties without indirectly incurring unrealistic computational errors. Naturally, the computational procedure needs to be e?cient so that predictions of the behavior can be established within a reasonable amount of time and limit computational power, while providing the ?exibility to simulate comparable models that appear in related areas of science.

Dr. Vijetha Koppa - Department of Economics and Finance, Nelson Rusche College of Business
Do Housing Vouchers Reduce Domestic Violence? Evidence from a Lottery

Dr. Koppa's research investigates the Section 8 Housing voucher program's effect on domestic violence. The federally-funded Housing Choice Voucher Program provides rental assistance to low-income families who receive vouchers to live in private housing that would be otherwise unaffordable. Because 90 percent of the recipients are female heads-of-households, Dr. Koppa hopes to investigate whether Section 8 vouchers provide these women with more agency, either by allowing them to move to a safer neighborhood or by increasing their bargaining power in the household, thus enabling them to escape an abusive relationship.

Neal Cox - School of Art, College of Fine Arts

Mr. Cox's project will use an experimental pinhole camera system to photograph a scale model/paper sculpture of a prominent mountain peak found in the Wasatch mountain range from 36 symmetrical views. The sculpture will be created from topographical maps, and the resulting images will be printed using copperplate photogravure, a technique that pre-dates the daguerreotype. Mr. Cox hopes the images and series will prompt viewers to question landscape as an art form, the environmental impact of development and accessibility.

Dr. Dustin Joubert - Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, James I. Perkins College of Education
Effects of Aquatic and Land Exercise on Ambulatory Blood Pressure

Dr. Joubert's study will measure the effects of aquatic and land exercise on cardiovascular health and ambulatory blood pressure. Exercise is known to beneficially impact blood pressure, but it is unclear whether the mode of exercise impacts the magnitude of this response. This study is important because it will help determine the exercise mode and intensity that is optimal for blood pressure regulation and cardiovascular health. Determining the benefits of aquatic activity will be particularly valuable for individuals with body weight or orthopedic limitations to traditional land exercise.