Date: May 7, 2009
Maureen O'Leary, Director of Public Information, 202-334-2138; e-mail email@example.com
Kimberly Suda-Blake, Program Director, at 949-721-2270; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Keck Futures Initiative Awards $1 Million for 23 Research Projects
Research will explore topics ranging from developing artificial eggs to understanding financial tsunamis
"We have selected many bold and innovative proposals and believe these collaborations will result in promising findings," said H. Eugene Stanley Ph.D., director, Center for Polymer Studies,
These competitive seed grants aim to fill a critical gap for research on new ideas. Major federal funding programs do not typically provide support in areas that are considered risky or unusual. The Futures grants allow researchers to start recruiting students and postdoctoral fellows, purchasing equipment, and acquiring preliminary data – all of which can position the researchers to compete for larger awards from other public and private sources.
Established through a $40 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation in 2003, the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative is a 15-year effort to enhance communication among researchers, funding agencies, universities, and the general public – with the objective of stimulating interdisciplinary research at the most exciting frontiers. The
The award recipients and their grant research topics are:
JOHN M. BEGGS, THOMAS BUSEY, and Jean-Philippe Thivierge,
Power Law Distributions and Fluctuations in Neural and Behavioral Activity - $50,000
These researchers aim to bridge these distinct but related levels of analysis. Neurons must coordinate the flow of information between various brain areas and structures. The brain and body must coordinate to effect purposeful behavior. Distinct sources of evidence are converging on common principles to explain coordinated neural and behavioral activities.
SALLY BLOWER, Bradley Wagner, and Justin Okano, Semel Institute for Neuroscience, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles
Alessandro Vespignani and Bruno Gonçalves,
Raffaele Vardavas, RAND Corporation,
Designing an Effective HIV Prevention Plan for
These researchers will use an information network model linked with a transmission model to assess the impact of using antiretrovirals to prevent HIV in
STEPHEN J. Bonasera, University of
Christopher Rose, Rutgers, The
Agent-based Modeling of Functional Behavior Selection in the Mouse - $50,000
A key function of the central nervous system (CNS) is maintaining organism homeostasis, a process that itself involves “action selection” or choosing behaviors in real time from a broad palette of repertoires according to ongoing internal and external sensory inputs. These researchers will develop a model of how the mouse brain chooses to perform given current internal and external conditions such as hunger, thirst, need for rest, and environment, in order to improve our understanding of this important yet poorly understood problem.
JAMES P. CRUTCHFIELD,
Ana V. Diez Roux and George A. Kaplan,
Grant S. McCall,
James N. Gardner,
Murray Gell-Mann, Santa Fe Institute,
Jessica J. Hellman,
John H. Miller, Carnegie Mellon University, Santa Fe Institute
Jessika Trancik, Santa Fe Institute and Earth Institute,
Is Sustainability Possible? Frontiers in Collective Modeling via Scientific Open Source - $50,000
These researchers will adapt modern complex systems methods, both theoretical and computational, to the problem of global sustainability. The principle challenges of multiscale and multidomain modeling will be pursued on scientific and technological tracks: analyzing insect-driven deforestation and climate change and designing a network environment (SOSWorld) for collective modeling by interdisciplinary teams.
RAISSA M. D'SOUZA,
Tony H. Grubesic,
Design Principles for Resilient Critical Infrastructure - $50,000
These researchers will develop a mathematical framework for modeling interacting networks, focused on enhancing resilience of critical infrastructure (e.g., transportation networks, electrical grids, water distribution systems and the Internet).
jennifer A. dunne, Santa Fe Institute,
ross hammond, The Brookings Institution,
Humans as Explicit Players in Ecosystems: Using Bioenergetic Food-Web Dynamics and Agent-Based Modeling Approaches to Explore Persistence and Stability in Complex Ecological Networks - $25,000
Ecological networks called “food webs” characterize the feeding interactions of species that co-occur in particular habitats. These researchers will try new approaches for modeling population and individual-level dynamics to assess the impacts of humans on the stability of ecosystems through their roles as predators and prey in complex socio-ecological systems.
DOUGLAS B. WEIBEL,
Phenotypic Heterogeneity as a Source of Robustness in Bacterial Sensing - $50,000
Using bacterial sensing as a model system, these researchers will examine how the resulting cell-to-cell variability confers functional robustness to a community of cells. Since bacterial chemotaxis can be viewed as a strategy for searching and acquiring information, this investigation into how the distribution of searching capabilities of individuals can optimize the behavior of the population will be of great interest to many diverse fields, including ecology, traffic control, distributed power, financial markets, and load balancing in supercomputers.
JAMES A. GLAZIER and JOHN S. GENS,
Towards the Artificial Egg -- First Steps towards Custom Creatures - $37,500
These researchers will use complexity-based software tools and modern genetic engineering to create lines of living mammalian cells which will interact to generate simple, controllable, emergent structures resembling those in animal tissues, the first step towards building an Artificial Egg.
Marta C. González, Center for Complex Network Research, Northeastern University
Nathan Eagle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Santa Fe Institute
The Search for Universal Laws of Human Movement: A Cross-Cultural Study - $62,500
The understanding of cultural differences and economic interdependencies underlying human motion has deep implications in fields ranging from urban planning to computational epidemiology. Using mobile phone records, these researchers will quantify the fundamental similarities and differences in the statistics of motion of people among two industrialized and three developing countries, involving approximately 30 million individuals.
Sarah C. heilshorn,
amy l. bauer, Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Theoretical and Experimental Approaches to Engineering Complex Vascular Networks - $50,000
The development of complex vascular networks is a critical process during embryonic development, adult tissue remodeling, cancer progression, and in potential regenerative medicine therapies. This project is to develop theoretical computational models and experimental laboratory models to predict the fundamental biophysics and biochemistry regulating vascular networks.
Interaction of Complex Biomolecules with a Complex Liquid: Role of Water in Biology - $25,000
These researchers aim to improve our knowledge of possible mechanisms for physical and biological phenomena arising from interactions of biomolecules such as protein, DNA, RNA and water. Progress in this field will contribute towards our understanding of the role of water in many biological processes.
david lazer and Junkka-Pekka Onnela,
Nathan Eagle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Santa Fe Institute
Behavioral Network Analysis - $37,500
This project aims to link behavior-based ways of measuring relationships (such as a phone call between two people) and more traditional ways of measuring relationships (such as asking who someone’s friends are) to examine whether particular types of relationships are associated with particular types of behaviors.
nathan S. lewis, California Institute of Technology,
Tuan A. Duong, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,
Use of an Electronic Nose for Breath-Based Detection of Lung-Cancer - $50,000
These researchers will evaluate whether mixtures of volatile organic breath based biomarkers that have been implicated as diagnostic signatures suitable for a screen for early stage lung cancer can be detected and identified by a low-power, portable, “electronic nose” array of vapor sensors.
frederick I. moxley,
Juan M. Ocampo, Trajectory Asset Management,
Michael J. North,
Financial Liquidity and Network Theory - $50,000
.Financial markets are highly complex networks of institutions and transactions through which liquidity, i.e., the flow of credit, enhances economic activity. These researchers will models these networks to provide understanding, prediction, and some degree of control of this important economic factor.
michael L. parchman, University of
Quality of Care and Network Properties of Outpatient Health Care Delivery in the Veterans Health Administration - $25,000
These researchers will describe the network comprised of physicians (nodes) and patients (links) with a large health care system and its relationship with quality of care measures across three domains: access, clinical, and satisfaction.
joshua B. plotkin, Anthony Kroch and Robin Clark,
The Population Dynamics of Language Evolution - $25,000
Languages evolve over time. Words that were once common later become rare, or go extinct. These researchers will investigate whether language change is driven by deterministic Darwinian forces, or by random stochastic events. Their analysis will use a database of 23,000 digitized English texts, ranging from Beowulf to Britney Spears.
suzanne scarlata, Stony Brook University, Stony
Amy E. Herr,
Unraveling Complexity in Cell Signaling: Mapping Molecular Markers of Directed Differentiation of Nerve Cells - $50,000
Amazingly, stem cells differentiate into approximately 250 cell types in the human body. Cell signaling comprises complex interactions and feedback – with dependence on time and location. These researchers will employ micro/nanotechnology to characterize cell signaling of neuronal differentiation to try to identify key signaling nodes relevant to neuronal regeneration.
Steven J. schiff,
Daniel P. Lathrop,
Model-based Forecasting of Epileptic Seizures- $50,000
Epileptic seizures have similarities to brain storms, yet we have no systematic way that reliably detects impending seizures. This project aims to blend models based from engineering control theory, and the physics of nonlinear dynamics of the atmosphere, to test whether a novel synergistic approach to detecting epileptic seizures can be developed.
H. Eugene stanley, Center for Polymer Studies,
Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Causes of Large Economic Fluctuations - $50,000
Can concepts from statistical physics of phase transitions provide insights into understanding "financial tsunamis”? This research plan will involve comprehensive datasets covering the recent financial crisis, to answer this question. The statistics of correlations will be used to conduct an analysis of the response of price fluctuations to market participant's demand and collective behavior.
jeffrey A. toretsky,
Lajos P. Balogh, Roswell Park Cancer Institute,
Rigoberto Hernandez, Georgia Institute of Technology,
Peter T. Cummings,
Muhammad Hamid Zaman,
Amy L. Bauer, Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Dynamic Network Models of HIV Transmission and Cancer Metastasis - $25,000
These researchers will meet to develop “pre-modeling” concepts of transport in complex systems involving networked structures in general and dynamic network models of HIV transmission and cancer metastasis in particular to slow or stop progression of these diseases.
john p. wikswo, Todd R. Graham, and Peter A. Weil,
Amy L. Bauer and Ilya Nemenman, Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Biology on Demand: External Control of a Complex Cellular System,
These researchers will demonstrate external, multivariable control of the budding yeast, a relatively well-characterized complex system. Their experimental studies will integrate both feedback and feed-forward control of highly instrumented, computer-controlled microfabricated bioreactor, and enable on-demand selection of metabolic and signaling pathways and hence control of cell fate.
larry yaeger and Olaf Sporns,
How Network Structure Gives Rise to Dynamical Complexity - $50,000
Developing formal methods of quantitatively assessing complexity and using them to understand the origins and mechanisms of that complexity are great challenges. These researchers seek to understand how a network's structural characteristics relate to dynamical patterns of activity in that network--how function follows from form.
muhammad H. zaman,
David K. Campbell and Adil Najam,
Complexity of Higher Education Systems in Developing Countries - $12,500
Secondary and higher education in the developing countries represents a highly dynamic and complex problem – socially, politically, financially and academically. Institutions of higher learning in the developing world are often created, but seldom successful. These researchers will convene a meeting of experts to create a roadmap for a quantitative model of education in developing countries.
For more information, visit <www.keckfutures.org> or contact Kimberly Suda-Blake, program director, at 949-721-2270.
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