2017 Award Recipients

The Provost's Office is pleased to announce recipients of the 2017 round of Provost Research Awards. Any Brandeis faculty or staff member involved in research, scholarship, or creative activity in any field was eligible to apply for an award. Proposals awarded funding initiate innovative scholarly inquiry and creative activities that have the potential for significant, sustained impact.

Ilhom Akobirshoev, Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, Heller
Trends, Patterns, Quality, and Costs of Hospital Utilization among Working-age Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders

The purpose of this study is to use population-based data to identify national trends, patterns, quality, and cost of hospital utilization among working-age adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Elizabeth Bradfield, English
The Horsehead’s Return: Gray Seals Rewilding New England

Book project: A general interest nonfiction book about the story of the gray seal’s return; its life history; its complicated reception by residents, tourists and fisher-folk; and scientists’ work to understand its role in the ecosystem. Check out The Haul Out, a blog Elizabeth writes about seal life on Cape Cod.

Abby Cooper, History
Black Freedom Database and Mapping Project

In an historical database of refugee camps as pivotal meeting grounds for emancipation, Cooper examines refugee camps over the course of the Civil War period, connecting and comparing experiences across the South.

Mugda Deshpande, Blazeman Postdoctoral Fellow for ALS Research
Modeling ALS using patient-derived stem cells

To translate our novel cellular pathways in ALS pathogenesis from fruit-flies and rats into therapies, the important next question to address is, how relevant these pathways are for progression of cellular pathology in human patients, whether they are perturbed similarly and result in equivalent cellular defects.

Karen Desmond, Music
Measuring Polyphony: Digitally Mediated Access to the Music of the Middle Ages

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries saw an unprecedented increase in the production of manuscripts transmitting repertories of polyphonic music. This project offers new possibilities for mediating the scholarly and public experience of this richly evocative music.

Anita Hannig, Anthropology, HSSP
Desiring Death: An Ethnographic Inquiry into Aid-in-Dying in the United States

Amid the shifting legal climate around aid-in-dying practices in several US states, this multi-year research project aims to investigate how aid-in-dying has changed the ways North American patients and their families think about and manage the end of life.

Marion Howard, Heller
Forgotten Voices: Ocean identity and heritage of the Raizal people of Colombia’s San Andres Archipelago, western Caribbean

Examining ocean heritage through the voices of these indigenous island people will expand knowledge of identity, territory, patrimony, and human connections to the sea; potentially contributing to more effective, equitable policy and management. This project will explore “marine sense of place” in the worldview of the Raizal people of Colombia's San Andres Archipelago.

Tijana Ivanovic and Ben Rogers, Biochemistry and Physics
An interdisciplinary approach to unraveling viral adaptation

The Ivanovic Lab in Biochemistry and the Rogers Lab in Physics will develop a collaborative project to tackle questions related to viral adaptation that are intractable within traditional academic boundaries.

Paul Jankowski, History
“The winter of 1932-33 and the Fragmentation of the World”

Book project: In 1932-33, the world dissolved into competing nationalisms in the run up to the Second World War. Different as they were, such beliefs yet conspired that winter to wreck what was left of the fragile experiments in world order of the 1920s.

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, Sylvia Barak Fishman, Maryam Sharrieff, Rabbi Aryeh Klapper, Layah Kranz Lipsker, Hadassah Brandeis Institute, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Multifaith Chaplaincy, Boston Rabbinical Court, Boston Agunah Task Force
Religious Divorce Practices in Boston: Muslim and Jewish Perspectives

We will study why and how American Muslims and Jews use both religious and civil law when seeking to end their marriages, paying special attention to gender issues and the challenges facing Muslim and Jewish women in their particular religious legal systems, with the goal of strengthening our social justice support for affected women.

Peter Kreiner, Heller
Spread of risky prescribing behavior in prescriber patient-sharing networks

The project will use 2010 – 2016 data from Maine’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to examine prescriber patient-sharing networks in relation to risky prescribing behavior.

Yuko Nakajima, Biology
Outsmarting smart bugs: blocking immune evasion by Lyme and other pathogens

To overcome the challenges around antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease, I aim to develop a new class of drugs that potentiates our body’s ability to effectively eliminate the pathogen by blocking its ability to evade our immune system.

Chandler Rosenberger, International and Global Studies
The Roots and Rhetoric of Contemporary Chinese Nationalism

Rosenberger studies Xi Jinping’s rhetoric to see which traditional themes he has abandoned or reshaped; he then compares Xi's use of these terms to the language of protest as seen on social media sites such as Wechat and Baidu.

Raphael Schoenle, Economics
The Paradox of Ambiguity Perception

We propose a deeper investigation into the role of ambiguity perception as an antecedent to ambiguity aversion, with focus on the socioeconomic correlates of ambiguity perception. In particular, we want to know whether more ambiguity perceptive decision-makers also are more ambiguity-averse.

Steve Van Hooser, Biology
Testing dense electrode arrays for studying neural networks

A major goal of neuroscience is to understand how the billions of neurons in the brain work together in networks to mediate perception and behavior. The purpose of this second application is to focus on generating this experimental data so that external funding applications from NSF or NIH will be successful.

Sabine von Mering, Center for German and European Studies
An Examination of the German Climate Movement and Germany’s Path to a Socio-Ecological Transformation

Book project: The German climate movement is deeply divided about the right path to the urgently needed radical socio-ecological transformation of our societies required to address the climate crisis. The question is why.