Research Grants


GW Pinpoint; Graphic of graph; Faculty Grants

Research at SEAS is growing.  Our research expenditures have increased by 30% as our faculty continue to successfully compete for research grants across a range of disciplines. The departmental listing below includes just a sample of recently awarded grants.

Researcher: Dr. Murray Loew
Research project title: Glass at Risk: simple tools for detecting unstable glass in 19th century cultural heritage collections
Granting organization: National Endowment for the Humanities
Funding: $350,000
Purpose: To create tools that assist in the identification of at-risk glass heritage collection items. Specifically, the grant will support research to develop simple tools, including imaging, organized into a “decision tree” that will allow end-users of varying backgrounds and abilities, from curators and collectors to conservators and conservation scientists, to better identify the risk posed by unstable 19th century glass in historical collections.
Collaborators: Catholic University of America and The Library of Congress

Researcher: Dr. Russell Hemley
Research project title: Operations support operations of the Frontier Infrared Spectroscopy (FIS) synchrotron beamline at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchroton Light Source-II (NSLS)
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $1.6 million
Purpose: To support operations of the Frontier Infrared Spectroscopy (FIS) synchrotron beamline at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s National Synchroton Light Source-II (NSLS)

Researcher: Dr. Russell Hemley
Granting organization: Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration
Funding: $555,661
Purpose: To support research, training, and management of the Capital/DOE Alliance Center

Researcher: Dr. Danmeng Shuai
Research project title:  Development of Graphitic-Carbon-Nitride-Based Antimicrobial Nanomaterials for Safe Food Processing and Packaging
Granting organization: NIFA/USDA
Funding: $450,200
Purpose: To conduct a three-year research project on antimicrobial materials for safe food processing and packaging
Collaborators: Dr. Santiago Solares (Mechanical Engineering), Dr. Hanning Chen (GW Chemistry), and Dr. Ganhui Lan (GW Physics)

Researcher: Dr. Russell Hemley
Granting organization: Department of Energy/Office of Science
Funding: $447,794
Purpose: Additional funding to support Energy Frontier Research in Extreme Environments (EFree)

Researcher: Dr. Pedro Silva
Research project title: Collaborative Research: Self-Centering Pendulum Shear Walls in Buildings via Nonlinear Elastic Kinematics
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $730,000/Dr. Silva’s share of the grant is $400,000
Purpose: To test Dr. Silva’s hypothesis that changing the interface between a wall and its footer from a flat surface to a curved surface will increase the amount of energy that can be dissipated during an earthquake, thereby limiting damage to the wall and deformations to the building from the earthquake
Collaborators: Michigan State University

Researcher: Dr. Danmeng Shuai
Research project title: Integrated Experimental and Computational Studies for Understanding the Interplay of Photoreactive Materials and Persistent Contaminants
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $549,546/GW’s share of the grant is $310,000
Purpose: To understand the photo-catalytic transformation of persistent organic contaminants in natural aquatic environment
Collaborators: GW Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago

Researcher: Dr. Leila Farhadi
Research project title: Coupled Estimation of Evapotranspiration and Recharge from Remotely Sensed Land Surface Moisture and Temperature
Granting organization: NASA—Career Award in the New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Sciences
Funding: $260,000
Purpose: To quantify and map the patterns and dynamics of evapotranspiration and recharge flux using remotely sensed land surface state observations that are widely available across a range of spatial and temporal scales, landscapes and climates

Researcher: Dr. Samer Hamdar
Research project title: Research Assistant Support for Staff Projects in the Office of Safety Research and Development
Granting organization: Federal Highway Administration (U.S. Department of Transportation)
Funding: $125,533 (subcontract from Battelle, Inc.)
Purpose: To provide support to the Federal Highway Administration (U.S. Department of Transportation)
Collaborators: Battelle, Inc.

Researcher: Dr. James Hahn
Research project title: Neonatal Endotracheal Intubation: Enhancing Training Through Computer Simulation and Automated Evaluation
Granting organization: National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
Funding: $1.6 million/R01 grant

Researcher: Dr. Hyeong-Ah Choi
Research project title: Coverage, Capacity, and Resilience Enhancement in Limited PSN
Granting organization: National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST)
Funding: $700,000
Purpose: To research public safety networks
Collaborators: Dr. Xiuzhen Cheng (GW, Computer Science), Dr. Yanxiang Zhao (GW, Math), Dr. Gokhan Sahin (Miami University), and Dr. Wei Cheng (VCU)

Researcher: Dr. Xiuzhen (Susan) Cheng
Research project title: Privacy Attacks and Defense Mechanisms in Online Social Networks
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $1.1 million/Dr. Cheng’s share of the grant is $544,168
Purpose: To identify the potential privacy disclosure channels in online social networks and study privacy-preserving countermeasures that suppress access to private information from unauthorized entities without impeding the ability for users to initiate social interactions and share user-created content via online social networks
Collaborators: George Mason University and Georgia State University

Researcher: Dr. Xiuzhen (Susan) Cheng
Research project title: Acquisition, Collection, and Computation of Dynamic Big Sensory Data in Smart Cities
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $1.15 million/Dr. Cheng’s share of the grant is $279,107
Purpose: To develop foundations and technologies for the analytical use of big sensory data to benefit smart cities for monitoring and control
Collaborators: George Mason University, Georgia State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University

Researcher: Dr. Rachelle Heller
Granting organization: National Security Agency
Funding: $125,000
Purpose: To research and implement an online course to prepare adjunct faculty in cybersecurity for the community colleges
Collaborators: Dr. Lance Hoffman (GW, Computer Science) and Dr. Costis Toregas (GW, Computer Science)

Researcher: Drs. Tian Lan and Guru Venkataramani
Research project title: DIALECT: Communication Protocols Customization via Feature DIAgnosis, Lacing, Elimination, Cross-grafting, and Trimming
Granting organization: Office of Naval Research
Funding: $1.47 million
Purpose: To investigate how to individualize security in cyber systems by customizing their protocols. The project will also explore “tech push” opportunities in collaboration with naval labs

Researcher: Dr. Matthew Lumb
Research project title: Micro-scale Ultra-high Efficiency CPV/Diffuse Hybrid Arrays
Granting organization: U.S. Department of Energy
Funding: $1.4 million
Purpose: To develop a new, high performance concentrator photovoltaic module that is fully integrated with conventional flat plate photovoltaic technology, with the goal of producing an extremely high efficiency solar module capable of capturing both direct and diffuse light
Collaborators: Naval Research Laboratory, Northwestern University, MIT, Veeco, and X-Celeprint

Researcher: Drs. Tarek El-Ghazawi and Volker Sorger
Research project title: RAISE: The Reconfigurable Optical Computer (ROC)
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $900,000
Purpose: To create a nano-photonic, analog, reconfigurable computer that is capable of computing out of first principles by solving those partial differential equations (PDEs) that are used for most simulations in science and engineering

Researcher: Drs. Tarek El-Ghazawi and Volker Sorger
Research project title: Collaborative Research: Nanophotonic Neuromorphic Computing
Granting organization: National Science Foundation and the Semiconductor Research Corporation
Funding: $1.3 million/GW’s share of the grant is $830,000
Purpose: To achieve orders of magnitude improvements over today’s computing technologies through nano-photonic-enabled computing (NEC), using innovative principles for processing and architectures that depart from the traditional von Neumann digital computer systems and their limitations
Collaborator: Princeton University

Researcher: Dr. Roger Lang
Research project title: Dielectric Constant Measurements for Remote Sensing of Seawater Salinity
Granting organization: NASA
Funding: $470,000
Purpose: To continue measuring the dielectric constant of seawater. This latest research will focus on taking measurements in cold seawater, where an accurate knowledge of the relationship between the dielectric constant of seawater, its temperature, and salinity are needed for satellite retrieval algorithms.

Researcher: Dr. Ahmed Louri
Research project title: Integrated Framework for System-Level Approximate Computing
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $487,000/Dr. Louri’s share of the grant is $262,000
Purpose: To develop computing systems that are capable of adjusting performance by exploiting relationships between hardware and software for different applications such as cognitive processing, digital signal/image processing, big data, and scientific processing
Collaborators: Northeastern University

Researcher: Dr. Volker Sorger
Research project title: Toward Ultra-Dense Integrated Plasmonic Circuits
Granting organization: Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Funding: $225,000
Purpose: To serve as a consultant in Phase I of the grant
Collaborators: Omega Optics Inc.

Researcher: Dr. Ekundayo Shittu
Research project title: Collaborative Research: Broadening participation and strengthening capacity in interdisciplinary engineering model development
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $300,000/Dr. Shittu’s share of the grant is $199,906
Purpose: To identify effective strategies to aid students’ capabilities to develop and apply mathematical models for problem solving in engineering; to enhance understanding of how thinking and narrative identity evolve over time and how the process of coaching scholars of color in a supportive academic context might strengthen the value proposition of entering the professoriate
Collaborator: North Carolina A&T State University

Researcher: Dr. Michael Keidar
Research project title: Plasma Medicine Initiative (PMI)
Granting organization: U.S. Patent Innovations LLC
Funding: $5.2 million
Purpose: To revolutionize cancer therapy by introducing a novel modality in cancer treatment that uses a cool-to-the-touch jet of ionized gases, or cold atmospheric plasma (“CAP”). The Plasma Medicine Initiative will enable the transition of this novel technology into translational and clinical stages.

Researcher: Dr. Megan Leftwich
Research project title: Investigating Sea Lion Locomotion as the Basis for Shape Changing UUVs
Granting organization: Office of Naval Research
Funding: $1.4 million
Purpose: To determine the feasibility of a maneuverable, flexible autonomous vehicle with amphibious capabilities based on the performance of the California sea lion
Collaborators:  Dr. Frank Fish (Westchester University) and Drs. James Tangorra and Harry Kwanty (Drexel University).

Researcher: Dr. Philippe Bardet
Research project title: Validation of Pressure Relaxation Coefficients in RELAP-7 Seven-Equation Model
Granting organization: US Department of Energy/Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP)
Funding: $800,000
Purpose: To validate the Seven-Equation model in RELAP-7
Collaborators: University of Michigan

Researcher: Dr. Michael Keidar
Research project title: Industry University Cooperative Research Center
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $750,000
Purpose: To establish a new Industry University Cooperative Research Center, focused on high-pressure plasma energy, agriculture, and biomedical technologies
Collaborators: University of Michigan and Drexel University

Researcher: Dr. Megan Leftwich
Research project title: Sea Lion Swimming: A Model for Efficient, Hydrodynamically Quiet Propulsion
Granting organization: Office of Naval Research (Young Investigator Program grant)
Funding: $515,000
Purpose: To determine a mechanism for high-performance aquatic propulsion that leaves minimal hydrodynamic signal, while remaining energetically efficient

Researcher: Dr. Taeyoung Lee
Research project title: Uncertainty Quantification, Estimation, and Optimal Control for Stochastic Hybrid Systems on a Manifold
Granting organization: Air Force Office of Scientific Research
Funding: $600,000/Dr. Lee’s share of the grant is $318,000
Purpose: To construct an intrinsic framework of stochastic analysis for complex dynamical systems undergoing both continuous stochastic processes and discrete random transitions on a manifold
Collaborators: University of California, San Diego

Researcher: Dr. Lorena Barba
Research project title: Cyberinfrastructure Reproducibility Project: Computational Science and Engineering
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $299,847
Purpose: To use methodical replication of studies in computational fluid dynamics as the model for understanding sources of non-reproducibility in science, and for developing guiding principles of study design that can guarantee, as much as possible, reproducible findings

Researcher: Dr. Taeyoung Lee
Research project title: Dynamics and Control of Long Range Micro Air Vehicles Inspired by Monarch Butterflies
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $260,895
Purpose: To study the biomechanics of the monarch butterfly—which exhibits the longest flight range among insects—and utilize them in the design and control of flapping-wing unmanned aerial vehicles

Researcher: Dr. Michael Keidar
Research project title: Software for the Predictive Synthesis of Nanoparticles in Plasmas
Granting organization: U.S. Department of Energy
Funding: $750,000/Dr. Keidar’s share of the grant is $200,000
Purpose: To develop a plasma-based technique for the synthesis of novel 2D layered materials