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.

Biomedical Engineering

Researcher: Dr. Emilia Entcheva
Research project title:  EFRI CEE: Human Cardiac Opto-Epigenetics with HDAC Inhibitors
Granting organization: National Science Foundation EFRI (Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation)
Funding: $2 million/GW’s share of the grant is $1.48 million
Purpose: To develop a framework to optically manipulate and track chromatin dynamics using photo-switchable HDAC inhibitors in human iPS-CMs
Collaborators: Zhenyu Li (GW), Alejandro Villagra (GW Cancer Center), Ralph Mazitschek (Harvard/Mass General), Shu Jia (Georgia Tech)


Researcher: Dr. Vesna Zderic
Research project title:  Therapeutic Ultrasound for Treatment of Hypothyroidism
Granting organization: NIH/NIBIB                                                                                             
Funding: $161,500
Purpose: The main goal is to study the effectiveness, safety and mechanism of ultrasound application in the release of thyroid metabolic hormones. 
Collaborators: Aleksandar Jeremic (Biology), Sabyasachi Sen (Endocrinology)


Researcher: Dr. Vesna Zderic
Research project title:  Therapeutic Ultrasound for Stimulation of Insulin Release
Granting organization: NIH/NIBIB                                                                                             
Funding: $1,964,448
Purpose: The main goals are to determine biological mechanisms employed in the therapeutic ultrasound effects on the pancreas and how therapeutic ultrasound may impact the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 
Collaborators: Aleksandar Jeremic (Biology), Anastas Popratiloff (GW Imaging Center), Samuel Simmens (Biostatistics)


Civil & Environmental Engineering

Researcher: Dr. Danmeng Shuai
Research project title: Antimicrobial Packaging System
Granting organization: NIFA/USDA
Funding: $27,096
Purpose: To conduct a three-year research project on antimicrobial materials for safe food processing and packaging

Researchers: Dr. Danmeng Shuai, Dr. Yun Shen
Research project title: Vesicle-Cloaked Virus Clusters as Emerging Pathogens: Will They Challenge Current Disinfection Paradigm?
Granting organization: NIH
Funding: $489,586
Purpose: Evaluate the performance and mechanism of conventional and novel disinfectants for inactivating vesicle-cloaked virus clusters, an emerging environmental pathogen

Researchers: Dr. Danmeng Shuai, Dr. Yun Shen
Research project title: Persistence and Inactivation of Vesicle-Cloaked Enteric Virus Clusters in Agricultural Reuse Water
Granting organization: USDA-NIFA
Funding: $750,000
Purpose: Understand the fate, transport, and inactivation of vesicle-cloaked virus clusters in water reuse for agricultural irrigation, soil environment, and vegetables and fruits

Researcher: Dr. Danmeng Shuai,
Research project title: Partnership: Development of Single- and Double-Atom Catalysts for Treating Agricultural Wastewater
Granting organization: USDA-NIFA
Funding: $728,000/$409,500
Purpose: Develop and implement single and double atom catalysts for removing persistent organic micropollutants from agricultural wastewater
Collaborators: Dr. Hanning Chen at the University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Feng Lin at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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 for Staff Projects
Granting organization: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
Funding: $286,301
Purpose: The objective of this project is to provide support to the FHWA Safety Office by conducting different research tasks developing data analytics and AI tools to analyze large amount of information collected by different detectors.
Collaborators: Leidos

Researcher: Dr. Samer Hamdar
Research project title: AVA: Automated Vehicles for All​​​​​​​
Granting organization: US Department of Transportation​​​​​​​
Funding: $7,063,787; GW's Share: $1,240,878
Purpose: This project aims at developing and deploying autonomous vehicles in rural and urban environments and assess their safety.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: Texas Department of Transportation; Texas A&M University; University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; University of California, Davis. 

Researcher: Dr. Samer Hamdar
Research project title: Third Generation Simulation (TGSim) Data: A Closer Look at the Impacts of Automated Driving Systems on Human Behavior​​​​​​​
Granting organization: Federal Highway Administration​​​​​​​
Funding: $432,717; GW's Share: $139,890
Purpose: This project aims at collecting extensive traffic data in the presence in autonomous vehicles in naturalistic congested settings. This data is used to develop microscopic lateral and longitudinal models for a third generation of simulation tools to be utilized by different decision makers.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Northwestern University. 

Researcher: Dr. Samer Hamdar
Research project title: Traffic Health Indicators for Safer TECHnologies (THIS-TECH): Data Driven Research with Roadway Simulation and Vehicular Instrumentation​​​​​​​
Granting organization:​​​​​​​
Funding: $620,927​​​​​​​
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to collect driving health information in a controlled setting while developing technology tools for integration in a vehicular ecosystem.

Computer Science 

ResearcherDr. James Hahn
Research project title: Advancing 3D optical body surface scan technology to assess physiological and psychological effects in highly obese population
Granting organization: National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Funding: : $2.2 million/R01 grant

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. Robert Pless
Research project title: An Object-Centric Approach for Image Analysis to Combat Human Trafficking
Granting organization: US Department of Justice
Funding: $1 million
Purpose: To develop novel deep learning approaches to index, search, and visualize imagery, and to deploy these in a prototype search tool with a focus on fighting human trafficking

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. Timothy Wood
Research project title: OpenNetVM: A Software Platform Enabling Network Function Virtualization Research
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $650,000/GW’s share of the grant is $325,000
Purpose: To expand on the open source networking platform being developed by Ph.D., masters, and undergraduate students at GW
Collaborators: University of California Riverside

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. Timothy Wood
Research project title: Fine Grained Protection for Scalable Single-use Services
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $532,000/GW’s share of the grant is $266,000
Purpose: To explore how to provide scalable security services to networked services at the OS and virtualization layers
Collaborators: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Researcher: Dr. Timothy Wood
Research project title: Mobile Elastic Edge Clouds for Scalable, Low-Latency Services
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $377,000/GW’s share of the grant is $145,000
Purpose: To focus on the network and cloud infrastructures needed to support emerging mobile applications like augmented reality
Collaborators: University of California Riverside and University of Massachusetts Amherst

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)

Electrical & Computer Engineering

Researcher: Dr. Payman Dehghanian
Research project title: Collaborative Research: NNA Research: Foundations for Improving Resilience in the Energy Sector against Wildfires on Alaskan Lands (FIREWALL)​​​​​​​
Granting organization: NSF​​​​​​​
Funding: $2,822,000; GW Portion: $900,000​​​​​​​
Purpose: The FIREWALL research project will advance the knowledge on (1) how elements of the natural environment, energy infrastructure, and social systems interact with one another before, during, and following wildfires, and (2) how to enable a collaborative framework for decision-making and communication among multi-sectoral stakeholders to reduce wildfire risks faced by communities and electric utilities. 
Collaborators: University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), Washington State University (WSU)

Researcher: Dr. Payman Dehghanian
Research project title: Mobility-As-A-Service for Resilience Delivery in Power Grids: Stochastic Programming Advancements under Decision-Dependent Uncertainties​​​​​​​
Granting organization: NSF​​​​​​​
Funding: $360,000​​​​​​​
Purpose: This project aims to offer a new decision-making paradigm to deploy mobile power sources (e.g., mobile energy storage systems, mobile emergency generators, electric vehicles, and electric buses) for enhancing the resilience of communities and critical infrastructures when facing extreme events.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: GW School of Business Department of Decision Sciences

Researcher: Dr. Payman Dehghanian
Research project title: Collaborative Research: NNA Track 2: Foundations for Improving Resilience in the Energy Sector against Wildfires on Alaskan Lands (FIREWALL)​​​​​​​
Granting organization: NSF​​​​​​​
Funding: $250,000; GW Portion: $125,000​​​​​​​
Purpose: Through the lens of energy resilience, the project supports building stronger ties and facilitates a two-way dialogue among researchers, local communities, and stakeholders to provide solutions for emergency preparedness, operational endurance, and enhanced resilience to wildfires.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA)

Researcher: Dr. Payman Dehghanian
Research project title: Electric Vehicle Fleet Management for Resilience in Energy Networks: Stochastic Programming Advancements under Endogenous Uncertainty​​​​​​​
Granting organization: Office of Naval Research (ONR)​​​​​​​
Funding: $451,500​​​​​​​
Purpose: This project devises new stochastic programming optimization models that
characterize endogenous uncertainty in the electric vehicle fleet routing and scheduling decision-making.
Collaborators: GW School of Business Department of Decision Sciences

Researcher: Dr. Roger Lang
Research project title: Forest Modeling for Mountain Communications
Granting organization: Army Research Office
Funding: $360,000
Purpose: To investigate ultra high frequency (UHF) propagation in mountainous environments

Researcher: Dr. Suresh Subramaniam
Research project title: Design and Provisioning for Inter-Datacenter Multi-granular Flexible Optical Networks
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $496,000/GW’s share of the grant is $300,000
Purpose: To develop design and provisioning strategies for multi-granular inter-datacenter Flexible Optical Networks
Collaborators: San Jose State University

Researcher: Dr. Suresh Subramaniam, Dr. Guru Venkataramani, Dr. Omur Ozel
Research project title: CNS Core: Small: Expedient computing: A framework for energy-efficient and timely computing at the edge​​​​​​​
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $584,714
Purpose: This project lays the foundation for a new computing paradigm at the edge called expedient computing.
Collaborators: San Jose State University

Researcher: Dr. Suresh Subramaniam
Research project title: Collaborative Research: NeTS: JUNO3: End-to-end network slicing and orchestration in future programmable converged wireless-optical networks​​​​​​​
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $236,260
Purpose: This project tackles challenges in providing end-to-end network slices with guaranteed performance in converged optical-wireless networks.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: North Carolina State University, Nagoya University and University of Electrocommunications (Japan)

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.

Engineering Management & Systems Engineering

Researcher: Dr. David Broniatowski
Research project title: Evaluating the Explainability and Interpretability of AI Systems​​​​​​​
Granting organization: NIST​​​​​​​
Funding: $994,325​​​​​​​
Purpose: In this project, we will develop measures to evaluate the interpretability and explainability of computational artificial intelligence (AI) systems in the domain of antibiotic resistance.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: Valerie F. Reyna, Cornell university

Researcher: Dr. Jonathan Deason
Research project title: Compliance and Implementation of UNFCCC Climate Change Processes​​​​​​​
Granting organization: UNFCCC Secretariat​​​​​​​
Funding: $39,000​​​​​​​
Purpose: Assistance to participants in the UNFCCC processes, including orientation to compliance and implementation under the Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol, and UNFCCC processes.​​​​​​​
Collaborators: GW Environmental and Energy Management Institute, GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Researcher: Dr. John Helveston
Research project title: Investigation of used electric vehicle movements, sales and availability​​​​​​​
Granting organization: Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)​​​​​​​
Funding: $109,743​​​​​​​
Purpose: This project explores a large database of used vehicle listings to understand the market dynamics of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) adoption in the used market. Understanding where, when, and how PEVs are purchased, used, and repurposed are key to understanding adoption rates and needs for the supporting electric charging infrastructure.

Researcher: Dr. Caitlin Grady
Research project title: CAREER: Ethical implications of connected critical infrastructure in the food-energy-water nexus​​​​​​​
Granting organization: National Science Foundation​​​​​​​
Funding: $405,237​​​​​​​
Purpose: The objective of this research is to provide explicit consideration of critical infrastructure and stakeholder values in quantification efforts to further understand FEW environmental sustainability.

Researcher: Dr. Joost Santos
Research project title: Collaborative Research: Organizing Decentralized Resilience in Critical Interdependent-infrastructure Systems and Processes
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $2 million/GW’s share of the grant is $201,574
Purpose: To develop an integrated resilience modeling framework for mitigating the effects of hurricanes on interdependent-infrastructure systems and human-infrastructure interactions
Collaborators: Florida International University, Virginia Tech, University of Central Florida, and West Virginia University

Researcher: Dr. Ekundayo Shittu
Research project title: INFEWS: Quantifying Complex Adaptive FEW Systems with a Coupled Agent-based Modeling Framework
Granting organization: National Science Foundation
Funding: $499,991/GW’s share of the grant is $139,500
Purpose: To generate understanding of the food-energy-water system of systems (FEWSoS) of the Columbia River and Mekong River that is transferable to other river basins
Collaborators: University of Houston and Lehigh University; Tsinghua University (China)—under separate funding


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

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. 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. 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. Lijie Grace Zhang
Research project title: Understanding Multi-stage Neural Stem Cell Function via 4D Bioprinting Reprogrammable System​​​​​​​
Granting organization: NSF
Funding: $490,000​​​​​​​
Purpose: This study focuses on 4D printing a novel reprogrammable smart system with a time-dependent dynamic transformation, which can provide an efficient means to cater to the different neurodevelopmental stages undergone by neural stem cells and will improve neural tissue regeneration.