Awardees, Funding, Research

2014 Grant Awardees


The 2014 Research Alliance awards announced in July, totaling $445,092, will support of six projects, representing 15 scientists from small businesses, research universities and hospitals across Rhode Island. The program is designed to advance research projects that are collaborative across institutions, well positioned to receive follow-on funding and with significant technology development and commercialization potential. Award recipients include academic and industry scientists pursuing research in medicine, cyber security, engineering, chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences.

Antiviral & Immunomodulatory Effects of Inter-Alpha Inhibitors in Dengue Infections

The goal of the project is to confirm the viability of this protein as a broad spectrum therapeutic. With this, the team hopes to develop an industrial scale facility in the state that can provide sufficient material for manufacturing and stockpiling.


  • Carey Medin, University of Rhode Island
  • Yow-Pin Lim, ProThera Biologics, Inc.

Cyber Security Situational Awareness with Social-Aware Data Integration

This team’s efforts will focus on examining how various sources of analytic data can be used to identify malicious cyber behavior and will bring together a research university and a small business to provide proof of concept for development of a new commercial product line.


  • Lisa DiPippo, University of Rhode Island
  • William Matuszak, Adaptive Methods, Inc.

Next Generation Data Storage Systems for Big Data Applications

Working together, scientists in the engineering and physical sciences departments at the University of Rhode Island and Brown University will combine their talents to develop the next generation of storage to meet the demands of the big-data trend.


  • Gang Xiao, Brown University
  • Qing Yang, University of Rhode Island

Development of a New Molecular Imaging Platform: Biosensor-Enhanced Xenon-129 MRI

This project brings together a unique set of expertise and capabilities to develop a new class of “smart” biomedical imaging agents that when developed will enable clinicians to use probes to see biochemical properties of maladies such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and even traumatic brain injuries.


  • Brenton DeBoef, University of Rhode Island
  • Li-Qiong Wang, Brown University

Novel SiRNA Delivery Technology via Biomimetic Nanomaterial for Treatment of Joint Arthritis

Combining interdisciplinary expertise in biology, nano materials, clinical research and pharmaceutical science, this team will work to further test a nanomaterial whose tiny size and novel shape shows great promise as a drug delivery system.


  • Qian Chen, RI Hospital
  • Wei Lu, University of Rhode Island
  • Yupeng Chen, RI Hospital
  • Richard Terek MD, RI Hospital

Development of an Ultra-High Speed Infrared Imaging System

This team seeks to develop an ultra-high speed infrared (IR) microscope to create new research grade instrumentation in the area of dynamic material behavior. With this equipment, Rhode Island will have unique experimental capability and be positioned as a center for this type of research.


  • Pradeep R. Guduru, Brown University
  • William R. Patterson, Brown University
  • Arun Shukla, University of Rhode Island

The 2014 Research Alliance awards, announced in April, totaling $806,501 will fund seven diverse teams bringing together deep expertise in the natural and social sciences as well as the arts and environmental conservation to study how marine plant and animal life are responding to climate change in Narragansett Bay. Data from these projects will lead to improved strategies for fisheries and aquaculture management, better understanding of how to predict harmful algal blooms and the development of communications tools to engage and inform the public on the localized effects of climate change.

The Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on the Biogeochemistry and Ecology of RI’s Coastal Waters – Regional Climate Modeling

This team brings together an ocean chemist, physicist and ecologist to use a computer simulation specifically designed for the coastal waters of Rhode Island to model the complex data that has been collected to better understand the impact of our warming waters on animal and plant life.


  • Lewis Rothstein, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
  • Susanne Menden-Deuer, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
  • Sarah Knowlton, Rhode Island College

Data Narratives: Climate Change in Narragansett Bay as a Case Study for Engaging Communication of Scientific Information

This team’s efforts will focus on gaps in data collection and its dissemination to scientists, decision makers and the public.


  • Susanne Menden-Deuer, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
  • Neal Overstrom, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Sunshine Menezes, Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Science

Developing an Aerial Imaging System Using a Robotic Helicopter for Tracking Harmful Algal Blooms in Narragansett Bay

This new autonomous robotic imaging can be used to not only to collect data, but also to visualize global climate change in compelling and immediate ways.


  • Stephen Licht, University of Rhode Island
  • Carol Thornber, University of Rhode Island
  • Christopher Deacutis, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
  • Giancarlo Cicchetti, United States Environmental Protection Agency

Resilience to Climate Change: Testing Sculptural Forms for Coastal Habitat Restoration

Bringing together artists, biologists and conservationists, this project will develop sculptural forms for a future coastal habitat restoration project at an urban site in RI.


  • Marta Gomez-Chiarri, University of Rhode Island
  • Scheri Fultineer, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Edythe Wright, Rhode Island School of Design
  • Breea Govenar, Rhode Island College
  • Dale Leavitt, Roger Williams University
  • Pam Rubinoff, Rhode Island Coastal Resources Center/Rhode Island Sea Grant
  • Steven Brown, The Nature Conservancy

Changes in Plankton Bloom Patterns and Trophic Relationships in Response to Climate-induced Warming of Narragansett Bay

This project builds the case for selection of Narragansett Bay as a designated sentinel site for global coastal monitoring.


  • Theodore Smayda, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
  • David Borkman, Salve Regina University

Molecular Basis for Pathogenesis in the Oyster Pathogen, Roseovarius Crassostreae

This project combines the talents of a molecular biologist, a natural products chemist and a shellfish pathologist to seek a better understanding of Roseovarius oyster disease in order to better manage it.


  • David Nelson, University of Rhode Island
  • David Rowley, University of Rhode Island
  • Roxanna Smolowitz, Roger Williams University

Environmental Genomics and Proteomics of Nitrogen Stress in Narragansett Bay

This trans-disciplinary project brings together oceanography, ecology and evolutionary biology to gain insight into the environmental stresses and adaptive responses of important phytoplankton in Narragansett Bay.


  • Tatiana Rynearson, University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
  • David Rand, Brown University