A Magazine for the George Mason University Community

Major Awards 2011

March 28, 2012


The Department of Education awarded $28.5 million to Donna Sterling and Wendy Frazier (Mason’s College of Education and Human Development), Juanita Jo Matkins (College of William and Mary), Jacqueline T. McDonnough (Virginia Commonwealth University), and Randy L. Bell (University of Virginia) for the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA). The project, a partnership among 47 school districts, six universities, and the Virginia Department of Education, builds an infrastructure to provide sustained, intensive science teacher professional development and educational research to increase student performance. Because the award is funded as a public–private partnership, an additional $5.7 million (20 percent of the funding) will come from private sources.

Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, through a contract from NASA, awarded $11.6 million to Peggy Agouris and John Kwiatkowski (College of Science) to provide expertise in basic and applied research that ranges from remote sensing and earth science to computer science and data visualization.

The National Institutes of Health awarded $5.5 million to Faye Taxman (College of Humanities and Social Sciences), Frederick Altice (Yale University), and Bill Lawson (Howard University) to understand the mechanisms to reduce the risk of criminal justice involvement through quality substance abuse treatment and medically assisted treatment and $3.0 million to Taxman and Scott Walters (University of North Texas) to design and test a computerized motivational interviewing intervention compared to in-person counselor-driven sessions on risky behaviors, such as substance use, sexual risk, and offending.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity awarded $8.2 million to Charles Twardy (C4I Center), Kathryn Laskey and Donald Gantz (Volgenau School of Engineering), Robin Hanson (College of Humanities and Social Sciences), and Maksim Tsvetovat (Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study) to improve forecasts of world events via crowd sourcing and computer algorithms.

The U.S. Air Force awarded $5 million to Raja Parasuraman (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) to support research, training, and collaboration with Air Force scientists in neuroergonomics, the study of the human brain at work. This collaborative project includes an additional $2.5 million of matching funds from Mason.

The U.S. Navy awarded $4.5 million to Giorgio Ascoli, Avrama Blackwell, and Ted Dumas (Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study) and James Thompson and Raja Parasuraman (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) to investigate learning and memory across scales (molecules to whole brains), species (mice to humans), and approaches (computational, behavioral, and biological).

The U.S. Navy awarded $3.9 million to Vikas Chandhoke and Joel Schnur (College of Science) to support new and on-going research in the development of biosensors, microfluidic devices, fabrication of nanoalloys, controlled release materials, fuel cells, and other novel materials.

The Virginia Department of Education awarded Michael Behrmann (College of Education and Human Development) $2.5 million to provide professional development training to Virginia special education teachers to improve services to students with disabilities and $1.6 million to produce and deliver accessible instructional materials for local educational agencies in Virginia that have students with disabilities.

The Department of Defense awarded $2.2 million to Angelos Stavrou and Anup Ghosh (Volgenau School of Engineering) for MINESTRONE, which integrates software analysis techniques to enable the identification, mitigation, and containment of software vulnerabilities, and $1.5 million to Stavrou and Huzefa Rangwala (Volgenau School of Engineering) for CyNomiX, a novel framework for scalable identifications of the lineage of malicious programs and threats.

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded $1.9 million to Siddhartha Sikdar and William Rosenberger (Volgenau School of Engineering), Lynn Gerber (College of Health and Human Services), Nadine Kabbani (Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study), Saleet Jafri (College of Science), and Armen Sarvazyan (Artann Labs) to investigate the association between chronic neck pain and tender stiff nodules in the neck muscles.

The Naval Research Laboratory awarded $1.9 million to Rainald Löhner (College of Science) to develop numerical algorithms and techniques for computational fluid dynamics codes that run on massively parallel machines (machines with more than a hundred thousand cores or processors).

The Department of Education awarded $1.6 million to Ana Taboada, Michelle M. Buehl, Julie K. Kidd, and Elizabeth Sturtevant (College of Education and Human Development) to research cognitive and motivation practices to teach history through literacy to middle school students.

The Department of Transportation awarded $1.6 million to Deborah Boehm-Davis (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) to evaluate the best ways to display information and enter information into cockpit systems.

NASA awarded $1.1 million to Liping Di (College of Science) and Zhengwei Yang (USDA) for an information system that monitors the progress of major U.S. crops by using NASA satellite images.

NASA Goddard awarded $1.1 million to Thomas Duxbury (College of Science) to analyze the USPI Russian Phobos Sample Return Mission data, particularly about lunar geodesy and cartography.

The Science Applications International Corporation awarded a subcontract with a ceiling amount of $1.1 million from its U.S. Navy contract to Chi Yang (College of Science) to develop a computational modeling tool for investigating submarine maneuvering and dynamics under waves. The Office of Naval Research awarded $800,000 to Yang to develop a methodology and associated algorithms for innovative hydrodynamic design of ship hull forms.

The Department of Commerce awarded $1.0 million to Wenli Yang and Liping Di (College of Science) for the research and development of an integrated information catalog system and the calibration of a next generation satellite instrument.


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