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Faculty and Staff Grants From March 2024

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University of Denver

Congratulations to the University of Denver faculty and staff members who received grants and awards in March 2024 for the following projects.

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Synthetic Protein Mimetics-Based Specific Targeting and Degradation of TDP-43 Aggregation Associated With ALS

  • Sunil Kumar and Daniel Linseman, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Grant from U.S. Department of Defense
  • Abstract: There are no effective treatments to cure or halt the progression of ALS disease, which is a common neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of motor neuron functions. One of the main causal agents associated with ALS pathology is the clumping of a neuronal protein called TDP-43 into aggregates. Therefore, the modulation of the aggregation of TDP-43 is considered to be a potential therapeutic intervention for ALS disease. We propose a novel two-pronged approach using synthetic protein mimetic molecules to modulate the TDP-43 aggregation. Overall, we believe that the completion of this study will empower the translation of drug-like ligands identified in our lab to potential lead therapeutics for the treatment of ALS.

Collaborative Research: Superinvaders: Testing a General Hypothesis of Forest Invasions by Woody Species Across the Americas

  • Patrick Martin, College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • Grant from National Science Foundation
  • Abstract: The main objective of this project is to better understand the functional constraints that drive adaptive trade-offs among woody species, using systematic observations and experiments across light gradients in temperate, subtropical and tropical forest. Our approach is transformative because it would test a new theory that integrates plant functional physiology and food web dynamics in a whole-plant carbon allocation framework.

Advocates for Recovery Colorado, Peer Recovery Support Services Expansion

  • Meredith Silverstein, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Grant from Advocates for Recovery Colorado (subaward City and County of Denver)
  • Abstract: Advocates for Recovery Colorado (AFRC) is Colorado’s first and oldest recovery community organization. Since 2001, AFRC has provided no-cost peer recovery coaching and peer recovery support services to anyone regardless of stage of recovery or chosen recovery pathway. In alignment with Denver Public Health and Environment’s Treatment/People in Additional Areas Strategy Area, AFRC will achieve two key goals over the three-year funding period: expansion of services in Denver through the relocation of its recovery community center and expansion of services to people of color who are increasingly impacted by opioid misuse and overdose.

CueThinkEF+ - Phase 4 and 5 Partnership

Understanding Personal, Social Network and Neighborhood Environmental Contributors to Gun Access and Violence Among Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness

  • Anthony Fulginiti, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Grant from University of North Carolina (subaward Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)
  • Abstract: Firearm-involved violence is an urgent public health issue in many major cities across the U.S., and youth experiencing homelessness (YEH) are especially vulnerable to violence, including firearm-involved violence. However, little research has focused on firearm risks among YEH. In fact, virtually nothing is known about individual, social network and neighborhood characteristics that may be associated with YEH's firearm risks. This information will provide a much-needed comprehensive understanding of firearm violence among YEH. This study will also inform interventions to reduce firearm violence among YEH and others who may be impacted by firearm violence among this vulnerable population.

History Colorado 2024 Amache Field School in Historic Archaeology and Museum Studies

  • Bonnie Clark, College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Grant from History Colorado
  • Abstract: The Amache National Historic Site contains remarkably intact evidence of life in a WWII-era Japanese American incarceration camp, with building foundations, scattered surface artifacts and incarceree-created landscaping. In 2024, the University of Denver’s Department of Anthropology will continue its ongoing collaborative field school at the site and associated museum, followed by analysis and presentation of the resulting data. This project provides a rare opportunity for students and stakeholders to work together investigating the past and its meaning in the present at a national historic site.

Beyond the Ethnic Trap: Pathways From Power Sharing

  • Timothy Sisk, Josef Korbel School of International Studies
  • Grant from United States Institute of Peace (subaward AERDF - Advanced Education Research and Development Fund)
  • Abstract: Escaping the Ethnic Trap explores the conditions under which inclusive governance and human rights can be fostered in contexts where prior conflict dynamics have created an ethnic trap in which identity-based politics undermines social cohesion and the inter-group interdependencies that give rise to sustainable peace.

Training System Assessment and Recommendations

  • Charmaine Brittain, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Grant from Colorado Department of Human Services
  • Abstract: The Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (Butler) will partner with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Support Services (CDHS-CS) to assess their training system and provide recommendations to strengthen it.

Colorado Universal Preschool RFP Development Process Evaluation

  • Whitney Leboeuf, Colorado Evaluation Action Lab
  • Grant from Colorado Department of Early Childhood
  • Abstract: The Colorado Lab will develop a statement of work and support CDEC’s request for proposals (RFP) process to identify a vendor for a multi-year process evaluation of components of Colorado Universal Preschool. This work will result in a final RFP for CDEC, accompanied by recommended response evaluation criteria and vendor selection criteria.

NAACHO Harm Redux

  • Meredith Silverstein, Graduate School of Social Work
  • Grant from Mile High Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
  • Abstract: The Butler Institute for Families at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work (Butler) will provide both evaluation and creative work in support of Mile High Behavioral Healthcare’s project to provide academic detailing for drag artists in Colorado. MHBHC’s academic detailing project will support drag artists to incorporate harm reduction messages into their work in the queer nightlife scene across the state and improve overdose prevention outcomes for LGBTQIA+ Coloradans.

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