Faculty Development Council Fellows Awardees

The Faculty Development Council Fellows Program (FDCFP) was created in 2019 to provide junior faculty with a structured, incentivized framework for developing a significant proposal for external funding or prestigious fellowships. The broader goal of the program is to support outstanding faculty who have a future as accomplished grant seekers and mentors to faculty who are their juniors.  

Due to the pandemic, the Fellows program was not conducted in 2021, but it returned in 2022.

2022 Awardees

Michael Dipasquale

Dr. Michael Dipasquale
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
College of Arts and Sciences

"Polynomials in many variables: theory, computation, and applications"

Abstract: Multivariate polynomials are one of the mainstays of pure and applied mathematics. Their study motivates two major branches of mathematics – algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. They are also key to a tremendous number of applications, such as coding theory, cryptography, computer-aided geometric design, mechanical engineering, data-fitting, algebraic statistics, and robotics. The topics in this proposal are related to three areas of application. First is computer-aided geometric design, where piecewise polynomials (called splines) are used to build and model complex designs in a computer. The second is mechanical engineering, where the objects of study are rigid structures and their motions. Third is data-fitting; known in mathematics as interpolation. Each of these connects to difficult problems in algebraic geometry and commutative algebra – the idea is to use these connections to study pure and applied aspects of these problems.

Joanna Furno

Dr. Joanna Furno
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
College of Arts and Sciences

"Limits in Mating and Higher-Dimensional Dynamics"

Abstract: In mathematics, we often use simpler approximations to understand the behavior of more complicated objects (in the limit). My past work uses simpler functions to approximate more complicated functions. In a proposal to the Analysis Program at the NSF, I will propose taking these simpler functions and using a method called mating to glue them together, in order to see if it is possible to glue together the more complicated functions. Additionally, I will propose looking for similar approximations in higher-dimensional spaces and extending one-dimensional results to that context. These projects will extend my research program into active areas of current research. Additionally, NSF funding will provide support for remedial and enrichment activities for middle- and high-school students, improving the mathematical preparation of potential future students of the University of South Alabama.


▼   2020 Awardees
Dr. Ryan Colquhoun

Dr. Ryan Colquhoun
Assistant Professor, Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport
College of Education and Professional Studies

"Influence of Exercise on Postprandial Responses to a Standard High-Fat Meal"

Abstract: Obesity and/or cardiovascular disease affects more than 1 in 2 Americans with current projections predicting a continual increase for the foreseeable future. As the vast majority of the US population spends their day in a post-meal state, a recent emphasis has been placed on understanding the metabolic response to a meal, termed the postprandial response. Poor postprandial responses have been linked to a sustained increase of LDL, triglycerides, and glucose, all of which have potentially catastrophic consequences on overall health. However, exercise has been shown to mediate these negative responses, leading to greater tolerance of the meal and dampened cardiovascular stress. However, it is unclear whether the intensity of the exercise effects the postprandial response. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to examine the effects of two different exercise protocols on the postprandial response. The target funding for this project is the American Heart Association’s Institutional Research Enhancement Award.

Dr. Kendrea Garand

Dr. Kendrea Garand
Assistant Professor, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology
Pat Capps Covey College of Allied Health Professions

"Developing a NIH R21 Proposal to Determine Adherence and Efficacy of a Respiratory-Swallow Training Paradigm in ALS"

Abstract: A daily average of 15 people are diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with an average life expectancy of only 2 to 5 years. There is no cure. Management is targeted toward symptom relief with attempt to delay disease progression for the 16,000 Americans living with ALS. Swallowing dysfunction (dysphagia) emerges in the majority of patients with ALS, with aspiration pneumonia remaining a leading cause of death. This proposal is designed with the overarching goal to submit a competitive NIH R21 grant application examining the efficacy of a novel intervention to improve respiratory-swallow coordination for patients with ALS. Thus, its Aims and Budget request relate to increasing competitiveness through targeted networking. This application extends from current preliminary work supported through the Faculty Development Council Grant (Track 1) mechanism. This proposed seminal study will address the current gap in behavioral treatments targeting respiratory-swallow coordination for patients with dysphagia resulting from ALS.

Dr. Jianing Han

Dr. Jianing Han
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
College of Arts and Sciences

"Magnetic field tuned van der Waals repulsion"

Abstract: The research objective is to experimentally study the fundamental repulsive van der Waals interactions. Van der Waals interactions are investigated in physics, chemistry, biology, and other fields of sciences. A common misconception about van der Waals interactions is that they are attractive. This is only true for ground-state atoms. For excited atoms, van der Waals interactions can be repulsive. Since the discovery of van der Waals interactions in the 1870s, repulsive van der Waals interactions have rarely been studied until recently in ultracold gases. My long-term career goal is to study fundamental repulsive van der Waals interactions. This proposal focuses on experimentally and theoretically examining the repulsive van der Waals interactions through the following experiment: laser and microwave spectroscopy on repulsive van der Waals interactions. In addition, an external magnetic field will be applied to adjust the van der Waals repulsion.

Dr. Henry Lester

Dr. Henry Lester
Assistant Professor, Department of Systems Engineering
College of Engineering

"NSF CAREER: Decision Analytics of Interdependent System-of-System Infrastructure Resiliency Subject to Extreme Events"

Abstract: The purpose of this Faculty Development Council Fellowship is to facilitate a competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) proposal. The primary funding target program for this NSF CAREER proposal is the Humans, Disasters, and Built Environment program under the Engineering Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation. The NSF CAREER proposal will focus on increasing the understanding of decision analytics relevant to community resiliency subject to extreme events, which will entail understanding the interactions between community population and the environment. The proposal will incorporate a holistic approach viewing the community elements as a network of systems requiring community engagement to capture critical decision measurements. The basis for the resultant $500,000 NSF CAREER proposal is the principal investigator’s previous disaster research and the desired outcome is the establishment of the principal investor as a leader in field of infrastructure system resiliency.

▼   2019 Awardees
Dr. Eddie Duranty

Dr. Eddie Duranty
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
College of Arts and Sciences

"Development of Novel EM Absorbent Ionic Liquid-Based Materials Containing Noble Metal Nanoparticles"

Abstract: This proposal seeks funding for initial measurement of the EM absorption characteristics of ionic liquid droplets containing gold nanoparticles while isolated within a standing acoustic wave and for travel to the Army Research Office (ARO) to meet with Dr. Robert Mantz. This funding will provide the basis for a larger project proposal suitable for submission to the ARO’s Young Investigator Program (YIP), and more specifically to the Chemical Sciences program within ARO, proposing the development of new and improved sensor and wireless communications denial capabilities and EM-resistant construction materials. Such materials have demonstrated promise for being aerosolized into a mist-like changeable Faraday cage or integrated into a 3D-printed polymer substrate generated using stereolithographic 3D printing. A successful YIP proposal would establish the PI in the fields of acoustic levitation and small volume chemistry while also funding up $120,000 per year for up to three years.

Dr. Chrystal Lewis

Dr. Chrystal Lewis
Assistant Professor, Department of Adult Health Nursing
College of Nursing

"Palliative Care Needs of Patients with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: A Patient-Centered Research Initiative"

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Palliative care is a holistic care approach, with an emphasis on quality of life, symptom management, and patient and family support. The provision of palliative care is for all serious illnesses, not exclusively for the end of life as commonly believed. Palliative care needs in patients with rare diseases is not well studied. A recent pilot, exploratory study on palliative care needs in patients with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome resulted in over 250 completed online surveys within a two week time period, when anticipated participation was maximum 45 participants, reflecting the patient interest in receiving palliative care.

PROPOSED STUDY: Patient-stakeholder groups will be convened to provide valuable insight
into prioritizing ongoing palliative care research. Patient-stakeholder groups will also provide feedback on proposed interventions for an R21 grant proposal for the National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR).

Dr. Brooks Rabideau

Dr. Brooks Rabideau
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
College of Engineering

"Large-Scale Computational Screening & Experimental Testing of Novel Ionic Liquids for Cellulose Dissolution"

Abstract: In this work, the PI proposes research that will answer fundamental questions about the molecular-level driving forces of cellulose dissolution in ionic liquids, while focusing on a very practical application: the development of novel IL-based solvent systems for biomass dissolution that are cheaper and more effective than their conventional counterparts. Specifically, the PI will focus on two main topic areas: the improvement of existing quaternary ammonium and phosphonium hydroxide solvent systems and the large- scale computational screening of theoretical ILs for the discovery of novel IL-based solvent systems. This work will combine molecular-level simulations and quick computational screening methods with experimental measurements of cellulose dissolution in ionic liquids. The PI will leverage the existing expertise in ionic liquids within the university to validate the molecular simulations and use these derived insights to help guide the selection process.

Dr. Stephanie Smallegan

Dr. Stephanie Smallegan
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Coastal, and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering

"Morphological change of developed barrier islands to future tropical cyclones"

Abstract: The project to be proposed for a NSF CAREER award is to i) improve our understanding of developed barrier island morphodynamics during hurricanes and sea level rise; and ii) use community outreach and education to develop and evaluate adaptation strategies to mitigate damage by future storms on developed barrier islands. It is extremely difficult to predict morphological changes, such as erosion and deposition, on developed barrier islands, which is further complicated by the interactions between civil infrastructure and complex hydrodynamics during storms. This is in part due to numerical model limitations, lack of field data, and constraints on computational power. While considering these constraints, the project proposed will decrease the uncertainty in modelling morphodynamics by simulating several hurricanes, sea level rise scenarios, and adaptation strategies through graduate and undergraduate education. Students will work closely with local citizens to develop and evaluate conceivable adaptation strategies for their communities.