ATLANTA—Georgia State University will fund eight faculty proposals as part of its Next Generation faculty program, a successor to the Second Century Initiative, which has brought 61 new faculty positions to the university over the last five years. Funding for the proposals is expected to be about $2 million in the next year.
The Next Generation program aims to build broadly recognized strength around core and emerging research and scholarly themes that have strategic importance to the university. The program will build new faculty strength in innovative scholarly and research areas to maintain our growing scholarly trajectory and recruit in these strategic areas a diverse cadre of faculty who can engage our diverse community of students.
Seventeen proposals were submitted in January. A university-wide faculty committee appointed by the provost reviewed the proposals and made funding recommendations.
Astroinformatics: The Solar/Stellar Connection Research Cluster
Rafal Angryk (Computer Science), Petrus Martens and Stuart Jefferies (Physics and Astronomy), College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA)
The proposal aims to build an interdisciplinary center for studying Space Weather and Space Climate using solar and stellar observations along with big data analytics to understand the impact of solar activity on the Earth. It forms a unique center for space weather forecasting, a national priority aimed at predicting solar activity and mitigating its impact on the Earth. The plan is to position Georgia State as a leader in the relatively new, interdisciplinary and dynamically growing field of data-driven space weather prediction. The proposal furthers the globalization of the university by strengthening and adding international collaborations in research and education in big data, space weather and astroinformatics.
Future of Cities Research Institute
Mary Beth Walker, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies), Ann-Margaret Esnard (Public Management and Policy and the Council for the Progress of Cities), David Sjoquist (Economics), Sally Wallace (Economics and the Fiscal Research Center), Elizabeth Beck (School of Social Work), Volkan Topalli (Criminal Justice and Criminology), Joseph Hacker (Public Management and Policy), Stuart Shalat (School of Public Health)
Georgia State’s strategic plan commits to becoming a leader in understanding and solving the complex challenges of cities and urbanization. With urbanization comes a host of issues and complex challenges that span housing, economy, health, infrastructure, education and governance. Population composition and density, the economic base, technology, global warming, transportation, the transmission of communicable diseases, public finances and the provision of education and other social services (among other issues) will continue to change in predictable and unpredictable ways. This proposal calls for the creation of the Future of Cities Research Institute (specific name to be determined) that will leverage strengths in multidisciplinary collaboration across the university with a focus on challenges and solutions for cities, and promote engagement among various units in the university and cities represented by government and organizations that address the challenges cities face.
Global Research Against Non-Communicable Disease (GRAND) Initiative
Michael Eriksen (School of Public Health), the Andrew Young School, the Lewis School of Nursing and Health Professions, and the College of Arts and Sciences
The GRAND Initiative will address the growing global threat of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental illness. NCDs, also referred to as chronic diseases, are the leading cause of mortality around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. These health problems have long been the major cause of death and disease in high-income countries and are growing at alarming rates in low- and middle-income countries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that NCD deaths now exceed all communicable, maternal and perinatal nutrition-related deaths combined. By 2020, NCDs are expected to account for seven of every 10 deaths worldwide.
This initiative will extend Georgia State’s interdisciplinary expertise in the risk factors of tobacco use, obesity, asthma, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, mental health and alcohol, as well as cross-cutting intervention methods of epidemiology, disease modeling, behavior change, health economics and health policy. The GRAND Initiative will hire new faculty who will collaborate with current faculty to develop strategies to reduce the global burden of these diseases, help more people enjoy longer, healthier, more productive lives and reduce overall healthcare costs.
Innovative Research at the Interface of Social Neuroscience and Physiological Regulation
Walt Wilczynski (Neuroscience Institute), Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Center for Inflammation, Immunity and Infection, Center for Obesity Reversal, Center for Neuromics, Neurogenomic Program
This proposal seeks to extend the interdisciplinary component of Georgia State’s research by stimulating new research projects across existing units. It proposes collaborative research linking social neuroscience with research in regulatory neuroscience, physiology and genomics, areas central to the research programs in the Center for Inflammation, Immunity, and Infection, the Center for Obesity Reversal, the Center for Neuromics, and the Neurogenomics 2CI. The cluster will stimulate new cross-cutting research in an area of rapidly growing interest and important translational implications: the mechanisms underlying the mutual interaction of social behavior and the body’s regulatory systems. Research at the intersection of social neuroscience and these fundamental regulatory processes of the brain, body and genome represents a new and exciting direction with important basic and translational implications.
Integrative Understanding of Infectious Diseases
Yi Jiang (Mathematics and Statistics) Jian-Dong Li (Institute of Biomedical Sciences), Dr. Ming Luo, (Chemistry), and Gerardo Chowell (School of Public Health), Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Infectious diseases are posing ever-increasing threat to human health and economy, in particular in this ever more connected and warming world, where new viral, bacterial and fungal pathogens can find novel hosts and ecologic niches. Georgia State has a critical mass of core capabilities for the study of infectious diseases, especially in infection, inflammation, immune response, antimicrobial drug design and epidemiology, but is less developed in its integrated mathematical modeling and data analysis capabilities. This proposal will hire new faculty in microbiome, host-pathogen interactions and antibiotic resistance to fill the identified gaps with emphasis on mathematical modeling and big data analysis.
Geert de Vries (Neuroscience Institute), Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Center for Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Center for Inflammation, Immunity & Infection, Center of Molecular and Translational Medicine, and Center for Obesity Reversal, Institute for Biomedical Sciences, Biology, Chemistry
It is proposed to develop a center of excellence in neuroinflammation. It takes advantage of already existing strengths in neuroscience, immunology / inflammation research and medicinal chemistry at Georgia State. A center of neuroinflammation allows for the development of innovative approaches for studying brain function, which will ultimately strengthen translational (clinically relevant) neuroscience research at the university.
Research on the Challenges to Acquiring Language and Literacy (RCALL)
Amy Lederberg (Educational Psychology, Special Education & Communication Disorders), Rose Sevcik (Psychology), College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Development
Language and literacy are essential foundational skills for developing relationships, participating in education, obtaining employment and ultimately making a contribution to society. Georgia State’s area of focus on Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy (RCALL) emphasizes research, graduate and undergraduate student training, and dissemination of knowledge focused on improving the outcomes of children and adults who face challenges acquiring adequate language and literacy skills. This includes focus on adult literacy, reading and learning disabilities, children and adults speaking multiple languages or dialects, children with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities and hearing loss. There is particular interest in recruiting experience in cutting-edge technology (such as adaptive technologies, conversational agents, neuro-imaging, virtual reality) and methodology (such as complex longitudinal data, ecological momentary assessment, adaptive interventions, integrative data analysis and single-case designs).
Unstructured Data Analytics
Sanjay Srivastava and Arun Rai, Robinson College of Business, and Rafal Angryk and Raj Sunderraman, College of Arts and Sciences
This proposal focuses on developing Georgia State’s unstructured data analytic capabilities. The proposal builds on the existing strengths of the university in spatiotemporal analysis, data mining and machine learning, graph data management and mining, business analytics and the study of digital innovation in business and society. Unstructured data (social media interactions, online activity, sensor data, emails, reports, presentations, voice mail, chat records, phone notes, photographs, video and so on) increasingly represent the vast majority of data in organizations. Computer World says unstructured information might account for more than 70-80 percent of data in organizations. Unstructured data hold enormous information about a company’s customers, employees, products, suppliers and competitors and great promise for developing better products, processes and customer relationships.