University of Vermont

Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR)

Spring 2015 Faculty Activity Network Opportunities

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and
the Office of the President

Many thanks to the faculty members who have volunteered to host Faculty Activity Network (FAN) gatherings with lunch to follow.

Below are the FAN opportunities for Spring 2015.

[ return to FAN homepage ]

April 6, 2015

UVM MRI Center for Bio-Imaging
Dr. Richard Watts

I would like to host a tour of the UVM MRI Center for Bio-Imaging, which is based around a state-of-the-art 3 Tesla Philips MRI scanner, and has extensive MRI physics support.  While the majority of work that we do is based on human subjects, we welcome innovative collaborations for both biological and non-biological applications of imaging technology.

MRI technology is very safe, amazingly flexible, and can be made sensitive to a wide variety of physical properties, such as fluid flow, blood oxygenation, molecular diffusion and chemical composition. We are also located within the Radiology department, giving us access to other medical imaging technology such as nuclear imaging, PET and CT. For example, we have used high-resolution CT imaging to investigate a mummy located at the Fleming museum. Imaging technology often results in "big data," with many challenges and opportunities for investigators with skills in data analysis and statistics.

MRI is also an excellent example of where scientific and engineering advances (such as developments in nuclear magnetic resonance, superconductors, and high-power RF and DC amplifier engineering) have a direct impact on medical care. 

Up to 5 guests, please RSVP to
Location: McClure 1279, 10:00 - 11:45 am
Lunch: Waterman Manor, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

April 9, 2015

Laboratory and Research
Dr. Daniel Weiss

I have had a long-standing interest in lung repair and regeneration after injury, notably gene and cell therapy approaches for lung diseases. In particular, this has included developing novel techniques with which to investigate and enhance lung gene and cell therapies. Recent published work in cell therapy approaches for lung diseases has included several benchmark publications that have included the first ever trial of cell therapy for emphysema and that have helped define whether exogenous cells can engraft in the lung. As such, I view myself as a translational scientist whose work spans from bench top to clinical trials. My overall goal is to provide a firm scientific basis for clinical application of cell therapies in lung diseases. I have been funded by the NIH and by non-profit Respiratory Disease Foundations since 1995.

Up to 5 guests, please RSVP to
Location: Given C-352, 10:00 - 11:30 am
Lunch: Waterman Manor, 11:30am - 12:30pm

April 14, 2015

Center for Research on Vermont
Canadian Studies and Energy Transitions Team
Drs. Richard Watts, David Massell and Jennie Stephens

"Power from the North" was a two-day faculty-led conference on March 23rd and 24th at the University of Vermont that brought together leading policy makers, energy professionals and academics from both sides of the international border to consider the increasingly important Quebec-Vermont/New England electric energy relationship. The conference examined the "story" of this evolving relationship, including its social, economic and environmental consequences.

In this FAN event, the coordinators of the conference will sit down with interested faculty to discuss potential future initiatives and related research that would build on the success of this event and explore research collaborations with and related to cross-border Vermont-Quebec issues.

Up to 10 guests, please RSVP to
Location: Geography Conference Room, Old Mill, 11:00am - 12:00pm
Lunch: Waterman Manor, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

April 16, 2015

Center for Rural Studies
Dr. Jane Kolodinsky

The Center for Rural Studies (CRS) at the University of Vermont works with people and communities to address social, economic and resource-based challenges through applied research, community outreach, program evaluation and consulting. As Director, I would love to host a FAN gathering to acquaint faculty across the campus to our center, resources and collaboration potential. Our areas of expertise include:

  • Survey Research: CRS is knowledgeable about survey planning, including selection of survey instruments and methods, and is capable of implementing mail, phone and online surveys, as well as analyzing and reporting results.
  • Program Evaluation: CRS offers process- and outcome-focused evaluation services for social service agencies that inform self-assessment and strategic planning.
  • Community Data: CRS is a champion in database development for access to information by thoughtfully developing a database system to compile information and create a user interface to easily access that information.
  • Community Planning: From organization of a community farmer's market to transportation planning, CRS supports community planning in small and big ways.
  • Focus Groups: Another way to gather information from a set audience is through focus groups. CRS has experience in planning for and conducting focus groups both in Vermont and beyond.
  • Outreach and Capacity Building: Turn an important meeting into one that clearly meets its goals and instills understanding and sense of purpose among participants. CRS offers facilitation services that can add value to your organization.

Up to 15 guests, please RSVP to
Location: 206 Morrill Hall, 10:00 - 11:45 am
Lunch: Waterman Manor, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

April 28, 2015

Psychological Science
Dr. Alice Schermerhorn

Which children are at greatest risk of adjustment problems in the context of stress? What mechanisms underlie their elevated risk? And, do some children trigger more stressful events? These are some of the questions we are examining in my lab.

We're using event-related potential (ERP) techniques (the portion of the electroencephalogram that is time-locked to stimulus onset) to examine one potential mechanism underlying risk. Specifically, we're examining neuropsychological correlates of children's viewing stress-related stimuli in the lab. We are also measuring cortisol and alpha-amylase in saliva, as well as using questionnaires, interviews and observational methods.

Potential points for collaboration could pertain to those topics and/or involve methods we're using in my lab. In addition, the large volume of data we're collecting could be relevant to researchers in computer science and statistics with interests in "big data." Our meeting will include discussion of each of our research areas and identification of shared interests, discussion of potential collaborative efforts, and identification of potential funding mechanisms.

Up to 6 guests, please RSVP to
Location: Dewey 342, 10:00 - 11:45 am
Lunch: Waterman Manor, 12:00 - 1:00 pm

May 6, 2015

Li Laboratory of Human Genetics and Genomics
Dr. Dawei Li

My research is about the genetics and genomics underlying human diseases and health conditions. Our research team (two postdocs and two graduate students) has experimental and computational skills related to genomics and epigenomics research.

Genomics is a tool to study the genetic mechanisms for all living species. Next-generation deep sequencing provides unprecedented opportunities to study new questions that could not have been answered before. Recent advances using genomics have triggered a wave of revolutions in discovery-based research and are helping us to understand even the most complex systems, such as the human brain.

Our laboratory is using high-throughput sequencing technologies and analytic approaches to study the genomes of both diseased and healthy humans, primarily on genetic predisposition to psychiatric disorders and addiction. Our methodology could also be applied to other model organisms such as animals, plants and microbes. In hosting this meeting, we wish to reach out to other faculty who might find it useful to implement a genomics tool in their own research models. This includes physicians, plant biologists, animal scientists, and so on. After the two-hour meeting, participants will have a better idea of how genomics might be useful in their research, and how our lab might help.

Up to 10 guests, please RSVP to
Location: Hills Building, Rm 8 (Ground Floor), 10:00 - 11:45 am
Lunch: Waterman Manor, 12:00 - 1:00 pm