UCRCA Abstracts from Awarded Faculty Proposals 2010-2011
The University Committee on Research and Creative Activity (UCRCA) encourages research and creative activity by UNO faculty. The committee places special emphasis on seed grant funding for projects potentially leading to external funding, and on grants to new faculty to help them establish programs of research/creative activity.
Genetic Analysis of Parkinsonism/Dementia and Multiple Sclerosis
Bruce Chase , Biology
Parkinson's disease (PD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) are chronic, progressive
neurological diseases whose causes include genetic factors. Familial forms of PD result from
different single-gene mutations, while familial clustering ofMS results from shared genetic risk
factors that increase susceptibility to environmental triggers. The long-term aim of this research
is to understand the mechanism by which genetic factors contribute to PD and MS in a unique,
large kindred where both diseases are found. UCRCA funding will be used to identify the gene
causing PD and assess MS-risk factors in this kindred.
Barriers to Faith-Based HIV Prevention
Jason Coleman, Health, Physical Education and Recreation
This proposal seeks to identify barriers to conducting HIV prevention interventions in African
American faith-based organizations (FBOs), including churches and other houses of worship, in
Omaha. Research will be conducted using qualitative methods, including interviewing African
American religious leaders followed by data analysis using a grounded theory approach. The
investigator will assemble an advisory committee of key stakeholders to identify and recruit
participants. Results of this study will be used to provide preliminary data for an application to
the National Institutes of Health for further research into faith-based HIV prevention.
Microscopy of Aerosol Particles
Joshua Darr, Chemistry
Aerosols are solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in a gas. Aerosols have
important implications for health, pollution, and climate. In order to carry out experiments on
aerosols, the type of particle under investigation needs to be characterized for properties such as
particle size distribution and shape. A technique that is commonly used in characterizing these
properties is scanning electron microscopy. This proposal involves preliminary work focused on
determining the best means of preparing aerosol samples for analysis using scanning electron
The Jump Off
Wanda Ewing, Art and Art History
Society regularly objectifies the female form. In mainstream
entertainment, it’s ever present in Hip Hop culture. Scantly clad
women perform in rap music videos exuding sexuality. In this industry,
are women being taken advantage of or is it the women who are in
control? Does it matter? I’ll explore this subject by creating a wall
mural depicting the interior of a nightclub with erotic dancers. Relief
printed pieces of canvas will be sewn together, making an image
measuring 10’ x 15’. Areas of the mural will be adorned with glass
beads and stuffed with cotton batting, making the surface threedimensional.
Animal-Assisted Reading Programs with Grade-School Children
Lisa Kelly-Vance and Rosemary Strasser, Psychology
The purpose of this study is to introduce Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) into a summer reading program with
students who are at-risk for reading difficulties. The program involves reading to dogs and learning about how to care
for them. The impact of the program will be assessed by a measure of reading fluency and a scale to determine
change in children’s knowledge of, attitude towards, and behavior with dogs. We will also assess the effect therapy
dogs have on children’s stress level while reading by collecting salivary cortisol levels in children before and after
interaction with a therapy dog.
How to be a Sage King: The Form and Content of Political Philosophy in
Traditional Neo-Confucian Korea
Halla Kim, Philosophy
Korea has long been recognized as one of the most Confucian countries in the world.
This study will make an assessment of the Neo-Confucian state ideology underlying the
traditional Korean political system with an emphasis on the ideal of a sage king. Forming the
initial stage of a process that will lead to a book-length manuscript, the project is a presentation of
a full history and interpretation of the origin, reception, and development of the ideal of political
authenticity under the guise of a sage king and its cultural impact in the traditional Korean
Investigation of a possible Devonian metamorphic core complex in Svalbard Norway
Harmon Maher, Geography/Geology
Based on reconnaissance work a research team I belong to believes that an
unrecognized, large scale and distinctive geologic feature called a metamorphic core
complex exists on Svalbard, Norway, possibly an uncommon or new variant. Core
complexes form where an upper and tapered crustal slab is pulled off lower hotter rocks
that respond to form, essentially, a giant blister. UCRCA funding would allow studying of
the Svalbard feature in enough detail to publish and inform the geologic community of its
existence and type. Understanding of a disputed plate motion history and of crustal
dynamics will also be improved.
Harry Duncan, The Cummington Press and Abattoir Editions at the Criss Library
Marvel Maring and Rene Erlandson, Criss Library
From 1972-1985, Harry Duncan was the resident fine press printer on the UNO
campus and the proprietor of The Cummington Press and Abattoir Editions.
Responsible for printing Robert Lowell's first book of poetry, Duncan also
worked with William Carlos Williams, Tennessee Williams, Wallace Stevens and
others. With a world- class reputation, his legacy is a goldmine for literary and
book history researchers. Currently, this work remains largely unexplored in the
depths of Special Collections. Our aim is to curate an exhibition with an online
and print catalog of Duncan's fine press work while highlighting a unique aspect
of UNO's past.
Comparison of Clinical Measures of Posture, Strength, Balance, and Landing Mechanics in ACL
Melanie McGrath, Health, Physical Education and Recreation
Injuries to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) are one of the most debilitating of
athletic injuries, and lead to significant long-term health risks. Athletes that participate in soccer,
basketball, and football are at the greatest risk of injury. Recent evidence suggests that
undergoing ACL reconstruction places these athletes at even greater risk of injury, but little
research has examined the differences between ACL reconstructed athletes and healthy controls.
Our aim is to examine multiple measures of posture, balance, strength, and landing mechanics in
ACL reconstructed athletes, to determine risk factors for future ACL re-injury and the
development of osteoarthrtis.
Hybrid vs. Traditional Learning in Beginning Language Classes: A Pilot Study
Anita Saalfeld, Foreign Languages and Literature
Most current research indicates that students enrolled in blended classrooms (classrooms using online and face-to-face instruction) for foreign languages perform as well as students in face-to-face classes, however, one study indicated lower writing proficiency for students in hybrid classes. The present study investigates various aspects of language proficiency, including grammatical proficiency, reading comprehension, listening comprehension, writing, and speaking, in order to assess the efficacy of hybrid courses being piloted in AY2010-2011. Participants will be students enrolled in Spanish 1110 in Fall 2010, and Spanish 1120 in Spring 2011. A subset of participants will be recruited for assessing writing and speaking.
International Guest Conductor and Conducting and Repertoire Master Class Presentation
James Saker, Music
James R. Saker has been invited to serve as a guest conductor with the Jazeps Medins Riga Music School Wind Orchestra from Latvia in a performance and informational presentation for the Forum of Wind Orchestra and Ensemble Conductors presented by the Cultural Ministry of the Republic of Latvia and held at the Latvian Academy of Music. Guest conductors from Estonia, Finland, Germany, Holland, Lithuania, Slovenia and Latvia will collaborate on conducting techniques and interpretation of Wind Orchestra repertoire of the Baltic States and Scandinavian Composers. A series of conducting masterclasses with students and faculty from the Latvian Academy of Music with several of the guest conductors will be presented during which score analysis and interpretation, conducting technique, and performance practices will be exchanged. In the week following the formal program Saker will consult with conductors at the Latvian Music Academy, the University of Latvia, and Latvian Intermediate Level Music School to observe rehearsals and conducting lessons and exchange information about the preparation of wind orchestra conductors. He also will visit Latvian Community and School music programs to observe and conduct their Wind and Symphony Orchestra rehearsals.
Impact of Recovery Environment on Cold Induced Muscle Adaptation
Dustin Slivka, Health, Physical Education and Recreation
The primary purpose of this project is to determine the effects that post exercise environmental
temperature has on human muscle adaptive response after acute exercise in the cold. Previous research
by the primary investigator has demonstrated that cold exposure during exercise when followed by cold
exposure during recovery can stimulate an enhanced muscle adaptive response over warmer temperatures.
From this previous research the importance of recovery temperature is unclear. The muscle samples for
the proposed study have been collected at the University of Montana as part of a different project and will
be shipped to UNO upon funding.
Recognition Memory in Older Adults
Amy Fair Teten, Special Education and Communication Disorders
The purpose of the proposed research is to examine whether healthy older adults (GA) and older
adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCl) are differentially affected by the level of specificity required
in tests of recognition memory. Pmticipants in the two groups will be asked to study words presented in
different contexts and then complete a series of recognition tests. Test lists will require recollection of
either specific or more general aspects of initial encoding. Compared to healthy GA, adults with MCI are
expected to have greater difficulty using controlled retrieval processes to access specific information.
The Effect of Huddling Behavior on Metabolic Rates in Southern Flying Squirrels
James Wilson, Biology
Animals adapt to winter by migrating, hibernating, developing insulation, or
huddling. Flying squirrels do not hibernate, but do utilize group huddling in
winter to reduce the energetic demands of thermoregulation. However, the
amount of energy savings obtained from huddling is unknown. This study will
measure the energy savings of group huddling by flying squirrels. We hypothesize
that total group metabolism will be lower than the sum of the metabolism of each
individual in the group when exposed to cold alone. Understanding how animals
behaviorally reduce winter thermal costs will determine how best to manage
habitat to facilitate energy saving behaviors.
A Novel Technique of Video Quality Improvement for Public Safety
Quiming Zhu, Computer Science
As video surveillance technology becomes indispensable in public safety and law enforcement around the world, one thing is clear: image quality is paramount. Because of the immense quantities of video data, compression techniques are widely used to reduce the data sizes with certain quality losses for storing and transmission. A novel technique called no-reference quality assessment will be investigated in order to maintain sufficient quality of the videos while remaining efficient for data storage and live transmission. The research results will lead to more effective use of digital videos in public safety and other commercial applications.