2015 Faculty Opportunity Awards Announced

Apr. 6, 2015

The Offices of the President and the Vice President for Research and Economic Development are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Faculty Opportunity Awards, which total approximately $500,000.

The Faculty Opportunity Awards, which were created in 2012, were designed to support faculty research with potential for continued external funding and to provide financial support needed to complete significant scholarly/creative works.

This year, a total of 44 proposals were submitted to this highly competitive awards program in three categories: Individual Investigator Award, Innovation/Technology Award, and Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Award. Faculty-led review panels made recommendations, and a selection panel that included members of the CoRE Council and the Research Council had additional input. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development made final recommendations to the President.

A total of 20 awards will be funded: Twelve are Individual Investigator Awards, one is an Innovation Technology Award, and seven are Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Awards (six Emerging Area Seed Grants and one Center of Excellence Challenge Grant). Congratulations to the recipients, who are listed below.



"Neighborhood Resiliency in West Las Vegas: A Case-Study of Community Engagement, Collective Efficacy, and Neighborhood Attachment"($19,500)

Christie Batson, Department of Sociology


"Traveling Blackness: Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the African Diaspora" ($11,961)

 Manoucheka Celeste, Interdisciplinary Degree Programs/Afro-American Studies

"Obesity and Gait:  A Dynamical Systems Perspective of Osteoarthritis Risk in Young Healthy Adults" ($19,992)

Julia Freedman Silvernail, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences


"Baroque Performance Practice: An Intensive Study of the Baroque Flute and Historical Performance" ($18,000)

Jennifer Grim, Department of Music


“Understanding Differences in Healthcare Access and Quality by Insurance Type” ($12,097)

Amanda Haboush, Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy


"A New Class Of Designs: An Orthogonal Array Composite Design, with Applications to Biomedical Research and Fuel Alternatives" ($15,864)

Jessica Jaynes, Department of Mathematics


"Legislative Institutions and Party Policy Positions in Parliamentary Systems" ($20,000)

Christian Jensen, Department of Political Science


"Radiobiological Determination of Dose Escalation and Normal Tissue Toxicity in Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for the Treatment of Multiple Metastases" ($20,000)

Yu Kuang, Department of Health Physics


"Novel Nanomaterials for Water Purification Using Solar Thermal Energy" ($20,000)

Jaeyun Moon, Department of Mechanical Engineering,


"Establishing a Vertebrate Model for Eye Regeneration" ($20,000)

Ai-Sun Tseng, School of Life Sciences

"Comparative Genomic Analysis of Paenibacillus Larvae Phages" ($20,000)

Philippos Tsourkas, School of Life Sciences


"Towards a Better Understanding of Magmatic Processes on Mercury Using Aubrite Meteorites" ($19,500)

Arya Udry, Department of Geoscience,



"Synthesis of Novel Gamma-aminophosphonate for Pharmaceuticals" ($20,000)

Jun Yong Kang, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry



"Development of Novel Neutron-Photon Tomography Method at the UNLV Particle Accelerator Facility" ($29,911)

Alexander Barzilov, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Emma Regentova, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


"Gender, Judging, and Deportation: The Immigration Appeals Database Pilot Study" ($29,959)

Rebecca Gill, Department of Political Science

Michael Kagan, William S. Boyd College of Law

Fatma Marouf, William S. Boyd College of Law


"Synthesis and Characterization of Catalysts for the Electrochemical Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Liquid Fuels" ($29,556)

David Hatchett, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Clemens Heske, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Paul Forster, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Balakrishnan Naduvalath, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Laszlo Nemeth, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


"Teaching Walton's Argumentation Schemes to Middle and High School Students in Science and Language Arts" ($29,908)

Michael Nussbaum, Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education

CarolAnne Kardash, Department of Educational Psychology & Higher Education

David Vallett, Department of Teaching & Learning

Chyllis Scott, Department of Teaching & Learning

Ian Dove, Department of Philosophy

Margarita Huerta, Department of Educational & Clinical Studies

Nicole Klimow, Secondary English and Language Development Coordinator, Clark County School District


"Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation to Improve Gait Function in Parkinson’s Disease" ($30,000)

Brach Poston, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Science

Merrill Landers, School of Allied Health Sciences


"Nanoantenna-enhanced Super-hydrophobic Surface Enabled Fluorescence Spectroscopy" ($30,000)

Hui Zhao, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Kwang Kim, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Changchun Liu, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania



"Center for Excellence in Consumer Robotics” ($100,000)

Kwang Kim and Paul Oh, Department of Mechanical Engineering