Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

February 20, 2015
by Baylor OVPR

OVPR, URSA seek nominations for third annual URSA Awards in Excellence and Service

The Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Achievement Steering Committee are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 URSA Awards in Excellence and Service.  The awards recognize Baylor faculty members, staff members and students whose hard work has made positive contributions to the university’s undergraduate research programs.

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February 9, 2015
by Baylor OVPR

Baylor professor receives NIH grant to study connection between early-life seizures and autism


Dr. Joaquin Lugo, who recently received a grant from the NIH for his research project, “Signaling mechanisms underlying epilepsy and autism comorbidity.”

Dr. Joaquin Lugo, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health for research aimed at understanding the link between early-life seizures and autism-like behavioral problems later in life.  The three-year, $415,500 grant was awarded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the NIH.

Children who suffer from epilepsy can carry a range of behavioral and mental problems into adolescence and adulthood, including changes in learning and memory, social difficulties and autism, Lugo says, but the mechanisms underlying these comorbidities is not fully understood.

To shed light on the relationship between these disorders, Lugo and his team will study the effect of seizures at different stages of development on later behavior in mice. They will also examine changes that seizures may cause in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway – a neurological pathway involved in communication between neurons in the brain.

“We’re looking at the long-term effects of seizures that occur early in life to determine whether they contribute to autism on a molecular level,” Lugo says. “We know that molecular changes to the mTOR signaling pathway in the brain are associated with both epilepsy and autism, so this research will help to determine whether the processes may be related.”

In the longer term, Lugo hopes that understanding the role of the mTOR pathway in both epilepsy and autism could eventually lead to development of new treatments.

“This project is the first of many steps in a continuum of research that will systematically identify the autistic-like behavioral changes and alterations in the mTOR signaling pathway that occur after seizures,” he says. “Ultimately, the research could provide treatments for the behavioral and molecular alterations that occur in individuals with autism and epilepsy.”

Preliminary data for the proposal was gathered with funding from the Young Investigator Development Program, an internal research grant program that provides seed funding to help recently appointed, tenure-track faculty develop competitive proposals for external funding.

Click here to learn more about the research on Lugo’s lab website.

February 5, 2015
by Baylor OVPR

Department of Energy offers Graduate Student Research Grants for 2015

DOEThe Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science is now accepting applications for the 2015 Science Graduate Student Research Grants (SCGSR). Applications are due on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

The SCGSR program supports supplemental awards to outstanding U.S. graduate students to conduct part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE national laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist for a period of 3 to 12 consecutive months—with the goal of preparing graduate students for scientific and technical careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission.

The SCGSR program is open to current Ph.D. students in qualified graduate programs at accredited U.S. academic institutions who are conducting their graduate thesis research in targeted areas of importance to the DOE Office of Science. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories. The supplemental award provides for additional, incremental costs for living and travel expenses directly associated with conducting the SCGSR research project at the DOE host laboratory during the award period.

The Office of Science expects to make approximately 100 awards in 2015, for project periods beginning anytime between Oct. 2015 and Sept. 2016.

Click here to view detailed information about the program including eligibility requirements and access to the online application system.

February 4, 2015
by Baylor OVPR

Call for proposals: Christian Scholars Networking Grants

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is offering networking grants to mobilize CCCU faculty to create and disseminate high-quality scholarship that brings Christian voices into contemporary academic conversations. Small teams of scholars (3-6) are invited to apply for 1-year Planning Grants ($3,000) or 3-year Initiative Grants ($18,000).

Applications are due March 2, 2015. To learn more, please go to the CCCU Networking Grants for Christian Scholars web page.

February 2, 2015
by Baylor OVPR

NSF announces spring 2015 grants conference

The National Science Foundation has announced its 2015 spring grants conference. The two-day event will feature presentations from NSF officials on topics including current agency priorities, upcoming funding opportunities, strategies for proposal development and administrative issues related to sponsored research.

There will also be breakout sessions organized by scientific discipline and opportunities for networking with program officers, colleagues and administrators from universities across the nation. Investigators who are considering applying for NSF research funding— especially new faculty members — are encouraged to attend.

June 1-2, 2015.

The conference will take place in Tampa, Florida, hosted by the State University System of Florida.

Click here to learn more on the NSF’s outreach website. Prospective attendees may also click here to sign up to receive notification when the conference’s registration is available.