Five research teams selected for Catalyst for Innovative Partnership funding


Five interdisciplinary teams of researchers from across Colorado State University have been selected by the Office of the Vice President for Research to form a third cohort for the Catalyst for Innovative Partnership funding program.

These teams were selected from a pool of competitive applicants to pursue important issues in our society by using research partnerships to create new opportunities and solutions.

“The CIP program is a leading interdisciplinary program, providing significant resources to teams to enable them to pursue their passions and create new solutions to some of our most important societal problems,” said Alan Rudolph, vice-president president of research at CSU. “Our office is mobilizing significant resources to help these teams realize their dreams, and we are proud of the results of the first two cohorts which have led to substantial results.”

Each team will receive seed funding of up to $200,000. Teams benefit from infrastructure support provided by OVPR to foster the creation and delivery of solutions. This includes exposure to translation and commercialization opportunities, partnerships within the team and disciplines, and partnerships external to the University.

“The financial returns from these teams are significant, but the impacts far exceed these results for our institution,” Rudolph said.

OVPR launched the CIP program in 2015, investing more than $2 million in the first two cohorts, which has yielded more than $23 million in research grants by these teams.

2020 Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships Teams

Accelerating Translational Research on Aging at CSU: Developing an Innovative Comparative Pipeline

Building on the launch of the Columbine Health System Center for Healthy Aging, this team will explore novel correlations in aging in dogs as key models of human age-related cognitive decline. They will compare cell aging in pets and humans to study the correlations and mechanisms of human aging and disease.

This team is co-led by Karyn Hamilton, Professor of Health and Exercise Sciences and Director of the Translational Research Laboratory in Aging and Chronic Disease; Tom LaRocca, assistant professor of health and exercise science; Nicole Ehrhart, professor of clinical sciences and director of the Columbine Health System Center for Healthy Aging; Deana Davalos, professor of psychology; Haonan Wang, professor and director of the Department of Statistics; Qian Zhang Professional Research Associate in Health and Exercise Science and Devin Wahl, Ph.D. Research Fellow in Health and Exercise Science.

Soil Carbon Solutions: Mitigating Climate Change Through Cutting-Edge Research and Implementation

CSU is well positioned to contribute to solutions to the climate change threats facing our society. This team will explore soil-based solutions as an essential carbon dioxide greenhouse gas removal technology and improve sustainable food, fiber and bioenergy production, as well as environmental health.

This team is co-led by Keith Paustian, University Professor Emeritus of Soil and Crop Sciences and Principal Investigator in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory; Francesca Cotrufo, Professor of Soil and Crop Sciences; Dale Manning, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics; Jennifer Soong, Research Scientist in Soil and Crop Sciences; and Bryan Willson, executive director of the Energy Institute and professor of mechanical engineering.

Accelerator of the Center for the Metabolism of Infectious Diseases (C4MInD)

The recent COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the complexity of diseases that can evolve rapidly in our society. C4MInD represents the first academic effort that targets the link and roles between metabolism and infectious diseases. C4MInD’s mission is to enable the development of new treatments, preventions and diagnostics for infectious diseases by resolving host-vector-pathogen-environment interactions at the metabolic level.

This team is co-led by Rushika Perera, Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, and John Belisle, Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology.

VetVR: virtual reality for veterinarians

CSU’s OVPR has invested in the expansion of augmented and virtual reality with impacts translating into new applications. The VetVR virtual reality team will extend this impact by providing unique virtual training tools to integrate into the curriculum for hands-on veterinary training at a distance to educate animal care professionals. Students, veterinarians, nurses and technicians will use this virtual training program to practice veterinary medicine.

This team is co-led by Pedro Boscan, professor of clinical sciences and anesthesiologist at the James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital; Francisco Ortega Assistant Professor of Computer Science; and Cyane Tornatzky professor of art and art history.

The Climate Adaptation Partnership (PAC) for policy innovation and research coordination

One of the biggest societal challenges we face is integrating our ever-expanding scientific knowledge into new policies that can have impact and change. This team will take up this challenge and actively coordinate research and policy advocacy to address the grand challenge of climate change.

They will examine how social and ecological systems can successfully adapt in the face of climate change and will pursue unique fundraising and research opportunities to help train researchers in federal and state policy outreach.

This team is co-led by Courtney Schultz, associate professor of forest and range management and director of the Public Lands Policy Group; Leisl Carr Childers, assistant professor of history; and Tamera Breidenbach, graduate student in forest and range stewardship.

“OVPR is thrilled to embark with these teams on their journeys of discovery and looks forward to the many impacts they will have in the future,” Rudolph said.


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