In this edition of Research Connections, find links to researchers in the news, updates on important deadlines, and more news for University of Rochester researchers. Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
fiesta Juan de la Corte's "Fiesta in the Plaza Mayor" (1623), depicts a juego de cañas, or game of canes, which was featured in the earlier, 15th century public spectacles Asst. Prof. Thomas Devaney examines in his new book, Enemies in the Plaza: Urban Spectacle and the End of Spanish Frontier Culture, 1460-1492. (Courtesy of the Museo de Historia de Madrid.)

Processions and festivals fueled religious tensions on the Spanish Frontier

The Christian civic and religious leaders of 15th century Castile did not have televised news conferences or government web sites to help them shape or respond to public opinion.

But they did stage public spectacles that served much the same purpose — including popular festivals, religious processions, and knightly tournaments that often included a theatrical, narrative framework. In Enemies in the Plaza: Urban Spectacle and the End of Spanish Frontier Culture, 1460-1492 (University of Pennsylvania Press), Thomas Devaney, Assistant Professor of History, shows how these staged events gradually helped harden Christian attitudes toward the Muslims in neighboring Granada and toward the religious minorities in their own midst — eventually leading to religious conflict and repression.

"In a small sense this is a book about particular group interactions in a few cities on the Spanish-Granadan border in the late 15th century," Devaney said. "In a larger sense, it is a story about how one society moved from greater to lesser tolerance."

And yet, this story also suggests that "hostility between Christians and Muslims and Jews is not inevitable," Devaney added. For example, Christians living closest to the frontier between Castile and Granada had developed — despite their religious differences — lucrative trading partnerships with Muslims on the other side, partnerships that were disrupted with great loss to both sides whenever conflicts flared. So they tended to be the least enthused about going to war with the Muslims.

"Such responses were often incomprehensible to those who lived away from the frontier, in places where they were free to consider issues of religion and identity in absolute terms and without the troubling presence of non-Christians," Devaney writes in his introduction.

(Next: How public spectacles drew upon — and in turn fed — a "reflexive feedback mechanism" that heightened religious tensions.)

Do you have an interesting photo or other image that helps illustrate your research? We would like to showcase it. Send a high resolution jpg or other version, along with a description of what it shows, to

Education of investigators, study teams key to human subject protection

Human subject protection means more than just the review and approval of research projects. It also means making sure that every member of a study team — from coordinators to investigators — understands the requirements and responsibilities to protect the rights and welfare of individuals who participate in their studies.

That's why the University's Office for Human Subject Protection has worked hard the last two years to increase the array of resources and educational opportunities for University researchers, said Kelley O'Donoghue, Associate Vice President.

At the office's website, for example, investigators can find a complete description of their responsibilities that "speaks specifically to what they need to be aware of, based on the type of research they're doing, and also the phase of the study — for example, what they need to be concerned about at the beginning of the study, in the middle, and what are they are responsible for at the end," O'Donoghue said.

"The thing that we run into the most is that people don't know what they don't know."

The office now provides a "very robust" educational program, O'Donoghue added. The program includes:

1. Online CITI training in the basics of human subject research, which is mandatory for all staff or faculty who will be engaged in human subject research.
2. A one-hour online Orientation course in the basics of conducting research at the University.
3. A half-day "Boot Camp," offered quarterly, which applies the basics learned in the CITI and orientation sessions to research at the UR.
4. A series of 10 newly introduced "Core Training" learning modules that provide an in-depth review of all aspects of the conduct of clinical research.

Only the CITI training is mandatory, O'Donoghue noted. "With the vast array of research conducted here, we don't feel our office should determine the additional research education needed outside of the underlying CITI program. We provide departments the framework and will help to figure out what might be the best training program for a new study coordinator or faculty member coming into that department.'"

Also new this year are "study startup consultations," offered by request, in which the Quality Improvement Program reviewers will evaluate study documentation (e.g. regulatory binder, data collection forms) and collaborate with the Investigator/site staff to ensure understanding of the applicable regulations, policies, and guidelines specific to the research study — prior to study enrollment.

"It makes it a lot easier for everybody if we can get people started on the right foot," O'Donoghue said.

She sees the educational mission of her office as an ongoing circle: Initial education of people new to the research process; review and approval of their project proposals; random, on-site Quality Improvement reviews, once projects are underway, to ensure investigators are actually doing what was reviewed and approved; and then feeding the results of QI reviews "back into the educational program to be sure we are educating on our potential 'at-risk' areas and things people are not clear about."

"We want researchers to succeed; we want to be collaborators and partners with them in what they're doing and not be seen as a hindrance," O'Donoghue emphasized. Given what's at stake — the welfare of subjects and the good standing of investigators and the institution as a whole — "the more we can do to help people do their research right, the better off we all are."

CFAR seeks applicants for three pilot funding opportunities

The University's Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) is seeking applicants for three pilot funding opportunities. Click here for full announcements of these three opportunities.

CFAR RNA Pilot Announcement — Request for applications in HIV RNA and RNA in HIV/AIDS-associated conditions. One award will be made for a one-year period with maximum funding of $50,000 in direct costs. For additional information and specific application requirements, view the full RNA Pilot Announcement. Applications due no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2015.

CFAR Major Collaborative Pilot Announcement — to facilitate interdisciplinary and inter-professional collaborations between experienced HIV/AIDS researchers and researchers who are new to HIV/AIDS and/or junior investigators, and to support highly innovative research projects that address key gaps in our understanding of HIV/AIDS and in HIV treatment and prevention. High-risk/high reward science is strongly encouraged, along with studies likely to result in new extramural funding. One award for a one-year period with maximum funding of $100,000 in direct costs. For additional information and specific application requirements, see the full Major Collaborative Pilot Announcement. Applications due no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2015.

Joint Funding Opportunity in HIV/AIDS through SMD, SON and Program Of Excellence — A new request for applications through joint funding from the UR School of Nursing (SON) and School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD), under the auspices of the URMC Program of Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Up to 2 awards for a one-year period with maximum funding of $50,000 in direct costs for each award. For additional information and specific application requirements see the full Joint Funded Pilot Announcement. Applications due no later than 5 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2015.

The pilot program provides support for investigator teams to generate preliminary data that will facilitate the submission of subsequent competitive proposals for NIH-sponsored or other grants.

For more information about funding opportunities, please contact

AS&E workshops will help graduate students hone grant writing skills

Sept. 4, 2015: Graduate Student Grantsmanship Forum, Hawkins-Carlson Room, 10 a.m. to noon. An overview of grant and fellowship preparation as well as institutional resources available to graduate students for assistance in preparing applications. Presentations will be given by Dean Wendi Heinzelman, assistant deans Debra Haring and Cindy Gary, and staff from the College Writing, Speaking and Argument Center. Following the presentations, a panel of recent awardees will share their insights. A light breakfast will be served. Please RSVP by Sept. 1. Learn more here.

Sept. 10: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Workshop in Hawkins-Carlson Room, 4 - 5:30 p.m. This is an informational session for senior undergraduates and first-year graduate students in all STEM disciplines that are supported by NSF. The info session will be followed by a faculty panel of GRFP reviewers, as well as recent fellows, offering UR applicants an edge in understanding the program, its requirements, and best practices on how to craft a competitive application. Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP by Sept. 1. Learn more here.

Please contact either Wendi Heinzelman or AS&E assistant deans for grants and contracts Debra Haring and Cindy Gary if you have any questions.

Congratulations to . . .

David Williams, the William G. Allyn Professor of Medical Optics, Director of the Center for Visual Science and Dean for Research in Arts, Science, and Engineering, who has been named the 2015 recipient of the Beckman-Argyros Award in Vision Research. Williams, widely regarded as one of the world's leading experts on human vision, pioneered the use of adaptive optics technologies for vision applications. The award, bestowed by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, rewards an individual who has made transformative breakthroughs in vision research. Williams will receive a total of $500,000, along with a solid gold commemorative medallion. Read more here.

Introducing a new faculty member

Catherine (Cassie) Glenn joins the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology as an assistant professor. The primary goal of her research is to advance understanding of the psychological processes that lead to suicidal and self-injurious behaviors and the ability to predict which individuals are at greatest risk for self-harm. Her research is primarily focused on the development, prediction, and ultimate prevention of these behaviors in youth, using a multimodal approach to examine the complex interplay among risk factors across self-report, behavioral, psychophysiological, and neurobiological units of analysis, in both cross-sectional and prospective designs. Studies in her lab aim to address the following key research questions: 1. Why do individuals engage in behaviors that are intentionally harmful to themselves? 2. Why does risk for suicide and self-injury increase so drastically during the transition from childhood to adolescence? 3. How does nonsuicidal self-injury confer risk for suicidal behavior? 4. How can we better predict when individuals are most at risk of acting on their suicidal and self-injurious thoughts? She received her PhD in clinical psychology from SUNY Stony Brook University in 2012, completed her clinical internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and VA Medical Center, and most recently finished a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

PhD dissertation defenses

Levi Neukirch, Physics, "Optomechanics with Levitated Nanodiamonds." 2 p.m., Aug. 17, 2015, Meliora 221. Advisor: Nick Vamivakas.

Matthew Betush, Chemistry, "I. Development of a recyclable chromium(II) pre catalyst for chromium-centered transformations II. Development of a phenanthroline-based compound for intercalation into DNA and use in biosensors." Noon, Aug. 18, 2015, 473 Hutchison. Advisor: Robert Boeckman.

James Schneeloch, Physics, "On Position-Momentum Entanglement, Nonlocality, and Measurement." 2 p.m., Aug. 19, 2015, Meliora 221. Advisor: John Howell.

Sara Knowlden, Microbiology & Immunology, "Lysophosphatidic Acid and Autotaxin Regulate T Cell Migration and Contribute to Allergen-induced Lung Inflammation." 10 a.m., Aug. 20, 2015, K-207 (2-6408). Advisor: Steve Georas.

Joshua Kolev, Chemistry, "Engineering Cytochromes P450 for the Late-stage Functionalization of Natural Products." 1 p.m., Aug. 21, 2015, 473 Hutchison Hall. Advisor: Rudi Fasan.

Mattan Sharkansky, Political Science, "Prime Ministers' Effect on Voting Behavior and on the Distribution of Resources." 10 a.m., Aug. 24, 2015, 112 Harkness Hall. Advisor: G. Bingham Powell.

Robin Sharma, Optics, "In vivo Two-Photon Ophthalmoscopy: Development and Applications." 2:30 p.m., Sept. 3, 2015, Medical Center 1-9576. Advisors: David Williams and Jennifer Hunter.

Mark your calendar

Aug. 20: Share issues, barriers and potential solutions to enhance research coordination, SCORE meeting, noon to 1 p.m., SRB 1.416.

Aug. 20: LGBT Patients: Addressing Disparities and Health Care Needs, John Cullen, Research Associate Professor of Surgery and coordinator of outreach, Susan B. Anthony Center. Noon to 1 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Auditorium (1-304).

Sept. 4: Graduate Student Grantsmanship Forum, Hawkins-Carlson Room, 10 a.m. to noon. A light breakfast will be served. Learn more here.

Sept. 10: NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Workshop in Hawkins-Carlson Room, 4-5:30 p.m. Learn more here.

Sept. 30: Industry Consulting: Part One, Karl Kieburtz, CTSI director. Noon to 1 p.m., Helen Wood Hall Auditorium (1-304). Part of the series on Good Advice: Case Studies in Clinical Research, Regulation, and the Law.

Oct. 15: Applications due no later than 5 p.m. for CFAR RNA Pilot Announcement. Click here for details.

Oct. 15-16: NIH Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration, San Diego, CA. Click here for more information and registration.

Oct. 22: Applications due no later than 5 p.m. for CFAR Major Collaborative Pilot Announcement. Click here for details.

Oct. 30: Applications due no later than 5 p.m. for CFAR Joint Funding Opportunity in HIV/AIDS through SMD, SON and Program Of Excellence. Click here for details.

Please send suggestions and comments to Bob Marcotte. You can see back issues of Research Connections, an index of people and departments linked to those issues, and a chronological listing of PhD dissertation defenses since April 2014, by discipline.

Copyright 2013, All rights reserved.
Rochester Connections is a weekly e-newsletter for all faculty, scientists, post docs and graduate students engaged in research at the University of Rochester. You are receiving this e-newsletter because you are a member of the Rochester community with an interest in research topics.