The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Birmingham created the Birmingham-Illinois Partnership for Discovery, Engagement, and Education (BRIDGE) in 2014 as a framework for continued collaboration and investment between the institutions. Over the last six years, the collaboration has expanded inter-institutional networks and increased research opportunities for both institutions. There are currently more than 75 faculty-to-faculty links within key academic disciplines.
Together, the institutions created the BRIDGE Seed Fund for faculty who are interested in upholding the goals and mission of the partnership. Awarded annually in May, the BRIDGE Seed Fund fosters collaborative relationships through three different grants: The Implementation Grants support currently existing faculty relationships leading to clearly defined results; the Initiation Grants encourage wider involvement and expansion of institutional engagements; and the Teaching and Learning Grants encourage new educational relationships to enhance student learning.
Grants were awarded to 13 faculty from the Unviersity of Illinois during the 2018-2019 cycle, each supporting a unique research focus. Illinois faculty represented departments and disciplines from the colleges of ACES, Education, Engineering, LAS, and the School of Social Work. Brief summaries of each project can be found below.
We look forward to seeing what comes from these projects in the future. The BRIDGE Seed Fund will support new research projects from a variety of disciplines with the hope of continuing to see advancement in various fields with collaborations from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Birmingham. To learn more about BRIDGE, visit http://www.birminghamillinoisbridge.org/.
COLLABORATION ACTIVITIES & OUTCOMES
Scott Althaus (Illinois) & Lestyn Williams (Birmingham)
Health policy and civil unrest—an analysis of the global archive of news reports.
Scott Althaus and Lestyn Williams conducted an exploratory analysis of health-care related news in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The researchers identified over 250,000 relevant documents and used a combination of software to extract features of interest from the documents. The researchers found information on 30 topics across 40 years of content in their exploratory analysis. They hope to use the data that was found to support future cross-campus collaborations.
Scott Althaus is a professor of Political Science and Communication at the University of Illinois. Lestyn Williams is a director of research at the School of Public Policy HSMC at the University of Birmingham.
Zeynep Madak Erdogan (Illinois) & Jean-Baptiste Cazier (Birmingham)
Impact of ethnical background on breast cancer incidence and outcomes in women from the U.S., U.K., and India.
Zeynep Madak Erdogan and Jean-Baptiste Cazier researched the impact of ethnical background on breast cancer incidence and outcomes in women from the U.S., U.K., and India. The researchers will be publishing a review article outlining gaps in the field and steps to take to close those gaps.
Zeynep Madak Erdogan is an assistant professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Illinois and Jean-Baptiste Cazier is a professor of Bioinformatics at Birmingham.
Monica Fabiani (Illinois) & Catarina Randeiro (Birmingham)
A collaborative pilot optical imaging study to establish measures of cerebral arterial elasticity in young and aged adults in response to acute intake of flavanols.
Monica Fabiani and Catarina Randeiro created a collaborative pilot optical imaging study to establish measures of cerebral arterial elasticity in young and aged adults in response to acute intake of flavanols. This research showed, for the first time, that flavanols administration leads to a faster and larger brain oxygenation response to a hypercapnia challenge (increased vasodilation in response to increased CO2), as well as higher performance in the most difficult of four cognitive tasks. Analysis of individual differences further shows that participants who benefit the most from flavanols intake during hypercapnia are also those who do so in the cognitive challenge. These data support the hypothesis that similar vascular mechanisms underlie both the peripheral and cerebral effects of flavanols. The researchers hope to extend their study to older adults at some point.
Monica Fabiani is a professor of Psychology at Illinois and Catarina Randeiro is a lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at Birmingham.
Michel Regenwetter (Illinois) & Ganna Pogrebna (Birmingham)
Modelling stochastic decision processes in individual and interactive behaviour.
Michel Regenwetter and Ganna Pogrebna held a joint workshop on risk, choice, and social preferences at the University of Birmingham. They made strides in creating an online repository with source code and software on stochastic choice modeling. They hope to create a larger online repository once they are able to resume their collaborative efforts.
Michel Regenwetter is a professor of Psychology at Illinois and Ganna Pogrebna is a professor of Behavioural Economics and Data Science at Birmingham.
Jessica Conroy (Illinois) & James Bendle (Birmingham)
Unlocking new geochemical toolboxes for detecting climate change.
Jessica Conroy and James Bendle collected and utilized a new spatial sediment dataset to develop sediment-based paleoclimate proxies. They will be assessing environmental DNA in the southwest transect sediment samples and comparing the data to Bendle’s organic biomarker data to develop indicators and improve interpretation of existing organic biomarker paleoclimate proxies.
Jessica Conroy is an assistant professor of Geology at Illinois and James Bendle is a paleoclimatologist at Birmingham.
Frank Lombardo (Illinois) & Mark Sterling (Birmingham)
Frank Lombardo and Mark Sterling will be creating a unique database relating the impact of downbursts on a fully instrument building. Until now, data has only been attained at model-scale. The researchers hope to create a paper that will pave the way for future scientific developments.
Frank Lombardo is an assistant professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois and Mark Sterling is a professor of Civil Engineering at Birmingham.
John Scott (Illinois) & Nancy Holm (Birmingham)
Microplastics in the Aquatic Environment
John Scott and Nancy Holm developed this project to increase collaborative work in the area of microplastics. As part of their work, they were able to perform non-targeted screenings of environmentally exposed microplastic extracts. They hope to screen for additional contaminants that are not currently being searched for in those samples, and they believe they will be able to continue collaborating and finding new information about these samples.
John Scott is a Senior Analytical Chemist at Illinois and Nancy Holm is the Assitant Director for Sponsored Research at Birmingham.
Hedda Meadan (Illinois) & Despina Papoudi (Birmingham)
Understanding the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families with children with autism: implications for professional development.
Hedda Meadan and Despina Papoudi conducted a systematic joint literature review and explored the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families with children with autism. They presented their research at several conferences around the world and hope to create at least two manuscripts. This collaboration has also resulted in funding from the British Academy to continue their work.
Hedda Meadan is an associate professor of Special Education at Illinois and Despina Papoudi is a lectuerer of Autism Studies at Birmingham.
David Miller (Illinois) & Jackson Kirkman-Brown (Birmingham)
Do sperm feel their way: mechanotransduction in mammalian sperm.
David Miller and Jackson Kirkman-Brown hope to develop a globally-unique partnership that addresses research questions about fertility, contraception, and other therapeutic technologies. They are currently drafting a proposal for submission to National Intitute of Health.
David Miller is a professor of Animal Sciences at Illinois and Jackson Kirkman-Brown is a professor in the Centre for Human Reproductive Sciences at Birmingham.
Vishal Verma (Illinois) & Francis Pope (Birmingham)
iBuilding collaborations to strengthen third sector/non-profit and volunteering research, teaching and training.
Vishal Verma and Francis Pope organized a two-day workshop called “Volunteering and Sustainable Development: Home and Away.” The workshop helped to develop strategic partnerships between 30 academics and practitioners in the field of non-profit and volunteer research and training. The researchers submitted a collaborative research for publications on the contributions made by the group, and are now exploring the ways that these collaborators can continue to work together and support future projects.
Vishal Verma is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Illinois and Francis Pope is a professor of Atmospheric Science at Birmingham.
Benjamin J. Lough (Illinois) & John Mohan (Birmingham)
Variability in the Oxidative Potential of Particulate Matter (PM) across Continents
Benjamin Lough and John Mohan collected ambient particulate matter samples from the US, UK, and India. The samples were then analyzed for oxidative potential by a dithiothreitol (DTT) assay in the Illinois Lab for Aerosol Research. They found that the samples from the UK had a lower DTT, while the sample from India had much higher activity. The pair hopes to collect more samples and publish a paper on the comparison of the samples.
Benjamin Lough an associate professor at the School of Social Work and Director of Social Innovation at the Gies College of Business at Illinois. John Mohan is a professor of Social Policy and director of the Third Sector Research Centre at Birmingham.