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Syracuse Center of Excellence awards $3.6 million for research to improve air, water quality in built and urban environments
Syracuse Center of Excellence awards $3.6 million for research to improve air, water quality in built and urban environmentsJune 18, 2007Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Researchers at Syracuse University and other academic institution partners within the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (Syracuse CoE) have begun groundbreaking studies aimed at improving the air quality of built environments and protecting water resources, thanks to $3.6 million in research grants announced today at Syracuse University.
The Collaborative Activities for Research and Technology Innovation (CARTI) grants were awarded to 16 projects addressing research questions associated with either air quality or water resource management, in support of the development of technology innovations for improving environmental quality. The awards are made possible through funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency secured by U.S. Rep. James T. Walsh, who attended today’s announcement. To date, Walsh has secured nearly $32 million in federal funding for research and development for the Syracuse CoE.
A scientific advisory committee (SAC) of nine nationally recognized researchers from the academic, research and scientific communities deliberated and recommended the projects for CARTI awards following a rigorous process used by the National Science Foundation and the EPA for competitively awarded projects. The air quality SAC team is headed by David Grimsrud of the University of Minnesota, an internationally known researcher and founding editor of the journal Indoor Air. The water quality SAC team is led by Denice Wardrop of Pennsylvania State University, a noted researcher and professor and associate director of the Cooperative Wetlands Center.
“This is cutting-edge research, federally funded and conducted in our own backyard by our world-class colleges and universities,” says Walsh. “These projects will not only fuel Central Upstate New York’s economic growth, but will solve problems of global consequence.”
“These new awards will enhance the mission of our Center of Excellence by encouraging collaborations among academia, industry and business, and create new technologies to improve the lives of our children and our communities,” says Syracuse University Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “I want to thank Congressman Walsh for his leadership and vision in supporting us and our partners’ efforts to create new innovations that improve the quality of life and spur economic growth in our city and region.”
“This new generation of projects will strengthen our region’s position as a world leader in innovations that address critical energy and environmental challenges,” says Edward A. Bogucz, executive director of the Syracuse CoE. “From improving the energy efficiency of buildings to ensuring the quality of drinking water, our teams are at the leading edge of discoveries that promise to improve human health and ecosystem sustainability.”
“The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry is very pleased to be the recipient of research support through the CARTI program. The partnership with the Syracuse CoE and the support of Congressman Walsh is greatly appreciated,” says SUNY-ESF President Cornelius B. Murphy Jr. “These awards help us to achieve our vision, which is `A Better World Through Environmental Discovery.'”
Clarkson University President Anthony Collins says, “We are thrilled by the news from Congressman Walsh that Clarkson faculty engaged in air quality research through the Syracuse CoE are among those awarded grants to span boundaries across disciplines and areas of expertise to create solutions for pressing global environmental issues. Clarkson University brings to the collaborative efforts an established model for bridging discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise. The CARTI program underscores this commitment and the world-class talent available in New York’s creative core research universities, coupled with economic backing from socially responsible industrial partners.”
SUNY Upstate Medical University President David R. Smith, M.D. says, “Scientists at the Upstate Medical University are pleased to be charter members and participants in the Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems. Our mission is to improve human health and performance and the environment in which we live and work has a great effect on both of these aspects of human well-being. Our collaborative research through the CoE CARTI program that has been made possible by Congressman Jim Walsh’s support will provide for economic development, jobs and better health in our community.”
“The work of Cornell’s Christine Shoemaker and Dan Willis on the important problem of eutrophication of water bodies, and the work of Max Zhang on ambient air quality are critical elements of our collective drive to achieve sustainability,” says Cornell University President David Skorton.
“The CARTI program is the spark that unites our distinguished universities with our upstate industry that together will make a difference in addressing global climate change and water resource issues while contributing to long-term economic vitality of our region,” says R. Leland Davis, senior vice president at O’Brien & Gere Co. and chair of the Syracuse CoE advisory board of directors.
“The MDA applauds each of these 16 researchers and Congressman Walsh for their important roles in advancing these cutting-edge projects,” says Irwin L. Davis, president and CEO of the Metropolitan Development Association of Syracuse and Central New York. “This research serves to further solidify Central Upstate’s position as a global leader in the field of urban environmental quality.”
The project investigators, their institutions and brief descriptions of the funded projects are listed below. Full abstracts on the funded projects can be found on the Syracuse CoE website at http://www.syracusecoe.org.
- Goodarz Ahmadi of Clarkson University’s Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, $100,000 for a one-year project to develop a computational model for analyzing airflow and pollutant transport and concentration near the Syracuse CoE headquarters building in downtown Syracuse. The proposed computational tool will be helpful for planning future environmental studies at the building.
- Susan Anagnost of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Department of Construction Management and Wood Products Engineering, $100,000 for a one-year collaborative project with SUNY-ESF’s Department of Environmental and Forest Biology to develop a DNA array for detection and identification of opportunistic, pathogenic and wood-decay fungi commonly in indoor air.
- Tewodros Asefa of SU’s Department of Chemistry, $99,949 for a one-year project to develop a sensor that can rapidly and reliably detect the common pathogens E. coli and salmonella under a variety of environmental conditions.
- Philip Borer of SU’s Department of Chemistry, $299,884 for a two-year project that completes a current CARTI project to engineer and test sensors that can detect cryptosporidium and giardia, two pathogenic organisms that are resistant to chlorination.
- Thong Dang of SU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, $99,996 for a one-year project to develop strategies to manipulate the aerodynamic loading around a building envelope to control local air infiltration, the redistribution of indoor contaminants and the prevention of outdoor contaminant infiltration into the indoors.
- Charles Driscoll Jr. of SU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, $600,000 for a three-year collaborative project with the Upstate Freshwater Institute to build on previous research on interconnected aquatic ecosystems in Central New York, featuring robotic water quality monitoring and automated data delivery. Goals of the project are to geographically and technologically expand the existing intelligent urban environmental system; understand the water quality responses of linked lakes and rivers to urban impacts; and investigate the transport, transformations and fate of particles, phosphorus, nitrogen and mercury in the system.
- John Hassett of SUNY-ESF’s Department of Chemistry, $100,000 for a one-year project to develop a sensor that can concentrate and detect waterborne organic chemical contaminants.
- Hiroshi Higuchi of SU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, $300,000 for a two-year project of collaborative research between SU and the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) and Department of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. A microclimate system designed at the CBE will be tested with human subjects at the CBE and with thermal, breathing mannequins at SU.
- Philip Hopke of Clarkson University’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, $600,000 for a three-year collaborative project with SUNY-ESF, Cornell University and Clarkson’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering that will develop and test tools to measure ambient air quality to provide feedback to building air quality management systems to permit them to respond to changing ambient conditions.
- H. Ezzat Khalifa of SU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, $300,000 for a two-year collaborative project with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and SU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science to develop practical methods, algorithms and tools to optimize indoor air quality through distributed demand-controlled ventilation systems.
- Yan-Yeung Luk of SU’s Department of Chemistry, $99,868 for a one-year collaborative project with SU’s Department of Biomedical and Chemical Engineering to develop a class of highly porous hydrogel materials that can detect in real time the presence of specific pathogenic bacteria and proteins.
- Ramesh Raina of SU’s Department of Biology, $100,000 for a one-year collaborative pilot project with SU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Syracuse Research Corp. to develop rapid molecular methods to characterize pathogen populations in tributaries of Otisco Lake and explore quantitative relationships predictive of waterborne disease.
- Usha Satish of SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, $299,411 for a two-year collaborative project with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories to study the implications of direct impacts of low levels of carbon dioxide on people’s decision making and perceptions of indoor air quality. This research will also better help understand how perceived air quality and health symptoms relate to human performance.
- Christine Shoemaker of Cornell University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, $100,000 for a one-year collaborative project with Cornell’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science to improve the ability to understand and manage the problem of eutrophication (abundance of nutrients that support the growth of algae) in water bodies in Central New York due to excess phosphorus.
- Timothy Stenson of SU’s School of Architecture, $99,989 for a one-year collaborative project with SU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering to develop designs for housing units that dramatically reduce the energy use of new homes while providing a more comfortable and healthy indoor environment, improve durability and lower construction costs.
- Jianshun (Jensen) Zhang of SU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, $300,000 for a two-year collaborative project with Clarkson University, Cornell University and the United Technologies Research Center to establish a real-life test bed for investigating dynamic interactions between a built (indoor) environment, its immediate surrounding environment and the nearby urban environment; and to assess indoor air quality strategies, including reductions of outdoor and indoor sources, ventilation and air cleaning.
The Syracuse CoE is a federation of 12 academic and research institutions and more than 140 firms and organizations that collaborate to create innovations to improve built and urban environments. Partners in the Syracuse CoE collaborate in research, development and education projects relating to clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality and water resources.