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Release: April 11, 2002  

UI Obermann Center awards $55,000 in collaborative research grants

The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies has awarded more than $55,000 in Interdisciplinary Research Grants to eight researchers who will collaborate on four projects this summer.

The program provides summer stipends or project costs for interdisciplinary scholarship at the Obermann Center by UI faculty and staff members working in collaboration with one another or with researchers from other institutions. Each collaborator must make a distinctive contribution to the project. This year's eight awardees represent seven different departments and four different colleges.

"Interdisciplinary scholarship is an area of strategic importance at the UI, and the Obermann Center is a critical focus and facilitator of such scholarship," said David Skorton, UI Vice President for Research.

The program is supported by the Office of the Vice-President for Research, the Graduate College and the C. Esco and Avalon L. Obermann Fund. This year's projects and researchers include:

            •"Chasing Smokestacks: A History of Economic Development Policies in the United States," by Colin Gordon, a UI associate professor of history in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Peter Fisher, a UI professor of urban and regional planning in the Graduate College. The researchers plan to complete an historical inventory of economic development policies, and to trace the contexts in which they arose and their diffusion across cities, states and regions. The work will provide information about the origins and incentives behind such policies, questions previously unexplored.

            •"Hormonal Stimulation of Tumor Angiogenesis in Ovarian Cancer," by Susan K. Lutgendorf, a UI associate professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Anil K. Sood, a UI assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Carver College of Medicine. The project will allow the researchers to collaborate on laboratory experiments designed to detect effects of three hormones on several ovarian cancer lines. The result will be a joint manuscript on implications and results of the experiments, and a grant application for further research in this direction.

            •"Migrant/Immigrant Educational Efforts in Iowa, 1925-2000: A Curricular, Policy, and Historical Analysis," by Katrina Sanders, a UI assistant professor of education policy and leadership studies, and Carolyn Colvin, a UI associate professor of curriculum and instruction, both in the College of Education. The collaborators plan to determine if historical education efforts to provide literacy/education instruction to migrant/immigrant Spanish speaking families in selected Iowa communities are likely to inform present work with immigrants. The researchers' undertaking is important due to only scant references regarding such efforts in Iowa and across the U.S.

            •"The Emergence and Impact of the Jazz Avant-Garde: A Musical and Social Psychological Analysis," by Jerry Suls, a UI professor of psychology, and John Rapson, a UI associate professor of music, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  The goal is to develop a musical and social psychological analysis of the jazz avant-garde in the 1950-1960s, as well as document its reception and assimilation into mainstream culture. The integration of musicological and social psychological approaches will provide the opportunity for integrative insights in both fields.

Jay Semel, Director of the Obermann Center, said the Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grants, with their distinctive force on collaborative work, were the first of their kind in the nation. Since the program's establishment more than a decade ago, UI projects funded by these grants have resulted in numerous jointly authored articles and books, as well as federal and foundation grants totaling more than $2 million from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the U.S. Department of Education. For more information about the Obermann Interdisciplinary Research Grants, contact Semel at 319/335-4034 or