The Office of the Vice President for Research has established an internal funding program for University of Connecticut projects from all campuses that focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, offering up to $50,000 to program participants.
Currently, five projects from both UConn and UConn Health have been supported by this funding endeavor. The projects selected for the first funding cycle are as follows:
James Cole (Department of Molecular and Cell Biology) and his co-PI Mark Peczuh (Department of Chemistry) received $43,439 for their research titled Targeting the Endoribonuclease of Coronaviruses.
Bahram Javidi (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) received $49,999 for his research titled Compact Field Portable Biophotonics Instrument for Real-Time Automated Analysis and Identification of Blood Cells Impacted by COVID-19.
Changchun Liu (Department of Biomedical Engineering) and his co-PI Maroun Sfeir (Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine) received $49,149 for their research titled Rapid and Ultrasensitive SARS-CoV-2 Detection in Wastewater by Smartphone.
Rachel O’Neill (Department of Molecular and Cell Biology) and her co-PIs Kendra Maas (UConn MARS), Joel Salisbury (Digital Media and Design), Michael Vertefeuille (Digital Media and Design), Suzanne Onorato (UConn SHaW), Mike Jednak (Facilities Operations), Jessica Healthcote (ITS), Emily Wilson (UConn CLEAR) and Dan Schwartz (COR2E) received $50,000 for their research titled An integrated surveillance program for improved detection, containment and mitigation of COVID-19.
Penghua Wang (Department of Immunology) and his co-PIs Anthony Vella (Department of Immunology), Tingting Geng (Department of Immunology) and Duomeng Yang (Department of Immunology) received $50,000 for their research titled Elucidation of E3 ligases in SARS-CoV2 pathogenesis.
The next cycle of applications has already begun, and the next deadline is Oct. 16 at 12 p.m. Those who are accepted to this second round should expect to hear back from the UConn COVID-RSF program by Oct. 30, and awards will be distributed Nov. 1 after the completion of a compliance review.
This next cycle is larger in scope than the first, so researchers with more varied ideas are able to apply. The OVPR encourages researchers with proposals for earlier-stage COVID-19 seed projects, small-scale pilot projects and projects related to the social/medical impact of COVID-19 among other topics to apply. Additionally, the OVPR anticipates funding 10 awards for up to $10,000 each.
Radenka Maric, UConn vice president for research, innovation and entrepreneurship, said UConn researchers presented many valuable ideas to combat COVID-19. She said they hope the two cycles of funding will help as many projects as possible to positively impact people around the nation.
“Many researchers at UConn and UConn Health came forward with promising ideas to tackle this virus. We are hopeful that these two cycles of UConn COVID-RSF will help advance as many research projects as possible to help address this crisis and support citizens in our state and the nation,” Maric said.