6 Rice faculty win Simmons mini-collaborative research grants

A half-dozen Rice faculty members have been awarded grants from the Virginia and L.E. Simmons Family Foundation Mini-Collaborative Research Fund to work with physicians and scientists at Texas Children’s Hospital and/or Houston Methodist Research Institute on studies ranging from chronic infection and immunotherapy to disease factors in cancer and heart disease.

Each collaborative team will receive a mini-seed grant of up to $25,000 for its interdisciplinary research program.

This year’s winners from Rice include:

photo of Michael Diehl

Michael Diehl

* Michael Diehl, associate professor of bioengineering and of chemistry, who is collaborating with Emily Mace of Texas Children’s on “Visualizing Mechanisms of Human Natural Killer Cell Maturation.”

Jane Grande-Allen

Jane Grande-Allen

* Jane Grande-Allen, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering and director of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering, who is collaborating with Sundeep Keswani and Charles Duncan Fraser Jr., both of Texas Children’s, on “Shear Forces Regulate Endothelial and Fibroblast Cross-Talk via Inflammatory Cytokines To Produce Fibrosis in Discrete Subaortic Stenosis.”

Naomi Halas

Naomi Halas

* Naomi Halas, the Stanley C. Moore Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and professor of chemistry, of bioengineering, of physics and astronomy, and of materials science and nanoengineering and director of the Smalley-Curl Institute, who is collaborating with Alessandro Grattoni of Houston Methodist on “Radiotherapy Enhancement with Sustained Gold Nanoparticles Delivery.”

Photo of Marek Kimmel

Marek Kimmel

* Marek Kimmel, professor of statistics, who is collaborating with Katherine King of Texas Children’s on “Effects of Chronic Infection on the Number and Diversity of Hematopoietic Stem Cells.”

photo of Jordan Miller

Jordan Miller

* Jordan Miller ’08, assistant professor of bioengineering, who is collaborating with Min Kim of Houston Methodist on “Investigating Circulating Tumor Cells in Microfabricated Substrates and Within a Novel Cellular Matrix Model.”

Satish Nagarajaiah

Satish Nagarajaiah

* Satish Nagarajaiah, professor of civil and environmental engineering and of materials science and nanoengineering, who is collaborating with Carlos Mery and Christopher Broda, both of Texas Children’s, on “Intelligent Pulmonary Artery Band for Patients with Congenital Heart Disease.”

L.E. Simmons, a namesake of the supporting foundation, is a Rice trustee emeritus, a trustee at Texas Children’s and a board member of Houston Methodist.

This grant opportunity was announced on Rice’s Creative Ventures Funds website, which Provost Marie Lynn Miranda established to alert faculty about resources to support their creative scholarship and research.

More funding opportunities can be found at https://creativeventures.rice.edu/.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.