The University Record, May 22, 1995


By Jared Blank

Forty-two faculty/student research teams have been awarded funding in the latest round of Research Partnerships. The award will provide support for two terms in 1995-96.

The program, which began in 1987, is supported by the Office of the Dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Applications are reviewed by a 14-member faculty panel that includes representatives from biological and health sciences, physical sciences and engineering, social sciences and education, and the humanities and the arts.

Research topics and faculty/graduate teams by research area are:


Michael J. Welsh, professor of anatomy and cell biology and of anesthesiology, and Jill Felice Gallon (reproductive physiology) will explore the effects of estrogens on steroidogenesis as a means of identifying indicators for the increasing decline in the fertility of males. The project has implications on the roles of heat shock proteins in affecting microfilament-dependent events in a number of different systems.

Daniel Axelrod, professor of physics and research scientist in the biophysics research division, and Susan E. Sund (physics) will directly measure kinetic adsorption rates and lateral diffusion of specific reversibly-bound proteins at the inner-facing surface of the membrane in living cells by novel fluorescence microscopy techniques which have been developed in their lab.

Robert A. Bender, professor of biology, and Pablo Pomposiello (molecular biology) will determine the interactions involved in the first step of gene expression: the transcription of a gene into messenger RNA, modulated by a protein (NAC).

Steven F. Bolling, associate professor of surgery, and Amy Ai (social work/psychology) will advance existing research on the overall outcome and recovery following coronary artery bypass surgery. This inquiry will address the impact of the surgery on the lives of patients, types of health care and welfare services used, psychosocial interventions or complementary therapies pursued, and other aspects of a patient's recovery.

Margit Burmeister, assistant professor of psychiatry and human genetics and assistant research scientist in the mental health research institute, and Sharmila Basu (human genetics) have recently identified the cause of the mouse mutation ocular retardation (OR), a retinal defect, to be a null mutation in the gene for the putative transcription factor Chx10. During that study, they found that additional genes interact in a complex fashion with Chx10/OR to modify the phenotype. They will combine morphological and histochemical studies with genetic studies to characterize this interaction and to genetically map these modifier genes.

Carl Gans, professor of biology, and Brad Moon (biology) will investigate the patterns and muscular mechanisms of three undulatory movements of snakes: undulatory locomotion, constriction of prey and swallowing. In particular, they will examine the roles of individual muscles in producing diverse movements with different control demands. The results will allow them to evaluate the way muscle activity varies with different speeds and durations of movement.

Thomas Glover, associate professor of human genetics, and Stacy Schmidt (human genetics) will examine Turner Syndrome, the most common chromosomal abnormality, through a translocation patient and the identification of a lambda contig covering the second pseudoautosomal region on the Y chromosome.

Steven A. Goldstein, professor of surgery and of mechanical engineering, and Steven H. Elder (bioengineering) will investigate the effect of a mechanical signal on differentiation by applying cyclic compression to agarose gel cultures of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs play an important role in repair and regeneration processes.

Kun-Liang Guan, assistant professor of biological chemistry, and Xiaoli Zhan (biology/biological chemistry) will use yeast cells as a model eukaryotic system to investigate the physiological function and biochemical regulatory mechanism of tyrosine phosphotases (PTPases) in cellular signal transductions. Malfunction of PTPases has been demonstrated to be one of the major causes of tumor genesis, aging and some diseases.

Jeffrey W. Innis, assistant professor of human genetics and of pediatrics, and Douglas P. Mortlock (human genetics) will develop Pomoter Capture, a new technique to rapidly purify nearly all gene promoters and flanking exons from large segments of cloned mammalian DNA. This method will facilitate identification of new genes from large chromosomal segments or within selected regions of interest.

John P. Langmore, professor of biology, and Liwu Li (biology) have developed a cell-free system to recapitulate telomere function. This system will aid in the understanding of the role of DNA and protein structure in the "capping" of the ends of vertebrate chromosomes. The system will be used to test specific hypotheses about the behavior of telomeres in cells and the roles of DNA sequence, DNA covalent processing and protein binding upon the behavior.

Debra A. Thompson, assistant professor of ophthalmology and of biological chemistry, and Aileen Nicoletti (biological chemistry) have identified a novel protein (RPE65) which is abundant and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-specific. They have characterized the human gene and analyzed its expression, which appears to be tightly regulated. They will identify specific DNA promoter sequences which are necessary for RPE-specific expression of this gene.


Dennis Severance, Arthur Andersen Professor of Computers and Information Systems, and Peter Wurman (computer science) will use distributed computational agents to simulate the decisions common in an international manufacturing corporation. The system will recreate a fictional company called Nova and implement the corporate entities using techniques from the field of artificial intelligence.

Phillip E. Savage, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Tahmid I. Mizan (chemical engineering) will advance supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) technology by investigating the dynamics and kinetics of an elementary free-radical reaction in supercritical water. A better understanding of the chemical reactions occurring during hazardous waste treatment by emerging technologies will accelerate the commercial implementation of these technologies.

John W. Halloran, professor of material science and engineering, and Tien-Min Chu (biology/biological chemistry) will develop a ceramic-polymer suspension for making custom-fit ceramic maxillofacial and cranial implants with a novel ceramic processing technique called stereolithography.

George A. Garcia, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy, and Ruth Elaine Blake (geological sciences) will investigate the mechanism by which enzymes calatyze oxygen isotope exchange between apatite minerals and water.

Izak Duenyas, assistant professor of industrial and operational engineering, and John J. Neale (industrial and operational engineering) will develop effective control and dynamic scheduling policies for batch services queues. Such queues arise in many practical situations (such as diffusion and oxidation ovens in semiconductor wafer fabrication), yet little is known on the optimal control of these systems.

Stacy G. Bike, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Derek P. Rucker (macromolecular science/engineering) will conduct a study of particle-polymer matrix interactions in model ceramic dispersions using rheological techniques. Fibers created from polymer melts filled with ceramic particles can be used to create ceramic materials with tailored microstructures. These materials have not been widely developed due to a lack of understanding of the particle-polymer matrix interactions and how these interactions impact the final microstructure of the material.

Michael P. Wellman, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and John Q. Cheng (economics) will apply techniques of microeconomic analysis to computational market systems, as implemented in the WALRAS market-oriented programming environments. Theoretical and empirical studies will enhance the methodology for designing and understanding the behavior of computational markets, which are increasing in importance as infrastructure for electronic commerce develops.


Elliot Soloway, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Timothy J. Breen (educational studies/science education) will examine the current science education reform efforts, which focus on students learning complex ideas in authentic situations and building representations of what they learn. These representations are called artifacts. Soloway and Breen will undertake a comprehensive validity analysis of artifacts by comparing student understanding as represented in artifacts with performance on other assessments and content interviews.

Patricia A. Reuter-Lorenz, assistant professor of psychology, and Maxwell Drain (psychology) will research methods to provide a better understanding of how people attend to visual information and of the deficits of visual attention that follow brain damage.

Vonnie C. McLoyd, professor of developmental psychology and of Afro-American studies, and Leslie Anne Morrison (education/psychology) will examine how the family and school contribute to a successful middle school transition for poor African American adolescents. School problems for many poor African American students often either begin or accelerate with the transition to middle school.

Terrence J. McDonald, the Arthur F.Thurnau Professor of History, and David M. Freund (history) will examine the theory and practice of American suburban politics by comparing theoretical works by political intellectuals and analysis with local case studies of suburban political culture.

Randy J. Larsen, associate professor of psychology, and Tracy Y. Curry (psychology) will focus on ethnic differences in cardiovascular reactivity. Given the large differences between Blacks and whites in coronary disease in the U.S., this study may potentially shed light on disease risk factors. The research will also examine differences in psychological processes that may contribute to ethnic or racial differences in stress reactance.

Joseph S. Krajcik, associate professor of education, and Barbara Ladewski (education) will provide an in-depth longitudinal examination of the learning experiences of two middle-school science teachers as they attempt to understand and orchestrate complex constructivist learning environments in a school setting.

L. Rowell Huesmann, professor of communication and of psychology, and Meredith Reynolds (clinical psychology) will investigate the role that normative beliefs about sexual aggression play in the self-regulation of sexually aggressive behavior. Structural modeling analyses should enable the researchers to test the plausibility of longitudinal causal models relating to early childhood experiences to normative beliefs and sexually aggressive behavior in young adults.

Albert I. Hermalin, professor of sociology, and Zachary Zimmer (sociology) will perform a series of cross-sectional and longitudinal empirical analyses to assess the effect of socioeconomic status on health in a series of Asian countries.

Elizabeth A. Finkel, assistant professor of education, and Yve A. Susskind (education) will document and compare examples of youth participation in community activism and the individual, organizational and community changes and empowerment that occur through that participation.

Mary E. Corcoran, professor of political science and of public policy, and James P. Kunz (social work and economics) will examine the effects of family and neighborhood welfare dependency on children's adult productivity. They will test four alternative explanations for these effects that are widely cited in academic and policy circles: the "welfare incentive" model; the "welfare culture" model; the "structural environmental" model; and the "correlated disadvantages" model.

Mark A. Chesler, professor of sociology, and Brad Zebrack (social work/sociology) will examine the long-term psychological and social effects of cancer on young adults and teenagers who were diagnosed with cancer as children.

William Zimmerman, professor of political science, and Elizabeth Fecko (political science) will investigate the relationship between regional efforts at privatization in Russia and mass attitudes in these regions. They also will investigate the connection between the transformation of these regional economies and their citizens' attitudes toward the outside world.


Martha Vicinus, Eliza M. Mosher Distinguished University Professor, and Laurel Erickson (English language/literature) propose an anthology of primary sources which address the often conflicting views of homosexuality in Britain during the second half of the 19th-century.

Emmanuel-George Vakalo, associate professor and chair of the doctoral program in architecture, and Samir Emdanat (architecture) will focus on the automatic extraction of the geometric structure of building plans. Their research will build upon existing computer vision software that was developed to extract automatically morphological information from scanned images of line compositions.

Scott Spector, assistant professor of German and of history, and Jennifer L. Jenkins (history) will scrutinize the dichotomy of "politics" and "culture" implicitly problematized in the sub-discipline of cultural history in general and the modern German field in particular.

Patricia Ann Simpson, assistant professor of German, and Gita Rajan (German literature) will focus on narratives that emerged in three different historical moments in the German context. They will concentrate on the ways in which the notion of "home" is constructed and trace the connection between "home" and German identity or citizenship in different historical and geographical contexts.

Michael C. Schoenfeldt, associate professor of English, and Julia B. Perl-man (history of art) will delineate the complex, often paradoxical ways in which words and images mediated relations of divine love, courtly love and carnal love among makers (authors and artists), audiences (readers, viewers, patrons) and a patriarchal-filial God.

Sara L. Rappe, assistant professor of classical studies, and Todd E. Reeser (French) will analyze the reception of Plato's Symposium in 16th-century France by studying the hermeneutic issues that attended the translation and literary adaptation of the text. The project will focus on how gender valuation and gender construction in French Renaissance literature both affect and are affected by this dialogue.

Earl Lewis, associate professor of history, and Heidi Ardizzone (American culture) will research and analyze a series of very public but mostly forgotten trials involving Leonard "Kip" Rhinelander and Alice Jones. In 1925, Rhinelander sued to have his marriage to the "mostly white" Jones annulled on the grounds that she was "Black." The trials sparked heated debates about race, racial identity, interracial sex, class and power.

Joel D. Howell, associate professor of internal medicine, and Chris Bass-Rivera (American culture) will examine the application of technology to specific hospitalized patients at Peterson's Private Hospital in the early 20th century. The project will increase the understanding of how and why technology has come to be seen as central to medicine.

Todd M. Endelman, professor of history, and Nadia Malinovich (history) will examine how Jewish radicals and socialists in France in the period between the Dreyfus Affair and the outbreak of World War II negotiated the tensions between the universalist claims of left-wing political commitments and the particularist emotional claims of family and ethnicity.

Elsa Barkley Brown, assistant professor of history and of Afro-American studies, and Anthony R. Miles (history) will explore the construction of African American rights, freedom and identity and the construction of race in the Reconstruction era courts.

Timothy Bahti, associate professor of German, and Suzanne Black (comparative literature) will design and co-teach a 200-level seminar on literature and science, with special attention to the verbal forms of representation and construction in the discourses of lyric poetry, chemistry, geology, literary theory and the philosophy of science.