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2018 News Archive

June 01, 2018
Paula Vasquez is awarded an NSF CAREER grant.

Paula Vasquez (IMI) is awarded a five year National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant totaling $476,480 for her research on: Multi-scale Modeling of Biological Gels by Coupling Langevin Equations and Fractional Viscoelastic Constitutive Models. NSF CAREER grants are the "Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization."

"Investigations of fluid flows can be divided into Newtonian and non-Newtonian according to the fluid's response to the imposed deformation. From a modeling perspective, all Newtonian fluids are well described by the Navier-Stokes equations. In contrast, there is not a unique system of equations capable of describing all non-Newtonian materials. This is due to these materials' ability to locally change their microstructure in response to different deformations. What non-Newtonian fluids have in common is that their properties are emergent from the collective behavior of many microstructural components. The challenge lies in describing the dynamics that result from interactions among microscopic constituents and how such interactions lead to different macroscopic material functions.

The goal of the proposed projects is to formulate, analyze and simulate new constitutive models for soft biological matter. These models are based on mathematical relationships between macroscopic properties and microstructural processes both at equilibrium, where thermal fluctuations dominate, and far-from-equilibrium conditions. These relations are derived from the coupling between stochastic, integro-differential equations and deterministic, fractional partial differential equations. The outcomes of this project will be new classes of linear and nonlinear constitutive equations, analytical results describing non-local quantities using fractional calculus, numerical simulations of fractional models under physiologically relevant conditions, and new experimental insights into the microstructure of soft biological matter."

May 31, 2018
Joshua Cooper Publishes New Book on Discrete Mathematics

Cambridge University Press is publishing a new book on Discrete Mathematics, edited by Steve Butler, Joshua Cooper (IMI), and Glenn Hurlbert: "Connections in Discrete Mathematics, A Celebration of the Work of Ron Graham" (ISBN-13: 9781316607886).

"Discrete mathematics has been rising in prominence in the past fifty years, both as a tool with practical applications and as a source of new and interesting mathematics. The topics in discrete mathematics have become so well developed that it is easy to forget that common threads connect the different areas, and it is through discovering and using these connections that progress is often made. For over fifty years, Ron Graham has been able to illuminate some of these connections and has helped to bring the field of discrete mathematics to where it is today. To celebrate his contribution, this volume brings together many of the best researchers working in discrete mathematics, including Fan Chung, Erik D. Demaine, Persi Diaconis, Peter Frankl, Alfred W. Hales, Jeffrey C. Lagarias, Allen Knutson, Janos Pach, Carl Pomerance, N. J. A. Sloane, and of course, Ron Graham himself."

This book may be accessed through the publisher's web page or through Amazon.

May 23, 2018
Qi Wang is awarded a National Science Foundation grant

Qi Wang (IMI) is awarded a three year National Science Foundation grant totaling $150,000 for his Collaborative Research on: Computational Modeling of How Living Cells Utilize Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation to Organize Chemical Compartments. This is a joint project with UNC Chapel Hill and Utah State University.

"There is a deep mechanistic understanding in cell biology of membranes and their role in establishing extracellular and intracellular chemical compartments. Yet, relatively little is known about how molecular proteins and organelles, within the cytoplasm or within the nucleus, chemically interact and self-organize to create, sustain, and evolve chemical compartments in the absence of membranes. Armed with resolved spatial and temporal data of primary molecular species and species complexes, we propose significant intellectual advances. First, development of a general computational modeling platform that explores the space of sufficient inputs of primary molecular (proteins, RNAs) and microscopic (nuclei, membranes) species, chemical affinities among them, and spatial confinement conditions, that produce a phase diagram of outcomes that mimic live cell data -- dynamic self-organization of complexes and molecular species, droplet formation, and LLPS ? and reveal sufficient ingredients and interactions for membraneless, intracellular chemical compartments. Second, via coupled stochastic and continuum modeling, conditioning on ex vivo and in vivo experimental data, we propose to discover sufficient model species, complexes, and hidden chemical affinities that reproduce the chemical compartmentalization of live cells. The extension of existing equilibrium, phase separation algorithms (e.g., Cahn-Hilliard and Allen-Cahn) to chemical energy-driven, non-equilibrium, viscoelastic, hydrodynamic algorithms will be a significant intellectual advance."

May 18, 2018
Joshua Cooper is awarded a grant from EpiCypher, Inc.

Joshua Cooper (IMI) is granted a $35,000 subaward from EpiCypher, Inc., as part of an NIH STTR award, for his research on: Quantifying NETosis Via Automated High Content Imaging Assay And Neural Networks.

Cooper's team will "develop software and select/purchase the computational resources to perform machine learning aspects of the project under consideration. He plans, with the help of the other researchers involved, to train a VGG-style convolutional neural network (CNN) to count the number of cells of various phenotypes (NETotic, normal, etc.) in a microscopic image."

April 30, 2018
Xiaofeng Yang is awarded a VPR ASPIRE-I grant

Xiaofeng Yang (IMI) is awarded a 15-month Office of the Vice President for Research ASPIRE-I grant totaling $15,000 for his research on: Modeling, algorithm developments and simulations for two-phase ferrofluid flows.

"Being controllable by applied magnetic fields, two-phase ferrofluid flows have been found diverse applications in various science and engineering fields. Flows of two-phase ferrofluid mixtures usually involve the coupling of hydrodynamics, interface motion, intrinsic particle spins, magnetization field, and induced magnetic field. The complexity of those nonlinear couplings presents many theoretical / numerical challenges for modeling, algorithm development, implementations and analysis. The proposed research has a three-fold focus: (i) to derive suitable energetic variational phase-field models for the two-phase ferrofluid flow system that couples all necessary ingredients; (ii) to design easily implemented, energy stable numerical schemes with discrete energy dissipation laws to accurately capture the dynamics of interface singularities; and (iii) to perform numerical simulations to validate the proposed models and numerical schemes, and further to study various physically motivated problems."

April 10, 2018
Blanco-Silva co-authors paper in Journal of Rural Studies

Kevin J. Bennett, Matthew Yuen, and Francisco J. Blanco-Silva (IMI), published their paper "Geographic Differences in Recovery after the Great Recession" in the Journal of Rural Studies (Vol. 59, April 2018, Pages 111-117). For details, please visit:

February 16, 2018
Pencho Petrushev is awarded a National Geospatial Agency grant

Pencho Petrushev (IMI) is awarded a five year National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency grant totaling $750,000 for his research on: Highly Effective Computational Methods in Geomagnetic Field Modeling.

"One of the main goals of this project is the development of an algorithm and software for fast and accurate evaluation of the elements of the Earth’s magnetic field represented in terms of high degree solid spherical or ellipsoidal harmonics at many scattered points in the space above the surface of the Earth. The aim is one to be able to evaluate these geomagnetic quantities in real time (on the fly) with minimum use of memory and with prescribed accuracy. To solve this problem we propose a method based on the “tensor product trigonometric needlets” introduced by the PI and his collaborators. This technology has already been substantially developed by the PI and his team while working on his NURI project “Highly Effective Compression and Evaluation of Geodetic Quantities” 2012–2017. The tensor product trigonometric needlets provide an effective tool for solution of the problem for memory efficient, fast and accurate evaluation of geomagnetic and gravimetric quantities due to their superb localization and compatibility with spherical and ellipsoidal harmonics. The software to be developed can be particularly very useful if installed on small portable devises.

The second core objective of this project is to develop an algorithm and software for efficient upward continuation of the Earth’s magnetic anomaly field to the space above the surface of the Earth. For this we intend to use the Magnetic Anomaly Map of North America that is currently available. For upward continuation we propose the utilization of solid spherical or ellipsoidal needlets. These are highly localized kernels on the sphere or ellipsoid which preserve the spherical or ellipsoid harmonics of a given degree and automatically extend to harmonic functions in the external space. Such needlets have already been successfully used by the PI and his collaborators for evaluation and reconstruction of bandlimited functions on the sphere. The proposed scheme will be capable to assimilate magnetic anomalies on locally available high resolution grids that require very high (up to 10,000) degree spherical/ellipsoidal harmonics.

A targeted application of the proposed above development of algorithms and software is to the problem for aerial navigation using the Earth’s magnetic anomaly field. Accurate navigation without the use of GPS is a challenging problem. Other alternative techniques have limitations. The availability of highly accurate magnetic anomaly maps opens the possibility for their use in navigation. Our intent is to develop such algorithms and software."

January 31, 2018
Kerkyacharian, Petrushev, and Xu publish article in IMI Preprint Series
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Gerard Kerkyacharian, Pencho Petrushev, and Yuan Xu published their article "Gaussian Bounds for the Weighted Heat Kernels on the Interval, Ball and Simplex" in the IMI Preprint Series (2018:01). Please see the link above to the full article and visit Preprints to see other articles in this series.

January 31, 2018
Kerkyacharian, Petrushev, and Xu publish article in IMI Preprint Series
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Gerard Kerkyacharian, Pencho Petrushev, and Yuan Xu published their article "Gaussian Bounds for the Heat Kernels on the Ball and Simplex: Classical Approach" in the IMI Preprint Series (2018:02). Please see the link above to the full article and visit Preprints to see other articles in this series.

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