Hellman Fellowships Announced

Six researchers from CHASS, CNAS and BCOE have been awarded Hellman Fellowships for 2014-2015

Photo shows UCR sign.

UC Riverside Photo credit: Jeffry Martin.

Six researchers from CHASS, CNAS and Bourns College of Engineering have been awarded Hellman Fellowships for 2014-2015. Supported by the Hellman Fellows Fund, the UCR Hellman Fellows Program awards fellowships of up to $30,000 to faculty at the rank of assistant professor “who exhibit potential for great distinction in their area of expertise.” The program supports research and creative activities that will promote career advancement.

Hellman Fellows and their research projects are:

Loren Collingwood

Loren Collingwood

Loren Collingwood, assistant professor of political science, for an examination of candidate behavior during periods of emerging voter enfranchisement — specifically minority voter enfranchisement, a project that will analyze campaigns in 11 Southern states between approximately 1930 and 1970.

Understanding the role candidates played during the Civil Rights Movement has been systematically overlooked in the literature, he said. “Therefore, this research will add to our understanding of the political dynamics of this era and elucidate the constraints of the relationship between candidates and social movements.”

Secondly, the United States is undergoing a massive demographic realignment as Latino and Asian groups are growing in size and influence throughout the country, Collingwood explained. “The role candidates may play in facilitating or hindering the political incorporation of these groups is crucial to understanding the democratic nature of a more plural and racially heterogeneous society. Thus, the theorizing and empirical analysis embarked upon in this research is foundational for understanding the political impacts of the present demographic shift.”

The $29,000 fellowship will fund research trips to political archives in several Southern states and funding for undergraduate assistance in the coding of historical newspapers.

Kaustabh Ghosh

Kaustabh Ghosh

Kaustabh Ghosh, assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering and the Program in Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology, for development and evaluation of the potential of a novel injectable, lung-targeting nitroglycerin nanotherapeutic system as a superior treatment modality for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

 PAH is a fatal condition where the blood vessels of the lung become constricted and inflamed, resulting in chronic high blood pressure and lung tissue damage. Ghosh proposes to develop a new injectable, lung-targeting nitroglycerin (NTG) nanotherapeutic system that, when administered intravenously, can selectively home to hypertensive blood vessels in the lung and locally deliver low doses of NTG to simultaneously widen constricted vessels and suppress lung inflammation.

 The award provides $29,800 for one year that will be used towards graduate student salary support, research supplies, travel to national research conferences, and a partial summer salary for Ghosh.

Covadonga Lamar Prieto

Covadonga Lamar Prieto

Covadonga Lamar Prieto, assistant professor of Hispanic studies, for research relating to the sociolinguistic history of Southern California.

The official history of 19th century California was written in English, and it neglected the presence in the territory of Spanish speakers, Lamar Prieto said. “As a consequence, the testimonies of these Spanish speakers remain for the most part unpublished and even undiscovered in different libraries and archives.”

Her project aims to recover a hidden chapter of the sociolinguistic history of Southern California: the dialect of Spanish that those Californios spoke, and how this dialect is related to contemporary Spanish language in the area.

The Hellman Fellowship of $25,200 will support visits to libraries and archives that hold testimonies in Spanish written by 19th century Californios. Lamar Prieto’s objective is to build a corpus that describes the variety of Spanish used in California in the period before and after the annexation to the United States and, with it, fulfilling a short-term goal of writing a monograph about Spanish in California in the 19th century.

Juchen Guo

Juchen Guo

Juchen Guo, assistant professor of in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, for his research on the feasibility of a rechargeable battery with an aluminum negative electrode and sulfur positive electrode.

The project is motivated by finding an alternative to the lithium-ion batteries, since lithium is not an abundant resource on earth. Aluminum and sulfur are very abundant elements that are less costly than lithium. Furthermore, the proposed aluminum-sulfur battery has a higher theoretical energy density than the current lithium-ion batteries.

The $29,800 Hellman Fellowship will allow a Ph.D. student to carry out a thorough and fundamental investigation on the electrochemical reactions between aluminum and sulfur.

Robb Hernandez

Robb Hernandez

Robb Hernandez, assistant professor of English, for a book-length study of a queer genealogy of Chicano avant-gardism, an experimental language of Chicano cultural production in Southern California emerging in the late 1960s.

“These artists, notorious for their garish performance personas, provocative visual spectacles, and ‘live art’ embodiments, are obscure in the story of Chicano art due to erasure wrought by a prescient heteronormative vision of the past and the AIDS crisis,” he said. The project requires challenging new forms of fieldwork and the reconstruction of alternative archival bodies and spaces “to show how queerness remains, though scattered in a mélange of dust and debris.”

The $27,634 Hellman Fellowship will support additional research travel to El Museo Del Barrio in New York City, Smithsonian Archives of American Art in Washington, D.C., and the Colección Tloque Nahuaque at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library. Hernandez also will conduct extensive interviews and house visits with surviving friends, family, and artist-colleagues in Palm Springs, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. The fellowship also will support professional photo documentation and digital preservation of rare documents, artworks, and domestic interior displays.

Jikui Song

Jikui Song

Jikui Song, assistant professor of biochemistry, for his research on the enzymatic mechanisms of mammalian DNA methyltransferases.

DNA contains combinations of four nucleotides: cytosine, guanine, thymine and adenine. The methylation of mammalian DNA — the addition of a methyl group to cytosine or guanine — has long been recognized to play a major role in helping regulate gene silencing, genomic imprinting and X-chromosome inactivation.  Mammalian DNA methyltransferases, a family of proteins, are responsible for establishing and maintaining DNA methylation patterns. Numerous human diseases have been linked to aberrant DNA methylation patterns.

“Structural and functional investigation of mammalian DNA methyltransferases will lead to a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of DNA methylation and generate a significant impact on therapeutic intervention of human diseases,” Song said.

The $29,800 fellowship will cover expenses related to his research, including travel, purchase of equipment, and lab personnel salaries. Song came to UC Riverside in 2012 from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

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