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Mar 2007 - Aug 2025
Texas Instruments Gift: TEES Project No. 15870/Account No. 32520
Gift account for Dr.
Jul 2019 - Jun 2024
CAREER: Rethinking Abstractions in Virtualized Architectures and Systems sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF)
Overview: Recent advances in cloud computing, as exemplified by the commercial success of Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine, have led to a wide adoption of virtualization techniques in modern computer systems.
There is also a steady trend towards building future data centers and highperformance computers with a software-defined architecture. However, performance, cost-effectiveness, and predictability remain critical challenges in virtualized systems, impeding the adoption of virtualization in many critical domains, including scientific computing, latency-sensitive services and big data analytics. The difficulty lies in meeting individual users? diverse needs while maintaining high utilization and efficiency in a system with multiple layers of abstraction, each designed as a minimal interface for correction execution rather than performance optimizations. This project aims to address these pressing issues by revisiting abstractions in various types of virtualized systems, including virtual machines, containers, and virtualized networks, and studying how they affect resource management. Specifically, it will: 1) analyze the semantic gaps in different systems, identify the critical missing information from current abstractions, and design augmented abstractions to bridge the gaps; 2) leverage the augmented abstractions to devise effective, efficient, and elastic resource management; 3) increase the fundamental understanding of abstraction in resource management and apply the knowledge developed in virtualized systems to conventional systems and new architectures. Intellectual Merit: The intellectual merit of this proposal is a systematic study of semantic gaps in various types of virtualized systems, a fundamental understanding of their impacts on resource management, and a novel methodology for bridging the gaps. It tackles an important and challenging problem ? how to effectively and efficiently manage resources in systems with multiple layers of abstraction and multiple users that have diverse, and often conflicting, goals. It will address this problem by developing a deep understanding of abstraction and its associated semantic gap, and proposing techniques to improve resource management without undermining the benefits of virtualization, such as isolation, flexibility and portability. The general methodology developed in this research will convey enough information through the augmented abstractions and rely on the party with the best knowledge to bridge the semantic gap while treating the other side of the gap largely as a black box. Various techniques that are previously infeasible without the augmented abstractions will be developed to demonstrate the efficacy of this approach in virtual machines, containers, and virtualized networks, and thus advancing knowledge in the field of virtualized systems. Broader Impacts: The success of this project will significantly improve performance, cost-effectiveness, and reduce variability of virtualized systems, paving the road to building future high-performance computers with a software-defined architecture. It also opens up opportunities for a new cloud ecosystem with higher hardware utilization but lower user cost. This research will be tightly integrated into teaching by redesigning undergraduate courses: Operating Systems, Computer Architecture and Computer Networks in a unifying theme ? building computer systems through abstraction. This project will further broaden its impacts through mentoring and recruiting minority students, and outreach activities in K12 schools.
Apr 2019 - Mar 2024
T cells mediate age related arterial dysfunction sponsored by National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Candidate: Daniel Trott, Ph.
D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Trott’s research is focused on the interaction between inflammation and age-related arterial dysfunction. Dr. Trott’s long-term goal is to independently direct an extramurally funded laboratory with research focused on the interaction of the aging immune system and vasculature in both pre-clinical models and in humans. Career Development: This award will support Dr. Trott’s career development by building on his existing training in aging and vascular biology. Specifically, Dr. Trott will receive extensive training in the planning and execution of studies assessing vascular and immune outcomes in older adults. The career development plan outlines a coordinated effort to train the candidate in areas including: vascular biology of aging, assessment of vascular function in humans, human endothelial cell and immune cell phenotyping, and, attendance at regular aging and vascular seminar series as well as other meetings within the university and nationally. Environment: The University of Texas at Arlington is an ideal environment for Dr. Trott’s career development. This environment provides all of the resources needed to complete the proposed studies. Further, his mentoring team allows for collaboration with experts in aging, vascular biology, and immunology. The University of Texas at Arlington also provides a rich environment for formal and informal training in career development. Research: The central hypothesis of this research project is that T cells mediate age-related arterial dysfunction. First, we hypothesize that T cells infiltrate the perivascular tissue around large elastic and resistance arteries and mediate age-related arterial dysfunction. To test this, we will assess arterial function, immune cell infiltration and inflammatory subtypes in young and old mice with T cells intact or depleted. In addition, we will employ adoptive transfer to determine whether aged T cells preferentially home to the vasculature and induce dysfunction. Second, we hypothesize that T cells directly mediate age-related arterial dysfunction in older adults. To test this hypothesis we will adoptively transfer T cells from young, middle aged and older healthy human donors to NOD-scid/?cnull/A2 humanized mice and assess immune cell infiltration, inflammation and arterial function. We will also assess arterial function, plasma free radicals and endothelial and T cell phenotype in the human donors to determine the relationship between these parameters and the degree of dysfunction induced in the recipient mice. The results from these studies will provide insight into the etiology of age-related arterial dysfunction and identify previously unexplored targets for diagnostics and intervention with the significant goal of maintaining cardiovascular health in the elderly.
Feb 2019 - Jan 2024
CAREER: Bioinspired Shape-Morphing 3D Materials with Programmed Morphologies and Motions sponsored by National Science Foundation (NSF)
Overview: Living organisms use spatially controlled expansion and contraction of soft tissues to achieve complex three-dimensional (3D) morphologies and movements and thereby functions.
However, reproducing such features in man-made materials remains a challenge. The research goal of this CAREER proposal is to design and develop bioinspired shape-morphing 3D materials with programmed morphologies and motions. In pursuit of this research goal, the research objectives are to (1) design programmable cellladen hydrogels for creating engineered 3D tissues, (2) establish an integrated theoretical and experimental framework to design shape-morphing 3D materials with arbitrary target morphologies and motions, and (3) create shape-morphing 3D tissues with programmed morphologies and motions. The approach is to design and prepare stimuli-responsive, programmable synthetic and cell-laden hydrogel sheets (2D materials) and encode the 2D materials with spatially controlled in-plane growth (expansion and contraction) using digital light projection lithography. This approach transforms the 2D materials into programmed 3D shapes via out-of-plane bending deformation (non-Euclidean plates). The resulting 3D structures reversibly transform between prescribed 3D shapes in response to external stimuli (e.g., temperature, ion, electric field, and light). The educational objectives of this CAREER proposal are to (1) promote the interest of K-12 students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and (2) enhance research-oriented multidisciplinary education. Intellectual Merit: This research will establish an integrated theoretical and experimental foundation for designing and creating bioinspired shape-morphing 3D materials with programmed morphologies and motions. This project will advance knowledge of (1) how photopolymerization and crosslinking processes modulate the material properties of cell-laden temperature-responsive hydrogels with two crosslinkers throughout the time course of the processes and how cells behave in the hydrogels, (2) how spatially-controlled growth (expansion and contraction) of 2D materials induces the formation of 3D materials and their shape changes, and (3) how muscle cells encapsulated in hydrogels can be encoded with spatially controlled contraction and thus used to create shape-morphing 3D tissues with programmed morphologies and motions. The knowledge will translate the concept of growth-induced 3D shaping approach into a viable fabrication method for creating bioinspired synthetic and biohybrid 3D soft materials with programmed morphologies and motions. Broader Impacts: The ability to spatially control the expansion and contraction of synthetic and biohybrid soft materials, as seen in biological organisms, will benefit many areas, including bioinspired soft robotics, artificial muscles, programmable matter, biomedical devices, dynamic 3D tissue models, tissue engineering, developmental biology, and biomimetic 3D manufacturing. Such capability could potentially transform the way we design and fabricate soft materials and devices. The concept of growth-induced 3D shaping is applicable to other programmable materials. The 2D printing approach for 3D material programming represents a scalable and customizable 3D fabrication technology, potentially integrable with existing 2D fabrication methods and devices for multifunctionalities and broader applications. Societal benefits include (1) promoting the interest of K-12 students in STEM fields using hands-on soft robotics activities through museum and summer camp outreach programs, (2) enhancing research-oriented multidisciplinary education, and (3) developing the next generation of researchers in bioinspired soft materials, theoretical and computational modeling of soft materials, bioinspired engineering, and biomimetic 3D manufacturing.
Feb 2019 - Jan 2024
Bioactive adhesive material for early vaginal wall detachment in pelvic organ prolapse sponsored by National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Early vaginal wall detachment is a major cause for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) development.
POP is a common disease in the aging woman with a high morbidity rate related to treatment. Approximately 30-40% of women may experience this condition, and by 80 years-old about 20% or so will need to undergo some corrective surgery. However, among surgical options, current synthetic materials for corrective surgery have been fairly popular but can lead to severe complications as recognized by the FDA in two notifications (2008, 2011) along with a fairly high prolapse recurrence rate. Furthermore, the treatment for POP tends to be delayed until advanced stages due to late recognition and variable symptomatology. To reduce POP surgical morbidity and treatment cost, a strategy to address early vaginal wall detachment to prevent POP development would be highly desirable. Such a preventive treatment could employ an appropriate biodegradable bio-adhesive material able to reattach the detached vaginal wall to the pelvic side wall, and by so doing, prevent further drop and detachment of the anterior vaginal wall and vaginal apex resulting in advanced POP. Our preliminary work indicates that a biodegradable mussel-inspired adhesive is a good candidate to attain this preventive goal, especially in a wet in vivo environment; but it needs further improvement in adhesive strength properties and tissue durability. In this project, hence, our goal is to develop a novel adhesive material from mussel-inspired adhesive and biodegradable nanoparticles for specific POP preventive applications. To realize this goal, three specific aims are proposed. In Aim 1, we will prepare and optimize our current biodegradable adhesive nanoblend by altering its chemical structure, blend concentrations, nanoparticle contents and nanoparticle surface area. In Aim 2, we will evaluate the adhesive strength of the nanoblend using an ex vivo model and assess the material biosafety, adhesive strength and tissue growth in vivo using a rat model. In Aim 3, we will incorporate a cell recruiting chemokine into the adhesive, which can recruit regenerative cells to promote new tissue formation to permanently enhance the attachment between pelvic floor and muscle. We will further determine the efficacy of this bioactive adhesive using rat models. Three innovative aspects are proposed. The first is the novel concept of prevention strategy to manage early-stage vaginal wall detachment to reduce the morbidity of POP, which can improve the quality of life of the women patients and subsequently save therapy costs linked to more advanced and complex POP stages. The second is the implementation of a novel fully biodegradable adhesive material system. It will provide rapid and robust adhesive to reinforce the detached vaginal wall from the adjacent pelvic sidewall, and allow new tissue ingrowth. The nanoparticles can increase the adhesive strength in addition to being served as carriers to deliver drugs and/or bioactive molecules. The third is that this nanoblend material not only serves as an adhesive but also works for cell recruitment and tissue regeneration. The successful outcome of this project will provide a novel strategy to treat patients with early vaginal wall detachment to prevent POP occurrence, thus resulting in reduced morbidity and associated treatment cost. The developed materials and methodologies could be used for other biomedical applications involving wet to dry or wet to wet surface interactions (tissue glue and wound healing). 
Jun 2018 - Jan 2024
AEDC 16T Wind Tunnel Compressor Blades - Technical Consultation and Engineering Review sponsored by Innovation, Integration, Inc. (i3)
Innovation, Integration, Inc.
(i3) is contracted by the Government to support the Arnold Engineering and Development Complex (AEDC) in the development and manufacturing of blades for the compressor powering the 16T Wind Tunnel. The proposal development and the execution of the two-phased project require ongoing support through engineering services and expertise.  The University of Texas at Arlington will provide Technical Consultaion and Engineering Review support to i3 on an as necessary/requested basis, with an initial estimated effort level of 0.5 months of PI time, in the technical expertise areas of the PI and, if and when necessary, of additional UT Arlington complementary subject matter experts whose additional effort and contribution will be included in a co-PI capacity, if/when necessary.  i3 anticipates requiring technical consultation and engineering review in the areas of: Engineering material selection, comparison, and characterization Mechanical testing and evaluation of subassemblies and assembly methodologies  Independent review of analysis results for thoroughness and validity Consultation and recommendations for engineering best practices in the areas of composite rotorcraft components Consultation and recommendations for engineering best practices in the areas of additive manufacturing
Sep 2018 - Aug 2023
Louis Stokes STEM Pathways and Research Alliance: University of Texas System LSAMP sponsored by University of Texas at El Paso
Objective:  The primary goal the project is to increase the quantity and quality of underrepresented minority (URM) students that pursue and earn degrees in Science, Engineering, Technology, and Mathematics (STEM) in the state of Texas and the nation.
In addition, it promotes undergraduate degree completion, early planning for graduate studies and making the professoriate an attainable career goal among our scholars.  These activities outlined for the program are centered on a set of interconnected undergraduate research experiences, designed to advance knowledge and understanding of the academic factors that enable URM students to successfully earn STEM degrees, pursue graduate degrees and successful transition to their careers.      Scope:   Published evidence has consistently identified undergraduate research as a high impact educational practice that improves retention and progression rates through the entire academic career, aids in career planning, and increases interest in pursuing graduate degrees.  In this project, UTA will identify pair selected students with faculty mentors students who will oversee the students’ participation an intensive undergraduate research experience via the Summer Research Academy (SRA) that may lead to a research abroad experience.     Background: Since 1995, UTA has been a proud partner and collaborator of the UT System LSAMP and has dedicated resources to the education of a diverse STEM workforce in the United States.  High-impact research is one of the guiding aspirations for the University’s strategic plan, and UTA is committed to increasing student engagement in these types of transformative experiences that provide unique learning opportunities to enhance the educational, career, and life skills of UTA students.    Tasks/Scientific Goals:   Ms. Alisa Johnson will serve as the campus co-Director and will manage the campus activities supported by the grant. Each year, UTA will encourage students to participate in a ‘university exchange’ and   will host four students in the Summer Research Academy.  These undergraduate STEM majors will work on an active research project at a UT System institution under the direction of dedicated faculty mentors.  In addition to providing a venue for students to participate in of professional development teleconferences, UTA will provide a series of professional development seminars on topics such as career development, presenting their research, and preparing for graduate school. This programming will include a boot camp designed to help students apply for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and other prestigious awards.  This program allows students to engage in what can be a life-changing experience that helps them to redefine their career goals to include master’s and doctoral studies, and develop professional skills for success.  Each student participant will also be encouraged to participate in the international student international research experience that alumni from this program may apply to pursue. In addition to the conferences that focus on professional development and graduate school preparation, students will be provided opportunities for students to attend professional conferences and meetings in their respective fields to present their research.   UTA will evaluate the research experience with pre and post experience surveys, as well as presentation sand writing samples of participants.  Results of this effort will be disseminated broadly through journal and conference publications as well as regional and national presentations.  
Aug 2018 - Jul 2023
Mechanisms of host protection during infection via the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (NIH R35 application) sponsored by National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The rise of antibiotic resistant pathogens in the clinic is undeniably a recognized medical concern since it is the cause of enormous human and economic loss worldwide.
Of further alarm is the lack of new therapeutics to combat these harmful and potentially deadly infections. Accordingly, it is critical that we generate novel approaches to address this growing problem. The development of reagents that enhance host immunity may be an effective alternative strategy to promote host resistance to infection by reducing pathogen numbers. In addition, identifying mechanisms that can support host tolerance to withstand the damage inflicted by harmful microbes and the inflammatory response is equally as vital.   Mitochondria have multiple essential cellular functions including a recognized role in mediating the immune response. The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt), a stress-activated pathway that recovers mitochondrial function, also participates in host defense against infection through the regulation of innate immunity. Further investigation into the regulation and therapeutic potential of the UPRmt is therefore warranted considering its dual roles in preserving mitochondrial homeostasis and inducing anti-microbial defense. The current proposal will harness the power of Caenorhabditis elegans genetics to explore the role and regulation of the UPRmt in the context of pathogen infection to uncover novel means of manipulating its protective potential. Moreover, we will build on our current understanding by evaluating the potential role of the mammalian UPRmt in promoting host survival during infection. Consequently, we foresee many innovative concepts stemming from this research proposal.
Jul 2018 - Jun 2023
Loss of Numb in Muscle Dysfunction in Aging sponsored by Bronx Veterans Medical Research Foundation, Inc.
Drs. Brotto and Cardozo have now a very solid collaboration having generated together the preliminary data for this proposal and having presented at meetings and published one abstract together.
Their first manuscript together will be published soon. Dr. Brotto will closely work with Dr. Cardozo in all the design, planning, and interpretation of all experiments requiring his expertise, particularly muscle and cell based experiments requiring his expertise. He will also advise Dr. Cardozo on other aspects of the proposal as needed and assist with interpretation of data and writing of manuscripts. They also plan to meet yearly at the ASBMR meeting and potentially one more time either through Lab visits or at the Experimental Biology or Biophysical Meeting.   
Sep 2018 - May 2023
Regulation of Store-Operated Calcium Entry during Muscle Aging sponsored by Ohio State University
Drs. Brotto and Weisleder have now a very solid collaboration that has lasted since 2005 with 13 joint papers.
They have published together in journals such as Biophysical Journal, Nat. Cell Biol., Aging Cell, Aging, J. Cell Biol., JBC, etc. It is very exciting collaboration because we see ourselves as equals and our research as highly complementary to each other. Furthermore, studies that focus on the role of MG29, calcium signaling and lipid signaling in aging are not only important, but also needed for new insights into the basic biology of muscle aging. Specifically for our proposal that utilizes the Multiple PI format, for which Dr. Noah Weisleder (Ohio State University) serves as the contact PI, and Dr. Brotto serves as Co-PI, the Brotto Lab will be in charge of conducting all studies at carrying out the specific aims related to testing the function of MG29 mutants and overexpressing constructs as well as the manipulations to reduce the levels of MG29. As shown in the new preliminary data, the Brotto Lab has developed in collaboration with the Shimadzu Center at UTA focused lipodomics approaches for the analyses lipid signaling mediators in skeletal muscle aging. Dr. Brotto Lab has vast expertise on measurements of intracellular calcium and EC coupling function as well as contractile function. Dr. Brotto will closely work with both Dr. Weisleder in all the design, planning, and interpretation of these experiments. They have a proven record of accomplishment of productivity and publications. They also have established specific mechanisms for regular communication such as Webex, Skype, conference calls that will occur at a monthly/bi-monthly basis. They also have a plan in place to meet at the Biophysical Society meeting or at the Experimental Biology Meeting. They have also visited each other’s lab in the past for periods of 1-2 weeks.