Montana State University

Montana Space Grant Consortium awards almost $300,000

July 13, 2006 -- From MSU News Service

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BOZEMAN -- Eight Montana State University faculty members and two from other Montana institutions received grants totaling almost $300,000 for 2006-2007 research or educational projects. The projects deal with fuel cells, space experiments, bacterial pigments, moisture maps and more.

The grants were awarded by the Montana Space Grant Consortium, a NASA program designed to enhance aerospace-related education and research in Montana.

The MSU recipients, grant amounts and projects are:

Christine Foreman, Center for Biofilm Engineering/land resources and environmental sciences. She received $29,305 for a research project titled "Bacterial Pigments: Examining their potential role as cryo- and ultraviolet radiation protectants." Foreman will expose bacteria from several Antarctic environments to UV irradiance. The levels will be similar to those in Antarctica and Mars.

Piet Martens, physics. He received $25,003 for a research project titled "Low-cost X-ray optics for space experiments."

Ahsan Mian, mechanical and industrial engineering. He received $21,202 for a research project titled "Application of the Van Der Pauw structure as a piezoresistive pressure sensor."

Kevin Repasky, electrical and computer engineering. He received $30,880 for a research project titled "Free space optical communications."

Stephen Sofie, mechanical and industrial engineering. He received $32,291 for a research project titled, "Electro-catalyst infiltration of engineered solid oxide fuel cell electrodes."

Sachiko Tsuruta, physics. Tsuruta received $21,234 for a research project titled, "Gravitational radiation from intermediate mass black holes."

Catherine Zabinski, land resources and environmental sciences. She received $32,245 for a research project titled "Utilizing existing temperature and carbon dioxide gradients within Yellowstone National Park to elucidate symbiotic plant-fungal responses to global environmental change."

Robert Maher, electrical and computer engineering. He received $28,176 for an educational enhancement project titled "ECE Robots: Moving to the Upper Division." Maher will develop and implement a series of robot-based experiments or learning modules in upper division electrical and computer engineering classes.

Grant recipients at other Montana institutions were:

Carl Seielstad, forest management at the University of Montana. He received $40,000 for a project titled "Developing tree-scale biomass for fire modeling, carbon measurement and habitat assessment." Seielstad will use data from the National Center for Landscape Fire Analysis to establish a research and development program targeted at identifying and measuring individual trees. He wants to quantiy biomass at a tree scale.

Xiaobing Zhou, geophysical engineering at Montana Tech. He received $39,256 for a project titled "Algorithm development and validation of liquid water content mapping for mixed terrain of snow and soil in Montana using space-borne active microwave data." Zhou will develop and validate an algorithm to create snow and soil moisture maps of Montana's drought-stricken regions.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu