Chagas disease is a parasitic-related illness spread by triatomine insects known as “kissing” bugs.

Photographer: E.G. Baus

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The Ohio University Foundation announces 1804 Fund awards

More than $300,000 in awards for 2012 will fund 21 new projects and programs

The Ohio University Foundation has awarded $300,141 to 21 new research and educational initiatives from OHIO’s 1804 Fund.

The 1804 Fund, which was designed to foster innovation and collaboration across disciplines, supports the University's core mission of “maintaining, strengthening and enhancing a learning-centered community.”

 Since awarding its first grants in 1980, the fund has provided more than $15 million in support to approximately 600 projects and programs.

The 2012 funding cycle yielded awards for a broad variety of projects ranging from a conference designed to celebrate the heritage of Appalachian women, to the creation of a “nanO-stUdio,” which will serve as an interactive nanotechnology lab complete with a desktop scanning electron microscope (SEM).

“The 1804 Fund was designed to encourage forward thinking and collaboration across disciplines, and having seed money available from the 1804 Fund allows dreams to come to fruition,” said Dorothy Schey, director of development for special fundraising initiatives. “Each year we are very proud of our amazing faculty, students, and staff who propose such progressive ideas for research, programs, equipment, and projects which enhance both teaching and learning at Ohio University. We have seen many successful initiatives blossom from the 1804 Fund.”

The 1804 Fund supports proposals through two funding pools: research and graduate studies and the other is undergraduate learning.

For 2012, six projects were awarded $146,022 through the faculty research and graduate studies category, which was designed to promote “research and scholarly activities and innovations in graduate education.” Within the undergraduate learning category, which promotes “curricular innovations, programs, and activities that enhance the undergraduate educational experience,” the Foundation awarded $154,119 to 15 projects.

Click here for a complete list of 2012 recipients.

Through the faculty research and graduate studies category, four faculty members from different departments are teaming up for a project titled “Healthy Living Initiative Graduate Research Experience.”

Recipients Mario Grijalva of the Tropical Disease Institute in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Department of Biomedical Sciences; and Jose Delgado, Tom Smucker and Lawrence Wood - all of whom participated as directors of their programs within the Center for International Studies - will embark on a multidisciplinary project that involves OHIO graduate students in the design, implementation and evaluation of a comprehensive socio-economic development model to eradicate Chagas disease in Loja, Ecuador.

Most commonly found in Mexico, South America and Central America, Chagas disease is a parasitic-related illness spread by triatomine insects known as “kissing” bugs. Immigration and globalization has caused the spread of the disease worldwide, where it is transmitted mainly by the blood supply, organ transplants and congenitally. According to a 2010 study in The Lancet, approximately 11 million people are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the causal agent of Chagas disease, most of who do not know that they are infected. It is estimated that about 300,000 people are infected in the United States.

“Led by the Tropical Disease Institute and the Center for International Studies, this project will provide a holistic approach to combating Chagas disease,” said Grijalva. “Students with backgrounds in Biomedical Sciences, Communications, Latin American Studies and International Development will work together in new, meaningful ways. They will engage in a long-term cyclical process of training, research, fieldwork and community service, both at Ohio University and in Ecuador. These activities will provide an enriched academic experience that will be applied in Ecuador and will directly improve the lives of people that are at a high risk of contracting Chagas disease.”

For Brittany Calhoun, a graduate student in the College of Health Sciences and Professions’ Department of Social and Public Health, the 1804 Fund award will allow her and her colleagues to produce a publication titled “Saturday Night: Untold Stories of Sexual Assault at Ohio University.”

“I am very grateful to The Ohio University Foundation for recognizing the significant safety concern that sexual assault poses on all college campuses,” explained Calhoun. “Similar publications began at Duke University in 2002 and at Harvard University in 2007. The 1804 Fund award will allow us to tell the stories of sexually assaulted students in a way that will empower victims and, hopefully, help other students recognize situations that might put them at risk. The publication also will help the Athens and Ohio University communities better understand the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses and lead to even more preventative efforts.”

The 1804 Fund was endowed in 1979 by a visionary gift from the estate of alumnus C. Paul Stocker “to enhance the quality of university programs and life.” All awards support the University’s vision of providing the best student-centered learning experience in America.

To make a gift in support of the 1804 Fund, contact Dorothy Schey in University Advancement at 740-593-4556 or schey@ohio.edu, or give online at www.ohio.edu/give.

Faculty and staff interested in applying for the 2013 award cycle must have a preliminary discussion with the vice president for research (faculty research and graduate studies proposals) or the dean of University College (undergraduate proposals) by February 15. The goals of the discussions are to assist in the refinement of proposal ideas and to identify issues that should be addressed prior to final proposal submission. Final proposals are due March 15. Final decisions about funding are made by the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees each July.