September 2013 Awards

DING, LIN; Heckler, Andrew
Teaching & Learning
Project Title: Investigating and improving synthesis problem solving skills in introductory physics via analogical reasoning
Project Dates: 09/01/2013 – 08/31/2016
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $471,507
Project Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Project Abstract: Previous studies of problem solving in physics have primarily focused on students and experts solving textbook-like exercises containing a single concept that can be typically completed by simply searching for and manipulating in-chapter equations. These tasks often habituate students to formula-based algorithms and have limited impact on promoting expert-like heuristic problem solving. This project proposes to investigate and improve student skills in solving synthesis problems in introductory physics, that is: problems that require a joint application of multiple physics concepts including those that are taught in different chapters or at significantly different times in the course. Differing from the traditional textbook exercises and closer to real-world situations, these synthesis problems cannot be easily solved by using formula-based “plug-and-chug” approaches but rather require students to recognize and be able to coordinate multiple key concepts in order to reach a successful solution. Built on the well-established framework of analogical reasoning, this project seeks to (1) identify and characterize students’ and experts’ approaches to synthesis problems in physics, (2) evaluate and compare various methods of analogical reasoning aimed at promoting student synthesis problem solving skills, and (3) field test the most successful method in physics classrooms.

This project directly targets undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) who are enrolled in college-level introductory physics courses. The synthesis materials and analogical interventions investigated in the project will reach thousands of STEM learners across the nation to most effectively increase their problem solving skills. The project outcomes, including research-validated curricular materials, will be disseminated via publications, national and international presentations, workshops and online resources. These results will not only help improve physics education at the tertiary level but will also have bearing on our knowledge of problem solving and STEM education in general. More information

Human Sciences Project Title: Acute effects of FruitX-B on exercise recovery
Project Dates: 07/15/2013 – 02/14/2014
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $68,581
Project Sponsor: FutureCueticals
Project Abstract: Carbohydrates in foods are used by the body as part of its energy fuel for exercise. Under some circumstances, eating or drinking a small amount of carbohydrate before and/or during exercise can improve performance. The idea is that keeping blood sugar a little high during exercise provides energy to working muscles. The amount of carbohydrate, the type, and the timing have all been given some research. Some ideas have emerged, but an ideal plan has not yet been formed. One concern about eating carbohydrate before exercise is that the body can overreact to a sudden intake of carbohydrate on an empty stomach. This overreaction could actually lower blood sugar, though study results vary. One way to counteract that reaction is to mix the carbohydrate with a little protein. Another idea is that eating the right types of carbohydrate does not evoke the blood sugar lowering reaction. A product has been developed from grains called ModCarb™ that may have the right types of carbohydrate. The grain extract also has a little protein and fiber, both of which tend to inhibit the blood sugar lowering reaction. A pilot study will be done to test ModCarb™, with and without added protein, for effects on aerobic exercise performance. Positive results could help improve exercise performance by athletes and people whose jobs require sustained exertion (ie certain military personnel). Also, better exercise performance can encourage continued exercise training for people who exercise for health and fitness.

JUSTICE, LAURA M; O’Connell, Ann A.
Teaching & Learning
Project Title: Implementation and evaluation of the Solyluna Book-Reading Club
Project Dates: 08/01/2013 – 07/31/2015
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $49,995
Project Sponsor: W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Educational Studies
Project Title: inPromptu: Using self-directed video prompting via iTechnology to improve employment outcomes for transition-age youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Project Dates: 10/01/2013 – 09/30/2014
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $75,000
Project Sponsor: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation
Project Abstract: With a Distinguished Fellowship, the goals of this project are to: (a) conduct systematic, experimental research on the use of iP2 to enhance employment outcomes; (b) increase utilization of iP2 (available free from the Mac App Store) to employment specialists, job coaches, teachers, and researchers in special education and vocational rehabilitation; and (c) publish the findings from the studies in peer-reviewed journals and present at national special education and rehabilitation conferences. To determine the effectiveness of iP2 with persons from diverse groups, I will study transition-age youth (between the ages of 18 and 25) with moderate to severe IDD who are enrolled in a postsecondary program at Ohio State, the Transition Options in Postsecondary Settings (TOPS) program. Specifically, I will use single subject experimental research designs to examine the effectiveness of iP2 on increasing vocational skills in integrated employment settings. Over the course of the year, I expect to conduct at least four separate studies with between three and six participants per study. My research questions are: (a) Is skill acquisition enhanced when video prompts are faded systematically using iP2’s new video chunking feature?; (b) Can participants use iP2 to independently present their own individualized video prompts (i.e., self-directed video prompting) within integrated employment settings?; (c) Is self-directed video prompting via iP2 more cost and time efficient in aiding skill acquisition in vocational settings than instruction provided by a job coach?; and (d) Can participants generalize their use of iP2 to new skills in various integrated employment settings? In each study, I will collect maintenance data to determine how well participants are able to maintain independent use of iP2 over time.

Human Sciences
Project Title: Identifying protein targets for the induction of thermogenesis in visceral fat
Project Dates: 11/01/2013 – 10/31/2015
Anticipated Total Award Amount: $384,572
Project Abstract: White fat from obese patients has a limited number of adipocytes capable of converting energy into heat. These thermogenic adipocytes, known as bright, beige, or multilocular adipocytes, are termed ‘thermocytes’ in this proposal. Thermocytes are especially rare in the visceral fat (VF) depot. VF increases risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. Numerous studies have shown an association between increased thermogenesis and obesity reduction. A mediator of thermogenesis irisin has recently been discovered as in subcutaneous fat (SF), while factors influencing thermogenesis in VF are unknown. Treatments with irisin can potentially lead to a decrease in SF adipokines, such as adiponectin that suppress insulin resistance and chronic inflammation. Proteins, inducing thermogenic remodeling in VF could have a therapeutic advantage in the reduction of both obesity and co-morbidities in 90 million obese Americans, and 150 million obese patients worldwide. We expect to identify mediators of VF thermogenesis using 2 animal models, such as systemic and tissue-specific animal models for visceral fat thermogenesis. We expect to identify thermogenic biologicals reducing VF efficiently in small animal models. This thermogenic mediator can be further tested in large obese animals in proof-of-concept studies and translated to treatment of obese patients in the future.