Peter Arkle
Peter Arkle

Seven projects have been awarded $900,000 by the dean for research’s “innovation funds,” which offer support for bold ideas.

Chemistry professors GARNET CHAN and GREGORY SCHOLES received $200,000 to study how atomic particles interact at the quantum level to discover new chemical reactions, which could lead to advances in energy and medicine. 

Molecular biology professors JARED TOETTCHER and ALEXANDER PLOSS received $200,000 to develop a method for controlling cell behavior in live animals that could be used to study the causes and treatment of disease. 

ZEMER GITAI, an associate professor of molecular biology, received $200,000 to work on building “resistance-proof” antibiotics that retain their potency against bacteria. 

ROBERT PRUD’HOMME, a professor of chemical and biological engineering, received $100,000 to explore ways to improve nanoparticles for use as drug-delivery systems. Nanoparticles must remain in the body long enough to deliver a drug but be cleared out when they are no longer useful. 

Computer science professors KAI LI and SEBASTIAN SEUNG received $100,000 to collaborate with Intel to speed up the computation time involved in deep learning, a form of machine learning with the capacity to tackle modeling of the brain and other complex systems.

In the humanities, English professors SARAH CHIHAYA, JOSHUA KOTIN, and KINOHI NISHIKAWA received $50,000 for a conference on 21st-century literature. East Asian studies professor MARTIN KERN received $50,000 for a project on classical Chinese.