Innovating Interdisciplinary Research


As we start our second official week of classes, I want to encourage everyone to be vigilant in practicing safe behaviors such as social distancing and wearing a face cover. Our Presidential Task Force teams are hard at work figuring out opportunities to tweak protocols and practices across campus and welcome thoughts and suggestions you may have. Meanwhile, the academic mission of the University continues which includes implementing innovative programs to facilitate research for faculty and students.

Recognizing the potential for encouraging new areas of research, KSU's Office of Research has established the Interdisciplinary Innovation Initiative (I3), an internal grant program that encourages collaboration between different departments on campus, as well as with external partners. Under the initiative, five research teams will pursue new interdisciplinary projects over the next two years around four broad research themes of biomedical and health services; computing and technology; human development and well-being; and sustainable and safe communities.

With each team receiving between $50,000 and $75,000 in grants to focus their research around these themes and then later seek external funding, the opportunities for groundbreaking work are abundant. In addition, the teams will have opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate student collaboration as they formulate their projects.

The I3 program should provide some exciting opportunities for advancing innovative areas of scholarship for the University, while opening new avenues of collaboration for our faculty and students.

The projects beginning this year and the faculty members include:

Postpartum health and well-being

  • Awatef Ergai, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering
  • Ebony Glover, associate professor of neuroscience
  • Mary Ukuku, assistant professor of public health
  • Joyce Adams, assistant professor of nursing (now at the University of Notre Dame)

Water systems and microplastics

  • Amy Gruss, assistant professor of civil engineering
  • Marina Koether, professor of chemistry
  • Daniel Ferreira, associate professor of environmental science
  • Bharat Baruah, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry

Fitness injuries and military base trainees

  • Paul Story, associate professor of psychology
  • Brian Moore, associate professor of psychology
  • Yuri Feito, associate professor of exercise science

Cyber Physical Social System for researchers in non-computing fields

  • Ying Xie, professor of information systems
  • Linh Le, associate professor of information technology
  • Sumit Chakravarty, associate professor of electrical engineering
  • John David Johnson, associate professor of sport management
  • Michael Hales, associate professor of health promotion and physical education
  • Pablo Ordonez, IT systems support for computer science and part-time instructor

Omega-3 fatty acids and well-being

  • Trisha VanDusseldorp, assistant professor of exercise science
  • Gerald Mangine, associate professor of exercise science
  • Brian Klisczewicz, associate professor of exercise science
  • Carol Chrestensen, professor of chemistry

The common thread connecting all these teams is the drive to conduct relevant research that has the potential for an immediate impact on the world. With programs like the Interdisciplinary Innovation Initiative, Kennesaw State's faculty can take the next step toward positively impacting lives.

Pamela Whitten


Written By Whitten