NDSU researchers receive EPSCoR funding for two projects

Two NDSU researchers have received funding from the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) RII Track-4 Fellows program. Di Wu, assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering and Sarah Signor, assistant professor in biological sciences were each awarded for their respective research programs.

The EPSCoR RII Track-4 Fellows program provides an opportunity for researchers to spend extended periods of time at the nation’s premier research facilities initiating new collaborative relationships. The researchers are expected to expand existing partnerships in ambitious new directions or make use of unique equipment not available at their home institution. The program also expects to improve the research capacity of the institution and jurisdiction more broadly.

Wu's award will provide training for him and a graduate student at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado about new techniques for assessing the impact of renewable energy generation on grid operation. Wu will collaborate closely with NREL researchers and focus on how to better assess grid dynamic stability under variable and uncertain renewable energy generation and then bring this knowledge back to NDSU. The results of Wu's research will support the large-scale integration of renewable energy in power grids, thus providing higher-quality, more reliable, and cleaner electricity to millions of customers across the United States. In addition, he hopes his fellowship will foster a strong partnership between NDSU and NREL, which will help North Dakota better meet its renewable energy goals.

Signor's fellowship will provide her training and tools to conduct 3' gene sequencing, a method developed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Learning this method will help Signor and her lab study the effects that stressful environmental conditions like heat, cold, or toxins have on organisms and how these conditions may lead to changes in an organism's gene expression to counteract their negative effects. During the fellowship, Signor will investigate how small fruit flies (Drosophila) utilize gene expression in adaptation to ethanol in their environment. Signor hopes that the training will enhance the research capabilities of her lab and facilitate collaborations at NDSU across other research networks.

A part of the National Science Foundation (NSF), EPSCoR enhances research competitiveness of targeted jurisdictions by strengthening STEM capacity and capability. One of the strategic goals of the EPSCoR program is to establish sustainable science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional development pathways that advance STEM workforce development.

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