EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (July 18, 2019) – Faculty researchers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University earned $64.37 million in contracts and grants in 2018-19, school leaders revealed today.

A strong majority of the research awards come from the federal sector, are competitive in nature and support collaborative and innovative projects.

“Our continued growth as a high-research activity institution is a testament to the outstanding work of our faculty and researchers,” Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. said. “Their undying curiosity and innovative thinking continues to lead the way to solving some of the world’s most complex challenges.”

This year’s total means N.C. A&T continues to be one of the state’s three most productive public research campuses, along with UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State.

Research projects contributing to this record year come from the university’s eight colleges and its Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, including:

Mohd Anwar, Ph.D., College of Engineering. Anwar utilizes computational health research using Twitter to study the opioid epidemic. With more than 50,000 opioid-related overdose deaths estimated in 2017 in the United States, the opioid epidemic has emerged as a major health crisis. Anwar began collaborating with RTI experts Dr. Kevin Conway (RTI’s Survey Research Division) and Dr. Steven Cohen (RTI’s Division for Statistical and Data Sciences) last fall to study the extent to which social media data can be harnessed as an indicator of the opioid epidemic nationwide.

Manoj Jha, Ph.D., College of Engineering; Chyi Lyi (Kathleen) Liang, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences; Lyubov Kurkalova, Ph.D., College of Business and Economics; Greg Monty, College of Engineering; and Leila Hashemi Beni, Ph.D., College of Science and Technology. The team received a $750,000 National Science Foundation Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems grant to explore factors that contribute to improving food accessibility, while maximizing agricultural production and minimizing negative environmental impacts on the land and water used in food production.

Ali Karimoddini, Ph.D., College of Engineering. Karimoddini has begun a project with the North Carolina Department of Transportation called “Developing a Safe and Cost-effective Flight Control Methodology for a UAV-enabled Bridge Inspection.” A&T is a national leader in its autonomy capabilities and infrastructure for control of drones. Two UAV laboratories exist on campus, run by Karimoddini and his colleagues. Both laboratories contain designated flight zones as well as ample floor space for rovers and other robotics exercises.

Robert Newman , Ph.D., College of Science and Technology. Newman was recently awarded $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medicine to investigate the biochemical mechanisms underlying oxidation-induced shifts in protein kinase substrate selection and to begin to explore the functional consequences of redox modification on kinase-dependent signaling processes inside cells.

Andrea Ofori-Boadu, Ph.D., College of Science and Technology. Ofori-Boadu has received a CAREER award from NSF expected to total $559,991. The program is a foundation-wide activity that offers NSF's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty like Ofori-Boadu who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the missions of their organizations. With this NSF CAREER award, Ofori-Boadu will research professional identity development processes in emerging women AEC students towards informing educational and institutional transformations that strengthen women's persistence in becoming AEC professionals.

Alesia Ferguson, Ph.D., College of Science and Technology. Ferguson joins principal investigator Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D., of the University of Miami in the research project Beach Exposure and Child Health Study. The project is funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Institute, and N.C. A&T received $300,000 of the $1-million award to explore the effects of petroleum pollution and its impacts on children in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.