Research Awards and Grants (November 2019)

Title:  NCDOT Community Studies Geospatial Sandbox

PI: Pala, Okan

Direct Sponsor: NC Department of Transportation

Amount Awarded: $389,408

Abstract: NCSU CGA will provide a “sandbox” environment for the NCDOT Community Studies Group members and others approved individuals or groups. This environment will also serve as the secure staging area for the data to be readied, vetted and approved before it is shared. As a part of this agreement NCSU CGA will perform quality control/quality assurance (QC/QA) for data that is hosted. NCSU CGA will also maintain and update metadata within the NCDOT Community Studies “sandbox” and relay approved datasets to the ATLAS project team to ensure accuracy of the information and avoid versioning pitfalls. Metadata will include all the necessary information including, but not limited to: contact information, geospatial extent of the data, sources used to develop the data, cartographic projection details as well as data use and sharing limitations set by NCDOT and external data procurement services. In addition, NCSU CGA will develop training materials and provide training to designated NCDOT personnel, including designated contract personnel, in order to further the use of geospatial technologies, datasets and spatial thinking.

 

Title: Biomass Torrefaction with Supercritical CO2

PI: Hakovirta, Marko

Direct Sponsor: Leonardo Technologies, Inc.

Amount Awarded: $60,000

Abstract: With the advent of supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) being used for power generation it is believed that the exhaust from the sCO2 turbine (>500oC, and pressures of >103 bar) can be used to extract value-added materials from biomass and to leave the extracted biomass more amenable to mechanical pulping. The remaining torrefied wood can be cofired with coal to provide fuel with a lower net carbon footprint. This work will help explore the broad feasibility of this approach by addressing the following questions.

 

Title: Translating and Disseminating Findings from RWJF’s Physical Activity Research

PI: Hipp, James

Direct Sponsor: Baylor University

Amount Awarded: $36,000

Abstract: Drs.Hipp and Floyd, graduate students Alberico and Huang, and their community partners will contribute to the following dissemination activities of PARC3 and PARC: Presentations to different audiences; new/non-traditional dissemination (e.g., webinar through Recreation Resources Services) (b. Journal articles (min 2) c. Conferences / traditional outlets (e.g., National Recreation and Parks Association and The Academy of Leisure Sciences); where appropriate, provide support to partner organizations to share study findings; Participate in monthly research team meeting calls; participate in one PARC in-person meeting (ALC 2020 in Orlando); participate in the development of PARC video; and contribute to pursuing funding opportunities.

 

Title: Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) Membership

PI: Cubbage, Frederick

Direct Sponsor: Georgia-Pacific WFS LLS formerly Georgia-Pacific Containerboard, LLC

Amount Awarded: $24,000

Abstract: The Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) will develop forest sector market models for application to forest resource assessments in the South, U.S., and the World. SOFAC will integrate currently available forest resource data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and economic theory to model timber supply and demand in the South by local area. SOFAC economic models will allow use of exogenous or endogenous inputs about supply, demand, land use change, and landowner behavior in the analysis of timber and forest land markets and management. SOFAC modelers and members will be able to use the SOFAC suite of models and research to simultaneously project timber inventory, supply, and prices for a variety of regions and a variety of timber products across the South, the U.S., and the World. SOFAC will foster discussion among modelers and members about the appropriate inputs and assumptions in forest projection models and employ these in building timber supply models and timber supply scenarios that represent likely conditions. SOFAC will continue cooperative university-industry-public agency cooperation in southern and national forest sector economic modeling.  SOFAC will enhance graduate instruction in forest economics and modeling in the South.

 

Title: Unearthing Interacting Nontuberculous Mycobacterial, Environmental, and Host Determinants of Lung Disease in the Hawaiian Islands

PI: Pacifici, Jamian

Direct Sponsor: National Jewish Health

Amount Awarded: $116,204

Abstract: The main objectives of this proposal are to fill current gaps in knowledge of nontuberculous mycobacteria ecology and disease transmission using the Hawaiian Islands as a model to understand the critical factors that influence how NTM inhabiting water and soil environments become infectious agents responsible for a recalcitrant lung disease. The specific aims of this proposal are to 1) conduct island-wide environmental sampling and use genomic profiling, soil and water analyses, and climate data to survey the environmental and epidemiological factors associated with the frequency and diversity of NTM in Hawai’i; 2) conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of matched Hawaiian environmental and clinical NTM isolates to identify species of NTM and to link environmental influences and patient behavior with prevalence of NTM infection; and 3) build a predictive model of NTM transmission to understand disease dynamics in the Hawaiian Islands. This model may then be used to study these bacteria and associated lung disease with results that are likely generalizable to other areas of the world.

Title: Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) Membership

PI: Cubbage, Frederick

Direct Sponsor: Rayonier Operating Company, LLC

Amount Awarded: $24,000

Abstract: The Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) will develop forest sector market models for application to forest resource assessments in the South, U.S., and the World. SOFAC will integrate currently available forest resource data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and economic theory to model timber supply and demand in the South by local area. SOFAC economic models will allow use of exogenous or endogenous inputs about supply, demand, land use change, and landowner behavior in the analysis of timber and forest land markets and management. SOFAC modelers and members will be able to use the SOFAC suite of models and research to simultaneously project timber inventory, supply, and prices for a variety of regions and a variety of timber products across the South, the U.S., and the World. SOFAC will foster discussion among modelers and members about the appropriate inputs and assumptions in forest projection models and employ these in building timber supply models and timber supply scenarios that represent likely conditions. SOFAC will continue cooperative university-industry-public agency cooperation in southern and national forest sector economic modeling. SOFAC will enhance graduate instruction in forest economics and modeling in the South.

Title:Development of Recognizable Recycled Paper Based Containerboard Products and Their Ability to Promote Positive Brand Recognition

PI: Venditti, Richard

Direct Sponsor: Environmental Research & Education Foundation

Amount Awarded: $165,000

Abstract: The overall goal of the project is to develop systems to effectively utilize low-grade paper wastes in innovative, recognizable containerboard and pulp molded products in order to increase and stabilize the demand for low-grade paper waste products. This project will also evaluate the marketing potential of these new products. We will first evaluate the product performance of using low-grade paper wastes in containerboard and pulp molded product applications. A series of recycled products with varying concentrations of visible contaminants will be evaluated. We will then perform a sustainability evaluation on the new products. This would include environmental and economic evaluations. This will be followed by the evaluation of the desirability of having such products from the perspective of companies that utilize these containers to ship their products. This will be done through interviews/surveys of retail companies. We then will define the marketing advantages of these container products with respect to the general public, understanding the public’s level of preference for such containers and the ability of the container to develop strong positive brand identity with the public. This will be done through panel evaluations. We will then disseminate the results through peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

 

Title: Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) Membership

PI: Cubbage, Fred

Direct Sponsor: WestRock CP, LLC

Amount Awarded: $24,000

Abstract: The Southern Forest Resource Assessment Consortium (SOFAC) will develop forest sector market models for application to forest resource assessments in the South, U.S., and the World. SOFAC will integrate currently available forest resource data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program and economic theory to model timber supply and demand in the South by local area. SOFAC economic models will allow use of exogenous or endogenous inputs about supply, demand, land use change, and landowner behavior in the analysis of timber and forest land markets and management. SOFAC modelers and members will be able to use the SOFAC suite of models and research to simultaneously project timber inventory, supply, and prices for a variety of regions and a variety of timber products across the South, the U.S., and the World. SOFAC will foster discussion among modelers and members about the appropriate inputs and assumptions in forest projection models and employ these in building timber supply models and timber supply scenarios that represent likely conditions. SOFAC will continue cooperative university-industry-public agency cooperation in southern and national forest sector economic modeling. SOFAC will enhance graduate instruction in forest economics and modeling in the South.

 

Title: Talking About Gene Drive: An Exploration of Language to Enable Understanding and Deliberation of Africa, Europe, North America and Australasia

PI: Delborne, Jason

Direct Sponsor: University of Exeter

Amount Awarded: $16,892

Abstract: Decisions involving the potential future use and governance of gene drive technology will require meaningful, empowered and culturally relevant dialogue among and between stakeholders and communities. However, gene drive is a complex science and stakeholders are already using language to advance their respective interests. Emerging empirical work suggests that the narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies used to talk about gene drive may be more important than technical vocabulary. We employ social representations theory to understand how people make sense of and communicate about gene drive through narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies. Through a comparative case study research design we map and understand the language and terminology used to explain gene drive across four case studies: Uganda, Australia, USA and UK. We use media analysis, interviews and focus groups to evaluate the utility of the different narratives, stories, metaphors and analogies and explore cultural differences in order to develop an independent and shared understanding of how to talk about gene drive.

 

Title: Aquatic Biodegradability of Textile Materials: Impact of Dyes and Finishes

PI: Venditti, Richard

Direct Sponsor: Cotton, Inc.

Amount Awarded: $15,000

Abstract: It is proposed that we extend the findings of the prior research (17-579) to evaluate several different dyes and finishes for fabrics and determine their impact on the aerobic aquatic biodegradation of the fabric particles. 2) We will also perform degradation experiments under anaerobic conditions for the same samples as listed. 3) Samples of the degraded cotton samples will be collected and provided to NCSU College of Textiles (Nelson Vinueza) in order for Textiles to perform chemical characterization of the dyes, finishes and their degradation products.

 

Title: Stochastic Wood Procurement, Timber Harvest Scheduling, and Timber Supply Modeling

PI: Cubbage, Fred

Direct Sponsor: International Paper Co.

Amount Awarded: $40,140

Abstract: In order to address the critical problems in wood procurement modeling for pulp and paper mills or major solid wood mills, the proposed Pilot project will develop a Decision Support System (DSS), called Stochastic Timber Supply Model (STSM) that integrates a Harvesting Schedule Model (HSM) for wood procurement with a Timber Supply Model (TSM). The purpose of this model would be to provide integrated, endogenous wood fiber supply analyses through harvest scheduling linked to timber supply and landowner characteristics. The STSM will incorporate landowner decisions in its response to market price changes, and provide explicit means to assess the variability of the input in the outcomes of TSMs. First, we will build a new DSS which users can add their forest asset data and analyze the interaction between individual supply and market variables with an option of a stochastic component. This will include market data for an individual mill or wood basket, then scaled up to a region. Second, we will investigate how minor changes in the NC State University SubRegional Timber Supply (SRTS) model inputs and assumptions can lead to different outcomes.

 

Title: Hemlock Restoration in Nurseries and Landscapes

PI: Hain, Fred

Direct Sponsor: NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Amount Awarded: $127,800

Abstract: We will continue our current efforts searching for surviving hemlocks using TreeSnap, collecting seeds and cuttings from the survivors, providing a portion of the seed collected or seedlings germinated to private nurseries and the NC Forest Service Linville nursery, and evaluating short-term growth and survival of hemlock seedlings and rooted cuttings by exposure to HWA in the screening facility as a measure of short-term tolerance or resistance to the insect. We will continue to make hybrid crosses between native hemlocks and resistant and tolerant exotic hemlocks. Previously completed putative hybrid crosses will continue to be verified as hybrids using SSR markers in chloroplast DNA. New novel crosses will be attempted as part of this effort. In addition, we will begin a long-term silvicultural study to determine appropriate techniques for best survival in ornamental and field plantings; and begin a long-term evaluation of all out-planted hemlocks to determine their growth, survival and infestation rates as measures of HWA resistance. Transfer cultures of SE hemlocks from the Merkle Lab at UGA to NCSU, and add to the cultures from open-pollinated and control-pollinated seed as we collect more cones from sources to include putatively resistant native trees and new hybrid crosses. Where feasible, we will involve horticulture students and faculty at Haywood Community College in the induction of SE cultures and production of SE plants at their tissue culture lab in Clyde, NC. Collect phenotypic data related to HWA resistance from potentially resistant and susceptible trees that we have identified to begin the process of developing molecular markers for resistance. Trees assessed for phenotype will include open-pollinated families, as well as some full-sib families in a single-pair mating design. We will collect and store tissue samples from the assessed trees suitable for future DNA extraction to be used in marker development. Test CRISPR-based in vivo genome editing efficiency of Hemlock SE lines using CRISPR-SpCas9, LbCpf1, and LgaCas9 in Hemlock protoplasts and embryogenic masses.