Academics: Research Programs

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Funded Projects

Purpose: The intent of the award is to provide a competitive source of funding for pilot projects that have a high probability of leading to research publications and externally funded grants related to Informatics. The purpose of the Collaborative Interdisciplinary Informatics Research Teams (CI2RT) Seed Grant is to:

  1. Promote new collaborative research initiatives related to Informatics.
  2. Provide funds for pilot projects in existing informatics-related collaborations.
  3. Provide opportunities for students to participate in informatics-related research.

Selected teams received an award of $10,000 and are able to select students who will contribute to the project.

During the Summer 2012 two teams received awards:

Co-Principal Investigators
Yonas Tekle, Ph.D.
Department of Biology, Spelman College

Colm Mulcahy, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics, Spelman College

Project Title:  "Sleuthing Molecular Markers For Phylogenetic Signals To Resolve A Controversial Deep Eukaryotic Node: The SAR Clade"


Co-Principal Investigators
Dr. Hong Qin, Ph.D
Department of Biology, Spelman College

Dr. Alfred Watkins, Ph.D
Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Spelman College

Project Title:  "ASPIRE CI2RT Proposal: Informatics Research Center Sustaining Informatics Research"


Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates

On June 4, six students participated in a six-week ASPIRE Collaborative Interdisciplinary Summer Research Experience.  The summer fellowship provided these students with the opportunity to conduct research as part of a Collaborative Interdisciplinary Research Team (CI2RT).  The summer research experience provided these students with the opportunity enhance research skills that promote the use of informatics in both current and future research endeavors. Research fellows commit to a regular schedule in the lab under the direction of a faculty mentor.  Fellows worked closely with the faculty mentor to develop specific project goals, a timeline for completion, as well as, expectations for accomplishing research-related goals. Each research fellow received a stipend upon complete of the six-week experience.

Each ASPIRE research fellow received a stipend of $4,800 for their efforts.

ASPIRE Curriculum Development

Faculty members have the opportunity to develop informatics curricular enhancement (modules and/or courses) that will be integrated into the STEM curriculum, upon Spelman College’s approval.

All proposed curriculum development activities will include pedagogical improvements such as inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, interactive lecture demonstrations, and learning by design.


During the summer of 2012, two faculty members were provided resources to develop informatics curricular enhancements:

Dr. Fred Bowers, Ph.D, Department of Mathematics

Course: General Statistics
Module 1: Regression
Module 2: Classification
Regression is a topic that will be expanded the to discuss it from the perspective of data mining. 
Classification will be added to the course and will discuss its relationship to the analysis of large data sets.

Dr. Mark Maloney, Ph.D., Department of Biology

Course: Health Issues of the Diaspora
Module 1: Sickle Cell Anemia and Malaria
Module 2: HIV/AIDS
Module 3:  Cancer/Oncogenes
Module 4: Drug Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis
The course modules that were designed for the course will focus on the use of software programs that will promote the advancement of biomedically relevant research.