Office of Research update: May 2022

May 3, 2022

Several of your colleagues have landed six-figure grants. Check out who did, along with research resources, available grants and upcoming events in the Office of Research May update.

The Office of Research is pleased to announce and would like to congratulate these faculty members on receipt of the following external funding:

Mohamed Abouelenien, Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Science, received $199,988 from Ford Motor Company for his project entitled “Personalized Behavioral Models for Vehicle's Occupants.” The goal of this project is to develop personalized behavioral models for vehicle's occupants while focusing on interpersonal variations. This work will contribute to the development of smart vehicles’ capability to understand their occupants’ states, assess their general health and well-being, and adjust the settings accordingly.

Jaerock Kwon, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering received $10,000 for his role in a collaboration with Grand Valley State University entitled “Development of 3D Estimator from 2D Videos Using Machine Learning for Human Motion.” The tool developed under this project will contribute to efforts for improved diagnosis and treatments in clinical applications (next generation of 3D motion capture, gait analysis/ diagnostic tool), sports application (concussion study, Return-to-Play) as well as in biomechanics research. The funding is provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Tian An Wong, Assistant Professor of Mathematics has been awarded a grant of $121,754 by the National Science Foundation for the project entitled “Elliptic Dedekind sums, Eisenstein cocycles, and p-adic L-functions.” Number theory studies the properties of prime numbers and has key applications in physics, computer science, cyber security, and other areas. There are important classes of numbers extending the usual integers and corresponding classes of functions known as modular forms. The goal of this project is to extend known results about classical modular forms over the usual integers to more general settings, where new phenomena appear.

Geroges Ayoub, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, received funding of $199,551 from Ford Motor Company for his project “Optimizing and correcting the stamping process parameters using smart manufacturing technologies.” Researchers from Ford and UM-Dearborn will collaborate to develop a digital representation of Ford stamping (digital twin) using artificial intelligence for the purpose of minimizing manufacturing mistakes. The researchers will analyze a unique database, recorded by sensors instrumenting a Ford Stamping press line, to understand how to continuously produce high-quality stamped automobile parts. (Abdallah Chehade, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering Co-PI.)

Feng Zhou, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, received a grant of $199,880 from the National Science Foundation for his project “Investigating the Role of Affect in Fostering Trust in Automated Driving.” Dr. Zhou will use psychophysiological measures to develop real-time trust prediction models that will help build and calibrate driver trust in automated vehicles using affect heuristics. This research will promote the progress of science and national health and safety by advancing our understanding of bidirectional trust-based interaction in automated driving and beyond.

Zhen Hu, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, received $40,000 for his role in a collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the project “Unmodeled Dynamics Recovery of Nonlinear Dynamic Systems.” This research will create novel approaches to recover the physics that has not been modeled in a computational simulation model of dynamic systems. It will improve the validity of modeling and simulation of dynamics systems and support model-based design and analysis of safety critical systems. The funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Alan Argento, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, received $60,000 from Ford Motor Company under the University Research Program for his project entitled “Carbon dioxide based polymers.” This project will help develop expertise on the modeling, design and testing of bio-based polymer composites. Dr. Argento will test preliminary bio-based composites, followed by modeling and analyses to develop preliminary results for further research efforts.

Mengqi Wang, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, received $29,676 from Broad Ocean Technologies for her project “Advanced Power Converter Development.” Wide-bandgap devices, such as silicon carbide (SiC) or gallium nitride (GaN) MOSFETs and diodes, are believed to be one of the essential approaches to realize the revolution in automotive power electronics. This project aims to develop a power converter prototype using the GaN devices, advanced PCB layout technique and thermal design, to realize high efficiency, high power density and high reliability. 

Foyzul Hassan, Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Science, has received an award of $174,290 from the National Science Foundation for his project “Assessing and Profiling Continuous (CI) Integration for Machine Learning (ML) Applications.” This research will advance knowledge about the feasibility and effectiveness of the current use of CI for ML applications by developing a novel CI profiling framework to generate a dependency graph among heterogeneous artifacts (e.g., data, model, code, etc.) of ML applications that will serve as the basis for future research on automatic generation and maintenance of configuration, mining software repositories, build optimization and monitoring systems for continuous integration of machine learning.

Alireza Mohammadi, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded $266,578 by the National Science Foundation for his project “A Control Theoretic Framework for Guided Folding and Unfolding of Protein Molecules.” Protein molecules, which are considered by many as nature’s nanorobots, can be modeled as mechanisms with many rigid nano-linkages that fold under the effect of interatomic forces. This research aims at developing motion planning/control algorithms that can predict the motion of protein molecules from their unfolded state to their final folded structure.  The products of this research will have applications to computer-aided anti-viral drug design, control of protein-based nano-machines, and treatment of diseases related to protein misfolding such as Alzheimer’s, thereby promoting the progress of science, and advancing national health and prosperity. The tools developed in this research can also be used to help robots/autonomous vehicles navigate cluttered environments.


Pandemic Relief Programs

The OVPR Pandemic Relief Program offers flexible relief funds that support research-focused faculty at the early associate and assistant ranks whose research activity continues to be significantly impacted by the pandemic. A simple one-page form can support $3,000 for eligible assistant professors and up to $15,000 for eligible associate professors. The OVPR program is open to faculty on all 3 U-M campuses that meet eligibility criteria. Check your eligibility for the OVPR Pandemic Relief Program.

The Office of the Provost has also announced a new UM-Dearborn Scholar’s Pandemic Relief Program for assistant and associate professors who did not qualify for the OVPR Pandemic Relief Program. This program will provide $1,500 to up to 20 eligible faculty to re-establish research and scholarship activities that have been significantly impacted or delayed by the pandemic, and/or for the exploration of new research directions and creative practice in ways that were not possible during the pandemic. Check your eligibility for the UM-Dearborn Scholar’s Pandemic Relief Program.

Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program (CNAP)

New funding through the Graham Sustainability Institute's Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program (CNAP) will provide up to $50,000 or up to $200,000 over one or two years for high-impact faculty research that will drive down net carbon emissions. $1.25 million will be awarded this funding cycle.

This exciting funding opportunity for U-M faculty from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Flint campuses targets research, scholarship, and engagement efforts that will create critical knowledge and propel innovations to accelerate the transition to carbon neutrality. Projects should explore and advance big ideas with the potential to radically reduce emissions. Learn more about eligibility, funding levels and how to apply on the Graham Sustainability Institute's CNAP website.

Arts + Curriculum Internal Funding Opportunity

The U-M Arts Initiative seeks proposals for curricular development projects, research that explores the application of the arts in classrooms, or programs that enhance the connection between teaching at U-M and the arts. Projects should promote integration of arts thinking, methodologies, or practices into student learning, through the curriculum. The proposed projects can be theoretical for wider dissemination or classroom-based for the development of the applicant’s own courses.

This opportunity will fund grants up to $20,000. Applications are due June 15. Learn more and apply for the Arts + Curriculum opportunity.

Upcoming Research Events in May:

More events and announcements can be found on the UM-Dearborn Office of Research website. For regular updates and research announcements, subscribe to our Research News email list!

Resources & Tools for Researchers

Every month, the Office of Research will feature a resource and/or tool that is available for researchers!

This month we would like to highlight the recent Wiley agreement with the University of Michigan to expand open access options for U-M authors.

Wiley is a publisher of more than 1,500 academic journals and the Big Ten Academic Alliance offers new open access publishing opportunities to the University of Michigan community. The agreement is a one-year extension and expansion of a prior agreement that now  includes full credit for the article-processing charges, commonly known as APCs, for up to 374 publications by U-M authors in Wiley’s hybrid open access journals. Hybrid journals publish both open access and subscriber-only articles.

To participate in the Wiley agreement, corresponding authors just need to confirm their U-M affiliation and their intent to publish open access in Wiley’s Author Services Dashboard. The University of Michigan library also provides a guide on other publishers who offer discounts for U-M authors.

Other publishers might require a little more work to access their credits and discounts. Library resources and experts can help make things go smoothly. For questions, email

Reminders & Updates

Thematic Research Planning Grants June Cycle

The Thematic Research Planning Campus Grants will be opening for the third and final cycle in mid-May. Applications will be due June 15, 2022 by 5:00 PM. Applications will be accepted in the InfoReady system once open. For additional details about the Campus Grants programs and eligibility, please visit our Campus Grants website.

Thematic Research Planning (TRP) Grants will support the development of collaborative cross-disciplinary research proposals that address the following priority research areas:

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Sustainability
  • Mobility & Infrastructure

The program will be open to teams working closely together to solve problems that transcend the traditional boundaries associated with research programs, departments and colleges. Single PI proposals will *not* be considered- at least two different UM-Dearborn academic units should be involved, in addition to external partners. Applicants are required to identify in advance the external funding opportunity/ies of interest to them.

The TRP grants will fund planning proposals of strong multidisciplinary teams working on urgent and challenging issues, and with well-defined plans for engaging local communities (including non-profits, municipal, city and community organizations, small businesses and industry). Funding will be awarded for proposal and research planning, proposal writing, conducting preliminary research activities, and pursuing external funding to sustain the proposed research.

Budget floor: $15,000
Budget ceiling: $30,000

Upcoming Funding Opportunities

The Office of Research publishes a list of selected funding opportunities, organized by college, every month on our website under Announcements. Contact the UM-Dearborn Office of Research if you would like more information about submitting a proposal to any of the programs.