Month: May 2012

2012 CHIP Seed Grant Winners Announced

The following CHIP affiliates recently were awarded CHIP Research Investment Capital “Seed Grant” Competition awards:

Two CHIP graduate student affiliates each were awarded $1,500 seed grants:

Hayley MacDonald (Kinesiology) for a proposal entitled, The Anti-Hypertensive Effects of Aerobic Exercise Training: A Meta-Analysis.

Alefiyah Pishori (Psychology) for a proposal entitled, Impact of Stigmatized Identities on Mental and Physical Health of Asian Americans.

The CHIP Review Committee also awarded $14,500 to a CHIP faculty member affiliate:

Dr. Pescatello for a grant proposal entitled, Modality and the Long Lasting Anti-Hypertensive Effects of Exercise.

Brief descriptions of each of these new seed grant projects are below:

The Anti-Hypertensive Effects of Aerobic Exercise Training: A Meta-Analysis:

Hayley MacDonaldUnder the guidance of CHIP PIs Blair T. Johnson (Ph.D., Psychology) and Linda Pescatello (Ph.D., Kinesiology), Kinesiology doctoral student Hayley MacDonald (M.S., Exercise Science) will use her seed grant award to help fund the preparation of a meta-analysis examining relevant, randomized, controlled trials to determine the optimum dose of aerobic exercise to lower blood pressure.  Specifically, her project will determine the overall effectiveness of aerobic exercise as a lifestyle intervention to prevent, manage, and treat hypertension. MacDonald’s meta-analysis also will examine how patient clinical characteristics, intervention training characteristics, and their complex interactions may modulate the blood pressure response to aerobic exercise training.

Impact of Stigmatized Identities on Mental and Physical Health of Asian Americans:

Alefiyah PishoriUnder the guidance of Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Michelle Williams and CHIP PI Seth Kalichman (Ph.D., Psychology), Clinical Psychology doctoral student Alefiyah Pishori (M.A., Psychology) will use her seed grant award to study the impact of both visible and concealed stigmatized identities on the psychological and physical health of Asian Americans. Her work will expand a model of vulnerability factors for people with concealed stigmatized identities, developed by Dr. Williams and Associate Professor of Psychology Diane Quinn. Drs. Williams and Quinn have compared the applicability of their model among three different racial groups (White, Black, and Latino Americans). In addition to studying the model’s applicability to Asian Americans as one group, Pishori will study the applicability of the model to three subgroups of Asian Americans (East, South, and Southeast).

Modality and the Long Lasting Anti-Hypertensive Effects of Exercise:

Linda PescatelloCHIP PI Linda Pescatello (Ph.D., Kinesiology), along with Co-Investigators CHIP Affiliate Garrett Ash (M.S., Exercise Science), Ming-Chen (Ph.D., Statistics), Dr. Paul D. Thompson (MD, Director of Cardiology, Hartford Hospital), Beth Parker (Ph.D, Research Scientist, Hartford Hospital), and CHIP PI William Kraemer (Ph.D., Kinesiology), will use their seed grant award to fund a pilot study comparing the antihypertensive effects of two forms of exercise: aerobic exercise and isometric hand grip (IHG) exercise. Dr. Pescatello hypothesizes that IHG exercises produce greater reductions in blood pressure than aerobic exercise. Dr. Pescatello’s pilot study also will examine carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) changes before and after aerobic and IHG exercise, to explore if exercise-induced changes to carotid femoral PWV, an independent cardiovascular disease risk factor that is an index of central arterial stiffness, may account for the blood pressure responses to both forms of exercise. Dr. Pescatello’s work has the potential to increase the importance of exercise as antihypertensive therapy, provide more exercise options for those with hypertension, explore mechanisms underlying blood pressure’s response to exercise, and yield preliminary data to strengthen Dr. Pescatello’s application for significant external funding for this line of her work.

CHIP Robotics Research Featured on Fox CT

RobotCHIP Principal Investigator Anjana Bhat, an assistant professor of kinesiology in UConn’s Neag School of Education, and Timothy Gifford, director of CHIP’s Advanced Interactive Technology Center (AITC) and CEO of Movia Robotics L.L.C., recently appeared together on Fox CT’s “Stan Simpson Show” to discuss their research exploring the potential benefits of using robots as part of therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Gifford also discussed his company’s work to develop hardware and software to make the robots he and Bhat are using in their research easier to use. A link to the video is below:

Bhat and Gifford’s research and the work of Gifford’s robotics company also recently were featured in the Hartford Courant business section: