Liberal Arts Research and Scholarly Work newsletter

Vol. 11, Issue 14


CLA Catalytic Collaborative (CAT) Awards Announcement

This past spring, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) invited university investigators to apply for internal funding to support catalytic and cross-cutting research with potential to expand on existing strengths or develop new and innovative research related to thematic and strategic research areas of emphasis. The aim of this program - the Catalytic Collaborative Funding Initiative (CAT) is to enhance Temple University’s competitiveness to leverage prospective funding in specific thematic areas. As highlighted below, two CLA researchers were awarded funding as Principal Investigators leading projects and two others are involved as Co-PIs on awarded projects led by investigators outside of CLA.

Catalyzing Convergence Research on Health and Well-being Through a Bio3Science-Sustainability Framework

Melissa Gilbert - Chair and Professor, Geography and Urban Studies

Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC)

Principal Investigator



Addressing complex global problems – such as how dynamic processes in human and natural systems come to shape individual health and environmental integrity – requires robust research frameworks to guide research inquiry and generate actionable outcomes. The proposed project uses the Temple Made Bio3Science framework (connecting biology, biography, and biosphere) to develop a convergence science of health and well-being through conceptualizing sustainable regional systems. Harnessing Temple expertise in human and environmental geography, ecology, genetics, and health sciences, we will develop the first Bio3Science proof-of-concept using air quality in the urban Aburrá valley, housing the city of Medellin, Colombia, as a point of convergence to ask: how do proximal and telecoupled human and ecological interactions impact multi-scalar biosocial mechanisms associated with people’s health and well-being?

Urban residents in the Aburrá valley differentially experience daily air quality fluctuations and extremes, due to complex local and individual dynamics such as social and economic inequities, violent displacement, occupational choice, and inter-personal stress and wind patterns. While the details of this case are specific to this region, such interconnection among biological, biographic, and biospheric domains are globally relevant, illustrating the need for scientific convergence to understand complex relationships between environmental integrity and individual health. Therefore, our proof of concept will demonstrate the feasibility of building a Bio3Science process-model that is highly relevant to the cutting edge of both Sustainability Science and Rules of Life research.


Delineating Cell-Specific Transcriptional Signatures of Early Life Stress in a Reward-Related Neural Networks

Mathieu Wimmer, Assistant Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience

Principal Investigator



Exposure to severe insults such as stress or trauma early in life is associated with higher risk for psychiatric diseases, including substance abuse and mood disorders. However, most individuals who experience adverse events early in life do not develop illnesses and some actually develop a level of protection as adults. This idea colloquially summed up as “what does not kill you only makes you stronger” is supported by extensive empirical evidence underpinning the “stress inoculation” hypothesis. This construct posits that stress that is not overwhelming experienced at early developmental milestones promotes resilience against mood disorders, improved arousal regulation and enhanced cognition in adulthood. Importantly, this phenomenon has been observed across species in pre-clinical models of early life stress and early life adversity ranging from rodents to non-human primates. Vulnerability and resilience to diseases states are influenced by the interaction between genetic and environmental factors that influence developmental trajectories and have long-term consequences for neural function in adulthood This has been historically a very difficult question to tackle in clinical populations due to the high costs of these studies and the complexity of these factors in humans. A better understanding of these processes holds the promise for improved therapeutics and interventions that could have a transformative impact on prevention, patient care and medicine. Moreover, this line of inquiry also necessitates the study of critical fundamental questions about the establishment and development of sex differences related to cognition, reward processing, stress response and mood. Overall, examining stress inoculation encompasses a broad scope of essential and highly translational questions that can be uniquely pursued by leveraging multifaceted experimental approaches.


CLA Co-PIs on awarded CAT projects across Temple

Debra Bangasser (Psychology and Neuroscience):

Delineating Cell-Specific Transcriptional Signatures of Early Life Stress in a Reward-Related Neural Networks (PI: Mathieu Wimmer)

Victor Gutierrez-Velez (Geography and Urban Studies):

Catalyzing Convergence Research on Health and Well-being Through a Bio3Science-Sustainability Framework (PI: Melissa Gilbert); and

Resilience of Forest Ecosystem Services to Global Change (PI: Amy Freestone - Dept. of Biology)

Donald Hantula (Psychology and Neuroscience):

RoboSNAP: Robot Social Navigation Among Pedestrians (PI: Philip Dames - Dept. of Mechanical Engineering)

Allison Hayes-Conroy (Geography and Urban Studies):

Catalyzing Convergence Research on Health and Well-being Through a Bio3Science-Sustainability Framework (PI: Melissa Gilbert)

David Nickerson (Political Science):

Preserving a Democratic Society’s Epistemic Security (PI: Eduard Dragut - Dept. of Computer and Information Sciences)




Summer and Fall 2022 Applications

Deadline: April 1


The goal of the LAURA Scholars' program is to create more opportunities for undergraduate students to develop research skills by working with faculty mentors on faculty-led research projects while increasing support for faculty research in CLA.

For guidelines and application click here.

Temple University Funding Opportunities Portal

InfoReady, OVPR's funding opportunities portal, houses internal funding program mechanisms and externally sponsored limited submission competitions. Log in today to access your account and review current opportunities.



Interdisciplinary Research Leaders

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Proposal Deadline: May 4, 2022

Preservation and Access Education and Training Grants

National Endowment for the Humanities

Optional Draft Deadline: April 12, 2022

Proposal Deadline: May 4, 2022



Public Policy Lab 2021-2022 Colloquium Series Webinar

~Leveraging Neuroscience Research to Inform Mental Health Policy~

The precursors, proximal causes, and consequences of mental health problems are complex, and influenced by individual differences in personality, neurophysiology, and responsivity to threats and rewards. This presentation explores this complexity, with a focus on social anxiety and challenges raised by the recent global pandemic. How does current policy succeed or fail to address mental health diversity? What are the economic ramifications of increasing mental health problems in the context of decreasing social safety nets? Most importantly, how can a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of psychopathology enable us to improve outcomes at a societal level?

Date/Time: April 7th, 12:30pm-1:50pm

~Speaker~ Johanna Jarcho (Psychology and Neuroscience)

Register here


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