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Recipients from 1st TSG Cycle

Below please find the sixteen recipients from the Spring 2011 cycle, including those funded under TSG and by exception.

Spring 2011 Recipients:

Collaborators(Department)  Title of Project  Cycle  Summary of Project 

Giorgio Buccellati 

Pasquale Lucio Scandizzo
(Economics, Universita’ Tor Vergata)

The Modern Face of an Ancient City: Sustainable Economic Development of a Mesopotamian Archaeological Site


This project involves the development of a large Eco-archaeological Park on the site of ancient Urkesh, a large Mesopotamian city (4000-1300 B.C.), located in eastern Syria.  The park will function from a cultural and economic point of view, covering a 54Km area, with 20 modern villages, each of which will become a mini-museum for one aspect of ancient life (i.e. ceramics, textiles), in parallel with which villagers will offer as a modern counterpart similar products to be marketed under the trademark of the Park.  By integrating the economic approach to management of ancient sites, the Park will be the first large-scale interdisciplinary research project in the region involving complementary relations between conservation, archaeology, tourism, agriculture, economics and local service.

Sam Cumming 

Gabriel Greenberg
(Philosophy, UCLA)

Rory Kelly 
(Film, Theater, & Television, UCLA)

The Semantics of Film Narrative


This study applies the theory of discourse semantics to film in order to determine what tacit rules humans use in order to understand film.  The researchers will generate a set of hypotheses about select aspects of discourse semantics in film narrative using film theory, linguistics and artificial intelligence, and then script and shoot a series of examples that test and illustrate the principles. The study will be the first of its kind to bring the formal techniques of computational linguistics to bear on the theory of film.

Patrick J. Geary 

Robert Wayne 
(Ecology & Evolutionary Biology)

Krishna Veeramah 
(Biological Sciences, University of Arizona)

Tracing Longboard Migration through DNA Analysis


This project studies the demographics of early medieval population movements in Europe by extracting and comparing DNA from cemeteries in several relevant regions, in an effort to answer highly controversial questions regarding Barbarian migrations into the Roman World. The study focuses on the migration and social organization of the Longobardi (Lombard), a Germanic people first identified as living along the shores of the Baltic Sea, later establishing roots in Pannonia, and finally migrating to Italy and overpowering the Roman Empire.

Rory Kelly 
(Film, Television & Digital Media)

Timothy Fong 
(Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences)

Psycho-Educational Videos for the Treatment of Patients with Addictive Behaviors


This project involves the preparation of a series of short videos addressing relevant psychotherapy issues for individuals affected by pathological gambling, in an effort to increase clarity of therapeutic topics and improve treatment.  While initially the footage will be used during treatment, it may also be used later for multiple purposes, including as a learning resource tool for certified counselors; as self-help videos that patients can access 24-hours a day; and as part of a documentary on pathological gambling.

Antonio Lysy 

Martin M. Monti 

Language, Music and the Brain


What is the role of language in human thought? According to one popular view, language provides the very fabric of complex human thought, including music. Language and music share fundamental similarities: Melodies, like sentences, are not created by haphazard juxtaposition of elements (be it words or notes), but follow specific organizing principles established within a culture. This study focuses on the structural relationship between music and language. The project is specifically aimed at testing two claims.  First, that while music and language are built upon different building blocks, what each domain does with the two sets of elements is the same.  Second, that the above link between language and music resides in a specific part of the brain (Broca's Area) in which rules and processes for combining linguistic and musical elements are encapsulated.

Gregory S. Okin 

Shira Shafir 
(Epidemiology, UCLA)

Relationship between Dust Activity and Coccidioidomycosis in California and Arizona


This study evaluates the impact of drought and rain cycles in California and Arizona as they relate to increased dust emissions and its spread of the infectious disease coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever). Coccidioidomycosis is a potentially fatal disease endemic to the southwestern US that is transported by dust.

Catherine Opie 

Reza Jarrahy, MD(Medicine/Plastic Surgery)

Robert Bilder 
(Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences)

Empowerment Through Art


This project seeks to determine whether the self-esteem of children with congenital facial deformities can be improved through their engagement in an artistic process.  With the help of a technical staff, the children will document their experiences as craniofacial patients using photography and video. The project also has a second aim of using these documentaries to create a multimedia reference library in order to help other children with craniofacial deformities better understand, prepare for, and cope with their medical condition.

Todd Presner 
(Humanities/Germanic Languages)

Francis Steen 
(Social Sciences/ Communication Studies, UCLA)

Song-Chun Zhu 
(Engineering/Computer Science & Statistics, UCLA)

Gary Strong 
(Young Research Library, UCLA)

Developing a Web 3.0 Social Media Research Laboratory


By studying social media content generated from two compelling news events -- the Egyptian and Libyan revolutions -- this project seeks to understand the close integration of social media news and physical geography at three core levels: (1) visualization of massive multimodal datasets; (2) high-level computational analysis; and (3) intuitive presentational tools for interpreting historical events.   The project will further serve as a proof-of-concept for developing a research laboratory and interdisciplinary research team to create and launch an innovative social media news platform.

John Schumann 
(Applied Linguistics)

David Shapiro 
(Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA)

Bahiyyih Hardacre Cerqueira 
(Applied Linguistics, UCLA)

Behavioral and Physiological Correlates of Conversation


This project studies whether responses by the body, including heart rate and skin conductance, are correlated with the behavior of speakers during conversational interaction. Assuming there is a correlation; the researchers will investigate whether the change in heart rate or skin conductance consistently precedes, coincides with, or follows a particular segment of interaction that has been identified as "talk-in interaction,” thereby potentially adding to our knowledge of how humans decide what to say and when and how to say it in conversational discourse.

Francis Steen 
(Communication Studies)

Noel Enyedy 
(Education, UCLA)

Marco Iacoboni 
(Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA)

Neuroscience of Role-Mediated Learning


This project explores the neurological basis of learning science and the degree to which learning is (or can be) rooted in physical movement such as gestures, walking and other forms of embodiment. Specifically, the research team will study college students' attempts to learn complex systems (such as how the Internet sends information via "packet switching") by using their body and gestures to model the system and its interactions.  We will compare students who learn through physical movement and those who learn through listening to a lecture in terms of their brain activity (using fMRI scans) and their conceptual understanding.

Willeke Wendrich 
(Near Eastern Languages & Cultures)

Glen MacDonald 
(Environment/Geography, UCLA)

Edward Rhodes 
(Earth & Space Sciences, UCLA)

Pharaohs, Farmers and Climate Change


This project studies how agriculture, which is the basis of the ancient Egyptian culture under the Pharaohs, was first introduced in Egypt. Our theory is that a period of climate change with winter rain enabled the earliest farmers in Egypt to adopt the knowledge to grow domesticated wheat and barley in the same way as this had been done for centuries in other regions around the Mediterranean. After the climate became more arid, agriculture depended on using the Nile flood. This research will combine textual and iconographic references to Egyptian agricultural symbolism; fossil pollen analysis to reconstruct the vegetation and period of agricultural use during the early agricultural stage; and stable isotope analysis to determine water sources and season of rainfall.

Bruce Beiderwell 
(Writing Programs)

Barbara Natterson Horowitz (Cardiology)

Medical Narrative 2011-Spring

Medical Narrative is a new writing course that teaches the translation of scientific research and medical practice through clear, accessible, and accurate story-telling. The course blends hands-on experiences in the hospital with rigorous instruction in short and long-form writing styles. During weekly field trips to Ronald Reagan University Medical Center, third and fourth-year undergraduates observe and interact with doctors in the autopsy suite, emergency department, cath lab, and more. They interview a range of health support staff, including chaplains, social workers, and patient confidentiality compliance officers. Weekly group writing workshops and one-on-one tutorials with the instructor emphasize the craft of building characters, observing details, creating a point-of-view and above all, maintaining scientific accuracy. Medical narrative, as practiced by doctor-writers like Atul Gawande, Abraham Verghese, Oliver Sacks and Jerome Groopman, is an effective and engaging way to present scientific innovation and advances to a popular audience that can include patients, policy-makers and funders.

Aaron Burke 
(Near Eastern Languages)

Martin Pelistöcker 
(Israel Antiquities Authority)

Ioanna Kakoulli 
(Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and Materials Science and Engineering)

Transdisciplinary Archaeological Research of Ethnicity: Excavating Ancient Egyptians in Canaan 2011-Spring This project involves the renewal of the excavation of the ancient site of Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv, Israel, in an effort to investigate and answer longstanding questions of ethnicity and social interaction between Jaffa's Egyptian and Canaanite inhabitants. The principle objective is to collect and compare evidence relating to diet, food preparation, and consumption (which was not collected during earlier excavations) in order to define the nature of the social interaction between the primary populations within the area. The research will be based on modern scientific evidence, not available during the original excavation, including the analysis of vessel residues, floral and faunal remains, architectural features, craft specialization, as well as the analysis of ceramic types and their production.

Michelle Erai 
(Women's Studies)

Angela Riley 
(School of Law)

Insight: Indigenous Youth, Digital Images and Violence Prevention 2011-Spring The InSight project is a collaboration with a local American Indian community organization to work with urban American Indian youth to create digital images of what they want in order to live lives free from violence.

Mel Shapiro 

Robert Watson 

Listening to Shakespeare 2011-Spring This project involves the development a of cellular phone application called "Listening to Shakespeare."  This multi-featured application will contain a recording of all sonnets with accompanying expert commentary and text that is scrolled as the piece is spoken.  The scenes and monologues will be recorded by professional actors and celebrities, and the user will have the ability to override the actor's performance and record their own version to send to friends.  The application will also include a quote of the day, sonnet of the month, speech for the season/holiday, and lines reflecting current events.

Megan Sweeney 

Carolyn Crandall 

Susan Ettner 

A Multidisciplinary Lens on Race/Ethnic and Educational Disparities in Contraceptive Use 2011-Spring This project attempts to clarify reasons for race, ethnic and education-based disparities in the use of contraception methods.  The researchers will analyze various factors including demographic background, attitudes towards pregnancy, health insurance coverage, source of family planning services, state policies, risk factors for acquiring a sexually transmitted infection, and differences in smoking behavior.