URI receives $629,550 in grants from The Champlin Foundations

KINGSTON, R.I. — December 10, 2015 — The Champlin Foundations, one of the oldest philanthropic organizations in the State of Rhode Island, has awarded the University of Rhode Island five grants totaling $629,550. Continuing their legacy of support for new pedagogical tools and technologies that both engage students in learning and distinguish URI programs, the Foundations funded all five proposals submitted by the University this year.

The Champlin Foundations’ generosity toward URI spans more than four decades. In 1970, The Champlin Foundations made their first donation to the University in the form of an annual scholarship grant to the College of Pharmacy. Their next gift was in 1982 and since then, the University has received grants each year, consistently placing URI as one of the top five organizations to receive funding. As of this year, URI has received well over $13 million from The Foundations.

“The Champlin Foundations has helped fund academic advancements and technologies critical for contemporary learning and program distinction at the University for decades,” said URI Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald H. DeHayes.”We are deeply grateful for their generosity and support over the years. These latest awards enhance our interdisciplinary work and our ability to create real-world learning experiences in the classroom that better prepare our students for both academic and career success.”

Katharine H. Flynn, director of the URI Foundation Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations, commented, “We consider Champlin Foundations a true and valued URI partner and the impact of and its long term charitable investment has been a significant contributor to our success and competitiveness. Through their funding of URI projects, they also have helped us demonstrate the effect private support can have on our University and we are truly thankful.”

Equipment and technology related projects funded by The Foundations this year are:

Microfabrication Technology: A $170,000 grant to help create a microfabrication hands-on learning facility at URI. This lab will provide students with comprehensive training in the conceptualization, visualization, and production of micro-devices with applications from electronics, biomedicine, and nanotechnology. The proposal was submitted by: Xinyuan Chen, Wei Lu and Bingfang Yan of the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Samantha Meenach, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Department of Chemical Engineering; Geoffrey Bothun, Department of Chemical Engineering; Yi Zheng, Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering; and Jason Dwyer, Department of Chemistry.

Hot Melt Extruder – Shared teaching and manufacturing: The Champlin Foundations grant will fund the purchase of a $159,497 hot melt extrusion system that will be added to URI’s existing polymer processing and analytical equipment. This equipment will provide students with training in this versatile processing technique that is used in the pharmaceutical, food, medical device, textiles, and polymers industries. The proposal was submitted by: David Worthen, Departments of Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemical Engineering and the Interdisciplinary Neurosciences Program; Martin Bide, Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Michael Greenfield, Department of Chemical Engineering; Stephen Kennedy, Departments of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering; Chong Lee, Department of Nutrition and Food Science; Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi, Department of Mechanical, Industrial & Systems Engineering; Samantha Meenach, Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Hands-on Tool for Teaching Anatomy: A $121,800 grant will allow URI to purchase three SynDavers human anatomy models for use in the human anatomy courses taken by hundreds of students across many programs, departments, and colleges. Used by hospitals and educational institutions as an alternative to human cadavers and preserved animals, these synthetic, life-like bodies offer state-of-the-art, hands-on anatomical learning for large groups of students who would not normally have access to this type of experience. These models will also provide students a deeper understanding of anatomical structures within the context of the whole body as a complex system. The proposal was submitted by: Aura Fajardo Grandidge, Cheryl Wilga and Bryan Dewsbury of the Department of Biological Sciences and Kim Fournier of the Department of Kinesiology and the Department of Biological Sciences.

Muscle Performance Laboratory: The Champlin Foundations awarded a $102,795 grant to create a state-of-the-art Muscle Performance Lab that will allow students to explore the impact of physical activity, exercise, muscular performance and injury on health-related quality of life and physical performance in individuals of all ages. In this lab, students will learn to integrate their classroom materials with advanced practical skills to prepare for future careers in the fields of kinesiology, physical therapy, exercise science, athletic training, sports medicine, and others. The proposal was submitted by: Jacob Earp and Christie Ward-Ritacco of the Department of Kinesiology.

Biotechnology Quality Control: A $75,458 grant to purchase a dual Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer platform for URI’s biotechnology training program and the Institute for Immunology and Informatics at the University’s Providence Campus. The Agilent Bioanalyzer will provide access to training in advanced equipment for students in quality control, an essential aspect of biotechnology manufacturing and molecular biology research. The hands-on laboratory experience with this industry-standard equipment will also give URI students a competitive advantage in applying for jobs in the growing biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. The proposal was submitted by: Alan Rothman and Carey Medin of the Institute for Immunology and Informatics and Department of Cell and Molecular Biology; Greg Paquette, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and URI Biotechnology Center; and Christina Befumo, URI Biotechnology Center.