OSP Spotlight Archive

Research Consulting Services Available
to UNC Principal Investigators and Project Directors

The following resources are available to assist UNC faculty and students with research design and development.

The Research Consulting Lab (RCL) provides free consultation and advice to quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods researchers in areas such as instrument design; data collection; data storage and management methods; and statistical analyses and evaluation. Contact the RCL in McKee 537, call 351-1495, or email rcl@unco.edu.

The Social Research Lab (SRL) can assist in all stages of research including quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. The SRL has extensive experience working on projects of all sizes to deliver data and analysis in a timely and affordable manner. Call Josh Packard at 351-3385 or email Josh at SRL@unco.edu

The Education Innovation Institute (EII) can help researchers develop rigorous methodological designs that isolate the causal impact of a policy or intervention to meet the Institute of Education Sciences standards broadly adopted by other federal and private funders. Call Kristin Klopfenstein at 351-2945 or email k.klopfenstein@unco.edu.

Lessons from the Political Past
OSP Spotlight – Fall 2012

Sixteen fortunate school teachers will travel to Germany and the Czech Republic where for four weeks during the summer of 2013, they will participate in a seminar on the history and philosophy of the peaceful revolutions in east-central Europe. 

Associate professor of political science, Christiane Olivo, will direct this Summer Seminar for Teachers with a $109,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

As Dr. Olivo explains in her proposal, it has been more than 20 years since the peaceful revolutions led to the downfall of communism in Eastern Europe; and while “the peaceful revolution is generally regarded as one of the most important events of the twentieth century, the significance of the philosophical ideas of East-Central European dissidents is often overlooked and their exact role in bringing down communism is still in dispute.”

The teachers from around the U.S. who are chosen to participate in the seminar will not only study and discuss numerous selected readings; they will do so in locations where the events about which they are reading occurred. The studies will be augmented by visits to sites such as Leipzig, an important center of dissident activities in the German Democrat Republic, for a city tour called “On the Trail of the Peaceful Revolution” and by lectures from guest speakers such as former Czech dissident, Dr. Martin Palouš.
Dr. Olivo states that, “The study of dissidence in East-Central Europe provides insight into the reasons that communism ultimately fell and the ‘power of the powerless’ to undermine totalitarian rule.” While some scholars believe that the political philosophies of those dissidents are not relevant outside of Soviet totalitarianism, the participants in this NEH Summer Seminar will examine whether they have a place in addressing the problems facing modern large-scale liberal democracies. 

The seminar participants will look at three key questions: What role did democratic opposition movements play in the fall of communism? What were the philosophical ideas developed by dissidents in the civil societies of these communist countries? And, what is the ongoing significance of these political philosophies?

Following the seminar, a website will be created to disseminate lesson plans developed by the participants, display photos from their time in Europe, provide links to sources of information related to the seminar and contact information for guest speakers, and to provide a platform for continuing on-line discussion.

The 2013 program will be Dr. Olivo’s second prestigious NEH Summer Seminar award in four years.

Cancer Recovery Takes Heart and Muscle
OSP Spotlight – Summer 2012

Doxorubicin (DOX) is a drug commonly used in chemotherapy which, besides causing the typical adverse effects of nausea, vomiting, and heart arrhythmias, can result in severe fatigue. One of the drug’s most notable side effects is that with increased dosages there may be cardiac damage which can lead to cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. Because of this, research on DOX has mainly focused on cardiac damage; however, there is evidence that muscle toxicity may also be a contributing factor in the fatigue experienced by cancer patients receiving DOX.

David Hydock, Assistant Professor of Sport and Exercise Science in the College of Natural and Health Sciences, has received an American Cancer Society Mentored Research Scholarship Grant that will support his research into the negative effect of DOX on skeletal muscle. Hydock’s lab has shown that a single DOX injection can result in significant muscle dysfunction; however, the exact mechanisms behind the muscle toxicity are not known. Therefore, the first objective of Hydock’s grant project will be to investigate the nature of the DOX-induced muscle toxicity.

Just as previous research has shown that exercise training is effective at minimizing DOX-induced cardiac dysfunction, Dr. Hydock states, “…it is plausible that exercise can provide protection against DOX muscle toxicity… however these exercise effects are currently unknown.”  The second objective of the project is to investigate the effects of exercise training – both endurance and resistance training – on DOX muscle dysfunction.

In the end, the results of this research could lead to improved chemotherapy management strategies that will minimize side effects, and strategies for helping cancer patients manage treatment-related fatigue.

The Mentored Research Scholar Award is one of several award mechanisms used by the American Cancer Society. Its purpose is to support junior faculty members whose training primarily has prepared them for a career as a clinician or to conduct clinical or cancer control research, and to increase the numbers of these individuals in the field. During the period of the award, the investigator is expected to acquire additional research training, mentoring and experience necessary for transition into a successful career as an independent investigator.  Professor Reid Hayward, also in the School of Sport and Exercise Science, will serve as primary mentor on this project. Dr. Hayward has also received research support from the American Cancer Society, as well as the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute.
The project will also provide research experience and training for graduate students, Noah Gibson and Eric Bredahl, who are included as Doctoral Student Collaborators on the award.

Small Business Development: A University / Community Parthership
OSP Spotlight – Spring 2012

The United States witnessed high rates of unemployment and low levels of business start-ups in 2011. However, thanks in part to the efforts of Richard Pickett, during 2011, northeast and east central Colorado saw 23 new business openings, the creation of 177 new jobs, and the retention of 79 existing jobs.

For the past four years, Pickett has served as executive director of the Colorado Northeast-East Central Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Hosted by UNC's Monfort College of Business, the SBDC assists potential and existing business owners by providing the management advice, training and information they need to start, grow, and profit.

To keep services free or low-cost for the SBDC's clients, Pickett has secured nearly $700,000 in external grants from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and matching fund awards from Weld County, the City of Greeley, and Aims Community College.

The Northeast-East Central SBDC is part of a national Association of SBDCs and a member of the Colorado SBDC Network. The economic impact that results from SBDC services is reported in the form of jobs created and retained, sales increased, capital accessed and contracts awarded. Last year, in addition to business start-ups and job creation and retention, Pickett was able to report that businesses receiving assistance from the SBDC had increased sales by nearly $2,683,000.

Pickett's 24 years of experience in small business serve him well as executive director of this important program. They include several years with a company that started as a little juice bar called Inta Juice that he co-founded in Fort Collins in 1996.

Read about some Northeast-East Central SBDC success stories.

Dopamine Working Memory & Schizophrenia

Mark Thomas, Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, looks for answers to questions that could help the nearly 24 million people worldwide who suffer from Schizophrenia, a severe and disabling brain disorder.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the causes of Schizophrenia have not been determined. However, scientists believe that several factors may be involved.

The NIMH has awarded a $349,406 grant to support Thomas’ investigation of one of those factors.

It is thought that an imbalance in complex chemical reactions of the brain involving neurotransmitters plays a role in schizophrenia. Neurotransmitters allow brain cells to communicate with each other, and Thomas studies the effects of the neurotransmitter dopamine on neurons that may play a role in working memory function in the brain

Read more about this project.