June 14, 2021

Junior faculty, grad students receive research stimulus awards

The Provost's Social & Behavioral Determinants of Health (SBDH) Steering Committee has selected five research projects to fund from junior faculty and doctoral students targeting the complex interactions among social and behavioral factors and their impact on public health.

The projects were selected after a call for proposals through the 2021 Research Stimulus Program, which incentivizes researchers to explore these important societal issues.

“I think it's important for people early in their careers to get exposed to different training opportunities and to different ideas that allow them to build teams and get their feet wet exploring new areas,” said Mark Greenwald, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and chair of the SBDH steering committee. “A lot of research advances involve serendipity. You never know exactly what you're going to get until you do the study and look at the data. And so, this could take you in a new direction that could be quite exciting and change the trajectory of your career.”

The call for proposals was open to all academic disciplines for both quantitative and qualitative research. A multidisciplinary approach was encouraged.

“The support for interdisciplinary research is a main focus of the SBDH steering committee, and these awards will promote knowledge and scholarship that crosses disciplines,” said Boris Baltes, associate provost for faculty affairs and associate vice president of academic personnel. “It is especially important that these awards were aimed at junior faculty and doctoral students in order to foster the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers.”
The junior faculty members funded for one year for up to $20,000 are:

  • Marusak
    Hilary Marusak, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences, and Jeanne Barcelona, assistant professor of community health in the College of Education, for “Behind the ‘runner’s high’: endocannabinoid levels as a potential mediator of the beneficial effects of exercise on cognitive performance and mental health in youth.” This project is funded by the Office of the Provost.
  • Khalil
    Dalia Khalil, assistant professor of nursing, for “Psychobiological factors affecting mental health among refugee children and their parents.” This project is funded by the Office of the Provost.


The doctoral student (and mentor) projects funded for one year up to $5,000 are:

  • Caitlin Cassady, a doctoral student in the Social Work and Anthropology (SWAN) program, is the principal investigator for the project “Medical aid in dying: physician beliefs, practices, and respect for autonomy.” Her faculty mentor is Andrea Sankar, professor and chair of anthropology. The School of Social Work will fund this project.
  • Nicole Kouri, a doctoral student in clinical psychology, is principal investigator for the project “Adolescents’ dissociative responses to age-normative social stress: links with violence exposure and mental health.” Her faculty mentor is Valerie Simon, professor of psychology. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences will fund this project.
  • Rowe
    Jeffrey Rowe, a graduate student in anthropology, is principal investigator for the study “Chronic illness and food insecurity: food prescription program experiences among Detroiters.” His faculty mentor is Yuson Jung, associate professor of anthropology. This project will be funded by the Office of the Provost.

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