Virginia McDonough receives new NIH award

Virginia McDonough, Professor of Biology, received a new National Institutes of Health (NIH) award of $246,972 for a project titled Regulation of the stearoyl-CoA desaturase by dietary fatty acids.  The award period is 1 April 2019 through 31 March 2022.

This project will determine some of the normal mechanisms of regulation of gene expression of a key player in unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis, the stearoyl-CoA desaturase.  Examining these processes may give researchers a better understanding of how uptake and metabolism of fatty acids from the diet can lead to insight and improved treatment of common chronic disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and certain cancers.

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Virginia!

Register Now for an NIH Virtual Panel Session

The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs at Hope College and the Office for Sponsored Programs and Research Activities at the University of Detroit Mercy will host an NIH Virtual Panel Session on Monday 15 April 2019 at 1 pm in Schaap 3000 for Hope faculty.  We will have a live-feed between Hope College and the University of Detroit Mercy so that our panelists–Kristen Abraham, Eric Krukonis, and Ginny McDonough–can share their perspectives on developing competitive NIH proposals with faculty at both institutions.

Kristen and Ginny are current NIH R15 awardees; Eric is a current R21 recipient.  Please join us to learn about their projects, their approaches to proposal development, and tips and tricks they found most helpful in developing their successful applications.  Ginny and Eric will also share some of the lessons learned from their most recent experience as a study section panelists.  Attendees will also have an opportunity to ask all panelists their own questions.

Space is limited for this event.  If you are interested in attending, please contact Ron Fleischmann ( to participate.  Registration is required by Tuesday 9 April 2019.  Light refreshments will be served during the event.

Resource Feature: NIH Specific Aims Section

The BioScience Writers Journal has a wonderful resource for those individuals contemplating (or developing) a National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposal.  The most important section of your NIH proposal is the one-page Specific Aims section–it sets the stage for all of the other parts of your application.

To assist investigators in developing their Specific Aims section, BioScience Writers developed a resource titled NIH Grant Applications: The Anatomy of a Specific Aims Page that’s worth a read.  This is a fantastic resource to benefit any investigator at any stage (new or experienced), and it’s color-coded breakdown of an entire Specific Aims section helps illustrate the importance of this portion of the proposal.

Seeking additional proposal development resources for your application?  Feel free to contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (, to discuss your needs.

John Krupczak receives new National Science Foundation award

John Krupczak, Professor of Engineering, received a new National Science Foundation (NSF) award of $50,944 via the University of Texas at Austin for a project titled Capacity-Building Workshops for Competitive S-STEM Proposals from Two-Year Colleges in the Western US.  The award period is 1 January 2019 through 31 December 2020.

This project will develop workshops designed to increase the quality and quantity of submissions from two-year institutions in the western US to the NSF S-STEM program, which is a program designed to increase the success of low-income, academically talented students in STEM fields.  Dr. Krupczak will be collaborating with Maura Borrego and David Brown on this project.

Congratulations, Dr. Krupczak!

Hope receives 9 new awards from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium!

Hope faculty and students are the recipients of NINE new Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) grants for 2019-2020!

Four Hope students will receive fellowships: Meredith Bomers (mentor: Peter Gonthier), Eric Leu (mentor: Brian Yurk), Armandine Uwimana (mentor: Michael Misovich), and Carmen Chamberlain (mentor: Amanda Eckermann).  Students will work their mentors on a research project during summer 2019, with students presenting the results of their work during the 2019-2020 academic year.

Two Hope faculty members received Research Seed awards.  Phillip Rivera in Biology will receive a $5,000 award to support the project titled Understanding the impact of chronic low-dose, low energy, proton radiation on systemic inflammation and anxiety-like behaviors in mice.  Brian Yurk in Mathematics will receive a $5,000 award to support the project titled Identifying landslides in canopy gaps in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica using high-resolution multispectral satellite imagery.

Two Hope faculty members will receive Educational Program Support awards.  Susan Ipri Brown from ExploreHope/Engineering will receive a $15,000 award to support the project titled Air Quality Monitoring in the Middle and High School Grades.  Eric Mann from Mathematics and Susan Ipri Brown will receive a $15,000 award to support the project titled Engineering The Future Academy.  All three projects are designed to support K-12 students, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers.

Finally, Peter Gonthier serves as our Institutional Representative to MSGC and received a $2,000 award to support on-going campus activities related to MSGC and a student scholarship.  Total MSGC awards to Hope faculty and students are $54,500 for the period May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.

Congratulations to you all!

SMARTS/SPIN Workshops Offered in March

Are you interested in searching our funding database for sponsors and programs interested in funding your research, educational, or outreach activity?  Are you interested in receiving targeted funding opportunities that align with your interests daily or weekly?

If so, please consider participating in a brief workshop on the use of SPIN and SMARTS.  SPIN is a database of funding opportunities from government/public sources, private foundations, and corporations from all disciplines.  SMARTS is an email notification system that alerts researchers to new or updated opportunities which align with their research interests.  SMARTS is connected to the funding opportunities listed in the SPIN database.

This workshop will provide participants with:

  • An overview of the SPIN database, including how to search for funding opportunities;
  • Creating your SPIN account; and
  • Creating and updating your SMARTS notifications.

Four workshops will be held in March 2019.  Each workshop will have approximately 30 minutes of brief instruction, followed by 30 minutes for participants to utilize SPIN/SMARTS.  Each session will be held at a campus computer lab; there is no need for participants to bring their own device.

Workshops will be held:

  • Monday 11 March 2019 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm in Martha Miller 237;
  • Tuesday 12 March 2019 from 8:00 am to 9:00 am in Schaap 3002;
  • Wednesday 27 March 2019 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am in Schaap 3002; and
  • Thursday 28 March 2019 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm in Martha Miller 237.

Because space is limited in each computer lab, please RSVP for these dates in advance of the sessions.  You do not need to attend more than one session; content for each session will be similar.

Questions?  Please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (

National Science Foundation resumes operations

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has posted a notice regarding the resumption of operations following the government shutdown.  NSF will be focusing on high-priority areas as it works to restart its operations following the shutdown.

While FastLane remained open to accept proposals during the shutdown, a number of Program Solicitations and Dear Colleague Letter deadlines have been extended–see the notice for additional details on which programs have been impacted.

Questions?  Please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (

Deirdre Johnston receives new Great Lakes Colleges Association award

Deirdre Johnston, Interim Associate Dean for Global Education and Professor of Communication, received a new Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) award of $27,000 for a project titled Global Health in the Liberal Arts Collaborative.  The award period is 10 June 2019 through 14 June 2019.

This project will send eight Hope faculty members to the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) to attend a Global Health Collaborative workshop that will bring Hope and USFQ faculty together to discuss global health courses, research, and associated community service.  Potential outcomes of this project include new global health courses and program development, exploration of community-based global health program development, new models for collaboration with USFQ Galapagos and Tiputini research stations, and new health-related collaborations.

Congratulations, Dr. Johnston, on your new GLCA award!

Impact of Government Shutdown on Federal Grants and Contracts

With the ongoing federal government shutdown, there may be some impacts to proposals and awards.  The government shutdown does not impact all federal agencies–the following agencies are open and following standard business operations:

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services (including the National Institutes of Health)
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

No impacts to federal proposals or awards from any of these agencies are expected; proposal and award processing will continue accordingly.

The following agencies are considered CLOSED, with only essential staff reporting to work (with most grant and contract staff not considered essential):

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Treasury
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Science Foundation

Impacts on Proposals with Upcoming Deadlines to CLOSED Agencies:

Most agencies continue to solicit proposals via, FastLane, NSPIRES, and other proposal submission systems.  Principal investigators are encouraged to submit proposals in accordance with published deadlines and as application packages remain available.  Technical support, however, will not be available from the federal government, so please plan accordingly in terms of allowing sufficient time to submit proposals in advance of the deadline.  Extensions to submit proposals due to technical errors may not be granted.

Impacts on Proposals Submitted to CLOSED Agencies:

As anticipated, proposals submitted to agencies that are CLOSED will likely require additional time for review.   For projects selected for funding, additional time will be required for audit and review prior to final award issuance.   Sponsors may not be able to honor their originally posted review and decision timelines.

Impacts on Awards from CLOSED Agencies: 

For the most part, work may continue on awards issued by CLOSED agencies.  If you encounter an issue that will require sponsor approval (i.e., rebudgeting funds, purchase of equipment not otherwise budgeted/approved, reduction of effort, etc.), Hope will not be able to obtain approval and we will not be able to complete the request until the government re-opens.

If you receive a stop-work order from a sponsor due to a lapse in appropriations, please contact Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (, as soon as possible.

The Office of Sponsored Research and Programs will continue to monitor the federal budget situation and provide updates if/when they become available.  Specific questions may be directed to Ron Fleischmann, Director of Sponsored Research and Programs (

Anna-Lisa Cox’s The Bone and Sinew of the Land one of 2018’s best history books!

Anna-Lisa Cox’s book, The Bone and Sinew of the Land: America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers and the Struggle for Equality, was recently listed as one of Smithsonian’s Best History Books of 2018!

Anna-Lisa explores the stories of nearly 300 African-American families that migrated to the Northwest Territory in the early 19th century.  In what would later become the present states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the Northwest Territory was the first territory to ban slavery and establish equal voting rights for all men.  Despite the premise of equality within the Territory, these pioneers soon found themselves the target of racist backlash and conflict.  The book explores the unique time and place to re-conceptualize the image of the American pioneer and explore the challenges they faced during this tumultuous period.

Congratulations on your achievement, Anna-Lisa!