BRIDGE Seed Fund 2019/20 Awardees

Mechanochemical Properties of Flexible Metal-organic Frameworks

Kenneth S. Suslick is the Marvin T. Schmidt Research Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Professor Suslick received his B.S. from Caltech in 1974 and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1978, and came to the UIUC immediately thereafter. He is the recipient of both the Joel H. Hildebrand and Nobel Laureate Signature Awards of the American Chemical Society, the Centenary Prize and the Sir George Stokes Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Materials Research Society Medal, the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Silver Medal of the Acoustical Society of America, the Chemical Pioneer Award of the American Institute of Chemists, and Sloan and Guggenheim Fellowships; he is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, AAAS, ACS, APS, MRS, RSC, and ASA.  In 2018-2019, Suslick was the George Eastman Professor at the University of Oxford.


Dr Yueting Sun is a lecturer in the School of Engineering at the University of Birmingham. He has a broad interest in the field of mechanics of materials. His group performs cross-disciplinary research to design materials and systems at the nano/micro-scale for unprecedented engineering performances. Recent research topics involve impact mechanics and energy conversion leveraging the nanofluidics in highly porous materials such as Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs). Dr Yueting Sun received his Bachelor in Automotive Engineering and Bachelor in Economics from Tsinghua University in 2010, followed by a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2015. He visited the University of California, San Diego as a research assistant from 2013 to 2014, and held the KC Wong Fellowship at the University of Oxford from 2016 to 2018. He moved from Oxford to Birmingham in Dec 2019 and became a Lecturer in Engineering.


Language Learning and the Pedagogy of Play


Dr Megan Cavell works on a wide range of topics in medieval studies, from Old and early Middle English and Latin languages and literature to gender, material culture, monstrosity, and animal studies/ecocriticism. Her current research project focuses on predators and inter-species conflict in pre- and post-Conquest England. After undertaking a BA and MA in Canada, she completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge in 2012, and then took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto (2012-2014) and a Junior Research Fellowship at Durham University (2014-2016). Dr Cavell joined the Department of English Literature at Birmingham in 2017, after lecturing in the Faculty of English at the University of Oxford (2016-2017).



Renée R. Trilling

Renée R. Trilling is Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of The Aesthetics of Nostalgia: Historical Representation in Old English Verse (Toronto, 2009) and the Oxford Bibliography of Old English Literature and Critical Theory (Oxford, 2016), and co-editor of A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Studies (Blackwell, 2012). She is also Managing Editor for JEGP: Journal of English and Germanic Philology, published by the University of Illinois Press. Her research has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, and the Center for Advanced Study at Illinois. Her current work draws on recent trends in neuroscience and related fields to explore the role of materiality in early medieval notions of subjectivity.


The Urban Oasis? Comparative Tracking of Turdus thrushes in Green Cities in the UK and the USA

Mark E. Hauber is the Harley Jones Van Cleave Professor of Host-Parasite Interactions at the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior. He is a native of Hungary, was trained at Yale, Cornell and UC Berkeley, and has held faculty and research administration positions in New Zealand (University of Auckland) and New York (City University of New York), before joining the Illinois faculty. Prof. Hauber and his lab study the behavioral, hormonal, and neurogenomic basis of avian recognition systems, focusing on how brood parasitic birds and their hosts (including the American robin in Central Illinois)) interact with each other.  He is the co/author of 300+ peer reviewed scientific articles and the Book of Eggs (2014 University of Chicago Press); he has been elected a Fellow of both the American Ornithological Society and the Animal Behavior Society.



Dr Jim Reynolds has worked on the reproductive biology and the nutritional ecology of birds from many different and diverse orders including passerines, geese, grouse, kingfishers and terns. He has worked in North America and in mainland Europe in investigating how human activity influences food availability and the resulting changes in avian reproductive investment and life histories. He employs state of the art technologies and traditional methods in field ornithology in spear-heading research into the foraging ecology of free-living birds in the UK, in the UK’s Overseas Territories and elsewhere.




A joint investigation of task-based effects on prediction during reading

Kiel Christianson (Ph.D. Michigan State University, 2002, linguistics & cognitive science) has held two Fulbright Fellowships and taught at universities in Germany and Japan and has maintained a broad network of international collaborations ever since. His research focuses on psycholinguistics, including reading, bilingualism & biliteracy, syntactic parsing, visual word recognition, and information processing in multimedia environments. He is currently the Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology and Director of the Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (SLATE) doctoral concentration program, as well as director of the EdPsych Psycholinguistics Lab, which is housed in the Beckman Institute.





Steven Frisson, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham 






Strain Engineering of 2D Magnetism

SungWoo Nam is an Associate Professor and Anderson Faculty Scholar in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interest is at the intersection between advanced materials and mechanics. He received his PhD degree in Applied Physics from Harvard University. After his doctorate, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at UC Berkeley. Nam is the recipient of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society Early Career Faculty Fellow Award, NSF CAREER Award, two DoD (AFOSR and ONR) Young Investigator Program Awards, NASA Early Career Faculty Award, UIUC Center for Advanced Study Fellowship, UIUC Campus Distinguished Promotion Award, and UIUC Engineering Dean’s Award for Excellence in Research.


Mingee Chung (Minki Jeong) is Lecturer and Birmingham Fellow in the Condensed Matter Physics group.His research focuses on collective quantum phenomena such as the emergence of Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid, Bose-Einstein condensate and spin liquid in materials. In particular, he investigate the role of dimensionality, geometry and symmetry in quantum spin systems and zero-temperature phase transitions.He was previously an EPFL Fellow (Marie-Sklodowska Curie COFUND, European Commission) and a recipient of Blaise Pascal Scholarship (French government).




Multimodal image-to-image translation for drug discovery

Stephen A. Boppart, M.D., Ph.D. is the Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering with appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Bioengineering. He is also a full-time faculty member at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. His Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory is focused on developing novel optical biomedical diagnostic and imaging technologies and translating them into clinical applications.  Prof. Boppart received his Ph.D. in Medical and Electrical Engineering from MIT, his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and his residency training at the University of Illinois in Internal Medicine. Since joining the faculty at UIUC in 2000, he has published over 350 invited and contributed publications and over 45 patents related to optical biomedical imaging technology. He has mentored over 100 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate interdisciplinary researchers. He was recognized by MIT’s Technology Review Magazine as one of the Top 100 Young Innovators in the World for his development of medical technology, and the Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award from the Optical Society of America for dedication and advancement in undergraduate research education. More recently, he received the international Hans Sigrist Prize in the field of Diagnostic Laser Medicine, the SPIE Biophotonics Innovator Award, and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Inventors. Prof. Boppart has co-founded four start-up companies to commercialize and disseminate his optical technologies for biomedical imaging. He is a Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, OSA, SPIE, AIMBE, and BMES. He served as Director of a campus-wide Imaging at Illinois to integrate imaging science, technology, and applications across multiple modalities and fields, and is currently Director of the Center for Optical Molecular Imaging supported by an academic-clinical-industry partnership with GlaxoSmithKline. Prof. Boppart has been a strong advocate for the integration of engineering and medicine to advance human health and our healthcare systems, and has been involved in visioning, establishing, and developing our new engineering-based Carle Illinois College of Medicine. He is currently serving at the Executive Associate Dean and Chief Diversity Officer, and is dedicated to integrating innovation, technology, and engineering into the medical curriculum to educate and train the next generation of physicians.

Iain Styles is a Professor of Computational Life Sciences in the School of Computer Science. His research interests are in the analysis of complex data from advanced imaging and analytical techniques to understand biological structures and processes, with particular interests in the analysis of single-molecule imaging experiments, automated analysis of mass spectrometry measurements, and image reconstruction methods for diffuse optical imaging. He uses a wide range of computational approaches to address these complex interdisciplinary problems, drawing on ideas from classical image processing, machine learning, computer vision, and topology. He is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and the University’s Turing University Lead, and is the founding Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Data Science.




Effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on crop productivity and forest diversity

Donald Ort is the Robert Emerson Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. He is the Theme Leader of Genomic Ecology of Global Change in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois, Deputy Director of the Gates Foundation funded RIPE – Realizing Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency for Improved Crop Production project and the Chief Scientist of the DOE Center for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts Innovation. His laboratory is engaged in three lines of research: i) Redesigning photosynthesis for improved efficiency; ii) Molecular and biochemical basis of environmental interactions with crop plants; iii) Ecological genomics: Interactive effects of CO2, temperature and drought on plant, plant canopy and plant ecosystem performance. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologist, a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science Award and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Christine Foyer is the Professor of Plant Sciences at the University of Birmingham and an expert in plant metabolism and its regulation under optimal and stress conditions. She is President Elect of the Association of Applied Biologists, the General Secretary of the Federation of European Societies of Plant Biologists, an elected Board Member of the American Society of Plant Biologists and a Member of the French Academy of Agriculture. She will soon take up the role of Editor in Chief of Food and Energy Security. She is also a senior Editor for Plant, Cell and Environment and an Associate the Biochemical Journal, The Journal of Experimental Biology and Physiologia Plantarum. Christine has over 400 published papers and currently has an H-Index of 96. For over ten years she has been on the Thomson Reuters IP and Science official list of Highly Cited Researchers ranked within the top 1% most cited works for their subject field and year of publication, earning a mark of Exceptional Impact.Focusing particularly on reduction/oxidation (redox) biology, her lab investigates how primary processes (photosynthesis respiration) alter the redox status of the cell and associated phytohormone signalling under optimal and stress conditions. Using model (Arabidopsis) as well as crop plants (wheat, barley, maize soybean and tomato) Christine lab investigates plant responses to abiotic (drought, chilling, high light) and biotic (aphids) stresses.


A collaborative investigation of licit and illicit approaches to performance enhancement in sport.

Jules Woolf is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research examines the ways in which, sport, as an institution, can influence and promote sport. In particular, he studies the use of performance enhancing substances and methods in sport and how these can be managed. This has involved research examining the role of social influences among adolescents, and understanding how athletes think about, and use these substances.





Dr  Ian Boardley is internationally known for his expertise on the psychosocial processes governing moral behaviour in physical activity contexts. This work includes moral behaviours that occur on the sports field (e.g., prosocial and antisocial behaviour), as well as those that occur in sport, exercise, and dance (use of image and performance enhancing drugs). Ian’s research has been supported by funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Olympic Committee and the Economic and Social Research Council. Ian has further research interests in coaching efficacy and effectiveness, and how athletes’ perceptions of their coach influence athletes’ cognitions, emotions, and behaviour.



Dr Maria Kavussanu is an expert on morality in sport. : She has published extensively in this area and received funding for her research from the ESRC, The Nuffield Foundation, the International Olympic Committee, and the World Anti-Doping Agency. She is member of the ESRC Peer Review College, Editor-in-Chief of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology published by the American Psychological Association and serves on the Editorial Board of the International Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Prior to her appointment as Editor-in-Chief, Maria was Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Section Editor of the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, and served on the Editorial Board of several sport psychology journals (e.g., Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Psychology of Sport and ExerciseSport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, etc.). Maria has published over 90 articles and book chapters and has delivered several keynote addresses at international conferences, such as the World Congress of Science in Football (Denmark) and the International Exercise & Sport Psychology Congress (Turkey). Maria is one of the keynote speakers of the 2017 conference of the International Society of Sport Psychology, in Seville, Spain.


Developing computational models of age-related inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases: Progression of synovial joint inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis.

Ravishankar (Ravi) K. Iyer is George and Ann Fisher Distinguished Professor of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds joint appointments in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, in the Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. He is a faculty Research Affiliate at the Mayo Clinic, Yeoh Ghin Seng Distinguished Visiting Professor of the National University Health System, Singapore, and Adjunct Professor of the University of New South Wales.

Professor Iyer leads the DEPEND Group at CSL, with a multidisciplinary focus on systems and software that combine deep measurement driven analytics and machine learning with applications in two important domains: i) trust (that spans resilience and the security of critical infrastructures) and ii) health (that spans computational genomics and health analytics focused on personalized medicine). The Depend Group has developed a rich AI analytics framework that has been deployed on real-world applications in collaborations with industry, health providers, and government agencies including NSF, NIH, and DoD.

Iyer leads the NSF Center for Computational Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine (CCBGM). CCBGM develops and promotes collaboration between academia, industry, hospitals, and research laboratories to utilize the power of computational predictive genomics to advance pressing health care and related computational biotechnology issues of significant industrial interest.

Professor Iyer is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He has received several awards, including the IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award, and the 2011 Outstanding Contributions award by the Association of Computing Machinery. Professor Iyer is also the recipient of the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa from Toulouse Sabatier University in France.


Dr Simon W. Jones is a Reader in Musculoskeletal Ageing within the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing. His research is focused on understanding the inflammatory and metabolic mechanisms that mediate joint and musculoskeletal pathological disorders including Osteoarthritis, Sarcopenia, Type II Diabetes and Scoliosis. He has a particular research focus on the role of non-coding RNAs (including miRNAs and long non coding RNAs) in mediating inflammatory responses and in understanding how obesity affects the pathology of diseased joint and musculoskeletal tissues.




Creation of An International Benchmark and Index for Railway Safety

Christopher P. L. Barkan is Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and George Krambles Director, Rail Transportation and Engineering Center (RailTEC). He joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) faculty in 1998. Prior to his employment here he was Director of Risk Engineering at the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in Washington, DC where he was employed for ten years in their Research & Test and Safety & Operations Departments.  His research interests are in railroad safety and risk analysis, train derailment analysis, hazardous materials and tank car safety. He has supervised 15 Ph.D. students and more than 70 M.S. students, all of them in rail engineering and transportation subjects. As Director of RailTEC, he leads the UIUC research and educational programs in railway engineering. He also serves as Director of the National University Rail (NURail) Center, a consortium of seven colleges and universities funded by the US DOT. Dr. Barkan is an author or editor of more than 200 railroad-engineering papers, reports, chapters, or books on a range of rail subjects. He and his students have won a number of awards for research presented at international conferences and papers published in peer-reviewed journals. He has provided expert testimony before Congressional committees, the National Transportation Safety Board, and other government agencies and served as an invited member on oversight and review committees for a number of US DOT research programs. He completed his B.A. at Goddard College in 1977, his M.S. in 1984 and Ph.D. in 1987, at the University of New York at Albany, and held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center prior to his employment at the AAR.

Professor  Anson Jack works within he Birmingham Centre for Railways Research and Education (BCRRE)to promote international railway benchmarking and other research, and to develop the extensive international relationships the University has already established across the globe. He began his career at British Rail where he joined as a graduate trainee in 1979. He also worked at Railtrack and Network Rail, before joining RSSB in 2003. His credentials also include membership of: the Technical Advisory Board of the International High Speed Rail Association, based in Tokyo and being an advisor to the SNCF Board on safety. Previously he has been on the Transportation Research Board Committee for the review of the Federal Railroad Administration research and development programme; the Organising Committee for the World Congress on Railway Research, and the UK rail industry’s Technical Strategy Leadership Group. He was a founder director of the European Infrastructure Managers (EIM).


Unpublished America

Gordon Hutner is professor of American Literature in the English Department where he also serves, since 2004, as the Director of the Trowbridge Initiative in American Cultures. He is the author or editor of many books and articles concerning American literature, especially the novel, and American cultural criticism, as well as ethnic writing, including two collections of immigrant memoirs.  Professor Hutner also directs a book series for Oxford University Press, Oxford Studies in American Literary History, which pursues new dimensions and practices in American literary historiography.  He is also the founder and longtime editor of American Literary History, a scholarly quarterly considered the leading journal in the field.  Before coming to Illinois, Professor Hutner previously taught at Kenyon College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Kentucky.  He was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach in Belgium and has also had visiting appointments at Cornell as well as Sapienza-Rome and Ikkebekuru-Tokyo.


Dr John Fagg is Senior Lecturer in American Literature and Cultures form the Department of English Literature. His work focuses on American art and literature and visual art in the early twentieth century and explores the ways in which cultural forms adapted to the new circumstances of American modernity. He undertook his BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Leeds, and subsequently MA and PhD in American Studies at the University of Nottingham, where John then held a Leverhulme Postdoctoral Research Fellowship followed by a Lectureship in American Literature. John joined the University of Birmingham as lecturer in American literature in January 2011.