Website Highlights $120 Million in Recovery Act Funding for Yale Researchers

Yale University announced the launch of a website designed to provide information about federal grants the University has received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The website can be found at

Faculty at Yale have been awarded over 280 ARRA research awards with a value of $121 million since February 2009, when the federal stimulus package was signed into law. ARRA was intended to reinvigorate the economy and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth by increasing investments in infrastructure, education, the environment and scientific research.

Some of the Yale site’s many features include: vignettes of faculty research, background information on the competitive process used to select applications, and key statistics, such as the number of jobs created or retained through ARRA-funded projects. The Yale site also links to a national site developed by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, and the Science Coalition, which demonstrates the impact of ARRA funding at research universities across the country.

Of the $787 billion provided for federal tax cuts, expansion of unemployment benefits and other social welfare programs, ARRA also provided spending for education, research and infrastructure, including $10.4 billion for the National Institutes of Health, $3 billion for the National Science Foundation, and $1.6 billion for the Department of Energy. These agencies are now in the process of awarding the funds to research universities across the country, based on a competitive, peer-review process.

“The ARRA-funded projects showcase the ways that Yale research, spanning projects from Science Hill to the Medical School, to West Campus, are making important contributions to health, the environment and the economy,” said Peter Salovey, Yale University Provost.

The grants to Yale are financing research on some of the most devastating illnesses facing the world today, such as AIDS, autism, cancer, autoimmune disease, and brain disorders. Some examples of the research projects at Yale being supported by ARRA funding include:

  • Turbulent flow—Turbulent flow can take many different forms, from swirling smoke to churning rivers. Understanding the physics of turbulent flow, including studying and defining the boundaries between different kinds of flow, has applications for many natural systems, including the atmosphere and ocean currents (Nick Ouellette, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science).
  • Understanding and Creating Soft Matter Crystals—From the structures in opalescent oyster shells to detergent additives to liquid crystal displays, soft crystals are all around us. Creating perfect soft crystals—getting all the crystalline structure aligned in a single direction—could have some interesting properties and a wide range of applications, from membranes for batteries and fuel cells, to photovoltaic devices (Chinedum Osuji, Department of chemical engineering at the Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science).
  • Ovarian Cancer—Understanding the relationship between the effectiveness of chemotherapy on ovarian cancers and the factors regulating the growth of the cancer cells could have important implications for better treatments and better prognosis for ovarian cancer patients (Gil Mor, M.D., Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences).
  • Understanding and Developing New Pain Medications–New pain-fighting drugs derived from an unlikely place: the potent venom of Australia’s infamous funnel-web spiders, which contains chemical agents that could inhibit the function of pain-sensing neurons (Michael Nitabach, Department of Cellular & Molecular Physiology).
  • Advances in Adolescent Behavior—Brain scanning techniques are used to understand the neural systems that underlie emotional processing in mood disorders in children, adolescents and adults. This research could help find the link between adolescent stress and the onset of addictive behaviors (Hilary Blumberg, M.D., Department of Psychiatry).
  • Transfer RNAs—Malfunction of transfer RNAs (tRNAs)—which are intermediaries between DNA and the cell’s protein-making machinery—can lead to threats to human health such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and metabolic disorders. Understanding how these types of tRNAs are formed may help combat infectious diseases such as malaria and sleeping sickness (Dieter Soll, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry and Professor of Chemistry).

These grants are just a sampling of the growing list of research being funded at Yale, which is among the top 10 ARRA grant recipients in the nation.

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