The University of Maine and its Portland Gateway and Northeastern University and its Roux Institute have provided new seed funding to four collaborative research teams to address topics of importance to people in Maine and beyond.

The projects are part of a second round of funding in a new collaborative research initiative established between the two universities. Through a rigorous review process involving peer reviewers and research leaders at each university, these four projects were selected to advance the growing partnership.

Each team has received $ 50,000 to carry out the one-year projects and will work together to pursue larger external funding programs through federal and private sponsors. Priority areas of research include artificial intelligence, earth and climate sciences, health and life sciences, manufacturing, and marine sciences.

The projects selected for funding are:

Data-driven discovery of new oligonucleotide therapy technologies through a theory-experience feedback loop

This research will determine the preferred mechanism of enantioselective nucleophilic phosphorus substitution (SN2P) with contemporary quantum chemistry calculations and evaluate the performance of new catalysts with nucleoside substrates. In addition, the second objective is to train a Gaussian process regression algorithm to predict enantioselectivities and identify next generation nucleophilic catalysts with the active search algorithm.

Key contributors include Matthew Brichacek, assistant professor of chemistry at UMaine and Steven Lopez, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Northeastern University.

The Nursing Workforce Shortage in Maine and Massachusetts and the Development of a Collaborative Health Sciences Research Stream in Multiple States: A Mixed Methods Approach

This research will provide baseline data for the development of graduate nursing degree programs by demonstrating the facilitators and barriers to obtaining graduate nursing degrees. The objective is to fight against the crisis of the shortage of nurses by creating a model of training of the nurses which integrates a path of collaborative research in health sciences between Maine and Massachusetts.

Key contributors include Kathryn Robinson, Assistant Professor of Nursing at UMaine, and Brianne Olivieri-Mui, Assistant at Northeastern University.

Sentinel spectroscopy: light-surface interactions and machine learning for ultra-low, remote and continuous detection of water quality

The objective of this work is to create a low cost remote detection system for chemicals anomalies in essential municipal water infrastructure.

Principal collaborators include Caitlin Howell, associate professor of biomedical engineering at UMaine and Amy Mueller, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and marine and environmental sciences at Northeastern University.

Artificial intelligence-guided bio-inks and mechanobiological structures for synthetic tissue regeneration: a digital framework

In this project, a unique data-driven framework driven by an artificial intelligence approach will be deployed to determine effective bioink compositions suitable for complex metamaterials through extrusion-based bioprinting processes.

The main collaborators include Bashir Khoda, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UMaine and Yongmin Liu, associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering and electrical and computer engineering at Northeast University.

The four project teams all put graduate student researchers at the heart of their efforts. Their work is ongoing and they will coordinate closely with the two institutions to secure follow-up funding.

Contact: [email protected]