From Our President
Research is vitally important at the University of Delaware, and it's a fast-growing enterprise here. Every year, UD attracts millions of dollars to conduct research that touches every aspect of our lives—our health, our happiness, our security, our understanding of the past and our ambitions for the future. These sponsored research expenditures have climbed 41 percent in just five years, reaching a record-breaking $134.4 million in 2011.
Little by little, our acts of discovery and invention are transforming our world, and the way we interact with it. Geologist Holly Michael is studying water flow and salt transport to protect coastal ecosystems from groundwater salinization. Shakespearean scholar Kristen Poole is working on an iPad app that explains and augments passages from the Bard's works, a companion guide that might just put Shakespeare on a lot more people's e-readers. Marketing professor Ji Kyung Park is exploring how self-esteem affects consumer behavior and our tendency toward materialism.
But if you think work this important is the undertaking of faculty alone, you might be surprised at the number of students—undergraduates—advancing our research agenda. Senior Michelle Francis has been investigating how viper venom stops melanoma from metastasizing, while senior Matthew Saponaro has created a computer model that may eventually predict colon cancer. Summer is high time for undergraduate research at UD. Summer scholars and fellows don't get much time poolside, but they do get a lot of one-on-one time with faculty, seeking answers to some of the most important and confounding questions in their disciplines—doing what Michelle calls the "behind-the-scenes detective work."
And, of course, our alums sustain this same passion for work that's got something in common with the gumshoe's. Abigail Quandt, senior conservator of rare books and manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, spent 12 long years unearthing 10th century copies of Archimedes' mathematical treatises from what had become a 13th century prayer book—work she describes as most like an archaeological dig. Mike League spent two months at Antarctica's McMurdo Station researching biological adaptation, diving under the polar ice to collect marine worm specimens and document what he saw. Now he shares those underwater photos and video footage with the eighth-graders he teaches at Millsboro Middle School.
With UD increasingly competitive for research funding, with research driving the University's dynamic culture of innovation, we're excited for what comes next. And you can be assured that our Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus will be an awfully big part of the next leg of our research journey.
Patrick T. Harker
President, University of Delaware