NORTHFIELD, Vt. — Norwich University officials announced that three professors have each earned a $25,000 Pilot Award from the Vermont Biomedical Research Network (VBRN) in support of research at Norwich University for 2021-22.

The awards are:

Dr. Natalie Cartwright, an assistant professor of mathematics, won an award for her project, “Youth Firearm Violence: A Machine Learning Approach.”

Dr. Helene Sisti, an assistant professor of psychology, secured an award for her project, “The Neural Dynamics of Real and Imagined Movement Using a Bimanual Learning Task.”

Dr. Connie Hassett-Walker, an assistant professor of criminal justice, will receive funding for her project, “Impact of Criminal Conviction & Incarceration on Long-Term Health & Substance Use.”

Norwich University has participated with VBRN as a baccalaureate partner institution (BPI) since 2001, which has helped transform the culture of research at Norwich.

“VBRN has significantly and positively increased our scholarly opportunities campus-wide and impacted our international scholarly reputation; we look forward to our continued work within this valuable program.”Dr. Karen Hinkle, Norwich University associate provost for research

“With approximately $8.5 million to date in VBRN awards for laboratory renovations, equipment and supplies, and, most importantly, direct support of faculty and student research projects, our involvement in the network has led to strong collaborations across the state, access to cutting-edge research facilities, high-profile research presentation opportunities, increased scientific publications, and the securing of several competitive federal awards,” Associate Provost for Research and Chief Research Officer and Dana Professor of Biology Dr. Karen Hinkle said. “VBRN has significantly and positively increased our scholarly opportunities campus-wide and impacted our international scholarly reputation; we look forward to our continued work within this valuable program.”

VBRN Research Coordinator at Norwich University and Dana Professor of Mathematics Dr. Darlene Olsen. notes the added challenges of conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Drs. Cartwright, Hassett-Walker, and Sisti are all recent hires of Norwich. It is exciting to see new faculty take advantage of the supports offered through both VBRN and the NU Office of Academic Research to obtain a significant amount of funding to move their research programs forward. It is certainly challenging to secure external funding under normal conditions, but the three of them persevered under the additional stress of a global pandemic. I commend all three of them on their hard work and look forward to hearing about the results of their research and their inclusion of student researchers in their diverse areas of biomedical research.”

Investing in research

Over the past decade, Norwich University has grown its investment in faculty and undergraduate research of endowed income and reinvested grant overhead to over $800,000, to complement more than $20 million of externally acquired research and institutional grants managed by the Office of Academic Research.

More than 250 students have conducted research since the Office of Academic Research was created in 2007, thus formalizing research activities at Norwich. The program supports and encourages students to pursue original research, scholarship and creative projects with faculty and to provide funding to allow for exchanging of information and presentation of their work at professional meetings and within Norwich University’s community.

The Vermont Biomedical Research Network, formerly Vermont Genetics Network (VGN), is in its fourth phase of funding with a five-year $19.4 million award from the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

“VBRN is very proud to have Norwich University as part of our network, and we are excited to work with these new faculty to further enhance Norwich’s robust culture of research,” VBRN Director and UVM Ansbacher Professor of Psychological Science Dr. Rex Forehand, ABPP, said. “We are particularly pleased to support faculty from three different departments as they bring a diverse set of skills and research ideas to our network.”

The Vermont Biomedical Research Network, formerly Vermont Genetics Network (VGN), is in its fourth phase of funding with a five-year $19.4 million award from the IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence program of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.

The network, focused on human health and behavior as broadly defined, aims to build a culture to promote biomedical research infrastructure in Vermont. The goal is to build and sustain a statewide culture of research by facilitating the research capacity of faculty members, and the education of undergraduates, at its baccalaureate partner institutions Castleton University, Middlebury College, Northern Vermont University (Lyndon and Johnson campuses), Norwich University and St. Michael’s College.

The network also works with students in college lab classes throughout Vermont to bring cutting-edge research resources into their education, including at the Community College of Vermont, Landmark College, and Champlain College. At the lead institution, the University of Vermont, the network has developed state-of-the-art facilities for proteomics, bioinformatics and a professional development and education core to provide to researchers across Vermont the resources needed to conduct world-class research and compete for federal funding.

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About Norwich University
Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in baccalaureate and graduate degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by U.S. Army Capt. Captain Alden Partridge and is the oldest private military college in the United States. Norwich is one of our nation's six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). www.norwich.edu

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