Four University of Richmond Faculty Receive Jeffress Memorial Trust Grants to Support Research in Their Fields of Study

Biology, Chemistry, and Computer Science Professors Advance Research in Invasive Species, Fossil Fuels, Computer Science, and Crop Loss
July 10, 2020

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Four University of Richmond faculty, the most in UR’s history, have received Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust grants to support their research in chemical, medical, or other scientific fields. The faculty recipients, who will each receive a $104,500 grant, include:

  • Biology professor Kristine Grayson
  • Chemistry professor Michael Norris
  • Computer science professor Joonsuk Park
  • Biology professor Dan Pierce

The Jeffress Trust awards support high impact, innovative one-year projects that integrate computational and quantitative scientific methodologies across a broad range of scientific disciplines.

Kristine L. Grayson, associate professor of biology, is receiving support for her ongoing research on the impacts of invasive species using the gypsy moth invasion in Eastern North America to improve predictive maps and develop a spread forecasting system.

With his award, Michael Norris, assistant professor of chemistry, will continue his research on using carbon dioxide to create useful fuels as part of a solution to the current global energy crisis. 

Joonsuk Park, assistant professor of computer science, is receiving support for research focused on improving online product reviews.

With his grant, B. Daniel Pierce will advance his research on a bacterium that causes tumors in plants and destroys billions of dollars of crops each year. Pierce hopes to create a tool that will allow scientists to replicate the method of infection to bioengineer plants with new genes.

Each award includes varied support for undergraduate researchers, additional research team members, as well as supplies, equipment, and travel expenses.

12 University of Richmond faculty have received Jeffress Trust awards since 2013.