OIBR Newsletter – Fall 2020

From the Director''s Desk

Fall 2020

Dear OIBR Fellows, Affiliates and Friends of the Institute:

We have certainly weathered a lot of storms since my last newsletter. Many of us have experienced personal loss. Most of us have faced trying times, personally and professionally. We have all also had to make major adjustments to how we live and work. On top of all that, our country has experienced vivid and wrenching reminders of the social injustice facing many Americans. However, amidst all of the despair, fear and uncertainty, we have risen to the occasion by reaching out to students who are struggling with the transition to remote education, overhauling our teaching to better meet the educational needs of students, engaging in social activism to ensure all voices are heard, and for many, adjusting our research programs to focus on research that can make a difference in the current pandemic. We have a long road ahead of us, but we also have many things to be thankful for. As Thanksgiving approaches, I know that I won’t be alone in reflecting on my many blessings.

Here’s to brighter days ahead!

Director's Signature

Fall 2020

SPOTLIGHT: Owens Institute Turns 50

The Owens Institute for Behavioral Research (OIBR) is celebrating its 50th year of supporting social and behavioral science research at the University of Georgia.

In 1970 the Social Science for Research Institute formally became the Institute for Behavioral Research (IBR) and William A. “Bill” Owens was appointed the founding director. The Institute had goals of fostering interdisciplinary research and enhancing scholarship in the Social and Behavioral Sciences on campus. Owens foresaw the shift from single discipline “method focused” research to interdisciplinary “problem focused” research and he brought social and behavioral scientists together across disciplines to tackle pressing social issues.

In the mid-eighties, the second director of IBR, Abraham Tesser (Psychology), recognized that social science researchers at the university greatly lacked support to seek extramural funding. It was his efforts that created a support system within the institute to develop a greater emphasis on the role of extramural funding in developing and maintaining outstanding scholarship in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

During this time, the Center for Research on Crime and Delinquency officially became part of IBR. The center name has changed several times over the years, but now it is known as the Center for Research on Behavioral Health and Human Services Delivery. Paul Roman (Sociology) was appointed as director of the center in 1986 and he remains the director 34 years later.

The Center for Family Research (CFR) was established in 1985 with Rex Forehand (Psychology) appointed as the director. Gene Brody (HDFS) was appointed director in 1994 and he still holds the position, with co-director Steve Beach (Psychology). Under Brody’s leadership, CFR activities began to focus more specifically on the reciprocal impact of children, their caregivers, and the broader community context on health and psychological adjustment among African American families living in the rural South. This center remains one of the most successful centers on campus and its research impacts not only families in Georgia, but across the United States.

In 1989, the Junior Faculty Research Mentoring program was created pairing junior faculty with a senior research faculty mentor for twelve months. This program provided grant development support and thirty-one years later the program is still highly successful. The Grantsmanship Development Program has provided grant writing education and support to over 120 social and behavioral faculty members and is a hallmark of the Institute.

Steve Beach was named the fourth director of IBR and he further enhanced the status and visibility of the Institute. In 2011, he was instrumental for the renaming of the Institute in honor of Bill Owens and his wife, Barbara, who continued her husband’s legacy with a $1 million gift that created an endowment for the William A. and Barbara R. Owens Institute for Behavioral Research. The fund is used to foster the kind of collaborative research and faculty mentoring that Bill Owens championed.

Today, as the fifth director, Lillian Eby (Psychology) guides OIBR, we continue to enhance research in the social and behavioral sciences in a number of ways: mentoring junior faculty in grant writing; offering seminars and colloquia from leading social and behavioral scientists from across the globe; assisting departments in their recruitment efforts; and we also continue to offer streamlined comprehensive pre-award and post-award grant support to reduce grant-related administrative burden for investigators.

Currently there are six Centers of Excellence under the institute including Center for Family Research, Center for Gambling Research, Center on Biological Embedding of Social Events and Relationships, Center for Integrative Conservation Research, Center for Research on Behavioral Health and Human Services Delivery and Scientists Engaged in Educational Research (SEER). In addition, there are six thriving work groups that provide multi-disciplinary collaboration opportunities for scientists in a supportive intellectual environment for the pursuit of their research. They include Cognition and Neuroscience group; Computational Social Science work group; Psychological Assessment work group; Relationship Science work group; Stress, Trauma, Adversity & Resilience work group and the Violence work group.

Over 175 social and behavioral scientists are affiliated with the Institute. These scientists, in collaboration with each other and graduate students, are addressing basic and applied cutting edge research questions in the arenas of health, family, education, culture, conservation, and sustainability. These activities and contributions are the result of the hard work of the faculty affiliated with OIBR, sustained support from the Vice President for Research, the cooperation of departments and colleges across campus, and the dedication and hard work of the Institute’s support staff.

The institute has grown exponentially over the last 50 years by consistently reaching a 30% hit rate for funding. The programs nurtured by OIBR not only attract faculty with some of UGA’s largest grant awards at UGA, but also make a positive impact in the lives of many individuals in Georgia and elsewhere.

Fifty years later, we have stayed true to Bill Owens core principles of mentoring, advocacy, collaborative research, and supporting social and behavioral science research. The cornerstones of OIBR include encouraging and supporting innovative research; fostering collaboration across disciplines; mentoring our junior faculty; providing resources to support rigorous scientific research; and inspiring and celebrating the successes of our scientists.

We hope you will join us throughout the next year as we host special events to celebrate our success and look forward to the future!

Fellows, Affiliates and GDP’s

Congratulations to the new Fellows of the Institute. These individuals were nominated by one or more current Fellows of the institute, based on being a national and/or international leader in their area of academic expertise, with current or past successful grant projects administered through OIBR.

Dr. Lydia Aletraris, (School of Social Work) Associate Research Scientist

Dr. Ewan Cobran, (Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy) Assistant Professor, (former GDP participant)

Dr. Logan Fiorella, (Educational Psychology) Assistant Professor, (former GDP Participant)

Dr. Jiaying Liu, (Communication Studies) Assistant Professor, (former GDP Participant) Dr. Isha Metzger, (Psychology) Assistant Professor, (former GDP Participant)

Dr. Brad Phillips, (Clinical & Administrative Pharmacy) Milliken-Reeve Professor; Director of Biomedical and Health Science Institute; Director of Clinical and Translational Research Unit (CTRU)

Dr. Kristen Shockley, (Psychology) Associate Professor, (former GDP Participant) Dr. Julie Stanton, (Cellular Biology) Associate Professor

Dr. Michelle vanDellen, (Psychology) Associate Professor, (former GDP Participant & OIBR Seed Grant Recipient)

We would like to welcome the following new faculty Affiliates of the Institute:

Dr. Anna Abraham (Educational Psychology) Professor
Research Interests: Creativity, Imagination, Neuroscience, Cognition

Amitabh Verma (College of Environment + Design) Associate Professor
Research Interests: Mental health; Creativity; Anxiety Management; Design; Sketching

Dr. Elizabeth Wieling (Human Development & Family Science) Professor
Research Interests: Traumatic Stress, Evidence Based Interventions for Parenting, Latinx families, Children and families

Dr. Hui Yi (Social Work) Post-doctoral Researcher
Research Interests: Statistics; Data analytics; Hidden population estimation; Genetics

Dr. Donglan Zhang (Health Policy & Management) Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Telemedicine, health care systems, health insurance and access to care, prevention of chronic diseases

Congratulations to these Grantsmanship Development Program Participants who will be graduating at our Annual Meeting on Dec. 10:

Dr. Jennifer Gay (Health Promotion & Behavior) Associate Professor, GDP Class of 2018
Research Interests: Physical activity; children; adolescents; occupational health; growth and maturation

Dr. Jiaying Liu (Communication Studies) Assistant Professor, GDP Class of 2018
Research Interests: Health communication; social psychology; message effects; computational social science methods

Welcome to the Grantsmanship Development Program (GDP) Class of 2020-2022:

Dr. Drew Abney (Psychology) Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Sensorimotor Development; human interaction; emotion regulation; perception/action; language development; dynamics

Dr. Ryon Cobb (Sociology) Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Health disparities and social construction of race

Dr. Sycarah Fisher (Educational Psychology) Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Adolescent substance abuse & mental health; minority populations; school-based prevention & interventions; implementation science/health services research

More Fellow and Affiliate Kudos…..

Dr. Michael Cotterell (Computer Science), OIBR Affiliate, Lecturer
Awarded the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, Department of Computer Science, UGA 2020.

Dr. Katie Ehrlich (Psychology), OIBR Fellow, Assistant Professor
Awarded the 2020 Excellence in Health Psychology Research by an Early Career Professional Award by Society for Health Psychology, Div 38. She also received the 2020 APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology by Health Psychology.

Dr. Logan Fiorella (Educational Psychology), new OIBR Fellow, Assistant Professor
Awarded the 2020 Richard E. Snow Award for Early Contributions in Educational Psychology, American Psychological Association, Div. 15. He was also honored with the 2020 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Dr. Diana Graizbord (Sociology), OIBR Affiliate, Assistant Professor
Selected as a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and is on leave this academic year.

Dr. Greg Strauss (Psychology), OIBR Fellow, Assistant Professor
Received a Rising Star Award for early career research accomplishments from the Schizophrenia International Research Society.

Dr. Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor (Language & Literacy Education), OIBR Afíliate, Professor
Awarded the 2020 Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassadorship Award from the Institute of International Education. She also received the 2020 Artist-Scholar Residency Award from Finland’s BioArt Society.

Dr. Robert Vandenberg (Management), OIBR Fellow, Dept. Head and Robert O. Arnold Professor of Business
Recipient of the 2019 Best Publication of the Year Award in Organizational Research Methods given by the Research Methods Division of the Academy of Management. And he was also elected in 2020 as a Fellow of the Academy of Management.

Drs. Jody Clay-Warner , Dawn Robinson and Justine Tinkler (Sociology), have been named coeditors of Social Psychology Quarterly. Their term begins January 1st  2021, but they began receiving new manuscripts Aug. 1, 2020.

Policy Regulations & Compliance

National Institutes of Health (NIH):

  1. Agency issued a final policy on Data Sharing on October 29.
  2. Conflict of Interest Policy in Peer Review was updated on October 20. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-21-019.html
    Contact OIBR grants staff Mysti Scheuer, Grants Coordinator III, or Kim Cherewick, Assistant Director, with any questions you may have.
    Related Notices: Maintaining Integrity in Peer Review: Responsibilities and Consequences: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-115.html
  3. Reminder: NIH restricts use of hypertext in grant applications. NIH Policy on Use of Hypertext in NIH Grant Applications released 9/16/20.
    https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-20- 174.html
  4. NIH gets a new Notice of Award format as of October 1, 2020. Example here:

National Science Foundation (NSF):

1. New Proposal and Awards Policies and Procedures Guide effective June 1, 2020

  • Significant changes to the PAPPG include:
    • NSF will require use of an NSF-approved format in submission of the biographical sketch and current and pending support documents;
    • NSF has partnered with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use SciENcv: Science Experts Network Curriculum Vitae as an NSF-approved format for preparation of both documents.
    • Use of an NSF-approved format will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020. In the interim, proposers must continue to prepare these documents in accordance with the guidance specified in the PAPPG (NSF 20-1). NSF, however, encourages the community to use the NSF-approved formats and provide valuable feedback as we enhance them for the October implementation.
    • To assist the community, NSF has developed websites with additional information for the preparation of the biographical sketch and current and pending support. A set of FAQs related to current and pending support also is available.
    • NSF recorded a webinar on the use of the NSF-approved formats. Please note that this webinar was recorded April 2020, and refers to the effective date of June 1, 2020 for the requirement to use an NSF-approved format in submission of the biographical sketch and current and pending support documents. Since the recording of the webinar, NSF has changed the effective date of the requirement. Use of an NSF-approved format will go into effect for new proposals submitted or due on or after October 5, 2020.
  • New requirement for proposing organizations to submit government-wide representations and certifications in the System for Award Management (SAM);
  • New requirement for providing email documentation of Program Officer approval for the submission of RAPID and EAGER proposals; and
  • Clarifications to current and pending support coverage as well as other changes throughout the document.

Contact OIBR grants staff Mysti Scheuer, Grants Coordinator, or Kim Cherewick, Assistant Director, with questions or if you are interested in submitting a research proposal. Both Kim and Mysti have Decentralized Limited Signatory Authority (DLSA) for the University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.

COSSA News & Notes

Analysis of the House FY 2021 Appropriations Bills for Federal Science Agencies

In July, the House Appropriations Committee completed its marathon markups of its 12 annual appropriations bills for fiscal year (FY) 2021, making way for consideration by the full House of Representatives; the relevant subcommittees advanced their respective measures earlier.

On September 1, 2020, a Multi-Society Letter was sent to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Endorsing a National Academies Study on Systemic Racism in Academia.

COSSA is an advocate for the research community, educating policy makers on the need for federal funding for research in the social and behavioral sciences. To read their bi-monthly update click here.

Georgia CTSA Corner

The Georgia Clinical & Translational Science Alliance (Georgia CTSA) is an inter-institutional magnet that concentrates basic, translational, and clinical research investigators, community clinicians, professional societies, and industry collaborators in dynamic clinical and translational research projects. Emory, Morehouse, Georgia Tech, and UGA form the Georgia CTSA. This partnership, a strategic multi- institutional alliance, offers compelling, unique, and synergistic advantages to researchers and community members statewide. The Georgia CTSA leverages their complementary strengths to accelerate clinical and translational education, research, and community engagement to impact health in Georgia and beyond.

There are many excellent resources on the Georgia CTSA website, including a Team Science Toolkit. This toolkit provides resources, guides, and connections that will provide insight and help you explore the translational impact of your research. Check it out!

Georgia CTSA Opportunities:

The Collaboration and Team Science team will be hosting the Southeast Regional Clinical & Translational Science Conference virtually on March 4-5, 2021. This annual conference brings together researchers from across the region to present the best new clinical and translational research and build collaborative partnerships; to allow attendees to network with national leaders and NIH staff in translational science and education, and to share research with others and develop new collaborations.

Funding News

Congratulations to our Fellows and Affiliates! We have been very busy with new research projects funded since last spring.

Dr. Margaret Caughy (Human Development and Family Science), an OIBR Fellow, received a NIH R01 award of $3,196,771. for her project, “The Role of Fathering in the Language Development Among Young, Low-Income African American and Latino Children.” Project period: 8/7/2020 – 6/30/2025.

Her research focuses on recent studies of low-income children that have revealed significant variations in the quality of parent-child communication as well as the quantity of parent input is important for successful child language development. However, the majority of this research has focused on mothers, and more research with ethnic minority fathers is critical for the development of preventive interventions to support language development and early academic success.

Dr. Ewan Cobran (Clinical and Administrative Pharmacy), a new OIBR Fellow, was recently awarded a NIH K01 award in the amount of $862,985. For his project, “Genetic Literacy and Patient-Caregiver Communication of Prognostic Genetic Technology for Localized Prostate Cancer.” Project period: 9/10/2020-8/31/2025. This project is designed to investigate the understanding of prognostic genetic technology and patient-caregiver communication in African American and rural White men with localized prostate cancer. The proposed research is significant because of its potential to improve public health by (1) improving the understanding of prognostic genetics in minority, low-income and rural populations, and (2) engage and educate these diverse communities about genomics. The proposed research, in combination with a structured mentoring and training plan that includes didactic course and workshops, is designed to facilitate Dr. Cobran’s long term goal of developing an independently-funded research program in prostate cancer disparities, consistent with the mission of the NCI.

Dr. Logan Fiorella (Educational Psychology), new OIBR Fellow, recently received $70,000. from the Spencer Foundation for his project, “Fostering Active Knowledge Building in Learning by Teaching.” Project period: 8/1/2020 – 7/31/2021. The project focuses on learning by teaching involves constructing a deeper understanding of the learning material through explaining it to others. Although explaining to others is generally effective, many students struggle to engage in knowledge building, in which they actively monitor their understanding and generate inferences. This project will investigate how asking students to explain drawings—either generated by the learner or provided by the instructor—affect specific knowledge building processes.

Dr. Jiaying Liu (Communication Studies), new OIBR Fellow, received a NIH K01 award in the amount of $870,145. for her project, “Neuroimaging approaches to improve prediction of smoking initiation and nicotine use escalation among young adult electronic nicotine delivery systems users.” Project period: 9/1/2020-8/31/2025. Dr. Liu’s project focuses on research to identify neurobehavioral makers of cigarette smoking initiation and tobacco use escalation among users of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). Findings are expected to advance mechanistic understanding, more accurate prediction, and more effective prevention of the typical escalation in tobacco products use among vulnerable YA ENDS users, including a five-fold risk of transition to cigarette smoking. Results are also expected to inform regulatory policy on ENDS, particularly flavored ENDS products, and to improve YA responsiveness to public health campaign communications.

Dr. Isha Metzger (Psychology), new OIBR Fellow, received funding for NaviGAte (SAMHSA) in the amount of $998,669. for her project, “Connecting Georgia to Substance Use and HIV Prevention.” Project period: 8/31/2020-8/30/2025. The project targets two pervasive public health concerns, HIV and substance misuse among at-risk and underserved communities, specifically trauma-exposed racial/ethnic minorities. Project NaviGAte will provide much needed navigation services, develop a public health messaging and awareness campaign, and enhance HIV and substance misuse screening, prevention and treatment among trauma-exposed racial/ethnic minorities in 4 of the 48 federally- designated “hotspots” hardest hit by the HIV epidemic: Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties in GA.

Dr. Kristen Shockley (Psychology), new OIBR Fellow, received an NSF RAPID award in the amount of $148,949. for her project, “Collaborative Research: Adjustment and Effectiveness of Rapid Transition to Remote Work during COVID-19.” Project period: 4/15/2020-4/30/2021. The project takes a look at the urgent need for research on remote work. The continuation of work operations is critical to the nation’s economic stability and social distancing is imperative for the health of the nation. Her research is designed to address this need. The overarching goal is to provide evidence-based recommendations to organizations so that they can function optimally in times where remote work is necessary.

Dr. Leslie Gordon Simons (Sociology), an OIBR Fellow, received a $200,000 award for a COVID-19 NSF RAPID project, “Economic And Social Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Low Income, Late Middle-Aged African Americans.” Project period: 6/1/2020-5/31/2021. Project summary: COVID-19 has fostered a number of dramatic social changes. Chief among them is sheltering-in-place for millions of people and job loss for millions more. Currently, there is little information regarding how individuals are coping with these sudden and catastrophic events.  We will use the present crisis to obtain information about the economic and social consequences that such an event poses for individuals and families so that we better understand and anticipate the types of support needed.

Dr. Allison Skinner-Dorkenoo (Psychology), a current GDP, received $48,000. from the Center for the Science of Moral Understanding, UNC Chapel Hill for her project, “A History Lesson to Establish Moral Common Ground.” Project Period: 6/1/2020-5/31/2022. The proposed project will test a pilot intervention designed to establish historical common ground and ultimately improve moral understanding in American society. Specifically, this project will use education about racial historical events to establish a shared historical understanding, upon which perspectives about contemporary moral debates related to race may be built.

Dr. Julie Stanton (Cellular Biology), a new OIBR Fellow, received a NSF CAREER award of $1,096,921 for her project, “CAREER: Characterizing the development of metacognitive skills in life science undergraduates and how they use metacognition to learn independently and collaboratively.” Project period: 10/1/2020-9/30/2025.  Project summary: Metacognition is awareness and control of thinking for the purpose of learning. Strong metacognitive skills have the power to impact learning and persistence in the life sciences, but many students come to college without well-developed metacognition. This project will improve STEM education and educator development by using the results of the proposed research to create an evidence-based seminar course on metacognition in biology (MICB). This innovative course will give life science students practice using metacognitive skills in the context of Introductory Biology.

Dr. Greg Strauss (Psychology), an OIBR Fellow, along with Diversity Supplement Candidate, Ivan Ruiz, received a $116,282 Diversity Supplement for a NIH R01 entitled, “Prodromal Inventory for Negative Symptoms (PINS): A Development and Validation Study.” Project period: 3/1/2019-11/30/2023. Project summary: Schizophrenia is the leading medical cause of functional disability in the world. Negative symptoms are the strongest predictor of poor functional outcome, suggesting that they are important treatment targets. Current negative symptom interventions have proven ineffective in part due to a poor mechanistic understanding of this dimension of psychopathology. The goal of (Candidate Ivan Ruiz’s) program of research is to identify mechanisms of avolition that could serve as novel treatment targets.

Dr. Michelle vanDellen (Psychology), new OIBR Fellow, received a NIH R21 award in the amount of $381,534. for her project, “Testing Financial Incentive Interventions in Dyadic-Smoker Couples.” Project period:/6/2020-7/31/2022. Dual-smoker couples (i.e., both members of a dyad smoke) are prevalent and hard-to-treat. The proposed research systematically examines the feasibility of two variants of financial incentive treatments (i.e., individual or dyadic incentives) compared to an active-treatment control as well as moderators and mechanisms of change including both individual-level (e.g., change in motivation) and dyad-level (e.g., joint quitting) that may connect the treatment to clinical outcomes (i.e., program attendance, point-prevalence abstinence). Support for the feasibility of financial incentive treatments in dual-smoker couples would encourage a larger RCT to investigate the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of incentives for later implementation at the population level.

Institute News

OIBR Events Go Virtual:

This fall our Associate Director, Jody Clay-Warner (Sociology), hosted our first Virtual Mystery Meet and Greet luncheon with guests from five different units on campus. The purpose of these informal luncheons is to meet others around campus with similar research interests in behavioral and social sciences, while enjoying good food and conversation. WHOM you will be dining with is the mystery part of the lunch. We are always amazed at the great conversations and information shared at these events. These luncheons are by invitation only, so be on the lookout for your invitation next spring.

Save these Dates:

Our Annual Meeting will be held virtually on Thursday, December 10 from 3:30pm – 5:00pm. We will be trying a new way of networking, hear the state of the institute from Director Lillian Eby and also do a little celebrating to kick-off the 50t anniversary of the institute.

We are planning to host a couple of casual Virtual Coffee & Chat sessions for our fellows and affiliates: January 13 (hosted by Jody Clay-Warner) and March 16 (hosted by Lillian Eby), both from 8:30am- 9:30am. These will provide an opportunity to pop in to the chat, see some friendly faces and catch up. More details to follow.

Dr. Sherman James, Susan B. King Professor Emeritus with Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, will be our guest speaker for the Virtual Gene Brody lecture on March 24, 2021 at 3:00pm. More details to follow.

We are excited to welcome Dr. Mark van Vugt, professor of Psychology with Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for our annual William A. Owens lecture. This event will be held virtually in Spring 2021. We will forward more details when available.

While we had to postpone our 50th Anniversary events this October, plans to celebrate our 50t year are underway for several exciting events over the next year that you will not want to miss. Please save the date” on your calendar for Friday, October 22, 2021. OIBR will be hosting a symposium with several highly distinguished guests and we will wrap up the day with a masquerade ball (fingers crossed!). More details later.

As part of the mission for OIBR, we strive to provide beneficial networking opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration and we hope that you enjoy these events. We realize it is sometimes hard to take time from your busy day to attend an event. We do our best to ensure our events are well worth your time, and if you ask attendees, you will find the feedback is consistently positive! If you have any event ideas, please feel free to share them with Andrea Horsman, OIBR Outreach and Communications Manager.

Have something to share?

Do you have an interesting project that you are working on? Did you recently publish your work? Did you receive an award?  Let us help promote you and your research. We love sharing the accomplishments and successes of our faculty! Please contact Andrea Horsman with anything that you would like to share.