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What research topics are likely to gain traction at Old Dominion in the next few years? One answer to that question comes each year with the announcement of awards from the Office of Research's Multidisciplinary Seed Grant Program.

Mohammad Karim, vice president for research, instituted the program in 2005 to nurture research projects to the point that they can attract external funding. The 2013 winners will share almost $250,000 in seed money.

One of the five teams of researchers chosen in this latest round proposes to develop a new, safer type of defibrillator using technology from ODU's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, one of the leading facilities of its type in the world.

Other funded projects will harness recent advances by ODU researchers in areas such as image computing, data mining and biology/health care, and still another will involve a multidisciplinary collaboration aimed at keeping autistic children calm when they go to the dentist or doctor's office.

The final project springs from ODU's last five years of research into ways to convert algae into energy and other useful products. This particular proposal zeroes in on biochar, which can be the byproduct of the algae-to-biodiesel fuel conversion process. ODU researchers have developed evidence that the biochar itself may be a very valuable substance.

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Published on: February 1, 2013