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FY2023 Equipment Enhancement Fund Distributes $1.3 million among 13 UArizona Investigators

New Equipment Funding Spurs Research and External Fundability

Feb. 6, 2023


Each year, Research Development Services funds internal proposals for equipment augmenting the university’s research capacity. The funds enhance the capabilities of a core or shared use facility, facilitate research across boundaries, and increase competitiveness for new funding. While the equipment purchases will benefit the PI of application, the central role of the EEF is to provide new or updated equipment or purchase equipment on loan outright that is centrally located to benefit other users with relevant needs.

For FY2023, Research Development Services received 22 proposals requesting funds totaling approximately $2,706,594. The proposals were evaluated by faculty and qualified staff with final funding decisions made by TRIF and RDS Leadership. A total of 13 proposals have been awarded funding totaling $1,323,000. Funds must be spent by June 30, 2023.

This year’s EEF awards were allotted to 8 full professors, 4 assistant or associate professors, and 1 research scientist III representing the colleges of science (5), engineering (3), agriculture and life science (2), nursing (1), public health (1), and medicine (1).

The Equipment Enhancement Fund, open to all UArizona faculty and staff, considers proposals from investigators in the range of approximately $50,000 to $150,000. Contact Danielle Barefoot ( for more information and application guidelines for FY2024 grants.

EEF Recipients FY23

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Chemistry & Biochemistry Craig Aspenwell, professor and department head $98,600 Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope

Enables imaging of living biological samples, porous membranes, and samples in aqueous solutions. It will be of immediate benefit to department work in platelet biology. “The ability to image living platelets with high resolution and under different chemical and physical challenges, which can only be done using this type of instrument is central to these efforts,” Aspenwell says.


Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences Patrick Bunn, research scientist $137,372 High-performance computing (HPC) for real-time Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP)

Continue real-time Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) forecast services at the university and augments research capabilities in applied hydroclimate science. Increases daily forecasts and improves forecast accuracy, especially in extreme events.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Environmental Science John Chorover, professor and department head $150,000 High-throughput tandem mass spectrometer

Detects PFAS in water, soil, sediment, biomass, and biofluids. Due to increased awareness of the negative impact of PFAS contaminants on national security (e.g., Tucson’s mayor recently testified before congress on how PFAS in groundwater has negatively affected potable water supplies), the equipment is required for numerous DOD funding opportunities. search capabilities in applied hydroclimate science. Increases daily forecasts and improves forecast accuracy, especially in extreme events.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Entomology Goggy Davidowitz, professor  $25,000  Improvements to patent pending solar dryer

Refines patent pending, large scale solar dryer that repurposes food to grow insect, fish, and mushroom protein for human consumption. The dryer uses solar radiation for energy and reclaims water evaporated from the food waste. “By the year 2050, the world will not be able to produce enough protein to sustain a population of 10 billion people,” says Davidowitz. “Over 30% of all food produced worldwide ends in a landfill. In the US, this is 40%. . . Initial data has shown that [UArizona’s prototype tower] is significantly faster at drying food waste than commercial hot air dryers and sun drying tables.”

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Electrical & Computer Engineering Ivan B. Djordjevic, professor $149,093 Quantum Networking and Sensing Testbed

Augments quantum research being funded by NSF, DoD, and industry. “High-speed, secure, reliable quantum networking approaches will serve as a framework for cross-disciplinary research in quantum networks, cryptography, quantum information theory, quantum nanophotonics, coding theory, and fiber-optics technologies. And it will strengthen our position when applying to the NSF and various DoD agencies,” says Djordjevic.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Electrical & Computer Engineering Nancy Horton, professor $122,605 OneMP Mass Photometer

Measures light scattering of individual single molecules at a glass surface. “Studying which oligomers and complexes form and how they change due to environmental or pathophysiological conditions is important for understanding normal cellular function and how it is altered in various disease states,” says Horton. The instrument accelerates the generation of preliminary data needed to obtain new research grants.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Planetary Sciences Dante Loretta, Regents Professor and PI for OSIRIS-Rex $54,625 Software upgrades for CAMECA SX100 Electron Probe Microanalyzer (EPMA)

Increases capabilities of electron microprobe, including chemically characterizing samples returned from the asteroid Bennu by OSIRIS-REx. In addition to facilitating NASA- and NSF-funded research, the probe has increased collaboration: In the past 5 years, it has enabled research by more than 132 individuals from 11 departments, 20 outside universities, and several outside companies, museums and government agencies.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Chemistry & Biochemistry Oliver Monti, professor $54,633 High-current ion sputter gun

Enables depth-profiling of the chemical composition of a wide range of materials. The ion gun will be attached to an existing, well-utilized x-ray photoelectron spectrometer. “The sputter gun will allow peeling away material layer-by-layer rapidly and delicately, thereby uniquely revealing the chemical composition buried below the sample surface, with nanometer precision and over thicknesses up to microns,” explains Monti. The technology strengthens proposals spanning all major federal science and engineering funding agencies.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Nursing Helena Morrison, associate professor $150,000 Zeiss Axio Observer 7 inverted microscope with ApoTome III

Complements existing high-demand Zeiss instruments by creating high-quality images faster than existing imaging technologies. The confocal imaging capability of the microscope facilitates data collection to meet the needs of students and researchers. Students benefit from the AI-based tissue finder that assists novice users in finding and imaging tissue samples.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Systems & Industrial Engineering Pratik Satam, assistant professor $150,000 “Future Factory” cyber-physical testbed

Provides testbed environment for studying impacts of the fourth industrial revolution. Satam explains that the 4IR has created research challenges in factory design, factory development and management, and cybersecurity. The factory will help researchers develop strategies to mitigate these issues. His work includes collaboration with research teams in Mexico and India to address the impacts of 4IR in developing economies.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Materials Science & Engineering Andrew Wessman, assistant professor $150,000 Kurt J Lesker e-beam evaporator system

Facilitates research into photovoltaics, additive manufacturing, printable electronic devices, and photonic quantum devices and trains students through hands-on experience.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
Public Health Amanda Wilson, assistant professor $83,660 Portable Aerosol Spectrometer Dust Decoder and Stand-Alone Environmental Dust Monitor

Enables precision research in microbial disease transmission and air pollution exposure. Wilson will use the equipment to monitor aerosolization during dental procedures and detect microbial exposures to dentistry personnel. The transportable equipment will be available to interested faculty via a 6-month check-out system.

Department PI Funding Equipment Rationale
College of Medicine Russel Witte, professor $52,043 PUpgrades to HFUS core facility ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging equipment

Allows for more precise contrast imaging through controlled delivery and automatic injections of contrast agents. Enhances collaboration spanning diverse research areas, including cancer, brain, heart and cardiovascular disease, lymphatic physiology and disease, kidney function and contrast agent development.


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