Eastern Professor Awarded Grant; Students Receive Scholarships from NASA

Written by Anthony LaPenna

Brendan Cunningham

Brendan Cunningham

Willimantic, Conn. — Eastern Connecticut State University Professor Brendan Cunningham received a grant from the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) for his research project “The Efficient Use of Space Orbit.” Senior biology major Kevin Connolly, senior pre-secondary education and biology major Christina Welch, and senior biochemistry major Kailey Pisko also received undergraduate scholarships from the CTSGC, giving Eastern three of the 17 recipients.

“My general area of research is media economics, including the economics ofNASA CT telecommunications. Media industries employ satellites to distribute and gather information,” said Cunningham. “The grant money will enable us complete a literature review and create a mathematical model relating to the efficient use of orbits. The work will be done during the summer of 2017 in collaboration with three economists—Peter Alexander and Daniel Shiman of the FCC and Nodir Adilov of Indiana University-Purdue University, Ft. Wayne-as well as Eastern junior economics and music major Michael Beckstein.”

Connolly received a scholarship for his research on the increasing collagen production in skin cells. “I am actually in the midst of completing my research about cell signaling and collagen now. Once this project is completed, I think it would be very interesting to do further research for NASA,” said Connolly.

Welch received a scholarship for her research on the brain’s ability to self-repair. “It was once believed that if you damaged or injured your brain it could not self-repair. However, as the field of science advances this theory is being challenged,” said Welch. “Receiving this scholarship will provide me with opportunities for additional research experiences and growth in the field of science.”