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FY2014 Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Awardees

The Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator Awards are made to tenure-track SIUE faculty members in order to recognize and support individual programs of research or creative activities. These awards recognize faculty members whose research or creative activities have the promise of making significant contributions to their fields of study and to SIUE in general. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Georgiann Davis and Dr. Dan Welch as the 2013 (FY 2014) Vaughnie Lindsay New Investigator awardees.

Dr. Georgiann Davis, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies, College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Davis joined SIUE in the fall of 2011 after earning a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Davis is one of a handful of sociocultural scholars specializing in intersex studies. Since joining SIUE, Davis has published five peer-reviewed articles and presented at national academic and intersex conferences. Her first book, tentatively titled The Dubious Diagnosis: How Intersex Became a Disorder of Sex Development, is under contract with New York University Press.

Davis' new project, "Children with Intersex Traits," focuses on a group whose voices often go unheard in the medical world, voices Davis finds as important as their adult counterparts. She explains, "Children are, quite simply, not included in research studies on intersexuality, but they are the ones most affected by medical protocols." Davis' study offers children with intersex traits a chance to be heard from a social scientific platform. Through self-administered surveys that contain both open and closed ended questions, Davis will gather data on how children with intersex traits understand and experience sex, gender, and sexuality. She will also question how they relate to (and are constrained or empowered by) others in their lives, as well as how they understand the medical interventions suggested for (or performed on) their bodies. Davis anticipates that this perspective will contribute to the understanding of how intersexuality is experienced and aid in assessing evaluation and necessity of medical interventions in contemporary society.

Dr. Dan Welch, Assistant Professor, Department of Growth, Development and Structure, School of Dental Medicine

Dr. Welch joined SIUE in 2011 after earning a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside. Welch currently serves as the course director for Neuroanatomy and has two peer-reviewed articles submitted for publication. Welch has previously published in the Journal for Experimental Biology and has presented research findings at several neuroscience conferences.

Welch's current research project, "Underlying Central Nervous System Etiology of Bruxism," lays a foundation for research on bruxism, the involuntary gnashing and grinding of teeth. According to Welch, untreated bruxism can lead to worn teeth, lost fillings, fractures, headaches, and numerous types of temporomandibular disorders. As a pathway to understanding bruxism, Welch is examining the physiological mechanisms underlying mastication. He hypothesizes that the network of nerve cells involved in regulating muscles during mastication might be shared with those that produce bruxism and that certain pathological conditions can affect the regulation of those movements. Welch will use intramuscular electromyogram (EMG) recordings and sonomicrometry measurements to create a detailed analysis of jaw movement in rats during mastication and bruxism. The results will create a behavioral assay to observe (in detail) jaw movement. These results will further Welch's research toward determining the mechanisms involved in the etiology of bruxism.

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