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VOD Channel Funds Academic Research

ResearchChannel, the academic video-on-demand channel carried by Charter Communications digital-cable systems, awarded matching funds to five institutions to encourage programming that furthers public awareness of research addressing important and wide-ranging issues.

Production funding will be used to document the important work of world-class researchers and bring that work to millions through its television and Internet platforms.

• Montana State University in Bozeman will receive funding for a documentary on the behavior, ecology and conservation of the silky sifaka, one of the four most endangered lemurs in Madagascar. The documentary will highlight the conservation research of Ph.D. student Erik Patel. Sharon Pieczenik, the documentary filmmaker and an MSU graduate-school student, hopes the film will help to promote eco-tourism at Marojejy National Park, a World Heritage Site.

• The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will receive funding for Behind the Research: A Study of a Model Hot Spring, a documentary showcasing the innovative research efforts of Brian Hedlund, UNLV assistant biology professor and a recipient of the 2006 National Science Foundation Early Career Award. Hedlund will review the relatively unknown world of thermopiles -- organisms that thrive in high temperatures of geothermally heated regions of the earth. Findings from Hedlund’s research will lead to a better understanding of life in geothermal habitats and will expand the public’s overall knowledge of the diversity of life on earth.

• The American Meteorological Society will get funding for AMSJournal: The Hurricane-Climate Connection, featuring the work of Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and winner of AMS’ prestigious Bernhard Haurwitz Memorial Lecture prize. The film will share revealing research about the influences of climate change on tropical cyclones and will highlight the threat hurricanes pose to increasingly populated, vulnerable U.S. coastal communities.

• The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, based in Fort Pierce, Fla., will get funding for Corals at the Crossroads, a documentary examining the threats modern life poses to coral reefs worldwide. The film will document the work of Brian Lapointe, whose research describes the pollution and eutrophication of coral-reef communities in the Florida Keys.

• The University of Wisconsin-Madison will get funding for Wisconsin Research Journal, a documentary showcasing three UW research projects. The first program segment will focus on recent discoveries made by The IceCube Project, an observatory installed in the deep ice below the South Pole Station in Antarctica. The second will demonstrate a new MRI technique developed by UW’s Walter Block, which will deliver considerably more precise 3-D images of patients’ bodies in significantly less time than current MRI techniques. The final segment is related to the Large Hadron Collider being built at CERN in Switzerland and the network research being conducted at UW-Madison to develop the huge data transfers that will be required to enable analysis of the data collected by CMS at various scientific institutions around the world.