Defense Department awards $20 million

The money was awarded to Temple to fund research into brain injuries and creating new materials.

The Department of Defense awarded Temple $20 million to fund research and create new materials to reduce traumatic brain injuries. This is one of the largest donations in the university’s history.

The two-year award is a cooperative agreement between Temple and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, which involves experts from four schools and colleges at Temple as well as the University of Southern California, University of Southern Mississippi and the University of North Texas.

Research began immediately after the award was finalized, said Michele Masucci, the vice president for research at Temple. It took several years to attain the award, she added. Temple will act as the “financial agent” for the award and divvy out funds to the different schools, colleges and universities involved in the study, Masucci said.

The researchers will study the brain injuries of Temple’s athletes at the Division I and intramural levels to better create protective materials.

The research will begin at the molecular level. From there, researchers will test specific compounds to eventually create new materials for the U.S. Army, law enforcement and “society at large,” Masucci said. The products the university eventually hopes to create could be anything from a vest, inserts into boots or gel in a helmet to reduce brain injury.

The multi-disciplinary approach on Main Campus will include experts from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, College of Public Health, College of Engineering and the College of Science and Technology. The materials team will be made up of CST and the College of Engineering, while the brain injury research will occur in the College of Public Health, Katz School of Medicine and College of Engineering.

“The really great thing about this grant is it will go through the entire continuum from designing molecular compounds, to prototyping new materials to using them, to creating those materials applying them and evaluating their effectiveness and actually helping to prevent injury,” Masucci said.

“This pioneering research by some of our most highly regarded faculty supports the protection of soldiers and also has potential for broader applications,” said President Richard Englert in a statement. “Temple’s research enterprise is clearly on the rise, and this is a tremendous example of what our expertise can do to improve lives.”

A past grant from the Department of Energy for Laura H. Carnell Professor of Physics and Chemistry John Perdew and CST Dean Michael Klein’s research in computational and molecular science and theory played a huge part in Temple receiving the award, Masucci said.

Englert first mentioned the award at the October Board of Trustees meeting during his University President’s address, but it had not been finalized until last week.

Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick.

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