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Director’s Discretionary Fund

Ames Researches

The Director’s Discretionary Fund (DDF) is designed to fund innovative, high-risk projects that directly advance the strategic direction of Ames. It offers Ames researchers and technologists an excellent opportunity to develop new, innovative ideas and activities in high-risk areas that are otherwise difficult to initiate, but are essential to our future programs.

Past DDF Winners


The Offices of the Ames Chief Scientist and Center Chief Technologist are very pleased to announce the FY17 Director’s Discretionary Fund (DDF) winners.

Out of the nearly 90 proposals submitted to Center Innovation Fund (CIF) and the Science Innovation Fund (SIF), the Center has chosen to fund an additional 16 proposals via the DDF. Please join us in congratulating:

  • Eduardo Almeida – Novel Molecular Biology Approaches for Direct Nanopore Transcriptome-Sequencing of Reverse Transcribed mRNAs Isolated from Biological Samples on ISS
  • Edward Balaban – SHERPA – System Health Enabled Real-Time Planning Advisor
  • Robin Beck – New Stagnation Arc Jet Model Design for Testing ADEPT 3-D Carbon Cloth
  • Ved Chirayath – MiDAR FuSe: Fused-Sensing & Optical Communications with Multispectral Imaging, Detection and Active Reflectance (MiDAR) Instrument
  • Anthony Colaprete – Digital mMirror Device Flight Spectrometer
  • George Cooper – The Laboratory Production of Mirror-Image (Enantiomer) Excesses in Sugars and Derivatives
  • Matt Deans – Multifunction 3D Printed Carbon Nanotube Membranes for Tensegrity Robots
  • Matthew Fladeland – Intelligent Icing Protection Solution for Unmanned Aircraft
  • Terry Fong – Skylight Run – Tethered Robots for Autonomous Cave Exploration
  • Tori Hoehler – A Machine Learning Approach for Identification of Biological Character in Chemically Complex Samples
  • Christopher McKay – Crucible: A System for Space Synthetic Biology Experiments
  • Christopher McKay – Effect of High Velocity Collection on Trypsin Functionality for Life Detection
  • Meyya Meyyappan – Plasma Jet Printing of Materials & Application Development
  • Leslie Prufert-Bebout – Next Generation Biogeochemical Cycling Model for Sediment Associated Microbial Communities with Innovative Radiative Transfer Forcing (Modeling Exoplanet and Earth Biosignatures)
  • Julie Schonfeld – Adapting RNAseq sample preparation for ISS
  • Pasquale Temi – Science Preparation for the X-Ray Grating Spectrometer Mission ARCUS

We would like to thank the investigators who submitted proposals, the members of the ARTC review panel for their time and thoughtful evaluations of the proposals, the CCT and OCS Staff, and Center management for their support and funding of the DDF process.

For more information on the CIF, please visit:
For more information on the SIF, please visit: