San Diego State University's Research Horizons series highlights remarkable early career faculty and their burgeoning research endeavors. Visit our faculty spotlight page to learn more about the great work of our professors.



Research Horizons: Amanda McClain's Work to Reduce Food Insecurity

How does food insecurity affect our health? According to San Diego State University nutrition professor Amanda McClain, the consequences of food insecurity aren’t limited to hunger. People who don’t know where their next meal will come from experience high levels of stress and uncertainty, which can negatively impact their physical and mental health. McClain’s research considers ways to reduce food insecurity. She has found that by participating in food assistance and community service programs, the food insecure can reduce stress and improve their health.



Research Horizons: Nick Barber's Work to Save the Disappearing American Prairie

Biology professor Nick Barber is working to save one of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet: America’s tallgrass prairie. Ninety-five percent of tallgrass prairie has been eliminated in the conversion to crops and cities. In research supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Barber studies how to restore the prairie and support the biodiversity of the plants, animals, and microorganisms that live there.


 Research Horizons: Erica Forsberg’s Gut Reaction Lab

Why do we get that sinking feeling in our stomach when we are nervous? Chemistry professor Erica Forsberg is attempting to answer this question by analyzing how the bacteria in our guts communicate with our brains.

Her “gut reaction” lab studies how the beneficial bacteria in our guts produce compounds that alter how we feel and how our brains function. She plans to expand this research by looking at how diets, drugs or disease alter how gut bacteria affect neurological health.


Research Horizons: Arianne Miller's Self-Care Psychology

Most people know the importance of engaging in self-care, but many of us nevertheless neglect our emotional and physical well-being. SDSU counseling and school psychology professor Arianne Miller’s research aims to identify and remove the obstacles that prevent people and communities from participating in the vital practices that promote health and well-being.



Research Horizons: Lluvia Flores-Rentería’s California Flora Research

How is climate change affecting Southern California flora?

This question is at the very center of San Diego State University professor Lluvia Flores-Rentería’s life work. She studies how plants interact with fungi and microbes, and how those interactions are influenced during episodes of extreme climate, such as drought or high temperatures.



Research Horizons: Yea-Wen Chen’s Intercultural Communications Research

Why are conversations with people who disagree with us on political issues so difficult to have? 

SDSU intercultural communications professor Yea-Wen Chen studies how people communicate about sensitive issues like politics or healthcare. Her research considers how communication affects communities and people groups, and how the ways we communicate about different cultures inevitably influences diversity, inclusion and social justice.



Research Horizons: Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya’s work to build healthy environments for abuse victims

How can we create healthy environments for families that have experienced domestic violence? SDSU social work professor Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya studies difficult issues like domestic violence and child maltreatment. She researches, designs and hopes to eventually implement interventions and programs that serve victims in ways that are culturally and socially relevant to them.