YEA-WEN CHEN'S INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS RESEARCH

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

San Diego State University 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.

Read more about Dr. Chen's research.

WHAT LEARNING LOOKS LIKE

KPBS looks at research out of San Diego State University that considers how the brains of children with autism work.

Read more the KPBS story.

LLUVIA FLORES-RENTERIA'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.

Her research has already found that high temperatures and drought have a negative impact on pinyon pines’ ability to reproduce.

Read more about Dr. Flores-Rentería’s research.

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.

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.

“My research looks at what people think and feel about how they take care of themselves, so we can better help them in self-care,” said Miller, whose became interested in self-care after a brain cancer diagnosis years ago.

Read more about Dr. Miller's research.

KPBS: SDSU CATALOGS CALIFORNIA PLANT LIFE AND INVESTIGATES IMPACT OF CLIMAGE CHANGE

 

"Is climate change affecting how plants reproduce? That’s the question behind a project launching at San Diego State and 18 other California universities this fall. KPBS education reporter Megan Burks introduces us to some of the scientists taking part, and the native plant they’re studying." - KPBS

 

 

FORMER NSF LEADER: SDSU A NATIONAL MODEL

Former National Science Foundation director Rita Colwell praised San Diego State University during a recent campus visit as a beacon of diversity and a model for U.S. higher education.

Colwell, the first female leader of the NSF and a member of the National Academy of Science, visited campus in fall 2018 to emphasize the importance of diversity in science.

She met with faculty, students and university administrators—including President Adela de la Torre—to discuss the importance of diversity in STEM education, and attended research presentations by graduate students and visited faculty labs.

Read more about Rita Colwell's visit.

 

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.

Read more about Dr. Forsberg's work.

 

INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH: DIGITAL HUMANITIES

The Digital Humanities Center at the SDSU library is an interdisciplinary hub for the campus Digital Humanities Initiative and "Digital Humanities and Global Diversity" Area of Excellence.

The center supports research, teaching, and learning that values the importance of the humanities, and the interactions of humans in real time and space, in the digital age.  

Learn more about the Digital Humanities Center.

 

STUDENT SUMMER RESEARCH

“I love research. I have an innate curiosity when it comes to asking the reasons why," says Hannah Liddle, a biology major.

Liddle is one of nearly 70 students participating in SDSU’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Each participant works under the direction of a faculty mentor for nearly eight weeks and is funded by SDSU. The projects encompass a broad range of research and creative activities, from science to education to the arts.

Research opportunities help students discover which subjects interest them as scholars, allow students to gain the critical skills necessary to enter graduate school, and help underscore the real-life applications of classroom teachings

Read more about summer student research.

 

TOOL HELPS FISHERMEN, CONSERVATIONISTS

Historically, fisheries and the conservation community have struggled to find common ground. The tension between one side's desire to increase profits and the other’s to preserve endangered or protected marine species that can be killed as bycatch has made it difficult to find solutions that satisfy both.

Now, a new online tool developed by researchers at San Diego State University in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other universities could win support from both groups. EcoCast provides computer-generated maps to help fishermen target productive fishing spots while alerting them to areas likely to harbor protected species.

Read more about the research collaboration. 

 

 

MATERIAL ENGINEERING IN THE FINAL FRONTIER 

If humans are ever to colonize the moon or Mars, they’re going to need habitats, tools and other physical resources to keep them alive. Researchers are tinkering with ways to fabricate tools and building supplies from the raw minerals available on extraterrestrial terrain.

Randall German, professor emeritus at SDSU, is considering how space pioneers might accomplish material engineering in space using sintering, a manufacturing process that turns a powdered substance into a solid mass using heat and pressure. To get a better understanding of how gravitational conditions in space affect the sintering process, German sent materials into space in a collaboration with SpaceX.

Read more about sintering in space.

 

A STATE-OF-THE-ART MRI MACHINE OF OUR OWN

MRI machines are among the most critical tools for scientists who analyze brain images to understand basic human cognition as well as disease and disorders like fetal alcohol syndrome, autism and traumatic brain injury.

With the acquisition of a new machine, SDSU students and faculty are able to do groundbreaking research with brain imaging right here on the Mesa. 

“There’s a lot of advancement in the technology, and this [machine] is the top-of-the-line one,” said psychology professor Martin Sereno, director of the SDSU brain imaging center. “It puts us a little ahead of a lot of other places.”

Learn more about the MRI machine.

 

MAKING VR LEARNING A REALITY

The waxing and waning phases of the moon arise from the three-dimensional interplay between the positions of the sun, moon and Earth. It can be a complex concept for students to get their heads around—but it might become easier thanks to virtual reality programs that allow learners to watch these moon phases play out from a sort of interstellar birds-eye view.

“When we learned about the moon phases, we used foam balls attached to popsicle sticks,” said Harsimran “Sim” Baweja, the SDSU Instructional Technology Fellow for immersive learning. “How awesome would it be to float in space and see how the sun’s light illuminates the moon and creates the phases? Things like this are possible today thanks to virtual reality.”

Read more about virtual reality at SDSU.

 

RAISING RESEARCHERS

More than 15 percent of Student Research Symposium participants receive financial aid from SDSU, and that’s no coincidence. Scholarship support alleviates some of the financial burden for students and gives them time to participate in activities that build leadership, research and public service skills.

"I didn't really know what I wanted to do for a long time before I got into research. In joining a lab I found my path, I found out that I wanted to go to graduate school. It really set me up for my career for the rest of my life," says Greg Dawson, a biochemistry major.

Read more about the strong link between financial support and student research success.