Research News and Stories
November 9, 2021
Jessica Castillo Vardaro, assistant professor of biology at San José State University, remembers the summer she fell in love with nature. She was just 5 years old.
October 5, 2021
How does space travel impact the human body? That’s a question scientists are still trying to answer. This summer, they got a little closer to the answer, thanks to some extra help from San José State University students.
September 1, 2021
Wildfire research at San José State University is about to move faster than ever before — and in partnership with key industry and government stakeholders — thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
August 11, 2021
Data has the power to transform communities.
Just ask Saritha Podali, ’22 MS Data Analytics, and Fengling Zhou, ’22 MS Data Analytics. As part of a new partnership with San José State and the City of San José — supported by the Knight Foundation — the pair played a key role in gathering, interpreting and presenting data that can help the city provide resources to those who need it most.
August 3, 2021
There’s a new art exhibit opening this week in San Jose — but you won’t find it in a gallery. Instead, look up.
Starting August 2 and lasting through the month, billboards throughout the city are featuring art installations created by Robin Lasser, professor of art at San José State, and her longtime collaborator and former student Adrienne Pao, ’05 MFA Photography.
The message behind the art? Celebrate a safe, vaccinated emergence as a community from our “COVID bubbles.”
July 22, 2021
What makes diamonds so valuable? Most of us would point to their brilliance, clarity and beauty. But Christopher Smallwood, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at San José State, has a different answer: He looks to diamonds as the key to unearthing the secrets of quantum physics.
SJSU Assistant Professor Awarded Spencer Foundation Grant to Support Her Fight for Minority PK-12 Students with Disabilities
July 19, 2021
Saili Kulkarni, Assistant Professor of Special Education at San José State University, has been awarded a racial equity grant from the Spencer Foundation for her research studying the intersections of disability and race and the implications for PK-12 education, justice studies and educators.
The grant supports education research projects aimed at understanding and improving racial inequality in education. Kulkarni and her team will receive $75,000 to pursue their project, “Playing Together: Using Learning Labs to Reduce Exclusionary Disciplinary Practices for Young Children of Color with Disabilities.”
What Do Recent Historic Heat Waves Mean for Us? A Q&A With SJSU Meteorologist and Climate Scientist Alison Bridger
July 13, 2021
Last month, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest reached historic and dangerous levels, like nothing the region has ever experienced before. In fact, more than 100 Oregon residents died from heat-related illnesses during the record-shattering heat wave, which drove temperatures up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the state. Compare that to 12 hyperthermia deaths reported statewide between 2017 and 2019, according to CNN.
July 8, 2021
California is in the middle of a severe drought that keeps getting worse. Last month, the Santa Clara Valley Water district board declared a water shortage emergency, urging the community to conserve water by 15 percent compared to 2019 levels. In May, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in 41 counties.
June 14, 2021
Wencen Wu, Assistant Professor of Engineering at San José State, has been selected to serve as a California State University (CSU) STEM-NET Faculty Fellow and as a result, received the CSU Interagency Grant Award for the 2021-2022 academic year.
June 14, 2021
Most in-person gatherings went virtual when the pandemic hit in March 2020 — including substance abuse prevention groups. Turns out, virtual meetings like these can still yield positive outcomes for the participants.
June 1, 2021
San José State Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Carolina Prado and Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Advisor of Chicana and Chicano Studies Jonathan D. Gomez have been awarded funded fellowships for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Assistant Professor Who Attended University Grants Academy Awarded NIH Grant for Streptococcus Pneumoniae Research
May 24, 2021
Walter Adams, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at San José State, and his team have been awarded a National Institutes of Health grant for $439,500 for his research that addresses fundamental questions about streptococcus pneumoniae, a bacterium that is the leading cause of community-acquired pneumonia.
May 12, 2021
Muhammad Khan, ‘22 Biological Sciences, earned first place at the 35th Annual CSU Student Research Competition in the Biological & Agricultural Sciences Undergraduate category.
May 12, 2021
Turning months — even years — of in-depth research into a concise, engaging presentation isn’t easy. Yet two San José State students were triumphant at two recent California State University system-wide competitions that required them to do just that. Lupe Franco, ‘21 MS Environmental Studies, received the Audience Choice Award at the first-ever CSU Grad Slam on May 6, which was hosted by San José State.
May 3, 2021
Thomas Madura studies the lives of massive stars — from how they’re born to how they die a giant, explosive death. He also investigates ways to teach young blind or visually impaired students about astronomy, which Madura, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at San José State, says is usually thought of as a “visual science.” By 3D printing models of nebulae, planets, star clusters and the like, Madura’s work lets those students hold pieces of the galaxies in their hands.
April 29, 2021
When your password on an account is compromised, you change it. But what happens when your password is your fingerprint? Facial recognition, fingerprint Touch ID, iris scanning and even voice commands to Alexa or Siri are all examples of technology that use our biometric data to access personal information. Nima Karimian, assistant professor of computer engineering at San José State, recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to better understand how to keep that data as safe as possible.
April 21, 2021
We’re big fans of Earth Day here at San José State. After all, the founder of the annual celebration is a Spartan. So we’re looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint on April 22 and beyond.
Eugene Cordero—SJSU professor of meteorology and climate science and fellow Earth advocate has some great ideas for how we can all make a difference in protecting our environment. Whether it’s opting for chicken instead of carne asada on his burrito or choosing a bicycle as a primary mode of transportation, Cordero stresses that even the smallest changes can make a difference.
April 14, 2021
Twice a month, San José State researchers collect samples from local vegetation, or “fuels”—and what they found for April was foreboding: Craig Clements, director of the SJSU Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center, told KPIX 5 News last week. “This is the time of year when the fuels should have the most moisture content of the season, and they’re actually the lowest we’ve ever measured for April,” he said in the news report.
But there’s hope: Fire prediction and tracking tools are advancing—a key takeaway from SJSU’s Fire Weather Research Workshop held April 8-9—and the university is leading the effort in providing fire management agencies with state-of-the-art resources to help curb the spread of wildfires.
How Has COVID-19 Impacted the Health and Well-being of the LGBTQ+ Community?: A Q&A With Laurie Drabble
April 7, 2021
It’s known that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning+ (LGBTQ+) community face health disparities driven by social stigma and discrimination. But what happens when you introduce a global pandemic? Laurie Drabble, associate dean for research and faculty with the San José State University College of Health and Human Sciences, explored the impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ+ community by serving as co-editor of a special issue of the Journal of Homosexuality, which was published earlier this year.
April 5, 2021
Ten years ago, two female geologists went for a hike in the Coachella Valley desert along a southern portion of the San Andreas Fault. One of them was Kimberly Blisniuk, now an associate professor of geology at San José State University. The pair spent days in the desert, traversing the landscape, studying its ridges and formations.
They weren’t sure what they were looking for. The San Andreas is a well-studied fault: The roughly 750-mile geographical rift running the length of most of California is positioned to set off what’s known as the next “Big One”—a massive earthquake predicted to strike Southern California, devastating the Los Angeles area, in particular.
March 10, 2021
Researchers from San José State University have developed a first-of-its-kind online tool to help Silicon Valley businesses. The COVID-19 Economic Dashboard for Silicon Valley provides visual insight into key economic indicators for the San José Metro area, including employment trends, housing supply and demand, and business closures due to COVID-19 restrictions.
March 10, 2021
SJSU Assistant Professors of Teacher Education Luis Poza, Eduardo Muñoz-Muñoz and Tammie Visintainer partnered with Watsonville High School’s ECHO Academy to create a case study on broadband access during COVID-19 for California Assemblymember Robert Rivas, ’11 MPA.
March 3, 2021
SJSU Biological Sciences Professor Scott Shaffer and an international team of researchers tracked the movements of seabirds across the globe and found albatrosses and petrels (the world’s most threatened group of birds) spend 39% of their time in international waters where no single country has jurisdiction, so countries need to work together to protect these highly threatened seabirds. They published a paper about their research in the scientific journal Science Advances in March 2021.
February 18, 2021
Hiu-Yung Wong, assistant professor of electrical engineering at San José State University, has received a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award, a prestigious honor bestowed by the National Science Foundation. The award supports his research of cryogenic electronics—electrical systems that operate at extremely cold temperatures—as well as his project to expand education and research opportunities while building a diverse workforce in the field.
November 10, 2020
Assistant Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Ahoura Zandiatashbar scoured publicly available data and found that although we have limited our visits to stores, Americans are still visiting parks and beaches at near pre-pandemic rates.
September 1, 2020
San José State University has established the largest academic Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center (WIRC) in the United States with five new tenure-track faculty members and millions of dollars in new technology.