CSCI Faculty Research
Collaborative Research Awards
Spring 2021 Winners
Race in Political Discourse
Principle Investigators: Dr. Negin Toosi Department of Psychology, CSU East Bay
Principle Investigators: Dr.Liz Kyonka Department of Psychology, CSU East Bay
How To Apply
The purpose of these awards is to provide modest support that can increase the capacity of faculty members in the College of Science to sustain meaningful, productive long-term research programs, and to bring intellectual enrichment to their classroom, their department, and to the college and community. An October 15 submission deadline for tenured faculty provides sufficient time including summer for proposal preparation, including literature search, pilot research, and establishment of necessary collaborations and permissions. A March 15 submission deadline for untenured faculty gives new faculty nearly a whole academic year to prepare their proposal.
A progress report is due within a year of funding. A final report is due after a year and a half, and should include any manuscript or evidence that a scientific journal has accepted the resulting paper for publication. The quality of the final report will have a significant bearing on whether any future proposals by that person will be funded under this program.
A Review Committee consisting of Professor Emerita Joan Sieber (the convening and nonvoting member) and three faculty members from three different disciplines to be appointed by the College Dean will evaluate proposals.
Based on the experience of making awards for this first year of proposals, we wish to clarify the criteria for awards. Preference is given to proposals for research that:
- Help prepare students for the science/technology workforce of tomorrow
- Empower students as collaborators and potential co-authors of research
- Focus on topics that are somehow of social significance, whatever the field of science or technology
- Apply research to problems that span multiple disciplines, thus mirroring the current integration of fields of science/technology and their methodologies
- Demonstrate your willingness to share the (modest) funding with other applicants by asking for the absolute minimum needed
- Involve collaborators from other departments, and universities, or companies, research laboratories or agencies
- Demonstrate that they are creatively drawing support from other resources as well
- For example, Cal State East Bay’s Center for Student Research Scholar’s Program might also be used to provide support for student collaborators
- A scientist with lots of outside support should not apply, to add a little more money to the pot
- Someone contemplating development of a whole new research direction for which they have not developed and tested their methodology
- Someone wishing to pay students who would only help out with the investigator’s own obscure or isolated research program
- A researcher wanting to receive a stipend for themselves.
Future funding will give preference to programs that have continued to develop perhaps with prior funding from this small grant program.
Fall 2020 Winners
Investigator: Michael P. Groziak, Chemistry and Biochemistry
Project Title: Synthesis and Antibacterial Assay of New Boron Heterocycles
Collaborator: H. Howard Xu, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU Los Angeles
The proposed work is a drug discovery effort that seeks to continue a fruitful collaboration between a synthetic organic chemist and a bacteria-specializing biologist, with compounds prepared at CSUEB being sent down to CSULA for testing. Joint publications featuring student co-authors are the primary to be expected from this project. Our collaborative work began in 2010 and was supported by a Sieber Interdisciplinary Research Award. The Groziak and Xu Groups have examined more than 4 dozen compounds, found 6 new compounds with good antibacterial activity, and published 7 papers describing various aspects of their joint efforts (list at end). The first Sieber award, some Faculty Support Grants, and a 2018 Collaborative Research Award that enabled these accomplishments. With continuing College of Science Collaborative Research Award funding, targets will be synthesized, purified, characterized, and tested for antibacterial properties. These are analogs of a known antibacterial 4-toluenesulfonylated boron heterocycle (first compound shown below). A comparison of some of our past targets to this lead reveals a close structural resemblance. Our central hypothesis in the proposed work is that an acyl substituent can serve as a suitable replacement for the sulfonyl one, maintaining or even enhancing the enzyme inhibition known to be the mechanism of action of the known bactericidal boron heterocycle benchmark compound.The goal of this program is to help develop new anti-TB drugs which are becoming sorely needed due to the rise of multidrug-resistant strains of TB.
Spring 2020 Winners
Fall 2019 Winners
Fall 2018 Winners
Principal Investigator: Claudia Uhde-Stone, Professor, Biological Sciences, CSU East Bay
Abstract: Plants require nutrients, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and iron, for growth and development. Phosphorus is one of the most limiting nutrients for crop production worldwide. Phosphorus fertilizer is usually applied as rock phosphate, a non-renewable resource which, by some estimates, may be depleted in 100-300 years. In order to develop crop plants that can grow with less fertilizer, researchers are taking a closer look at plants that are well adapted to nutrient-poor soils. White lupin can grow in poor soils where other plants can’t grow, and has become a model plant for the study of plant adaptations to nutrient deficiency. Still, not much is known about the processes by which white lupin senses nutrient deficiencies and initiates responses. Elevated sucrose (sugar) transport from shoot to root appears to act as long-distance signal, initiating nutrient starvation responses in the root. However, sucrose may not specify which nutrient stress the plant is experiencing. We hypothesize that sucrose acts as a general nutrient starvation signal, and that additional signals are needed to communicate the specific nature of the nutrient deficiency. To untangle general and specific nutrient starvation responses, we propose to use next-generation RNA sequencing, a powerful tool for high-throughput analysis of gene expression (i.e. gene activity). Understanding how white lupin senses nutrient deficiencies and integrates specific and general nutrient starvation responses should be useful for developing plants that require less fertilizer while offering improved nutritional value for human consumption.
Principal Investigator: Ken Curr, Professor, Biological Sciences, CSU East Bay
Abstract: Tritonia tetraquetra (Tritonia), formally known as Tritonia diomedea, is a marine nudibranch that resides along the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean, whose natural habitat is constantly evolving due to environmental changes along coastal waters (i.e. ocean acidification, increased temperature, etc.). Because sea slugs do not have a protective coating, as do most other mollusks, they are very susceptible to the changes in local environments. As conditions change, so do pathogens that infect Tritonia. Importantly, the ability in the way Tritonia fights off infectious pathogens remains a mystery. Most pathogens enter the nudibranch through the intestinal track since it is the most efficient way for the pathogens to be exposed to internal tissues. Microflora can
inhibit infection by preventing pathogenic bacteria from taking residence on the intestinal wall. This study will focus on an arm of the innate immune system of Tritonia by identifying the microbiota that line their intestinal wall. The microbiota is a part of the innate immune response and is one of the primary mechanisms in which invertebrates protect themselves from foreign invaders.
Spring 2018 Winners
Principal Investigator: Patty Oikawa, Assistant Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, CSU East Bay
Collaborator: Sara Knox, Earth System Science, Stanford University
Abstract: Coastal wetlands play significant roles in global C cycling yet are currently not well represented in Earth system models. We propose to improve estimates of carbon (C) sequestration in coastal tidal wetlands. We plan to leverage ongoing high frequency measurements of atmospheric C fluxes collected in the Hayward shoreline.These high frequency data include eddy covariance measurements of vertical fluxesof CO2 and CH4. Funding from the Collaborative Research Fund would provide critical ancillary soil data which will improve understanding of C cycling. We plan to expand thebiogeochemical PEPRMT model to predict atmospheric C exchange in tidal marshes using the continuous data streams measured at the tidal marsh in a model-data fusion approach. Our project will provide, to our knowledge, the first dataset to include multi-year continuous measurements of atmospheric C exchange in a tidal wetland in the San Francisco Bay. This rich dataset, analyses and modeling efforts will improve our ability to incorporate coastal tidal wetland C dynamics into the Earth system models.
Principle Investigators: Pascale Guiton, Ph.D., Biological Sciences, CSU East Bay
Abstract: Toxoplasma gondii is a unicellular parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis, a disease afflictingapproximately one third of the world human population. There presently exists no cure forchronic toxoplasmosis. During infection, usually following ingestion of contaminated food or water, the parasite invades the host cell and resides within a parasitophorous vacuole (PV). Toxoplasma in its host will interconvert between many developmental forms, each biochemically and functionally distinct. Toxoplasma possess stage-specific transcriptomes. They encompass a plethora of genes, including pep1, gra9, and rop23, that encode hypothetical proteins predicted to be secreted inside the PV and/or directly into the host cell. Preliminary evidence from my laboratory indicate that pep1-; gra9-, and rop23-defective mutant parasites are severely attenuated in virulence in mice, suggesting that PEP1, GRA9 and ROP23 may be novel virulence determinants of Toxoplasma. We postulate that Toxoplasma secretes these three developmentally regulated proteins at specific phases in the pathogenic process to modulate host processes.To address this hypothesis, my students will use standard molecular cloning techniques to engineer parasite mutants expressing a C-terminal-tagged version of each protein. This tag will be used as proxy in immunofluorescence assays to determine the subcellular locations of PEP1 and ROP23 in Toxoplasma and during infection of human intestinal epithelial cells (hIECs). Furthermore, we will infect hIECs with either parental and knockout mutant strains and perform RNA sequencing, in collaboration with Dr. Ana Almeida, to assess whether PEP1, GRA9, and/or ROP23 modulate host processes during Toxoplasma infection. Furthermore, Dr. Almeida’s group will conduct a variety of bioinformatic analyses to identify functional domains in these proteins that may provide clues as to their mechanisms of action during infection. Once completed, this work will expand our understanding of the pathogenicity of Toxoplasma and the therapeutic potentials offered by developmentally regulated virulence factors in the fight against toxoplasmosis.