Researchers endowed $11 million

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Robert Huskey/Daily Titan
Robert Huskey/Daily Titan

Faculty at Cal State Fullerton were awarded more than $11.25 million in federal, state and local grants during the first quarter of 2013 to support research and projects.

In total, 68 faculty in a variety of fields were listed as grant recipients for the first quarter of the fiscal year.

Grant awards will be used to fund research in areas such as chemistry and biochemistry, as well as focused programs like college preparation programs.

Heading each grant is a principal investigator (PI), who takes responsibility for completion of the funded project, directs the research and reports to the funding agency.

“Those who seek a grant will usually research granting institutions, then contact the granting agency which is interested or has funded, in the past, similar projects in their area of interest,” said Angela Della Volpe, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

In cases where the project is not fully funded or only partially funded, Della Volpe said, researchers just carry out the best possible while continuing to seek other grants.

“A grant not only allows for the project to be funded and carried out but it also bestows on the awardee the acknowledgement that the research is meritorious,” Della Volpe said.

Della Volpe was the PI for a grant for Fullerton International Resources for Students and Teachers (FIRST) project.

FIRST is an interdisciplinary project that emphasizes history and social sciences when look at in a larger world context.

It was awarded a grant of $32,333 from the Regents of the University of California.

Michael Bridges, Ph.D., an assistant chemistry professor, is requesting a Research Corporation grant, a private funding institution.

The foundation grant, Bridges said, was relatively competitive.

“This grant is only available to researchers at primarily undergraduate-serving institutions like ours,” said Bridges.

Upon applying for the grant, Bridges submitted a budget detailing what he planned to do with the funds. He put aside money for equipment, supplies, a stipend for himself and allocated funds for student salaries.

Bridges was awarded $35,000 for his research on equilibrium dynamics binding kinetics of intrinsically disordered cancer proteins by electron paramagnetic resonance.

Intrinsically disordered proteins do not have a native fold or natural fold, whereas normal proteins fold up.

Parkinson’s disease, mad cow disease and Alzheimer’s disease all are caused by misfolded or unfolded intrinsically disordered proteins.

Bridges said his research focuses on a particular intrinsically disordered protein, Stathmin, which has been related to cancer. He said no one has looked at Stathmin in much detail.

Jennifer Faust, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs, was PI for a grant alongside Susamma Barua, associate dean of engineering, and Dorota Huizinga, associate vice president for graduate studies and research, for the CSUF ADVANCE IT-Catalyst project.

They received a grant of $95,740 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), a federal agency.

“The NSF has an interest in seeing more females in STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math,” said Faust.

The IT-Catalyst grant given by the foundation is meant to help universities get started on transforming an institution to create more opportunities for women in STEM fields.

She said part of the grant is to conduct a self-assessment and start a conversation to address issues like underrepresentation or deficits.

Faust said activities on the grant have already begun, including writing a survey to send to faculty, and holding a discussion on campus about faculty diversity.

She added that there is a lot more work to be done but they have already started. This project began in October 2012 and is primarily aimed at female faculty.

“We’re hoping that by increasing the number of female faculty, we will also increase the number of female students in STEM,” Faust said.

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