Professor Emeritus Studies Deep-Sea Wonder

Professor Emeritus Studies Deep-Sea Wonder

This brightly colored anglerfish is the topic of a newly published study co-authored by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor Emeritus Gregor M. Cailliet.

Cailliet worked with colleagues from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“While scientists have observed other species of anglerfish in the wild before, this particular species—Chaunacops coloratus—wasn’t documented alive until 2002,” explains the National Geographic Daily News website. “The 2002 sighting was of a single fish found near a seamount, or extinct volcano, about 80 miles southwest of Monterey.

“In 2010, an expedition to the nearby Taney Seamounts found six more—enough to support a proper investigation of the species…which can walk and changes color throughout its life,” National Geographic continues. You can learn more about Chaunacops coloratus in the journal Deep-Sea Research Part I.

You can learn more about experts including Cailliet on the CSU Fresca website, where he writes “for more than four decades, since my graduate work at UCSB in the 1960s, I have studied the ecology of marine fishes. I have been especially interested in deep-sea fishes and their ecology…

“For my deep-sea studies, I have mainly utilized surface ships for trawling and trapping activities, but more recently have been more involved with in situ camera sled, remotely operated vehicle, and submersible studies.”

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven CSU campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator.

SJSU Satellite Launches From International Space Station

SJSU Satellite Launches From International Space Station

SJSU Satellite Launches From International Space Station

With NASA support, a team of SJSU aerospace engineering students worked on a cube satellite called TechEdSat, part of a group of cube satellites that were deployed from the International Space Station, October 4. An Expedition 33 crew member aboard the ISS captured this image of deployment.

Posted by NASA Oct. 4, 2012.

NASA engineers, student interns and amateur radio enthusiasts around the world are listening for signals from a small, cube-shaped satellite launched into orbit from the International Space Station Thursday.

The satellite, dubbed “TechEdSat,” was released at 11:44 a.m. EDT from the new Japanese Small Satellite Orbital Deployer aboard the space station.

TechEdSat measures about 4 inches (10 centimeters) on a side and carries a ham radio transmitter. It was developed by a group of student interns from the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering with mentoring and support from staff at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. TechEdSat arrived at the space station aboard the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle July 21 and the station’s Expedition 33 crew processed it for launch.

“TechEdSat will evaluate plug-and-play technologies, like avionics designed by commercial providers, and will allow a group of very talented aerospace engineering students from San Jose State University to experience a spaceflight project from formulation through decommission of a small spacecraft,” said Ames Director S. Pete Worden.

TechEdSat’s mission showcases collaboration among NASA, academia and industry to set the standard for future endeavors with small satellites known as Cubesats.

TechEdSat is funded by Ames and NASA’s Space Technology Program. The total cost was less than $30,000 because engineers used only commercial off-the-shelf hardware and simplified the design and mission objectives.

Watch an SJSU video profiling a recent graduate who worked on the project. 

For more about TechEdSat, visit SJSU’s site about the mission.

For more about Ames Research Center.

For more information about NASA education programs.

A Celebration of SJSU Research

A Celebration of SJSU Research

A Celebration of SJSU Research

Professor of Chemistry Lionel Cheruzel has been tremendously productive in his field of bioinorganic chemistry. He leads an active research group comprised of eight undergraduate students and one graduate student focused on Cytochrome P450 and the synthetic potential for biotechnological applications (photo courtesy of SJSU Research Foundation).

President Mohammad Qayoumi, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ellen Junn, and Research Foundation Chief Operating Office Mary Sidney cordially invite you to “A Celebration of SJSU Sponsored Research” 3-5 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Student Union’s Barrett Ballroom. Join the entire SJSU community in a celebration of campus-wide research endeavors. Visit research program exhibits. Enjoy presentations by Early Career Investigator Awardees Dr. Lionel Cheruzel (College of Science) and Dr. Lili Luo (College of Applied Sciences and Arts). Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Raja Ampur Coral Triangle 2 photo Lakshmi Sawitri

NSF Grant Funds Marine Biodiversity Research

Raja Ampat Coral Triangle 2 photo Lakshmi Sawitri

Raja Ampat Coral Triangle, Indonesia (photo by Lakshmi Sawitri, Flickr Creative Commons)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor Jonathan Geller to conduct invertebrate metagenomic analyses and lead workshops for Indonesian and U.S. graduate students

Media contacts:
Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, (831) 771-4464
Dr. Jonathan Geller, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, (831) 771-4436

Moss Landing, Calif. – 18 September 2012 – A partnership of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, San Diego State University, UCLA, the Smithsonian Institute and NOAA has been awarded $4.87 million from the National Science Foundation to study marine biodiversity in Indonesia.  Funded by NSF’s Partnerships in International Research and Education program, the project will focus on the Coral Triangle, a region that contains the world’s most biologically diverse coral reefs.

Reefs of the Coral Triangle are an extremely important biological and economic resource locally and globally, but are severely threatened by human impacts and climate change.  As such, these reefs are important conservation targets.  The new project, titled “Assembly of marine biodiversity along geographic and anthropogenic stress gradients,” will use a novel monitoring tool called Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) to study the impacts of these threats. ARMS are particularly good at capturing the hidden biodiversity that comprises the vast majority of marine biodiversity, including viruses, microbes, smaller animals and algae.  For the project, the ARMS will measure what organisms are present in reefs across the Indonesian Archipelago, how the biodiversity of these organisms changes over different areas and how biodiversity is impacted by human-caused environmental stress.

NSF Awards $4.87 Million to Study Marine Biodiversity in the Coral Triangle

Professor Jonathan Geller

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) Professor Jonathan Geller is an important part of the partnership, spearheading MLML’s role and conducting invertebrate metagenomic analyses for the project.  Metagenomics is the study of genetic material collected directly from environmental samples, which in the case of the new project, will be collected by the ARMS.  In addition, Dr. Geller will also lead workshops in these methods for Indonesian and U.S. graduate students.

The benefits of the project are threefold.  First, the information collected during the project will help scientists better understand what affects biodiversity in the Coral Triangle, and this knowledge that can be used to help resource managers protect the valuable coral reef ecosystems.  Second, the project will also bring an international collaboration to Indonesia, one of the world’s most populous developing countries, increasing the nation’s scientific capacity. Third, the project will prepare U.S. post-doctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students to be global leaders in the science of marine biodiversity, capable of international research in the world’s most diverse marine environments.

Dr. Geller is looking forward to collaborating with the project partners and to sharing his expertise with students.  “This is an amazing opportunity to apply state of the art technology to the ocean’s most diverse habitats. With these new tools, we will measure marine biodiversity with unprecedented depth and breadth,” he said.  “I am especially excited that our team, including MLML graduate students, will be working closely with Indonesian scientists and students – this will be a true partnership.”

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven CSU campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator.

 

 

Chemistry Unlocks the Key to How Wildflowers Beat Wildfires

female research student wearing safety google and blue latex glove. She is holding a flask sample of a solution she's purfied

In the lab, researcher Jia Lu separates and tests the components of a karrikin solution, giving her insight into how to improve the process (Christina Olivas photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Did you know that there are certain plants that grow more abundantly or only after a fire?

Deer Weed, Ithuriel’s Spear and Whispering Bells are examples of what Department of Chemistry Professor Daniel Straus calls “fire-followers.”

“These plants can lay dormant in the soil for 100 years, but after an intense fire, chemicals soak the soil and germinate seeds, causing them to grow,” Straus explained.

Straus studies compounds that affect the germination of geophytes, bulb plants that adapt to unfavorable climates and conditions, even blazing hot wildfires.

Professor Straus is specifically interested in reproducing the highly active germination stimulant karrikin, a molecule discovered in Australia less than 10 years ago and produced amid the smoke and water of wildfires.

“It can take up to two months to purify,” said researcher Jia Lu, ’11 forensic science. “So far I can make only a couple of milligrams because there are so many steps, but the process is getting better.”

Whispering Bells are among the wildflowers resilient after wildfires (californiachaparral.com photo).

Whispering Bells are entirely fire dependent (californiachaparral.com photo)

Learning From “Fire-Followers”

Field studies on how the reproduced karakin compound affects germination have been conducted at Henry W. Coe State Park. Modifying the process to make more karakin faster raises a new question: Would the substance have the same effect on vegetative plants, such as crop plants?

Straus is currently working with the Carnegie Institute for Science’s Department of Global Ecology on a first batch of tests focusing on flowering responses in bulb plants.

“So far there is a very strong vegetative response,” Straus said. “We’re noticing plants watered with the karrikin solution were growing very vigorously in comparison to the plants not watered with karrikin. That’s exciting, and worth trying on other kinds of plants.”

Assistant Professors of Chemistry and Library and Information Science Honored

Assistant Professors of Chemistry and Library and Information Science Honored

An assistant professor of chemistry whose research focuses on one of the most challenging reactions in organic chemistry and an assistant professor of library and information science whose innovative work includes a partnership with the School of Social Work are the recipients of the 2012 SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Awards. The honor recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty members who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for their research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals and carrying out other scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their career at SJSU. Here is the official announcement.

***

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Lionel Cheruzel from the College of Science, and Dr. Lili Luo from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts have both been chosen to receive the San José State University Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award for 2012.  Their selection is made at the recommendation of the Early Career Investigator Subcommittee of the Research Foundation Board of Directors.

The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for their research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals and carrying out other scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their career at SJSU. Our two recipients are outstanding examples of individuals who have achieved this level of success.

Lionel Cheruzel

Lionel Cheruzel

Dr. Lionel Cheruzel, in his third year at SJSU, has been tremendously productive in his field of bioinorganic chemistry.  Since joining the Department of Chemistry, he has successfully competed for multiple grant awards totaling $480,000. These grants have come from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Research Corporation, and the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. In addition to an impressive record of grantsmanship, Dr. Cheruzel has become a valued member of the SJSU faculty through a combination of excellence in teaching and research. Dr. Cheruzel currently leads an active research group comprised of eight undergraduate students and one graduate student. He and his group are focused on Cytochrome P450, and the synthetic potential for biotechnological applications. More on the Cheruzel Research Group can be found at www.sjsu.edu/cheruzel. Dr. Cheruzel has made significant contributions to the development of knowledge in his field as evidenced by his strong publication record with three publications in peer reviewed journals since joining the faculty and one publication currently in review.

Lili Luo

Lili Luo

Dr. Lili Luo, also in her third year at SJSU, has demonstrated an outstanding record of scholarship that has been recognized by federal grant funders. Her work has resulted in several invitations for collaborative research with SJSU scholars, as well as with scholars from external organizations. Since joining the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science, Dr. Luo has been an active researcher in the area of reference services, online learning, and research methods education. In 2010, Dr. Luo received a $122,683 grant award from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to conduct the first in-depth research regarding text reference services.  Dr. Luo’s scholarly activities also include a partnership with the SJSU School of Social Work, conducting joint research to explore how librarians and social workers can collaborate to improve access to information regarding local social service resources.  Dr. Luo has presented her findings in publications and at professional and scholarly conferences, and was invited to present findings at the International Federation of Library Associations this summer.  Dr. Luo has published eight journal articles since joining the faculty and in 2010 received the Outstanding Teacher’s Award from the School of Library and Information Science.

The SJSU Research Foundation has established two Early Career Investigator Awards in order to encourage participation beyond those colleges where large numbers of faculty have traditionally participated. One award goes to a faculty member in the Colleges of Science and Engineering and another is made to a faculty member from all other colleges. Each awardee will receive a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.

Professors Honored for Early Career Research

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

An assistant professor of chemistry whose research focuses on one of the most challenging reactions in organic chemistry and an assistant professor of library and information science whose innovative work includes a partnership with the School of Social Work are the recipients of the 2012 SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Awards. The honor recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty members who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for their research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals and carrying out other scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their career at SJSU. Here is the official announcement.

***

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Lionel Cheruzel from the College of Science, and Dr. Lili Luo from the College of Applied Sciences and Arts have both been chosen to receive the San José State University Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award for 2012.  Their selection is made at the recommendation of the Early Career Investigator Subcommittee of the Research Foundation Board of Directors.

The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for their research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals and carrying out other scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their career at SJSU. Our two recipients are outstanding examples of individuals who have achieved this level of success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lionel Cheruzel

Lionel Cheruzel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lionel Cheruzel, in his third year at SJSU, has been tremendously productive in his field of bioinorganic chemistry.  Since joining the Department of Chemistry, he has successfully competed for multiple grant awards totaling $480,000. These grants have come from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Research Corporation, and the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. In addition to an impressive record of grantsmanship, Dr. Cheruzel has become a valued member of the SJSU faculty through a combination of excellence in teaching and research. Dr. Cheruzel currently leads an active research group comprised of eight undergraduate students and one graduate student. He and his group are focused on Cytochrome P450, and the synthetic potential for biotechnological applications. More on the Cheruzel Research Group can be found at www.sjsu.edu/cheruzel. Dr. Cheruzel has made significant contributions to the development of knowledge in his field as evidenced by his strong publication record with three publications in peer reviewed journals since joining the faculty and one publication currently in review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lili Luo

Lili Luo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Lili Luo, also in her third year at SJSU, has demonstrated an outstanding record of scholarship that has been recognized by federal grant funders. Her work has resulted in several invitations for collaborative research with SJSU scholars, as well as with scholars from external organizations. Since joining the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science, Dr. Luo has been an active researcher in the area of reference services, online learning, and research methods education. In 2010, Dr. Luo received a $122,683 grant award from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to conduct the first in-depth research regarding text reference services.  Dr. Luo’s scholarly activities also include a partnership with the SJSU School of Social Work, conducting joint research to explore how librarians and social workers can collaborate to improve access to information regarding local social service resources.  Dr. Luo has presented her findings in publications and at professional and scholarly conferences, and was invited to present findings at the International Federation of Library Associations this summer.  Dr. Luo has published eight journal articles since joining the faculty and in 2010 received the Outstanding Teacher’s Award from the School of Library and Information Science.

The SJSU Research Foundation has established two Early Career Investigator Awards in order to encourage participation beyond those colleges where large numbers of faculty have traditionally participated. One award goes to a faculty member in the Colleges of Science and Engineering and another is made to a faculty member from all other colleges. Each awardee will receive a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.

Students Present Digital Humanities Project

Students Present Digital Humanities Project

Jesus Espinoza and Pollyanna Macchiano at the Re: Humanities symposium on digital media in academia at Swarthmore College (Bryn Mawr/Jay Gorodetzer photo).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

English majors Jesus Espinoza and Pollyanna Macchiano presented “Project Beard-stair” at Re:humanities, a symposium on digital media in academia held this spring at Swarthmore College.

The project focuses on three books Espinoza found while working at King Library. The books were dropped in the return bin, but were not part of the library’s collection.

After flipping through each volume, Espinoza was intrigued, and took the books to Assistant Professor Katherine D. Harris of the of Department of English and Comparative Literature.

The professor’s research and teaching interests include British Romanticism and Hypertextual and Digital Studies. She is an early proponent of a growing field known as digital humanities.

Espinoza’s find proved to be valuable, early 20th century art books. Using Twitter, Harris helped Espinoza pull together a research team, including Macchiano, Collette, English graduate student Doll Piccotto, and School of Library and Information Science graduate student Colette Hayes.

Project Beard-stair represents their collective effort to digitize, archive, exhibit and research the books outside the confines of a traditional research paper. They also participated in the SJSU Student Research Competition.

“The enthusiasm we share for this project is something that we want to translate to the classroom — a different way to experience coursework and a new and exciting way to experience scholarship as a whole,” the students wrote.

Ngoc-Han Tran

College of Science Research Day Set for May 11

College of Science Research Day Showcases Work by 130 Students and 36 Faculty Members

The College of Science Research Day will showcase work by 130 students and 36 faculty members

By Professor of Chemistry Roy Okuda

The Eighth Annual College of Science Student Research Day will be held Friday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the breezeway of Duncan Hall.

The event displays how San Jose State excels in providing students with the hands-on research lab experience they will need on the job and in graduate school.

This year, we have 65 posters, the largest number so far, from all College of Science departments.

Over 130 students will be presenters, representing the research of 36 College of Science faculty members.

Besides the posters, Assistant Professor Craig Clements and his group will display their new truck.

This innovative mobile sensing station will be used to monitor weather conditions during wildfires.

Wildfire Researcher Receives $900,000 National Science Foundation Grant

Wildfire Researcher Receives $900,000 NSF Grant

Wildfire Researcher Receives $900,000 National Science Foundation Grant

Clements and his student researchers will use this custom-designed mobile atmospheric profiling system to develop a better understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for wildfire-atmosphere interactions (Rie Onodera image).

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Craig Clements, an assistant professor with the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science, has received a $900,000 National Science Foundation grant to continue his groundbreaking research on wildfire weather.

The funding will allow Clements to obtain new observations from a comprehensive field program tracking wildfire-atmosphere dynamics, and to integrate these observations into education and community outreach.

In practical terms, this means Clements and his team of student researchers now have the funding needed to deploy their mobile atmospheric profiling system, a truck pulling a compact trailer loaded with the latest tech tools. These tools includes lidar and sodar, which use light and sound waves to track winds.

The grant will allow the team to chase wildfires (in a safe way, of course!) throughout the West. Their overall goal is to learn more about the super dynamic atmospheric conditions inside and around blazes so we can better predict wildfire behavior, saving lives and property.

Clements received this grant through The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program, the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award in support of junior faculty members nationwide.

In 2011, Professor Clements received the SJSU Research Foundation‘s Early Career Investigator Award, which recognizes tenure-track faculty members who excel in research, scholarship and creative activity, and have secured funds for research early in their careers.

Here’s his NSF project summary.

***

PROJECT SUMMARY

The career development plan (CDP) represents an ambitious effort to advance the understanding of wildfire-atmosphere dynamics by obtaining new observations from a comprehensive field program and integrating these observations into education and community outreach. The key objectives of the CDP are:

(1) To develop a better understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for
wildfire-atmosphere interactions and how these processes influence fire behavior.
(2) To improve student understanding of fire weather science through the development of an innovative fire science and fire safety outreach and education program.

The research component of the CDP, which expands on the PI’s field measurement experience, seeks to identify the processes responsible for fire-atmosphere interactions that affect fire behavior. The research methods are based on executing an intensive measurement program that incorporates carefully planned experiments with rapid-deploy wildfire monitoring (RaDFIRE) using the newly NSF funded CSU-MAPS, mobile atmospheric profiling system. The observational dataset will be used to study:

  • The dynamics of fire-induced winds and their impact on fire behavior.
  • The thermodynamic structure of fire plumes and the near-surface environment.

The education component of the CDP is a plan designed to build a university program in fire weather research that links San José State University and the community. This component will integrate fire weather content into general education courses, improve 6th grade science learning through a teacher training workshop, and develop fire danger awareness among students living in fire danger zones by providing a novel and modern fire safety education program. The component concepts are:

  • Integration of fire weather content into university courses.
  • K-12 Teacher Training workshop called Weather of Wildfires.
  • Red-Flag Days: A community outreach program for middle schools in the Wildland-Urban Interface aimed at providing fire safety education.

Intellectual merit. The proposed CDP will potentially transform wildfire research by measuring critical wildfire-atmosphere properties that have rarely been observed. This will provide the first comprehensive data set for the validation of coupled atmosphere-fire modeling systems. New observations of extreme fire-induced winds and plume thermodynamic structure will lead to major advances in knowledge and understanding of wildfire dynamics. Resources at the PI’s institution including CSU-MAPS are adequate for the proposed work. Educational activities are developed to improve student understanding of fire weather processes by developing new teacher training modules and a novel middle-school program aimed at fire danger awareness with the use of red flags as fire weather props.

Broader impacts. The expected outcomes of the proposed CDP include:

  • Greater understanding of critical fire-atmosphere processes responsible for extreme fire behavior.
  • Increased firefighter and public safety from the development of better prediction tools.
  • Support for graduate and undergraduate students and postdoctoral training.
  • Integrated university curriculum on fire weather and teacher training program.
  • Improved fire danger awareness targeted to students at underrepresented middle schools.
  • Field program will provide unique hands-on training for graduate and undergraduate students.
Immigration Symposium flyer

Immigration Symposium Showcases Diverse Presentations

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

A woman resting her head on her clasped hands

Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Photo of man with his head resting on his clasped hands

Andrew Lam

The Indian diaspora, international migration and immigrant workers were a few of the topics discussed at the Immigration Symposium, sponsored by the Silicon Valley Center for Global Studies.

Presenters, including SJSU professors and alumni, spoke at this conference April 12 and 13 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. This was the fourth symposium within the last five years. This year’s theme was “Immigration: Policy and Reality.”

“The center tries to maintain ongoing discussions about immigration-related issues by hosting conferences and symposiums regularly,” said Yoko Baba, a justice studies professor who coordinated the event. “The symposium attempts to bring academics, practitioners and community members together to have meaningful dialogues and conversations about these issues.”

Andrew Lam, author and editor of New America Media, and Kelly Lytle Hernandez, a history professor at UCLA, provided keynote addresses. Lam recently wrote a collection of personal essays titled “East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres.” Hernandez’s book, “MIGRA! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol,” is the first scholarly study of the U.S. Border Patrol, according to the Immigration Symposium program.

2011-12 President’s Scholar: Michael Kaufman

2011-12 President’s Scholar: Michael Kaufman

2011-12 President’s Scholar: Michael Kaufman

2011-12 President’s Scholar: Michael Kaufman (photo by Christina Olivas)

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

The President’s Scholar Award recognizes a faculty member who has achieved widespread recognition based on the quality of scholarship, performances or creative activities.

Michael Kaufman, professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said his greatest passion comes from working to create new knowledge and that he loves to reflect back on the progress that has been made in his field. His desire for discovery and commitment to teaching and learning has earned him the 2011-2012 President’s Scholar Award.

“Many in the campus community, no doubt, know Dr. Kaufman’s teaching and service abilities through his involvement in the Academic Senate and as an exceptional teacher,” said one nominator.

But Kaufman has been equally prolific in research. His contributions include over 30 peer-reviewed journal articles and his theoretical studies have been cited over 300 times. His most notable work includes two studies on the interaction between newly formed stars and their natal clouds. As the result of his theoretical modeling work, he has helped international astronomers discover carbon atoms in one of the most distant galaxies and oxygen molecules in the Orion Nebula.

He also reviews textbooks, arbitrates journal articles and speaks at international conferences. Kaufman’s work is supported by more than $1.5 million in grants, a portion of which has funded the annual Research Experience for Undergraduates program, providing underrepresented minority students valuable research opportunities.

Kaufman’s work has been recognized nationally and his published articles are “of great utility to members of the astronomical community,” according to a nominator.  He said that he stays current in his field by attending conferences, collaborating with colleagues at NASA and other universities, writing proposals, teaching in his area of expertise, and working with students who have the ability to “look at subjects with fresh eyes and new skills.”

“We aren’t just teaching from the book. We’re teaching our areas of expertise,” said Kaufman. “This leads to a richer classroom experience, as well as numerous research opportunities for our students.”

Kaufman earned a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College and master’s and doctoral degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.

Seven Spartans Receive National Science Foundation Fellowships

Seven Spartans Receive NSF Fellowships

Seven Spartans Receive National Science Foundation Fellowships

The program recognizes outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees.

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

For the second year in a row, Spartan alumni received more National Science Foundation Graduate Research Program fellowships than students from any other CSU. “This is concrete proof of the outstanding job SJSU does preparing our students for research careers,” said Michael Parrish, dean of the College of Science, which yielded five fellows. Each fellow receives three years of support; a $30,000 annual stipend; a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance to the institution; and international research and professional development opportunities. The program recognizes outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions. The 2012 fellows who attended SJSU and their graduate schools are Andrew Ingram (chemistry, Stanford); Thao-Nhi Thi (Lily) Le (biochemistry, UC Santa Cruz); Natalie Chavez (molecular biology, Brown); Katherine Isaacs (computer science, UC Davis); Danielle Lemi (political science, UC Riverside); and Simon Howard (psychology, Tufts University). In addition, Amanda Shores (molecular biology, University of North Carolina) was notified two months ago that she was awarded an NSF fellowship retroactively.

Ngoc-Han Tran

Forum Highlights Excellence in Student Research

student with working in a lab

Ngoc-Han Tran (SJSU Research Foundation image)

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

Outstanding research, on topics ranging from an ultrasound-based drug delivery to the true meaning of poetry in the lives of youths, will be honored at the 33rd Annual SJSU Student Research Forum noon April 4 in Engineering 285-287.

The SJSU Office of Graduate Studies and Research and the SJSU Research Foundation will jointly sponsor the event, which features student poster presentations, an awards ceremony, and reception.

These 2012 SJSU Student Research Competition winners will go on to present their work at the CSU Student Research Competition May 4 and 5 at California State University, Long Beach. Cash awards will be provided to the outstanding presenter and the runner-up in both the undergraduate and graduate divisions of each category.

Here’s more on the SJSU students and their faculty mentors.

Biological and Agricultural Sciences

Title: Hybrid P450 Enzymes for the Hydroxylation of Organic Substrates upon Visable Light Activation
Student: Ngoc-Han Tran, undergraduate, Chemistry, College of Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lionel Cheruzel
Description: We have developed hybrid P450 enzymes as biocatalysts for the selective hydroxylation of lauric acid. These enzymes can be valuable for biotechnological applications.

Title: Investigation of the Sensory Signaling Pathway Required for Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) Sensation in Caenorhabditis elegans
Student:  Ben Barsi-Rhyne, undergraduate, Biological Sciences, College of Science
Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Miri VanHoven
Description: An avoidance assay coupled with genetic techniques suggests a unique signal transduction pathway and an unexpected mode of synaptic transmission in Caenorhabditis elegans sensory neurons.

Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Title: Infrared Spectroscopy of Methane and Ethane Ices:  Implications for Planetary and Astronomy Studies
Student: Sarah Lee, undergraduate, Chemistry, College of Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Olenka Hubickyj Cabot
Description: Spectroscopic data of hydrocarbons diluted in nitrogen was recorded over a thermal range for comparison to the observed spectrum of Triton, a moon of Neptune.

Engineering and Computer Sciences

Title: Structural Changes and Imaging Signatures of Acoustically Sensitive Microcapsules for Drug Delivery
Student: Shruthi Thirumalai, graduate, Biomedical Devices, College of Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mallika Keralapura
Description: We are developing an ultrasound-based drug delivery scheme using microcapsules. These are designed to be acoustically sensitive by encapsulating ultrasound contrast agents and drugs. We study their structural changes and imaging signatures under ultrasound.

Humanities and Letters

Title: Home Lost, Home Regained: Locating the Church in Cather’s Fiction
Student:  Alicia McClintic, graduate, English and Comparative Literature, College of Humanities and the Arts
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert Cullen
Description: This essay investigates the relationship of home and church in three novels by the American writer Willa Cather (1873-1947). The novels are O Pioneers!, My Ántonia, and Death Comes for the Archbishop.

Title: The Gallery of Beauties by Moretto de Brescia:  A Case Study of the Renaissance Fresco Cycle
Student: Sarah Dragovich, graduate, Art History, College of Humanities and the Arts
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Christy Junkerman and Dr. Anne Simonson
Description: This project centers on an illusionistic frescoed room displaying eight ideal portraits of women at a time when poets like Firenzuola were assembling an ideal through literature.

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Title: Youth Spoken Word: Expression, Activism and the Cycle of Poetry
Student: Sandra Huerta, undergraduate, Sociology, College of Social Science
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Natalie Boero
Description: She investigated the true meaning of poetry in the lives of youths and the activism that merged from it.

This new view of the Orion nebula highlights fledgling stars hidden in the gas and clouds. It shows infrared observations taken by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's Herschel mission, in which NASA plays an important role.

Physics Department Conducts Interstellar Cloud Research

Two researchers studying the chemistry of interstellar cloud formation sit in front of a computer screen that has a picture of the emission research

Graduate student Michael Turner is working with Dr. Kaufman on a detailed model of shock waves in interstellar gas (Dillon Adams photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Have you ever taken a look at the night sky and wondered how stars and planets are born?

Department of Physics and Astronomy Chair Michael Kaufman does research that guides astronomical observation of nascent stars, recently leading to a major discovery.

“Interstellar space is important because not only is it the material out of which stars form, but it is also the regions into which stars deposit material back once they die,” he said.

Kaufman studies newly-formed stars and their natal clouds, particularly the chemical components of the clouds, including abundant oxygen and carbon atoms.

Last year, he worked with a team of international astronomers on the Herschel Oxygen Project. They used the Herschel Space Observatory to find evidence of molecular oxygen in the Orion Nebula. Previous searches for oxygen molecules came up empty. Kaufman’s physics explained why the oxygen seemed to be missing.

“It’s frozen in many environments,” Kaufman explained. “When it’s stuck to the little dust grains in interstellar clouds, it doesn’t act like a gas, it produces a different spectrum which is extremely difficult to detect. We picked the Orion region since we guessed it might have the conditions to keep oxygen off the dust. And we were right.”

According to Kaufman, molecular oxygen cannot be observed from Earth because its atmosphere block the incoming light.

Instead, astronomers peer into interstellar clouds using telescopes in space like Herschel, which detect infrared and radio light unhindered by the Earth’s atmosphere.

Graduate student Michael Turner is working on a detailed model of shock waves in interstellar gas, one way to produce abundant molecular oxygen molecules, according to Kaufman’s research.

“I’ve been taking the computed physical conditions from our calculations, including the temperature and abundance of oxygen, and use these to compute the predicted intensity of emission from oxygen molecules,” Turner said.

Such work is beneficial for students planning to enter any technical field, not just physics, according to Kaufman.

“Physics and astronomy are unique in that they tackle problems from the subatomic to the scale of the universe,” Kaufman said. “You learn how to think from multiple directions and how to analyze problems. These are skills that are useful in many careers.”

Kaufman and Turner hope to have a paper published on their work. Meanwhile, Kaufman continues work with his colleagues on new Herschel observatory projects to study water and carbon chemistry in interstellar clouds.

A computer screensheet of the homepage of the School of Library and Information Science's Student Research Journal, including a screenshot of a YouTube video

Student-Edited Journal Showcases Research Articles

By Sarah Kyo, Public Affairs Assistant

A computer screensheet of the homepage of the School of Library and Information Science's Student Research Journal, including a screenshot of a YouTube video

The Student Research Journal publishes graduate students’ work in the field of library and information science.

Many students read scholarly articles for their classes, but not all have the opportunity to publish a research journal while still in school.

From the School of Library and Information Science, the Student Research Journal is SJSU’s first student-governed, online, peer-reviewed research journal. Thus far, articles from the first volume of the biannual publication have been downloaded more than 2,000 times.

For the fall/winter issue, published in December 2011, the staff received manuscripts from 11 graduate library school programs, in addition to SJSU, said Anthony Bernier, professor and faculty advisor of the journal.

Student Research Journal’s acronym, SRJ, is pronounced like the word “surge.” Current editor-in-chief Stacey Nordlund said surge illustrates the journal’s intention as an outlet for students to showcase new ideas, theories and practices in library and information science.

“On a broader scale, the same concept — ‘surge’ — is representative of the school’s vision of delivering innovative programs within the context of new and emerging technologies,” she said.

Bernier said the idea for the journal came from the School of Library and Information Science’s desire to encourage a strong research community within the program. He provides assistance and advice to the editor-in-chief and is part of the journal’s editorial advisory board, which consists of faculty members. The decisions and day-to-day upkeep, however, are up to the editors.

“Students control all content and editorial processes. And they do it all virtually,” Bernier said. “We’ve never had a face-to-face meeting and don’t ever plan on one.”

Connecting Online

The editorial team members are based all over North America and beyond, including Japan. Nordlund said they communicate through email and use Blackboard Communicate for monthly meeting and occasional training sessions.

The editor-in-chief and managing editor determine which submissions will proceed to a double-blind peer review process, which is conducted by two or three editors. Submissions are copy-edited before publication.

Nordlund, who has worked on the journal since last August, intends to graduate this May. She said the publication has had a strong impact on her time at SJSU.

“I would like to express my gratitude to the school for allowing me to participate in this forum, which has allowed me to make a contribution to the library and information science field,” she said. “I also want to tip my hat to all of the editors with whom I have worked on SRJ — both past and present — because the quality of work and dedication exhibited by members of the editorial team has been exemplary.”

Inspiring Students

Sandy Hirsh, professor and director of the School of Library and Information Science, said SRJ provides wonderful opportunities for student researchers to apply what they learn and share knowledge with professionals.

“We’re thrilled to have a committed group of our graduate students learn how to manage this type of scholarly publication,” Hirsh said. “We hope it inspires all SJSU students to publish their research in professional journals — as students and throughout their careers.”

The submission deadline for the next issue has passed, but students are still welcome to submit content for future consideration. To find out more about the Student Research Journal and to read submission guidelines, visit the journal’s website.

Kevin Jordan and colleagues in flight simulator

SJSU Receives $73.3 Million Award to Participate in NASA Research

Kevin Jordan and colleagues in flight simulator

Kevin Jordan (front) with Tom Prevot (back left) and Vern Battiste (SJSU Research Foundation photo).

Cooperative Agreement Seeks to Enhance Safety and Efficiency of Air and Space Travel

Contact: Pat Lopes Harris, SJSU Media Relations, 408-656-6999

SAN JOSE, Calif., — The NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., has selected San Jose State University Research Foundation for a five-year, $73.3 million cooperative agreement to participate in the development of systems for improving the safety and efficiency of air and space travel. NASA scientists, along with SJSU faculty members and graduate students, will collaborate on this effort, funded by the largest federal award in SJSU history. The principal investigator will be Professor of Psychology and of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Kevin Jordan.

“San Jose State University is both proud and grateful to be selected to partner in Human System Integration Research at NASA Ames,” Jordan said.  “We are proud of the many accomplishments during our 26-year collaboration.  We are grateful for the opportunity to build on that collaboration to meet the design challenges of initiatives such as the Next Generation Air Transportation System and the Space Launch System. We are well positioned to face those challenges and we are committed to partnering with Human Systems Integration researchers in advancing NASA missions.”

This cooperative agreement will build upon Jordan’s 26-year association working with NASA to conduct research focusing on human factors in aeronautics and space exploration. A human factor is a physical or cognitive property that is specific to humans and influences functioning of technological systems.  Human Systems Integration Research studies how relationships between humans and machines can be optimized.

Under this cooperative agreement, San Jose State students and employees will work side-by-side with NASA scientists on a range of projects.  Examples include the Next Generation Air Transportation System, which seeks to modernize the nation’s air traffic system by increasing the capacity and safety of U.S. airspace and the Space Launch System, an advanced heavy-lift launch vehicle designed to take a crew vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth’s orbit and beyond.

The proposed projects will investigate the integration of unique human capabilities with future flight-deck (cockpit), air-traffic control, and mission planning and scheduling technologies. An important aspect of this award is that it will further SJSU and NASA’s efforts to provide graduate students with academic and professional training.

Dr. Kevin Jordan

In the past year, Jordan has overseen three cooperative agreements with NASA representing more than $10 million in funding and employing 75 researchers, including graduate students working toward degrees in psychology and human factors in ergonomics. Jordan has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in visual perception at San Jose State since 1984. During his career, Jordan has authored proposals resulting in over $125 million in funding to support collaborative research in aerospace human systems integration.

The San Jose State University Research Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation established to enable and promote externally-funded programs that further SJSU’s comprehensive educational mission, impact, and public benefit. Each year hundreds of local, state, and federal agencies, businesses, and other organizations partner with the research foundation to engage SJSU faculty and other university specialists to perform basic and applied research, public service and community projects, consulting, and other specialized educational activities impacting the region, the nation and the world.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 28,000 students and 3,190 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

Winncy with the multifinger robot, which is almost as big as she is

Video: Giving Earthquakes the Multi-Finger

Professor Winncy Du’s lab is riddled with robots. One mows lawns without an operator. Others assemble tiny biomedical devices, play catch with you, or help disabled people feed themselves using voice commands. And her pipe-climbing “multi-finger” robot may one day save lives.

Thousands of miles of utility pipes around the country transport water, fuel, waste, and communication and power cables underground. Developing a reliable way to inspect these pipes for damage is critical. Just consider the 2010 San Bruno natural gas pipeline explosion that razed 38 homes and killed eight people. And up to 75 percent of earthquake-related property losses are due to buildings’ non-structural elements, including utility pipes.

With funding from a National Science Foundation grant, Du and her student team within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have already won awards for their robotic system. The “multi-finger” robot can perform utility pipe inspections automatically after earthquakes—and even before disaster strikes.

Read this story and more in the winter 2012 issue of Washington Square Magazine.

male researcher holding a syringe-like instruments over a plate in a lab full of equipment

Will Tapioca Pearl-Like Solution Streamline Chemistry Research?

student in lab in background, soft drink bottles with pearls floating inside in foreground

Gummy balls, similar to these floating in a soft drink, might hold the key to finding a way to reuse enzymes using methods being tested by researcher John Kim, Chemistry '11 (Ryan Whitchurch photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Enzyme-catalyzed reactions are vital to the agricultural, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries, and are important in speeding up the rate of chemical reactions in organic chemistry.

However, Professor of Organic Chemistry Roy Okuda says there’s a two-fold problem with enzymes, which are protein molecules in plants or animals that cause specific reactions to happen.

“The current method of encasing enzymes is through a silica-based material, which has been a challenge for us to work with,” Okuda said. “Also, some of the more useful enzymes in chemistry today are expensive and you can use them only once.”

Four years ago, Huan Nguyen, Chemistry ’06, came up with a concept that could change all of that. Nguyen hypothesized that it might be possible to reuse enzymes extracted from marine seaweed and encased in porous balls similar to boba, the small tapioca balls in many Asian drinks.

Department of Chemistry researchers have been testing this simple but revolutionary approach ever since. John Kim, Chemistry ’11, has been able to reuse one enzyme six times. Testing whether the enzyme is active in the balls involves colored chemicals.

“If the color changes in the solution then we know that the enzyme is still trapped in the ball and it’s working,” Kim said. “That’s my way to check how many times it takes for the enzyme to die or leak out.”

The team is in the process of quantifying the experiment and testing other applications of the encased enzymes. Members include senior chemistry majors Daniel Pacheco, Quoc Dang and Thu Le, plus Nikhita Tulsi, Chemistry ’11.

The experiments are directly related to what Okuda covers in his lectures, and give graduate students research experience and lab hours. The team hopes to publish a paper soon, and present their work at the College of Science Research Day in early May.

“Hopefully we can create a system that is reusable so that we can use it on actual experiments and go beyond the research lab,” Kim said.

Passengers boarding VTA light rail.

Rep. Lofgren Applauds $3.5 Million Federal Transit Grant

Passengers boarding VTA light rail.

The SJSU-led consortium will serve the public transportation industry through research, education and workforce development, and technology transfer activities.

CONTACT: Stacey Leavandosky,  202-225-3072

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $3.49 million to a San Jose State University-led consortium to develop and advance public transportation research and education. The consortium members represent a diverse group of universities, including Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ; Howard University in Washington, DC; University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, MI; Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI; Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH; University of Toledo in Toledo, OH; University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas, NV; and Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA.

Congresswoman Lofgren led an effort, in collaboration with San Jose State University’s Mineta Transportation Institute, to secure the funding.

The SJSU-led consortium will serve the public transportation industry through research, education and workforce development, and technology transfer activities. Areas of expertise include alternative fuels, safety and security, public policy, finance, workforce development, livable communities, environmental sustainability, economic competitiveness, new modes, and many other critical factors essential to sustainable mobility.

Rep. Lofgren stated, “I want to congratulate San Jose State, as well as the other consortium universities, on receiving this grant funding. Transit options are critical to communities like ours in San Jose, and this investment will lead to important research to keep our public transportation systems running smoothly and safely for all.”

“The Mineta Transportation Institute’s selection by the Secretary of Transportation to lead a nine-university national transit research consortium validates the quality of MTI’s research and education programs. We look forward to helping to create a more sustainable national transportation system for America,” said Rod Diridon, Executive Director Mineta Transportation Institute.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is serving her ninth term in Congress representing most of the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County. Congresswoman Lofgren is Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation consisting of 34 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives from California.