Research News and Stories

SJSU Wildfire Scientists Trailblaze Unprecedented Canyon Fire Research

October 26, 2022

This week, researchers from the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center (WIRC) at San José State University conducted an unparalleled experiment to study extreme fire behavior and fast-moving fire spread in steep canyons. It is the first time a canyon wildfire study of this magnitude has been undertaken anywhere in the world.

SJSU Expands Applied Research to Real World Solutions with Startup Incubator: SpartUp

September 23, 2022

San José State University launched its first business incubator, SpartUp, on Thursday, Sept.  22, in front of an estimated 200 students and prospective partners at SJSU’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

Three SJSU Faculty Awarded Prestigious NSF CAREER Awards

June 21, 2022

San José State University is making an impact in crucial areas of research, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) has recognized three faculty members with the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award for their outstanding work. 

SJSU Poised to Contribute to Cleaner, More Cost Efficient Energy Work Within Manufacturing Sector

June 13, 2022

San José State University’s Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering received an important funding award from the U.S. Department of Energy this spring that will allow the college to play a substantive technical role in Silicon Valley’s green energy arena.

Victory for Health Activism; SJSU Student Wins at CSU-Wide Research Competition

May 11, 2022

Justise Wattree, ’23 Humanities, has always wanted to be a researcher, and his recent first-place finish at the 2022 California State University (CSU) Research Competition solidified that on April 29–30. The competition showed him that he has not only the skills to successfully pursue research as a career but also that his research has an impact — “which is what matters to me the most,” he said.

Celebration of Research Event Salutes Faculty and Student Success

April 18, 2022

From digital art installations to wildfire tornadoes to eco-friendly chemical reactions, San José State University honored an array of research, scholarship and creative activity on April 14.

What Can Be Done in 3 Minutes?  Graduate Students Face Off in 2022 Grad Slam

April 18, 2022

It’s that time of year again, when spring has sprung and San José State University’s brightest minds tackled some of the world’s toughest problems in three minutes. 

What Early-Career Funding Means to 3 SJSU Researchers

February 21, 2022

As part of its strategic plan, San José State University is investing time and resources to help faculty secure funding for cutting-edge research. Recently, three faculty members in the College of Science secured grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

H&A in San José to Connect Spartan Creatives with Community Partners

February 9, 2022

How can artists in San José partner with San José State University faculty members and community members to bring ideas to life? 

Mohamed Abousalem Picked by Governor to Represent CSU on Board Advancing Stem Cell Research

February 9, 2022

San José State University and the California State University’s (CSU) efforts in stem cell research has earned the CSU a spot on the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) governing board. Earlier this week, SJSU Vice President for Research and Innovation Mohamed Abousalem was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to represent the CSU on the Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee of the CIRM. 

How Alcohol and Stress Impact Parenting During a Pandemic

January 18, 2022

Raising children during the pandemic isn’t easy. Combine that with the effects of alcohol, and it could lead to a more punitive approach to parenting, according to one San José State University researcher. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jennifer Price Wolf, associate professor of social work at SJSU, has studied just how these factors play a role in the way parents address child misbehavior. Her work was published in two research journals in 2021.

How a 'Lucky Accident' Contributed to Nobel Prize-Winning Research

December 1, 2021

How exactly do we experience touch, temperature and pain? It’s a riddle that’s puzzled humans throughout history. In October, the Nobel Prize was awarded to two scientists who answered that very question. But they might not have been able to do so without the expertise of Katie Wilkinson, associate professor of biology at San José State University.

Jessica Castillo Vardaro: Uplifting Latino/a Students

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. 

SJSU Students use Bioinformatics to Study How Living Organisms React to Space Travel

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.

NSF Grant to Accelerate Wildfire Research at SJSU

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).

SJSU Students Use Data to Help Serve City's Most Vulnerable Communities

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.

San Jose Art Project Illustrates a Safe Emergence from 'COVID Bubbles'

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.”

How Diamonds Could Unlock the Secrets of Quantum Physics

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.

How To Do Your Part During One of California’s Worst Droughts Yet

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.

SJSU Assistant Professor Awarded CSU STEM-NET Faculty Fellowship

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. 

Social Work Professor Finds Online Substance-Abuse Prevention Programs Work During a Pandemic

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.

Two SJSU Social Sciences Professors Receive Prestigious Research Fellowships

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.  

SJSU Undergrad Wins at Annual CSU Research Competition

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. 

Two SJSU Students Win at CSU-Wide Research Competitions

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.

Celebration of Research Event Honors Investigators, Highlights Creativity

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.

Computer Engineering Faculty Receives NSF Grant to Protect Biometric Data

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.

Making an Impact on Earth Day and Beyond: A Conversation with Climate Scientist Eugene Cordero

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.

SJSU Fire Weather Research Workshop Highlights Advances in Wildfire Prediction and Tracking

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.

Geology Professor Kim Blisniuk Unearths New Information About Southern California’s Next “Big One”

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.

SJSU Researchers Launch New COVID-19 Economic Dashboard for Silicon Valley

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.

Lurie College Case Study Illuminates Unequal Access to Internet in Central California Amid COVID-19

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.

New Study Sheds Light on Endangered Seabirds and the Need for International Protection

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.

Electrical Engineering Faculty Receives NSF CAREER Award for Cryogenic Electronics Research

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.

Research Shows Lockdowns Did Not Decrease Park Visits

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.

SJSU Establishes the Nation’s Largest Academic Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center

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.