Assistant Professor School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences San Diego State University
Assistant Professor School of Art and Design San Diego State University
Title: Development of a Wearable Interface Prototype for Olfactory Training in COVID-19 Infection Related Smell Loss.
Our project aims to develop an olfactory wearable interface to deliver Olfactory Training treatment for smell loss recovery in adults with COVID-19-related smell dysfunction. Smell loss is a widely reported clinical symptom of COVID-19. While some patients report olfactory recovery within weeks, a large percentage are considered smell-long-haulers with persistent smell dysfunction ranging from complete smell loss to a distorted sense of smell. The only promising non-surgical treatment that allows postinfectious regeneration of olfactory neurons and improves smell function is olfactory training. For the olfactory training to be effective, patients are required to sniff a set of odorants repeatedly and mindfully for ~5 minutes, twice a day for 12-56 weeks. The training kit, however, is impractical for use on the go, and patients show lower adherence due to the complexity of the training process. This project will allow us to develop a novel instrument to facilitate the efficient delivery of odors to patients undergoing olfactory training and increase patient adherence, thus improving the expected success with the treatment. Our investigative team consists of experts from the smell loss and sensory nutrition area and engineering and wearable technology design area. This interdisciplinary team will take a user-centered design approach to first collect stakeholder input on our proposed wearable prototype design and then develop and test a prototype for a wearable device that will integrate personalized olfactory stimuli in a portable format. Beyond improving COVID-related smell loss, the development of wearable prototypes may open doors for a wide variety of applications, including improving cognitive health in the aging population, treating depression, improving diet to prevent metabolic disorders, etc. With this project, we also hope to engage women and underrepresented minorities in STEM and Art fields to work together and gain novel hands-on experience in designing, developing, and testing the wearable prototype.
Assistant Professor College of Agriculture Chico State University
Assistant Professor Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Chico State University
Lecturer Department of Media Arts, Design, and Technology Chico State University
Assistant Professor College of Communication and Education Chico State University
Title: Making Climate Change Research Accessible: Using Visual Design & Storytelling to leverage STEM learning
This project aims to improve STEM literacy and climate change awareness among undergraduate students through interdisciplinary collaborations (Agriculture, Engineering, Visual Design, and Education). The project will use a regenerative agriculture soils experiment to investigate how to best engage students in place-based climate change research. This pilot project will involve analyzing data using unique visualizations and storytelling techniques that can communicate the findings effectively to various stakeholders. The project will also explore how arts and visual design can play a critical role in climate change solutions, narrative building, and storytelling. The project will contribute to addressing issues of global interest and ecological justice by connecting students to the essential role of climate change science in their local communities. The next phase will expand the pilot education model to include more climate change topics at CSU, Chico (e.g., energy, solar, transit, etc.).
Associate Professor Department of Kinesiology San Francisco State University
Professor Department of Public Health San Francisco State University
Associate Professor School of Engineering San Francisco State University
Assistant Professor School of Engineering San Francisco State University
Title: Development of a physical frailty assessment system though a socio-technical lens
This STEM-NET Faculty Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research SEED Grant will integrate user-centered design and ethical considerations with mobile and wearable sensor technologies to develop a valid and practical solution for physical frailty assessment. This will be achieved through a strong convergent research team with deep interdisciplinary expertise from computer engineering, kinesiology, medical sociology, and health equity.
The Xiào system mobile application (孝, Chinese for filial piety) will be designed and developed using a co-creation approach, which will allow older adults to bring forward unique ideas and experiences that the research team may not have. In addition, a unobtrusive wearable sensor will be used to collect kinematic data from older adults with different physical frailty levels and a new machine learning-based frailty assessment system will be developed and evaluated.
The technico-medical approach taken in this project will provide clinicians with objective data about frailty status that can help them make informed decisions to achieve an optimal outcome for their patients, while reducing stigma and stereotyping and further isolating vulnerable individuals.
Assistant Professor Department of Speech-Language Pathology Cal State San Marcos
Professor and Department Chair Department of Speech-Language Pathology Cal State San Marcos
Associate Professor and Department Chair Department of Speech-Language Pathology Cal State San Marcos
Associate Professor Department of Engineering Cal State San Marcos
Title: Development of a non-invasive method to measure tongue strength and laryngeal movement during swallowing
Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) refers to any abnormality of swallowing that occurs within the upper digestive tract. It is most prevalent in the elderly and can lead to serious medical and health complications if left undiagnosed and unmanaged. The evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders falls within the scope of practice of a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The most common practice is to begin a swallowing evaluation with a clinical examination which involves low-tech tools (e.g., tongue depressor, penlight, palpation) and food/liquid (i.e., bolus) to observe basic structure and function of the swallowing mechanism. Patients or clients who present with signs or symptoms of OD that cannot be properly or effectively assessed or managed through this methodology would then be referred for an instrumental examination involving videofluoroscopy (VF) and/or endoscopy (ED). Both VF and ED allow the SLP to view the swallowing mechanism in real-time while making various measurements and observations of the structures, timing, and flow of the bolus through the oropharyngeal pathway. While these high-tech instruments offer many advantages, imaging tools are costly, require specialized training, and are almost exclusively found in acute care medical facilities (e.g., hospitals). SLPs working in long-term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, private practices, outpatient clinics, and home health may not have these tools readily accessible to them, and due to challenges in managed/health care, patients and clients in these settings may not be approved for these important services in a timely manner. As such, development of new tools to more objectively measure and manage swallowing disorders in clinical settings is essential.
The purpose of the current study is to develop a non-invasive method using novel tools such as optical motion capture and a wearable intraoral (i.e., inside of the mouth) sensor system to measure specific aspects of swallowing physiology useful to clinical practice, specifically laryngeal movement and tongue pressure. To evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of these novel tools, data collected from these measures will also be analyzed and correlated with findings simultaneously obtained from sEMG and instrumentation allowing for visualization of the swallowing mechanism, specifically ED. Young and older healthy controls will be tested in this study as well as adults with acquired brain injuries (e.g., stroke) who have either a functional swallow or a dysphagia. There is immense clinical utility in developing cost-effective, readily accessible, valid, and reliable tools that can be easily employed by SLPs at bedside to assess swallow function. Such measures would complement SLPs’ own clinical observations of swallowing with an objective method to better predict the likelihood of dysphagia in a patient or client. This would ultimately result in better clinical decision-making related to dysphagia care, which would be of great benefit to countless clients experiencing OD as well as to other stakeholders in healthcare.
Associate Professor Department of Biology Fresno State University
Professor Department of Linguistics Fresno State University
Assistant Professor School of Education and Human Development Fresno State University
Title: Native Plants, Places and People in Central California: Linking STEM Education to Local Cultural and Linguistic Diversity: $24,820.
Our overarching goal with this research project is to bring cultural identities back into science. During the STEM-NET funding period, our main goal is for undergraduate student assistants and faculty investigators to gather local ethnobotanical information. We will work with members of local Native American groups with whom we have an existing relationship through language documentation (in particular, the Chukchansi language documentation and revitalization project) to gather the native names of local plants, the native toponymy (place names) of the areas where these plants grow, and techniques for gathering the plants and methods for preparing materials and foods. The linguistic and ethnobotanical information about these local plant species will be entered into the Mukurtu platform, which gives indigenous communities the ability to manage and share cultural information. We will link this cultural information to scientific information about native plants via a connection to the CalFlora database, and via links to plant specimen-derived data such as local geographic distributions from the Fresno State Herbarium online database. This project is interdisciplinary, spanning expertise in plant biology, STEM education, anthropology, and linguistics. In the longer term, we will use the outcomes of this grant to apply for a larger NSF grant, which will permit us to design a new transdisciplinary undergraduate course at Fresno State that combines the power of science, language, and people to facilitate more effective STEM education.
Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Engineering Cal State Long Beach
Assistant Professor Department of Design Cal State Long Beach
Associate Professor Department of Biological Sciences Cal State Long Beach
Title: Secret Life of Larvae: interdisciplinary investigations of design principles supporting phenotypic plasticity during marine invertebrate development
Our team will study the phenotypic plasticity during larval development of the Pacific sand dollar (Dendraster excentricus) from biological, engineering, and design perspectives. Phenotypic plasticity is a single organism’s ability to possess many different phenotypes based on its interactions with the environment. Our research is motivated by the importance of phenotypic plasticity as a first response mechanism for organisms coping with climate change. In this project, we seek to investigate the biological consequences of phenotypic plasticity complemented through biomechanical analyses of larval form and hydrodynamic performance and analysis of design principles. Moreover, we seek to communicate our discoveries through engaging and interactive art exhibits. These exhibits will inform the public of the importance of biodiversity and emerging climate change threats.
Associate Professor School of Business Cal Poly Humboldt
Assistant Professor Geography, Environment & Spatial Analysis Cal Poly Humboldt
Department Chair and Professor Geography, Environment & Spatial Analysis Cal Poly Humboldt
Lecturer Geography, Environment & Spatial Analysis Cal Poly Humboldt
Title: Feasibility study for the incorporation of the community of McKinleyville
Over five million Californians live in unincorporated, but highly concentrated population areas that do not offer local control on issues like orderly land use planning, law enforcement, community identity, and multi-modal connections on roads and trails. The purpose of this research study is to gather and analyze information that will help inform the McKinleyville community of the benefits and drawbacks associated with becoming a municipality. The effort not only benefits the McKinleyville community, but also Cal Poly Humboldt as a municipality could promote more student housing options near campus. For the geospatial component of this research effort, our focus will be on the development of boundary alternatives for the proposed city of McKinleyville. A second research objective will be to determine revenue neutrality by preparing a fiscal impact analysis to identify the “similar exchange” of both revenue and the responsibility for service delivery with Humboldt County. The interdisciplinary research effort will involve faculty and students from business, economics, and geography. The STEM-NET grant will support the development of an initial fact-finding report for the McKinleyville Municipal Incorporation Committee and grant writing activities to pursue federal and state planning and technical assistance funding opportunities. We also aspire to develop a fiscal feasibility methodology that can be used to support other unincorporated areas with similar needs across the State of California.