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San Diego State University

Innovation and Discovery

Discover the many facets of SDSU’s dynamic research enterprise.

  • The virus, named crAssphage, has about 10 times as many base pairs of DNA as HIV.
  • On the left is a coral-covered reef. On the right is one dominated by algae.
  • A graph depicting Google Flu Trends.
  • The cell death pathway evolved some 500 million years ago.
  • A Blue-winged Mountain-Tanager.
  • The BTrackS system in action.

A Novel Virus in Half the Population

SDSU virologists and biologists have identified a highly abundant, never-before-described virus that could play a major role in obesity, diabetes.

Rethinking the Reef

In a new study, an SDSU biologist dove deep into how algal and coral cover affect the microscopic life that call the reef home.

Finding Real Value for Public Health in Big Data

Big claims from big data haven’t yet been realized, but don’t lose hope—minor tweaks can dramatically improve a popular algorithm’s validity.

Cellular Self-Destruction

A new study finds that humans and corals share a key biomechanical pathway that tells cells when to die.

Dazzling Colors and Pretty Songs

A songbird study counters the notion of evolutionary trade-offs between showy attributes.

Balancing Out Concussions

An affordable, reliable device created by SDSU researchers will help trainers assess the risk of concussion.

    Areas of Excellence

    In moving forward with the Strategic Plan, the San Diego State University faculty responded wonderfully to the call for key areas of excellence. Of the 28 full proposals submitted, the following four were selected:

    Climate and Sustainability Studies

    This area of excellence provides an opportunity for SDSU to fill the gap in a few critical interdisciplinary research fields to complement existing expertise and to leverage the SDSU capability for solving important and pressing climate and sustainability issues at both regional and global scales. The proposed hire of four faculty members will help SDSU achieve four main objectives: 1) fill critical expertise gaps in the current SDSU excellence of research and teaching in the area of climate and sustainability studies, 2) enable the SDSU faculty to have the capacity to successfully compete for the interdisciplinary call for interdisciplinary, block, and center funding from federal and other agencies, 3) form a unique regional resource in a critical area, and 4) equip SDSU undergraduate and graduate students to successfully tackle the urgent and challenging climate and sustainability problems faced by human societies at both regional and global scales in the 21st century.

    Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience

    This area of excellence builds upon SDSU’s strengths in human behavioral neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology, and leverages existing faculty expertise in human neuroscience methods such as neuroimaging, the campus expertise in the application of these methods to clinical populations with brain-based disorders, as well as in neurotypical populations from childhood to old age. The overarching goal of our proposed area of excellence is to address susceptibility to cognitive changes and recovery of function across the lifespan with focus on brain-behavior relations. New area of excellence faculty hires would target cognitive and/or clinical neuroscientists with expertise in neural plasticity, neurocognitive effects of intervention (evidence-based practice) and recovery, and human neurogenetics.

    Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age

    This area of excellence addresses the opportunities that spring from the convergence of new developments in spatial science, mobile technology, big data, and social behavior research. There is a growing recognition of the importance of spatial and temporal dynamic relationships in explaining processes relevant to human behaviors, public health, and social activities, which has become known as the “spatial turn”.  A maturing of mobile technology and smart phone devices enables social scientists to collect data on human activities and behavior digitally and to transform their research from qualitative analysis to computational modeling, simulation, and predictions with the focus on dynamic spatial and temporal relationships.

    Viral Information Institute

    The goals of the Viromics Information Institute, “VII”, are to study the interactions between the virosphere and the biosphere, in order to understand how viruses affect all aspects of the biosphere and to be able to manipulate such interactions in order to benefit human health as well as the health of the environment. SDSU’s VII comprises a unique cross-disciplinary collaborative research collective of investigators across three colleges. The members of the VII institute will continue their commitment to discovery-based learning, by providing an environment where undergraduates can participate in meaningful independent research projects and by continuing to pursue funding to expand such opportunities.

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