The University of San Francisco: Office of Sponsored Projects
Karentz, Austin Gajewski
Austin Gajewski collecting samples in Antarctica under the guidance of NSF-funded Professor/Researcher Deneb Karentz.
Undergraduate researchers with Claire Castro/William Karney present posters on their work at regional and national conferences. Project funded by the National Science Foundation.
Undergraduate researchers with Claire Castro/William Karney present posters on their work at regional and national conferences. Project funded by the National Science Foundation.
Teacher Resident, Carrie Sanderson, at work in the classroom under the guidance of Prof. Peter Williamson. Projects funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education and AmeriCorps.
Spencer with students
USF students Carolyn Tu & Cendy Valle Osegura harvesting cells in centrifuge in the NIH-funded lab of Prof. Juliet Spencer.

Recent Grant Awards

Monisha BajajMonisha Bajaj, International and Multicultural Education, School of Education, received a grant of $49,554 from the Spencer Foundation. Her project is entitled "Transnational Civic Engagement of Immigrant and Refugee Youth at a Newcomer High School in California." Her research examines how recent immigrant youth engage with notions of rights, citizenship, and civic identity as they integrate into the U.S. and prepare for post-secondary transitions.

Genevieve_LeungGenevieve Leung, Rhetoric and Language, has received a grant from Language Learning for $9,901 for her project "Cantonese English Dual Language Immersion." She and Dr. Yuuko Uchikoshi from the University of California at Davis will look at the linguistic gains, socioemotional impact, and pedagogical achievement​s and challenges of students at a Cantonese-English dual-language elementary school. They will be analyzing cross-sectional data from students in grade​s 1​,​ 3 and 5.

David WolberAlark JoshiAlark Joshi and David Wolber, Computer Science, ​have been awarded a grant of $34,650 from the Google Foundation to conduct a summer workshop, Mobile Computer Science Principles, that will enable San Francisco high school teachers to start courses based on App Inventor and mobile computing. USF students will work in San Francisco schools assisting teachers during the 2015-2016 school year to help sustain a community of practice.

John CallawayJohn Callaway, Environmental Science, will receive $47,982 over three years from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). USGS is the lead on this NASA-funded grant entitled "Developing a National Framework for Carbon Monitoring in Coastal Wetlands." Dr. Callaway will coordinate data compilation and analysis for one of the six national sites (coastal Louisiana) and participate in modeling and synthesis across the remaining sites (Florida Everglades, Chesapeake Bay, Waquoit Bay, San Francisco Bay, and Puget Sound).

Ursula AldanaUrsula Aldana, Leadership Studies, School of Education, has received a 4.5 year grant for $163,000 from the International Baccalaureate Organization, a Swiss foundation. Professor Aldana will collaborate with Dr. Anysia Mayer (CSU Stanislaus) and Dr. Patricia Gandara (UCLA) to examine school outcomes and engagement of high school and postsecondary students from low-income households in California who participate in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program​me​.
Bill HingBill Ong Hing, School of Law, has been awarded a grant from the California Department of Social Services in the amount of $112,000 to provide legal services to unaccompanied, undocumented minors. The Refugee Programs Bureau funds nonprofit legal organizations to provide these services and USF's Immigration Law Clinic will represent 28 minors in Northern California in the next six-month period. Additionally, he has received a subaward in the amount of $86,300 from the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). This support is from a grant funded by the City of San Francisco to provide legal representation to children and families with cases in the San Francisco Immigration Court in 2015, and it will be used to fund the School of Law's Immigration and Deportation Defense Clinic.

William BoslWilliam Bosl, School of Nursing and Health Professions, is receiving a sub award for $26,286 from St. Peter's University Hospital for a project entitled "Piloting Electrophysiological biomarkers for ​autism spectrum disorders (​ASD​)​ and related disorders in premature and ​l​ow birth weight (LBW) infants.” A total award of $56,115 is anticipated​ by the second year of the project. Dr. Bosl is a ​Co-princip​al ​Investigator and is responsible for the project design, analysis of EEG data and mapping of EEG features to behavioral measures of cognitive development. The goal of the project is to find early clinically useful brain-based markers of emerging neurodevelopmental disorders to premature and LBW infants, who are at higher risk for developing autism spectrum disorders and other cognitive disorders.The grant is funded by the New Jersey Governor's Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.

Alexa CurtisAlexa Curtis, School of Nursing and Health Professions, is serving as Co-Investigator on a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant held by the University of California, San Francisco. Dr.Curtis is being awarded $13,905 for the first year of the grant. Total funding for the three-year project is expected to be $42,979. Her role is to assist in the development and integration of the Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) practice model in the nursing curriculum and facilitate the participation of rural practicum sites. She recently has been awarded $149,999 from the State of California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for a two-year grant that will support the development of rural health academic practice partnerships to increase inter-professional training opportunities for USF's nurse practitioner students. Ultimately, funds from this grant will improve the pipeline of healthcare providers for underserved. 

Brad WashingtonChristine YehChristine Yeh and Brad Washington, School of Education, have been awarded a $15,000 grant by the California Department of Education to partner with Chinatown YMCA to develop, implement, and evaluate a culturally responsive language learning program for the Chinese immigrant community in San Francisco's Chinatown. This program will also support community capacity building, intergenerational family relationships, cultural transitions, and career development.

Desiree ZerqueraDesiree Zerquera, Leadership Studies, School of Education, and Resident Directors Jason Pender, Elliot DeVore and Kathleen Bailey have been awarded $1,500 to further develop an assessment project that will examine the experiences of students at USF and the effectiveness of the Student Housing and Residential Education (SHaRE) Community Development Model. ​This one-year grant has been awarded by NASPA Region VI - the Western Region of the Association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Peter Honigsberg

Peter Honigsberg, School of Law, received $40,000 from the Levinson Foundation to support the Witness to Guantanamo project. Its purpose is to collect and share the stories of Guantanamo detainees and other witnesses to document and expose human rights and rule of law violations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 9/11. The project offers the public and policymakers the rare opportunity to witness how Guantanamo's presence has impacted countless lives through moving and intense conversations with former detainees and their families; prison guards; chaplains; interrogators; habeas and JAG attorneys; interpreters; FBI and CIA agents; medical personnel; psychologists; high-ranking government and military officials. The project has currently filmed interviews with 121 people in 18 countries.Additionally, this project is also supported by grants from the Sigrid Rausing Trust which awarded a three-year grant for approximately $482,640 in October 2014; the Samuel Rubin Foundation which awarded another $5,000 for the fifth year in June 2015; the Annita Roddick Foundation which awarded $57,967 on July 2014; and the Oak Foundation which awarded $100,000 on March 2015.

Juliet SpencerJuliet Spencer, Biology, has been awarded a three year NIH grant in the amount of $424,783. With funds from this NIH grant, Dr. Spencer and her student researchers will be studying the molecular interactions between human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) and the immune system. This will aid in the future development of an HCMV vaccine and could also identify new anti-viral drug targets. This is Dr. Spencer's fourth consecutive NIH grant. Additionaly, she has been awarded a two-year grant of $300,000 from The Avon Foundation. Dr. Spencer will ​examine the role of a cytokine from human cytomegalovirus that will lay the groundwork for a possible new diagnostic screen that could save lives and improve treatment options for breast cancer patients. This grant provides a valuable opportunity for USF students to participate in cutting-edge research and use state-of-the-art equipment.

Richard Callahan

Richard Callahan, School of Management, has been awarded a $22,000 grant from the Sierra Health Foundation as part of a $160,000 grant, to be co-director of their upcoming Leadership Program. He will direct the design and deliver the program with Dr. Kenneth Kizer, Director of the Institute for Population Health Improvement and Professor in the Medical School of the University of California, Davis. USF Dean Judy Karshmer is scheduled to be one of the expert leadership presenters. The leadership program is for 12 days over six months for 20 nonprofit health leaders and emerging leaders. It will focus on improving health access and health equity in the 26 county northern California Region served by the Sierra Health Foundation.

Judith KarshmerJudith Karshmer, School of Nursing and Health Professions, along with the Veterans’ Affairs of Northern California Health Care System (VANCHCS), has been awarded a five-year federal grant funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs. The grant will enable SONHP to provide priority admission to ​​veterans who are clinically ready to begin an undergraduate BSN program. The VA Nursing Academic Partnership will provide a sustained flow of baccalaureate-prepared nurses at all 11 sites within VANCHCS. Dean Karshmer expects that 20 students will be admitted in fall 2014 and 20 students each fall for the next four years. SONHP will receive $232,000 to support 2.5 faculty positions this year. Funding will increase to support five faculty positions in the subsequent four years.

Wanda BorgesMary Kate WoodWanda Borges and Mary Kate Wood, School of Nursing and Health Professions, have received a Nursing Faculty Loan Program award of $209,972 from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The award will support 20 scholarships in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Recently, USF's DNP program was ranked first among non-HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) for having an excellent program in place for minority students. SONHP expects that these scholarships will enable them to recruit underrepresented students for the doctorate. Additionally, they received a grant from California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Department ​for​ $153,000​ to provide​ eight educational stipends to doctoral students in the psychiatric mental health nursing program ​over​ the next three and half years. ​This grant will support students who are committed to working in the public mental health system and prepare them to deliver mental health services that promote wellness, recovery, and resilience. SONHP will encourage ​the enrollment of ​individuals with consumer and family experience in the public mental health system ​and recruit students who are culturally competent and/or have life experience with the public mental health system​.

Gretchen CoffmanGretchen Coffman, Environmental Sciences, has been awarded a one-year grant from the National Geographic Society for her project "Restoration of Critically Endangered Cypress Trees of Laos" in the amount of $19,532. Dr. Coffman was invited to apply for this grant. It will support her team of international researchers and USF students. They will locate living stands of cypress within a national protected area in Laos and collect seeds to propagate the trees and restore wetland ecosystems. The team will work with wildlife protection authorities and villagers to educate them about the value of conserving these trees for their community. Also, she received another $5,000 grant from the Chicago Zoological Society for the same project. The grant supports a stipend for a Southeast Asian wildlife conservation expert and the development and distribution of educational training materials for local stakeholders. Community engagement is the key to protecting the cypress stands and maintaining the wetland habitat for threatened wildlife species.

Yaniv StopnitzkyYaniv Stopnitzky, Economics, received $99,999 from the BASIS project at the University of California, Davis, which is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He and his colleagues from partner institutions--the University of Dar Es Salaam and the University of Alaska--will test a novel approach to improving the way that small-scale fisheries are managed. Over 18 months, the team will implement experimental games as a pedagogical tool for training individuals and communal organizations in how to participate effectively in local fishery management. The project will reduce overfishing and improve the well-being of the many fishing-dependent, rural communities in Tanzania. 

William Karney

Claire CastroClaire Castro and William Karney, Environmental Science and Chemistry,received the first year of funding from the National Science Foundation for a grant that will total $197,748. This funding will enable them to continue their research in dehydroannulenes, phenylenes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. The three-year grant will provide training for undergraduate students in many aspects of computational organic chemistry and will benefit underrepresented groups in science. This is the third NSF grant for the Castro-Karney research team.

David UminskyDavid Uminsky, Mathematics, has received an NSF grant for three years for $149,994 for his project "Dynamics and Pattern Formation of Non-local Collective Motion and Assembly." This is a Research for Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) award in partnership with Dr. James von Brecht at UCLA. They will be studying pattern formation and related phenomena that occur in systems with a large number of "particles" driven by non-local collective motion laws. The math of these particle systems pervades many disciplines, appearing in models in physics, chemistry and biology to control theory and engineering. Two undergraduate students will contribute to the research and participate in summer study at UCLA.

Sami RollinsSami Rollins, Computer Science, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support students at U.S. institutions who will attend the 4th Networking Networking Women (N2Women) Workshop. The conference will be held at the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication in Chicago in August 2014. Student participants will consist of underrepresented graduate students who will be exposed to state-of-the-art research and have the opportunity to interact with leading researchers and fellow graduate students. She also has a three year NSF grant of $179,863 for a project to encourage broader adoption of renewable energy sources which is key to minimizing our dependence on the electric grid and fossil fuels. The project will provide an improved understanding of energy consumption and generation in homes, particularly green homes. Dr. Rollins, along with her collaborator, Dr. Nilanjan Banerjee at the University of Arkansas, will conduct a broad study of 15 homes which are both grid-tied and off-grid, and powered by a variety of renewable sources. They will study energy generation and how it is consumed and ;conduct research critical to encouraging the adoption of more environmentally responsible practices in the home.

Deneb Karentz

Deneb Karentz, Biology and Environmental Science, received an NSF grant for $229,625 for "Collaborative Research: Functional Genomics and Physiological Ecology of Seasonal Succession in Antarctic Phytoplankton: Adaptations to Light and Temperature," This project wil investigate the genomic basis of the physiological and ecological transition of Antarctic marine phytoplankton from a cold dark winter to a warmer, brighter spring. During a field season, functional genomics and in situ fluorometry will be integrated with classical ecological methods to investigate photosynthetic adaptation that occurs during phytoplankton species succession. She is collaborating with the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Nevada.On April 2014, she was awarded a supplemental fund of $8,588 from the NSF to enable her to attend the 2014 and 2015 meetings of the Committee on Environmental Protection as a private sector advisor to the US government delegation. The CEP is an advisory group to the Parties of the Antarctic Treaty, providing science, policy advice and recommendations to implement the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty System. This funding brings Dr. Karentz's total award to $241,813.

Courtney KeelerCourtney Keeler, School of Nursing and Health Professions, has been awarded the second year of funding through a subaward from the University of California, San Francisco. She will receive $56,275 over a three year period for her participation on an NIH grant entitled the "Economic Impact of Tobacco Taxes in the African American Community."


John Sullivan newJohn Sullivan, Biology, just received a ;two year grant from the National Institutes of Health for $296,713. He is researching the disease schistosomiasis, which afflicts approximately 200 million persons in developing countries. The disease is caused by several species of schistosome blood flukes which develop in compatible species of freshwater snails. Compatibility between schistosomes and their snail intermediate hosts is determined in part by the outcome of the interaction of the larval parasite with the host's innate immune system, and in incompatible snails the larval schistosome parasites are attacked and killed by immune cells. As in other innate immune systems, that of the vector snail Biomphalaria glabrata is thought to rely on recognition of common pathogen-associated molecules by receptors on these immune cells. The specific aims of the proposed research are to identify one or more specific pathogen-associated molecules to which the innate immune system of B. glabrata responds, and then to characterize this response at the molecular level.

David WolberDavid Wolber, Computer Science, has been awarded an NSF grant entitled "Collaborative Research in Computational Thinking through Mobile Computing". This collaborative project involves MIT, Wellesley College, the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and Trinity College, and is for three years in the amount of $565,836.USF's award is for $94,839. The goal is to motivate more students to learn the fundamentals of computing by enabling them to build apps for phones and tablets. The project leverages App Inventor, a new visual programming tool for building mobile apps and will focus on the creation of on-line, Khan Academy-like teaching resources.

Christian ThompsonChristian Thompson, Kinesiology, has been awarded a seventh year of funding in the amount of $50,733 from On Lok Day Services, a non-profit social service organization. He is participating in a citywide health promotion program for San Francisco seniors to enhance their well-being and health at 2 different senior centers. Dr. Thompson offers both fall prevention maintenance, wellness trainer workshops and outreach activities through the Always Active community program. This grant is funded by the City and County of San Francisco's Department of Aging and Adult Services.

Nancy Glenn

Nancy Glenn, Training Director for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), has received a grant from the American Psychological Association in the amount of $25,036. The purpose of the grant is to provide financial support for the pursuit of APA accreditation of USF's well-established internship program in the local Bay Area. This will enable the internship program to achieve national recognition and attract a more diverse range of applicants. With accreditation status, graduating interns will have access to a wider range of professional opportunities.

Alessandra CassarAlessandra Cassar, Economics, has received a $60,000 grant from the Levi Strauss Foundation. This invitational grant is to pilot a field experiment in Italy to identify optimal asset building products for poor populations. Dr. Cassar will study financial exclusion of the poor and their lack of access to products to the to help them save their way out of economic and social marginalization. The field experiments are designed to measure the demand, use and impact of three formal savings devices and to investigate the combination of flexibility and commitment offered by these service to poor borrowers.


Click here to view previous grant awards.