Roswell, GA, United States
Roswell, GA, United States

California State University, Northridge is a public university in the Northridge neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, United States in the San Fernando Valley. CSUN is one of the 23 general campuses of the California State University system. Cal State Northridge is the third largest university in California in terms of enrollment, just behind CSUF and UCLA.It was founded first as the Valley satellite campus of Cal State Los Angeles. It then became an independent college in 1958 as San Fernando Valley State College, with major campus master planning and construction. The University adopted its current name of California State University, Northridge in 1972.CSUN offers a variety of programs including 134 different Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees in 70 different fields, 3 Doctoral degrees including two Doctor of Education and a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and 24 teaching credentials. CSUN enrolls more than 38,000 students and ranks 10 in the U.S. in bachelor's degrees awarded to underrepresented minority students. The university has over 200,000 alumni. Cal State Northridge is home to the National Center on Deafness, and the university hosts the International Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities , which is held each year in San Diego. Wikipedia.

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Comeau S.,Northridge
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Central to evaluating the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reefs is understanding how calcification is affected by the dissolution of CO(2) in sea water, which causes declines in carbonate ion concentration [CO(3)(2-)] and increases in bicarbonate ion concentration [HCO(3)(-)]. To address this topic, we manipulated [CO(3)(2-)] and [HCO(3)(-)] to test the effects on calcification of the coral Porites rus and the alga Hydrolithon onkodes, measured from the start to the end of a 15-day incubation, as well as in the day and night. [CO(3)(2-)] played a significant role in light and dark calcification of P. rus, whereas [HCO(3)(-)] mainly affected calcification in the light. Both [CO(3)(2-)] and [HCO(3)(-)] had a significant effect on the calcification of H. onkodes, but the strongest relationship was found with [CO(3)(2-)]. Our results show that the negative effect of declining [CO(3)(2-)] on the calcification of corals and algae can be partly mitigated by the use of HCO(3)(-) for calcification and perhaps photosynthesis. These results add empirical support to two conceptual models that can form a template for further research to account for the calcification response of corals and crustose coralline algae to OA.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: COMPUTATIONAL MATHEMATICS | Award Amount: 299.95K | Year: 2016

This projects goal is to advance ones ability to use computer simulations to address scientific and technological challenges by employing modeling at microscopic scales using the kinetic Boltzmann equation. Applications of this proposal span the dynamics of gas, plasma, self-organizing systems, networks, and bacterial dynamics. The project will focus on a bottleneck issue in kinetic modeling --- the development of fast methods for high fidelity simulations of particle interactions in rarefied gases. The projects most immediate impact is in the development of novel aerospace technologies and in important U.S. initiatives in the development of clean energy, biotechnology, and new materials. This will be through its applications to computer simulation of devices that either operate in rarefied gas or are manufactured in vacuum. The project will provide training for the STEM workforce by engaging students in research.

Despite of being studied intensely in the last decades, deterministic numerical solutions of the Boltzmann equation continue to be evasive. To achieve a full three-dimensional solution suitable for use in applications, fast scalable adaptive numerical approaches for evaluating the five-fold Boltzmann collision integral need to be devised. This proposal will address these shortcomings by developing convolution formulations of the Boltzmann collision integral based on nodal discontinuous Galerkin (nodal-DG) discretizations in the velocity variable, by developing adaptable nodal-DG wavelet discretizations of the collision operator on octree meshes, and by developing fast algorithms for evaluating the convolution form of the collision integral based on an application of the Fourier transform. The new methods will require at most O(n^6) operations for a fully deterministic evaluation of the Boltzmann collision integral, and will require O(n^5) memory units to store the pre-computed collision kernels, where n is the number of discretization points in one dimension in the velocity space. The new methods will be implemented on parallel architectures and will be scalable. Implementation of this proposal will result in the development of capabilities for producing high-fidelity solutions to the Boltzmann equation, capabilities for producing benchmark solutions and methods for validation of kinetic models. The research activities will result in a new application of nodal-DG wavelets to the approximation of the Boltzmann collision integral.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: BIOLOGICAL OCEANOGRAPHY | Award Amount: 422.81K | Year: 2016

On coral reefs, mutualisms with single celled algae (Symbiodinium) and reef species literally and figuratively form the foundation of reef ecosystems. Coral reefs are among the most threatened ecosystems under a changing climate and are rapidly declining due to increasing levels of environmental stress, namely increased temperatures. Climate change is resulting in even warmer ocean temperatures that threaten associations between Symbiodinium and their hosts. In this project the investigators examine the genetic diversity of Symbiodinium and the potential for this important species to evolve in response to temperature. The project will also address whether the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of the Symbiodinium population affect the performance of their host. If so, this suggests that the evolution of microscopic organisms with short generation times could confer adaptation to longer-lived host species on ecologically and economically vital coral reefs. Given that diversity is already being lost on many reefs, considering how evolutionary changes in Symbiodinium will affect reef species is crucial for predicting the responses of reefs to future climate change. This project provides training for two graduate students and several undergraduates at a Hispanic-serving institution. This work includes outreach to the students and the general public through the Aquarium of Niagara, local K-12 schools, and web-based education modules.

The effects of evolution on contemporary ecological processes are at the forefront of research in evolutionary ecology. This project will answer the call for experiments elucidating the effects of genetic variation in Symbiodinium performance and the effect on the response of the holobiont (host and symbiont) to increased temperature. These experiments examine the effects of temperature through both ecological and evolutionary mechanisms and will determine the relative importance of adaptation and acclimatization in replicated experimental populations. The investigators will examine how genetic variation within a species (Symbiodinium antillogorgium) affects symbiont performance in culture and in the host and how this affects the response of the holobiont to increased temperature. Further, the project examines whether holobiont response to increased temperature associated with climate change depends on particular GxG host-symbiont combinations. Moreover, the investigators will examine the effects of symbiont history on mutualist hosts, which have been largely ignored in eco-evolutionary studies. These experiments provide a first step in predicting whether invertebrate hosts on coral reefs will respond to global change via adaptation of their symbionts.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 1.89M | Year: 2015

Title: Collaborative Research: Ocean Acidification and Coral Reefs - Scale Dependence and Adaptive Capacity

This project focuses on the most serious threat to marine ecosystems, Ocean Acidification (OA), and addresses the problem in the most diverse and beautiful ecosystem on the planet, coral reefs. The research utilizes Moorea, French Polynesia as a model system, and builds from the NSF investment in the Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research Site (LTER) to exploit physical and biological monitoring of coral reefs as a context for a program of studies focused on the ways in which OA will affect corals, calcified algae, and coral reef ecosystems. The project builds on a four-year NSF award with research in five new directions: (1) experiments of year-long duration, (2) studies of coral reefs to 20-m depth, (3) experiments in which carbon dioxide will be administered to plots of coral reef underwater, (4) measurements of the capacity of coral reef organisms to change through evolutionary and induced responses to improve their resistance to OA, and (5) application of emerging theories to couple studies of individual organisms to studies of whole coral reefs. Broader impacts will accrue through a better understanding of the ways in which OA will affect coral reefs that are the poster child for demonstrating climate change effects in the marine environment, and which provide income, food, and coastal protection to millions of people living in coastal areas, including in the United States. Additionally, the research will have broad-reaching and cascading effects at multiple levels associated with public awareness of climate change effects, and the preparation of an American workforce focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. These effects will be realized by basing the research in a 4-year, Hispanic-serving campus California State University Northridge (CSUN) where undergraduates will have strong involvement in the project through classroom instruction and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) opportunities, and postdoctoral, graduate, and technical staff opportunities will be supported. An ongoing program of high school involvement will be extended to include K-12 educators in Moorea, and integration of lesson plans between local schools and CSUN.

This project focuses on the effects of Ocean Acidification on tropical coral reefs and builds on a program of research results from an existing 4-year award, and closely interfaces with the technical, hardware, and information infrastructure provided through the Moorea Coral Reef (MCR) LTER. The MCR-LTER, provides an unparalleled opportunity to partner with a study of OA effects on a coral reef with a location that arguably is better instrumented and studied in more ecological detail than any other coral reef in the world. Therefore, the results can be both contextualized by a high degree of ecological and physical relevance, and readily integrated into emerging theory seeking to predict the structure and function of coral reefs in warmer and more acidic future oceans. The existing award has involved a program of study in Moorea that has focused mostly on short-term organismic and ecological responses of corals and calcified algae, experiments conducted in mesocosms and flumes, and measurements of reef-scale calcification. This new award involves three new technical advances: for the first time, experiments will be conducted of year-long duration in replicate outdoor flumes; CO2 treatments will be administered to fully intact reef ecosystems in situ using replicated underwater flumes; and replicated common garden cultivation techniques will be used to explore within-species genetic variation in the response to OA conditions. Together, these tools will be used to support research on corals and calcified algae in three thematic areas: (1) tests for long-term (1 year) effects of OA on growth, performance, and fitness, (2) tests for depth-dependent effects of OA on reef communities at 20-m depth where light regimes are attenuated compared to shallow water, and (3) tests for beneficial responses to OA through intrinsic, within-species genetic variability and phenotypic plasticity. Some of the key experiments in these thematic areas will be designed to exploit integral projection models (IPMs) to couple organism with community responses, and to support the use of the metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) to address scale-dependence of OA effects on coral reef organisms and the function of the communities they build.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MODULATION | Award Amount: 575.54K | Year: 2016

Despite the fundamental importance of sleep, the cellular function of sleep remains controversial. Sleep is recognized to be conserved across species, and in recent years sleep research has been extended to model organisms that provide powerful tools for genetic analysis. This project focuses on identification of genes and signaling pathways that control sleep behavior using the roundworm C. elegans as model organism. The principal investigator and her undergraduate students at California State University Northridge, a primarily undergraduate Hispanic-serving institution, have shown that exposure to environmental stresses can trigger sleep in C. elegans. Further, they demonstrated that stress-induced sleep is beneficial, and they have begun to identify several components of a genetic pathway that mediates this beneficial effect. This project expands on this work and illuminates the mechanism through which epidermal growth factor signaling contributes to stress-induced sleep. Additionally, the project uses cutting-edge molecular techniques to identify other genetic pathways critical in the regulation of stress-induced sleep. The broader impacts of this CAREER award include Full Immersion Research Experience (FIRE), a course the principal investigator redesigned with the goal of giving students an original research experience, and the integration of this lab course with the investigators research program on sleep.

The identification of a sleep state in C. elegans that is triggered by conditions, such as noxious heat or tissue damage, suggests that perturbation of cellular homeostasis may contribute to sleep drive. Stress-induced sleep (SIS) in C. elegans may represent an ancestral state that evolved to promote recovery following environmental stress or infection. In more complex organisms, SIS may be coordinated with circadian regulation, acting to counteract perturbations of homeostasis known to be associated with prolonged wakefulness. The aim of this proposal is to characterize the genetic pathways that promote SIS. The principal investigator has shown that stress-induced sleep is dependent on Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) receptor activation within the ALA neuroendocrine cell; however, the mechanism by which stress initiates EGF signaling is not known. The first aim of this project is to investigate how and, for the purposes of sleep regulation, in which tissues cellular stress is monitored. Because EGF family ligands are produced as transmembrane precursors that must be processed for release of soluble ligand, it is likely that EGF-dependent sleep is regulated by stress-induced ectodomain shedding. The second aim of this project is to determine from which cell(s) EGF is shed in response to stress, and to characterize a candidate protease that has been identified in an RNAi screen for sleep defects. The third and final aim of this project is to identify novel components of SIS via an unbiased forward genetic screen.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Theory, Models, Comput. Method | Award Amount: 374.87K | Year: 2016

Tyler Luchko of California State University, Northridge, is supported by an award from the Chemical Theory, Models and Computational methods program in the Chemistry division to develop methods for large-scale molecular simulations. The Computational and Data-Enabled Science and Engineering (CDS&E) Program in the Division of Advanced Cyber Infrastructure contributes to the award. Computational modeling is frequently used to understand interactions between proteins, DNA, and a wide variety of small molecules at the molecular level. The use of computational methods has lead to advances in our understanding of fundamental biology and to the design of new molecules, such as anti-viral medications. However, realistic computer simulations require accurate models of the water environment that supports these interactions. Models that consider the position of every molecule of water are physically accurate but the computation time required quickly becomes prohibitive as the number of molecules grows. Other methods replace the molecular detail of water and are much faster, but at the cost of accuracy. The 3D reference interaction site model (3D-RISM) is a third approach that avoids following the atomic positions of water by calculating the density distribution of water molecules. 3D-RISM has already been successfully used to study biological problems, such as the salt and water distribution around DNA and the binding of small molecules to proteins. This project aims to improve 3D-RISM by further developing the theory to better capture the pressure and density distribution of molecular water and apply advanced numerical methods to make these calculations faster. Luchko and co-workers target problems that cover multiple length scales, such as the self-assembly of structures within the cell. Advances in 3D-RISM theory are distributed with the AmberTools molecular modeling suite, allowing free access to these methods for the broader research community. Undergraduates and Masters level students are involved in this research.

The focus of this project is to develop three independent but complementary approaches to increase the detail and accuracy of large-scale simulations to enable molecular simulations that are not currently possible. Improving the underlying theory of 3D-RISM provides the accuracy of atomistic solvent models without explicitly simulating them. This allows crystal structure refinement and solvent distributions around DNA to be determined using atomistic solvent models at a fraction of the computational cost presently required. Increasing computational efficiency one to two orders of magnitude brings the existing atomistic detail of 3D-RISM to biomolecules consisting of millions of atoms for the first time. The new end-state free energy method capitalizes on recent developments for and unique features of 3D-RISM, bringing faster, easier and more accurate free energy calculations to systems of multiple scales. Combined, these advances improve the accuracy of all solvent properties, decrease calculation time by one to two orders of magnitude and improve binding free energy predictions for large systems. These improvements are significant because they drastically increase the scope and scale of biophysical problems that atomistic molecular modeling can address.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 258.74K | Year: 2016

With this award from the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI) and support from the Chemistry Research Instrumentation Program (CRIF), Professor Miroslav Peric from California State University Northridge and colleagues Radha Ranganathan and Jussi Eloranta have acquired an X-band electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer. This instrument will allow research in a variety of fields such as those that provide insight on how biologically relevant species behave as well as advance environmental studies. In general, an EPR spectrometer yields detailed information on the geometric and electronic structure of molecular and solid state materials. It is also used to obtain information about the lifetimes of free radicals, short-lived, highly reactive species involved in valuable chemical transformations as well as the initiation of pathological tumor growth. These studies impact a number of areas, from the synthesis of inorganic and organic molecules to the development of new solid state materials to compounds of magnetic and biological interest. Employing examples inspired from ongoing research, this instrument is an integral part of research and teaching at California State University Northridge. The instrument provides students with outstanding practical experience in modern instrumentation.

The award is aimed at enhancing research and education at all levels, especially in areas such as studying (a) translational and rotational diffusion of spin nitroxide probes in protein-phospholipid aggregates and ionic liquids; (b) mechanistic and kinetic studies of radical intermediates in wastewater treatment; (c) physicochemical characterization of molecular aggregates; (d) electron rich aromatic and diene interactions with electron-poor imidazolium compounds; (e) bimolecular collisions in low-viscosity liquids and (f) solute jump diffusion in supercooled water.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 797.36K | Year: 2015

The California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Noyce Scholarship Phase II project will build on lessons learned from its Phase I project. CSUN will work closely with Local Districts of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and other area Districts (Glendale, Pasadena, and Antelope Valley), to place program graduates into middle and secondary school mathematics and science classrooms. The overall goal is to increase the quality and quantity of mathematics and science majors entering and remaining in teaching careers, and to track graduates of the CSUN Phase I project. By increasing the number of highly qualified middle and high school math and science teachers (27 new teachers are targeted), the program will help ease acute teacher shortages in these disciplines in the greater Los Angeles area, and increase the diversity of the teacher workforce by especially encouraging the participation of students from underrepresented minority groups in seeking scholarship support. The Phase II Noyce scholars will also benefit from relationships established by working with underprivileged secondary students in Upward Bound and Project GRAD Los Angeles (PGLA) in summer enrichment programs. The program will have a multiplier effect, as those teachers will influence future generations of students in their classrooms.

New to the program will be support offered to freshmen and sophomore math and science majors to participate in summer field experiences, with a goal of interesting these STEM majors in teaching careers through early clinical/field experiences. Also new is support for teachers during their initial teaching years. The project aims to provide professional development opportunities and professional learning communities that keep new teachers connected to one another and to experienced group of teacher leaders. By expanding the conduit for new teachers through Noyce-supported pre-service and in-service activities, new math and science teachers will help to build a robust community of teacher/learners. Specific components of the program include: (1) academic coursework for the California single subject credential in math or science; (2) summer and academic year practicum/clinical (or field) experiences for freshmen, sophomores and participating scholars; (3) monthly meetings and regional/national meetings; and (4) mentoring during the first year of teaching. All aspects of the Phase I project will be enhanced, including outreach, recruitment, research, and evaluation efforts. Specific research questions the PIs intend to tackle include: 1) How does student teaching (clinical) experience (including school and master teacher placement) impact a preservice teacher during the initial teaching years?; 2) Are there requirements for pre-service math majors (in CSUNs Freshman Year/Junior Year/Secondary Teaching Options) that can be modified to better serve the needs of these students over the long-term and why? (e.g., Would additional field experiences benefit them? How? Which aspects are most useful? Why?); 3) How can CCSSM and NGSS be integrated into pre-service mathematics and science content courses?; and 4) Which professional development activities best train pre- and in-service teachers to teach the new standards of mathematical and science practice? Finally, long-term tracking of graduates will be an important component of the program with respect to formative and summative evaluation, determining if teaching commitments are being fulfilled, and assessing the achievement of project objectives.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: ADVANCED TECHNOLOGIES & INSTRM | Award Amount: 100.43K | Year: 2016

Measuring the turbulence in the atmosphere at different altitudes or heights above telescope observing sites allows astronomers to correct for the blurring of images that this turbulence produces. This blurring occurs when observing stars and galaxies at night, but also when observing the star nearest to the earth, the Sun, during the day. The principal investigator (PI) of this proposal, along with a graduate student and a post-doctoral scholar, will build a portable unit that can be used to measure the turbulence profile above any observatory. The instrument will be used specifically with telescopes that observe the sun. The device will be tested at solar telescopes at the Sacramento Peak and Kitt Peak observatories, and eventually at the U.S.s newest facility, the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, DKIST, in Hawaii. The PIs institution, California State University Northridge (CSUN), is an undergraduate teaching institution with modest internal support for research; it is also a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) due to the large fraction of under-represented minority undergraduates served.

The PI aims to develop a portable seeing profiler for use at solar observatories. The device will measure the profile of atmospheric turbulence as a function of altitude (up to 30 km) above the observing site. The instrument comprises off-the-shelf components and two small, 10 cm telescopes that can be transported to any solar observatory. Knowledge of the atmospheric seeing conditions is crucial to the performance of solar adaptive optics (AO) systems. Existing seeing profiler techniques use large telescopes with diameters of 1.2 meters or more and need access to the sky over many months. The low-cost portable system proposed here should thus alleviate some of these issue. Currently, relatively little is known about the daytime seeing profile on many of the worlds solar telescope sites. A prototype device has already been built and tested; for the new instrument modest funding is requested to purchase mechanical parts and two scientific CMOS cameras, to assemble the equipment, to develop the associated software, and finally to test the set-up at Sacramento Peak and at the DKIST site in Hawaii.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MACROSYSTEM BIOLOGY | Award Amount: 160.94K | Year: 2017

Climate, vegetation, and land-use change have had a dramatic impact on environments and species ecology across the United States over the past 100 years. Understanding these impacts is necessary for guiding future conservation and management decisions, and for developing indicators to assess ecosystem health. While much work has focused on the response of ecosystems to these changes on local or regional scales, many questions remain as to how climate and landscape changes will affect ecosystems at a continental scale. Small mammals, such as rodents, represent a significant proportion of the mammalian species in North America, and are bellweathers of ecosystem change. Small mammals record many aspects of their diet and environment in their tissues via stable isotopes, but key questions remain about the spatial scale represented by small-mammal isotopes and the aspects of the environment that they record.

This work will fill a major gap in our understanding of the climatic and environmental controls on stable isotopes recorded by small mammals at a continental scale. Specifically, we will combine biogeochemistry and modeling techniques using modern specimens obtained from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) combined with historical specimens from natural history museums. We will determine how the isotopic composition of small mammals varies in relation to continental-scale climate and vegetation gradients and create mice-o-scapes?isotope landscape models predicting the stable isotopic composition of small-mammal hair across the United States. These landscape models will allow us to better understand the spatial scales and environmental variables recorded by small mammals, as well as differences in diet among species. We will then use historical small-mammal specimens obtained from various museum collections to assess how small mammals have responded to environmental change from the late 19th century to the present. We will target four different regions of the United States that have undergone dramatic but different forms of land-use change over the past 100 years, including urbanization, agricultural expansion, deforestation, and grassland-rangeland transition. This project emphasizes the importance of integrating museum collections as archives of ecological change with the NEON network, while helping to establish the careers of the young female research team and increasing research opportunities for underrepresented minorities at a Hispanic-serving institution.

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