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Multiple Angelo State Faculty Win Research Grants

September 04, 2019

Eight Angelo State University faculty members have been awarded a total of nearly $90,000 in grant funding through ASU’s Faculty Research Enhancement Program (FREP) for research projects to be completed during the 2019-20 academic year.

The FREP is funded through multiple university resources and supports meritorious research undertaken by faculty members in all academic disciplines. The 2019-20 grants have been awarded to faculty undertaking six research projects, including:

Dr. Heather Braden Dr. Heather BradenHeather Braden, professor of physical therapy, was awarded $15,000 for her project titled “Does slow mean steady? Characteristics of sit to stand then walk versus sit to walk for the elderly.” She will investigate the internal characteristics of sit to stand, such as velocity, force and impulse. Understanding these basic mechanisms can help practitioners identify and ultimately mitigate the impact of adverse events, such as falls, among the elderly.

Dr. Edith Osborne Dr. Edith OsborneEdith Osborne, professor of chemistry, was awarded $15,000 for her project titled “Identification of affibody molecules that target Crotalid snake venoms.” Although effective anti-venoms for pit viper snakebites exist, they have a variety of limitations and drawbacks. By expanding our knowledge of snake venoms, and specifically of the proteins contained in them, we can potentially create better anti-venoms. Osborne will research methods for analyzing venom proteins in a new way, ultimately helping scientists better understand their interactions.

Dr. Ralph Zehnder Dr. Ralph ZehnderRalph Zehnder, associate professor of chemistry, was awarded $15,000 for his project titled “Extending metal organic frameworks towards integration of highly radioactive plutonium and americium.” This continuation of his long-time research will investigate new methods for containing radioactive elements, with the ultimate goal of creating stronger and safer methods for storing nuclear waste. Some of his experiments involve radioactive materials, and those will take place at an off-campus licensed lab.

Dr. Aldo Pinon-Villarreal Dr. Aldo Pinon-Villarreal Dr. David Carter Dr. David CarterAldo Piñon-Villarreal, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Dr. David Carter, assistant professor of chemistry, were awarded $14,983 for their project titled “Use of halophytes grown in zeolite as safe disposal of reverse-osmosis concentrate from desalination plants.” They will investigate whether the use of a soil amendment (zeolite) with a salt-rich R-O concentrate for irrigation of salt-tolerant plants can be a safe disposal method for brackish water waste from desalination plants. They ultimately seek to increase the productivity of arid ecosystems while protecting the soil and groundwater resources.


Dr. Nicole Lozano Dr. Nicole LozanoNicole Lozano, assistant professor of psychology, was awarded $14,673 for her project titled “Exploring creativity while being a parent.” Building on existing research that finds engaging in creative activities provides significant health benefits, she will explore how people develop creative practices, particularly after becoming parents, with the aim of learning how parents could be better supported in creative endeavors.

Dr. Drew Curtis Dr. Drew Curtis Dr. Tay Hack Dr. Tay HackDrew Curtis, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Tay Hack, professor of psychology, were awarded $14,133 for their project titled “Investigating internal and external motives for deception.” Their goal is to help identify the theoretical motivations to lie, which could assist organizations and individuals in detecting deception.


To be eligible for FREP funding, faculty must be full-time and have been at ASU at least one year. They prepare full research proposals, which are then reviewed and scored by a panel of their peers. Projects with a high score receive awards based on the availability of funds. Upon completion of their FREP-funded projects, faculty are expected to produce peer-reviewed publications and/or presentations, as well as funding proposals to external agencies to expand their research. The majority of the projects also involve undergraduate and/or graduate students in substantive research activities.

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Katie Plum, Director
Office of Sponsored Projects
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