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2021 MIRG Program Awardees Announcement

The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is pleased to announce the two winners of our 2021 Multidisciplinary Internal Research Grant (MIRG) program:

  1. Project Title: Exploring Psychophysiological and Impulsive Health-Related Behaviors During and After Gender Affirming and Non-Affirming Language Among Transgender People Within a Virtual Reality Environment
  • Research Team
    • Kelly Lynn Clary, Social Work (PI)
    • Richard H. Morley, Social Work (Co-I)
    • Vangelis Metsis, Computer Science (Co-I)
    • Logan T. Trujillo, Psychology (Co-I)
    • Kenneth S. Smith, Social Work (Co-I)
    • Dr. Jacob Goffnett, Social Work-U of Arkansas (Co-I)
    • Mr. Oscar Gagnon, School Psychology-PhD student, Stephen F. Austin State U. (Co-I)
  • Abstract
    • Approximately 1 in 250 people identify as transgender and this population experiences disparate rates of emotional distress, discrimination, and mental health issues compared to cisgender people. A salient form of discrimination is the use of non-gender affirming language, such as using the wrong pronouns or name. Anti-transgender discrimination is associated with increased fear response and trauma symptoms, and research has shown that fear and trauma are linked to disrupted connectivity due to an overactive amygdala, which is a structure vital for processing emotions. We will explore internal reactions via electrophysiological brain imaging measures and surveys evaluating emotions (e.g., pride, shame) and impulsive behaviors (e.g., substance use) during and after a virtual reality (VR) simulation. The VR will incorporate supportive and stressful interactions, such as encounters with non-affirming language. To create this immersive environment, we will conduct 2 virtual focus groups with 12 transgender people and engage in consultation with two advisors. After creating this VR environment with assistance from a student, we will recruit 25 transgender people to participate in the VR simulation. The novelty of our study is inducing stress in a VR environment and assessing immediate psychophysiological responses. To our knowledge, this has not been done and makes a critical contribution to the field of transgender health since it is a more precise method of capturing minority stress and its impact. Well established leadership and documented scholarship in pertinent fields show great potential for successful completion of the study, wide dissemination of results, and attainment of external funding.
  1. Project Title: Nondestructive Assessment of Additive Dispersion Quality in Conductive Concrete Using Electromagnetic Waves
  • Research Team:
    • Xijun Shi, Civil Engineering (PI)
    • Maggie Chen, Electrical Engineering (Co-I)
  • Abstract
    • By adding conductive additives such as carbon fiber, graphite, steel fiber, etc., concrete can become electrically conductive. Conductive concrete enables an infrastructure asset to perform several nonstructural functions including self-sensing. The ability to self-sense stress, displacement, temperature, and moisture in a structure makes conductive concrete a “Material with Intelligence”. While civil engineering researchers and practitioners can incorporate a very high amount of conductive additives into concrete without causing significant dispersion problems now, it is equally important to examine the dispersion quality of the conductive additives in hardened concrete in a faster and cheaper manner. The existing techniques to examine the distribution of the conductive additives in concrete are either too expensive or ineffective to use, but nondestructive microwave detection of nonuniform dispersion can provide a cheaper and more efficient solution. In the detection, microwave antenna sends electromagnetic waves towards the sample. For the areas with uniform dispersion, the reflected and transmitted electromagnetic waves are the same. However, if there are clumps, both the reflected and transmitted electromagnetic waves will be different and can be detected and analyzed. In this study, a comprehensive experimental program is presented to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of using microwave to nondestructively examine the additive dispersion quality in conductive concrete. Recycled carbon fiber is selected as the conductive additive so that the results of PI’s REP project are leveraged. The proposed idea is revolutionary as it lays the groundwork for developing a novel sensing system to examine additive dispersion quality inside multifunctional infrastructure assets.

Past MIRG Awards

Title
(Click on the title below to download the proposal abstract)

Year

Report

Ensuring an Accessible Trauma System in Texas

2019

 

Get the Big Pictures: Flood Analytics Using Big Multimedia Data

2019

 

Microbiomes in Critically Endangered Chimpanzees: Seasonal Influences Related to a Savanna Mosaic Environment

2019

 

Preventing Hospital Readmission for Older Adults: A Community Focused Intervention

2018

 

Does Social Media Make Us Sick? A Pilot Study of the Effects of Social Media on Physiological Reactivity and Mental Health

2018

 

Storytelling, generativity, and well-being among persons living with dementia

2018

 

Development of Novel Anthelmintics and Antiparasitics Derived from Plant Sources

2017

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Childhood Trauma and Mental Health among College Students: Identifying Neurological, Physiological, and Behavioral Pathways

2017

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Increasing Treatment Adherence and Self-Management in Metabolic Syndrome Patients

2016

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Using Virtual Reality Exposure Treatment and Real-Time Physiological Monitoring to Address PTSD Symptoms in Veterans

2016

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Spatially Informed Strategies for Cancer Intervention

2016

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Examination of upper threshold events on the necrobiome associated with human decomposition in a subtropic ecosystem

2015

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Creating a secondary school climate instrument focused on safety and security

2015

 

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Development of EIS-based device sensing epigentic changes for early cancer detection.

2014

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Detection of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries: Need for Data

2014

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Flexible, Disposable and Highly Sensitive Biosensor Based on Graphene Field Effect Transistor

2013

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Minimizing Healthcare – Associated Infections: A Discrete Event Simulation Study

2013

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Texas Trends: Towards Developing an Interdisciplinary, Sustained Research Network in Land Change Science at Texas State University

2013

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