NSF awards $500,000 to Fresno State scientists

Two California State University, Fresno professors and scientists in the College of Science and Mathematics have been awarded competitive research awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF) totaling $500,000.

Dr. Madhusudan Katti, a biology professor, received a $300,000 grant for research focusing on regional and global environmental changes amid rapid urban growth and declining water resources.

Dr. Hwan Youn, an assistant professor of biology, was awarded $200,000 to support his research on microbial genomics, with specific emphasis on E. coli.

Dr. Thomas McClanahan, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs, said the awards underscore the quality of Fresno State’s faculty and their growing capabilities to attract major support for important research. “Our faculty expertise in research is growing rapidly, and new developments in the sciences are particularly promising,” he said.

Katti’s study, a collaboration with other Fresno State and external researchers, has special relevance to the San Joaquin Valley, where urban growth poses challenges to water resources and to sustaining agriculture, the region’s key industry.

Key study areas include the impact of residential water use on urban landscape, habitat structure and biodiversity, and the response of urban water users to water scarcity and government conservation efforts such as metering water in Fresno. The study will help inform public education and policy making around a compelling resource issue throughout the West.

Katti, earned his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego and joined the Fresno State faculty in 2004

Youn will use specialized equipment funded by the NSF to conduct laboratory research with two graduate and undergraduate research assistants who will receive valuable working experience to complement classroom studies. He also will involve more than 50 graduate and undergraduate students as participants in the study.

Youn earned bachelor, master and doctoral degrees at the Seoul National University in Korea. He joined Fresno State in 2008.

Dr. Andrew Rogerson, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, said that for Youn to have this award so early in his career is testament to his research ability.

Katti’s award, Rogerson said, is due in part to training through the Research Infrastructure for Minority Institution project, financed by a multimillion-dollar award to Fresno State from the National Institutes of Health for equipment and faculty training.

“Both awards demonstrate the commitment of college faculty to establish externally funded laboratories for the pursuit of quality research involving Fresno State students,” said Rogerson.

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