UTSA Knowledge Enterprise awards annual seed grants to expand faculty research | UTSA Today | UTSA

AUGUST 8, 2022 — Focused on driving San Antonio’s knowledge economy, The UTSA Office for Research, Economic Development, and Knowledge Enterprise (REDKE) today announced it has awarded its annual seed grants to spark innovation on campus. A total of $240,000 was awarded among 14 recipients—money that will fund new research projects or new lines of inquiry to advance their research portfolio through the discovery process.

The UTSA Research seed grant programs will fund 12 of the projects through its three funding mechanisms—Grants for Research Advancement and Transformation (GREAT), the Internal Research Awards (INTRA) and the Connecting Through Research Partnerships program. The Brain Health Consortium Collaborative Seed Grant programme, launched in collaboration with the UTSA Brain Health Consortium in 2021, returned to fund two research projects.

The annual funding programs support basic and applied research across a range of disciplines: arts, humanities, social sciences, engineering and science. The grants help faculty explore new ideas and new disciplines, support student engagement in research activities, expand scholarly work, create new collaborations in complementary fields and acquire necessary data to apply for more complex external funding.

“Our seed grant program is vital to support new ideas and collaborations, particularly for those researchers in the arts and humanities,” explained Jaclyn Shaw, interim vice president for research and economic development. “It’s a program that has an immediate return on investment for our research community. These seed projects have led to extramural funding from federal funding agencies, and have long-term beneficial societal impact.”

Over the past five years, REDKE seed grant programs have funded 133 faculty members with over $1.5 million dollars of seed money.

The awarded projects are:


Grants for Research Advancement and Transformation (GREAT)
• October 1, 2022 through July 31, 2023
• $40,000 awarded: $20,000 per researcher, two new projects

The GREAT program provides seed grants to support new areas of research for faculty at UTSA, to assemble preliminary data that can be used to seek extramural funding and advance the institution’s Tier One status.

Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design

Hugo GiambiniDepartment of Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering
Computational framework for estimations of spine loads

Carlos Alvarez College of Business

Elias Bou-HarbDepartment of Information Systems
Securing Water Quality’s Health from Cyber ​​and Physical Attacks by Instrumenting Physics-Aware Honeypots


Internal Research Awards (INTRA)
• October 1, 2022 through July 31, 2023
• $45,000 awarded: $5,000 per researcher, nine new research projects

The Internal Research Awards (INTRA) program is part of coordinated efforts to promote research and scholarship of the highest quality. This program offers experience in identifying and submitting applications to potential funding sources, provides preliminary data to support applications for extramural funding, and enhances scholarly and creative activities.

Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design

Bastian WibranekSchool of Architecture and Planning
Deconstructing Deconstruction: A case study exploring stakeholder perceptions of a San Antonio-based circular economy initiative

Alvarez College of Business

Samson Alva, Department of Economics
The Limits to Learning from Big Data

Yuanxiong Guo, Department of Information Systems and Cyber ​​Security
Democratizing Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare with Federated Learning

Min Wang
Department of Management Science and Statistics
A generative Bayesian procedure to model high-dimensional data with mixed-type outcomes

College of Education and Human Development

Priscilla Rose PrasathDepartment of Counselling
El HERO que lleva dentro — Validation of the Spanish version of the revised Compound PsyCap Scale (CPC-12R)

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Valeria MeillerDepartment of Modern Languages ​​and Literatures
Ruge el Bosque: Southern Cone Ecopoetry Anthology (Part II)

Robert Tokunaga, Department of Communications
Intergroup Differences in Cyberbullying Perpetration

College for Health, Community and Policy

Kelly CheeverDepartment of Kinesiology
Factors influencing musculoskeletal injury reporting behavior among adolescent student athletes

Denver Brown, Department of Psychology
Investigating the influence of 24-hour movement behaviors on indicators of mental health among youth with epilepsy


Connecting through Research Partnerships (Connect)
• October 1, 2022 through September 30, 2023
• $125,000 awarded: $50,000 to UTSA, $75,000 to the Southwest Research Institute (SWRI)

The CONNECT Program is a joint effort between UTSA and SWRI. The program encourages interaction between investigators in support of the acquisitions of established extramural, peer-reviewed research funding. This agreement provides unprecedented opportunities for researchers to work together in addressing issues of mutual interest and need.

College of Sciences

Kathryn MayerUTSA and Josh MangumSurrey
High-Surface Area Carbon Microparticles for Hydrogen Storage

UTSA and Southwest Research Institute are collaborating to improve storage materials for hydrogen fuels with a hybrid metal-carbon microstructure that combines both chemical and physical hydrogen storage mechanisms. To address these challenges, SwRI and UTSA will create high surface area carbon (HSAC) microstructure particles that can physically and chemically absorb the hydrogen, allowing it to be transported safely and cost-effectively.


Brain Health Consortium Collaborative Seed Grant
• October 1, 2022 through July 31, 2023
• $30,000 awarded: $15,000 per researcher, two new projects

The Brain Health Consortium Collaborative Seed Grant program offers seed grants to support collaborative research at UTSA, with a broad range of transdisciplinary research that may yield fundamental insights into the mechanisms underlying brain disorders.

College of Sciences

Nicole Wicha, Department of Neuroscience, Developmental, and Regenerative Biology
Effect of mild traumatic brain injury on predictive processing in language comprehension

Wicha, professor of neuroscience, developmental and regenerative biology, and Alicia Swan, assistant professor of psychology, are the co-PIs on the project. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) impacts 2.5 million people in the US annually, with 13% experiencing chronic cognitive symptoms that can impact quality of life. Wicha’s team is exploring how TBI is impacting language comprehension and reducing predictive ability to understand. The team is levering their expertise in neurobiology of language, speech-language pathology after TBI—working with UT Health San Antonio—and meta-analysis of TBI factors—in collaboration with the college for Health, Community and Policy—with the long-term goal of informing clinical practice by quantifying the effect of TBI on language comprehension.

College for Health, Community and Policy

Chantal Fahmy, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
The Long-Term Impact of Traumatic Brain Injury on Reentry after Incarceration: A Vulnerability Assessment

Fahmy, assistant professor of criminology and criminal justice, and Swan are the co-PIs on the project. Other researchers on the project included Alex Testaformerly a UTSA professor who is now at UT Health Houston, and Katherine Kelton, and post-doctoral fellow at the Veterans Administration (VA). Their aim is to gather information on mild TBI exposures and their effect on the long-term health and behavior of the individuals. Research points to repeated TBI leading to increased aggression and harmful behaviors—thereby feeding the cycle of crime and imprisonment. They see this work as particularly timely and relevant for Bexar County and beyond and hope their work will shed some light on issues that can be fixed.


UTSA is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution specializing in cyber, health, fundamental futures, and social-economic transformation. With an emphasis on transdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship, UTSA is leveraging its research and development capabilities to benefit the San Antonio community and the world beyond.

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