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Arnold School of Public Health

Arnold School faculty members to serve as principal investigators on 15 projects supported by 2017 ASPIRE grants

May 5, 2017 | Erin Bluvas, 

Faculty members from all six Arnold School departments received funding through the Office of the Vice President for Research’s Advanced Support for Innovative Research Excellence (ASPIRE) program. The internal, competitive program received 161 proposals from USC faculty researchers for this cycle, awarding grants to 71 of the proposals after evaluation by faculty review committees.

ASPIRE awards are designed to enhance USC’s research capabilities. They do so by investing in USC faculty by helping them begin promising new research endeavors for later external funding (ASPIRE I: Innovation), build up a collaborative, interdisciplinary research project (ASPIRE II: Integration), and/or invest in the University’s research infrastructure (ASPIRE III: Infrastructure). 

“In 2012, we founded ASPIRE to boost the research and scholarship at USC across all disciplines, and all system campuses,” said Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti. “Now, in our sixth year of ASPIRE funding, it is becoming apparent that we are meeting our goals. We have documented growth in interdisciplinary research across the entire university, and a significant return on investment, totaling about $50 million in extramural funding for lines of research that began with ASPIRE grants. I am so proud of this growth, and of the outstanding researchers who are receiving funding for 2017.”

The 2017 ASPIRE recipients include the following Arnold School faculty members.

2017 ASPIRE-I: Innovation recipients

Sub-track I, junior faculty development

Principal Investigator



Roozbeh Behroozmand

Understanding the Effects of Neuro-stimulation on Speech and Hand Motor Function in Parkinson's Disease

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Jessica Klusek

A longitudinal study of maternal mental health outcomes in fragile X syndrome: Biological sensitivity to context and the potential buffering effect of vagal tone

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Courtney Monroe

Evaluating Columbia Moves: A Social Network Approach Using a Team Competition and Technology to Increase Physical Activity

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

Mark Sarzynski

The Effect of Exercise Training on MicroRNAs Bound to High-Density Lipoproteins

Exercise Science

Eric Vejerano

A Novel Particle for Capturing and Inactivating the Influenza Virus

Environmental Health Sciences

Krystal Werfel

Fatigue in Children with Hearing Loss: The Roles of Language Comprehension and Listening Environment

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Feifei Xiao

Powerful Detection of Genome Structural Change and Its Effect on Cutaneous Melanoma

Epidemiology and Biostatistics


Sub-track IIA, research faculty development

Principal Investigator



Robin Kloot

Effects of Agricultural Land Management Practices on the Soil Microbiome and their Relationship to Crop Health and Yield

Environmental Health Sciences


Sub-track IIB, postdoctoral scholar development

Principal Investigator



Seul Ki Choi

Health information seeking behaviors among caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias: Are caregivers taking care of their own health?

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

Sarah Floyd

Measuring Patients' Willingness-to-Pay for Normal Knee Function

Health Services Policy and Management

Yao Zhang

An Evaluation of Health Literacy in Mental Health among Youth involved in the South Carolina Juvenile Justice System

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior


Sub-track IV, senior faculty exploration

Principal Investigator



Marco Geraci

BiPe Charts - Bivartiate percentiles for anthropometric charts in preterm infants

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Jihong Liu

Evaluating South Carolina Birth Outcome Initiative's Impact on Reducing Early Term Elective Inductions and Saving Health Care Costs

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

ASPIRE-II: Integration recipients

Principal Investigator



Edward Frongillo

· Angela Liese, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

· Anwar Merchant, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

· Christine Blake, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

· Heather Brandt, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

· Courtney Monroe, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

· James Thrasher, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

· Gabrielle Turner-McGrievy, Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

· Debra Krotish, Internal Medicine

· David Simmons, Anthropology

· Bethany Bell, Social Work

· Seung Jang, Journalism and Mass Communications

· Donaldson Conserve, Arnold School of Public Health

· Julia Lopez-Robertson, Instruction and Teacher Education

· Ronit Elk, Nursing

Positioning USC for Global Prominence in Research on Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease

Health Promotion, Education Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

Spencer Moore

· Alexander McLain, Epidemiology and Biostatistics 

· Rekha Patel, Biological Sciences

· Jason Stewart, Biological Sciences

· Sue Heiney, Nursing

· Monique Lyle, Institute for Public Service and Policy Research 

Chronic social stress and accelerated aging among South Carolina women: Investigating the social, behavioral, and biological influences on aging processes

Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior

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