Research Topics

Stempel College sustains research leadership in health disparities and improving health equity, chronic diseases, health economics, healthy aging and the consequences of environmental exposure. The college’s reach extends beyond South Florida to embrace global populations as major public health issues and social welfare problems continue to affect the world.

In the third and fourth quarters of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Stempel College faculty members received $3.9 million in new grants and are currently administering new research projects totaling $8.2 million for the period. To augment research capabilities and meet expectations set forth in the college’s strategic plan and FIUBeyondPossible2020 Strategic Plan, we dramatically increased the number of postdoctoral fellows and research associates with our incoming grant support.

Exceptional Research Projects and Interdisciplinary Endeavors

Dr. Eric F. Wagner, director of FIU-BRIDGE and professor in the School of Social Work, and a team of 34 faculty were awarded a $13.1 million grant from NIH/NIMHHD to build a Health Disparities Research Center at a Minority Institution called the FIU-RCMI at Stempel College. The team will develop and sustain a national clinical and behavioral research program to reduce substance use problems and HIV through partnerships with South Florida communities. (2017-2022; $13.1 million). This is the largest NIH award in FIU history.

Dr. Mario De La Rosa, director of CRUSADA and professor in the School of Social Work, in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Stempel College and the University of Miami received a NIH/NIMHD grant of nearly $6.9 million to launch the Center for Latino Health Research Opportunities (CLaRO).

Dr. Marianna Baum, professor in Dietetics & Nutrition, was awarded $1 million (2017-2022) to study “An unbiased OMIC’s approach to identify mechanisms of cocaine regulation of the HIV reservoir.” Dr. Baum has recently kicked off the opening of the new downtown clinic supported by the NIH grant ($5.8 million) to study HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in Miami.

Dr. Miguel Ángel Cano, an assistant professor of Epidemiology, was awarded $541,881 for five years of funding from NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Using secondary data analyses and community-based participatory research (CBPR), his work will examine routes to understanding and reducing alcohol use disparities among Latino teenagers (2017-2022; $547,881).

Dr. Wasim Maziak, chair of Epidemiology, received a NIH grant totaling $1.3 million for three years to study “Understanding tobacco flavor effects on water pipe smokers; experiences and exposures.” Dr. Maziak also received a R01 award from NIH for continued research in “Translating evidence and building capacity to support water pipe control in the Eastern Mediterranean” (2017-2022; $1.8 million).

Dr. Purnima Madhivanan, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology, directs collaborative studies funded by NIH to investigate “Predictors of HPV vaccination among parents of rural adolescent girls in India.” She resubmitted her proposal ($439,500) to NIH for “Longitudinal Study of Vaginal Microbiota and Persistent Human Papillomavirus Detection” through the Fogarty Global Health Training Program, requesting funding for two postdoctoral fellows. She also received a D43 award from UC Berkeley/NIH to continue research for the “Global Health Equity Scholars Program” (7/1/2017-2022; Total Award: $1.1 million).

Dr. Marcus Cooke, professor/chair of Environmental Health Sciences, secured funds for “Genomic Instability, Susceptibility to Oxidative Stress and Cellular Senescence,” NIEHS (04/01/2017-03/31/2019; Total Award: $366,250).

Dr. Nicole Fava of the School of Social Work received an award from The Children’s Trust for research in “Trauma-Informed Screening and Treatment.” (2017-2018; Total Award: $361,000).

Dr. Carlos Espinal, director of the Global Health Consortium (GHC) and member of the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, will study “Antimicrobial Stewardship for Latin America and the Caribbean Region” (2017; Total Award: $242.500) with an award from the FIU Foundation. He will also conduct a global health conference with support from Sanofi (2017-2018; Total Award $95K).

In a collaboration with Neuroscience Centers of Florida Foundation, Dr. Tomás R. Guilarte, dean of Stempel College, will work with Dr. Andrew V. Schally, the Nobel Laureate in Medicine/Physiology (1977), on slowing the progression of cognitive deficits/Alzheimer’s Disease. (07/06/2017- ; Total Award: $158,466).

Dr. Diana Sheehan Delgado, postdoctoral associate for Epidemiology, received a Fellowship award from Family Health International (FHI360) to study “Perceived Network Sexual Norms and HIV Sexual Risk Behavior Among Drug Users and Their Risk Partners” (2017-2018; approx. $69,000).

Junior Tenure-Earning Faculty

Various awards were granted to junior tenure-earning faculty:

Dr. Shanna Burke–Award from the Neuroscience Center of Florida Foundation, Inc. for the research project titled, “Development of Battery of Measurement Instruments to Assess Caregiver Wellbeing.”

Dr. Catherine Coccia–Award from Florida State University Research Foundation for “Helicopter Parenting of College Students: Strengthening Family Well-being with an Interdisciplinary Approach.”

Dr. Hui Huang–Received a subcontract award from Florida State University for research in “A Pilot Test and Initial Validation of a Quality Rating Scale for Florida’s Residential Group Homes.”

Dr. Tianyan Hu–Received an award to conduct research in “Health Economics in 3D Printing.”