Vu, Weers Receive Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement AwardsPublished: June 30, 2011
Kim-Phuong Vu’s research is making air traffic safer, websites easier to navigate, and controls easier to use. Recognized internationally as an expert on stimulus-response compatibility, Vu’s research focuses on:
• How performance improves with certain mappings of stimuli to responses, which has implications for how displays and controls should be organized and mapped in order to achieve efficient performance with minimal errors;
• Human-computer interaction, which is concerned with designing computer interfaces and products with users in mind so that they are most effective;
• Human factors issues in operating advanced air vehicles, air traffic management concepts and automation technologies and evaluating interface design solutions for the advanced displays and controls associated with new technologies.
Since she arrived at CSULB in 2005, Vu has served as principal investigator, co-investigator or senior personnel on eight grants or funded projects totaling more than $8 million from NASA, NSF, The Boeing Company, Northrup Grumman Corporation and the CSU Chancellor’s Office.
Vu has authored or co-authored 29 peer-reviewed journal articles and was lead editor for a major handbook, the Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design (2nd edition), which was recently released. She has co-authored one book, Stimulus Response Compatibility Principle. She has published 12 book chapters/encyclopedia entries and 31 conference proceedings papers. Her work has been positively received nationally and internationally, being cited by researchers 251 times in 40 journals. She has been invited to give five talks and has had more than40 spoken or poster presentations at professional conventions.
“Dr. Vu is conducting a wide-ranging, integrated and exceptionally productive research program that not only pulls in collaborators from other institutions, but also incorporates training of CSULB students at graduate and undergraduate levels,” said Psychology Department Chair Ken Green. “She has been a key figure in obtaining an impressive amount of grant support and has already achieved international prominence through her accomplishments.”
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Every year in the United States, there are about 700,000 cases of sepsis, a condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread through the bloodstream. It can lead to septic shock, which is associated with a life-threatening drop in blood pressure and circulatory collapse and results in more than 200,000 deaths annually. But Paul Weers’ research on apolipoproteins could one day prevent septic shock.
During the early stages of an infection, lipopolysaccharides, which are extremely toxic membrane components from bacteria, are released into the bloodstream, causing sepsis and shock. Weers believes that apolipoproteins, which are also found in the blood, neutralize the toxic lipopolysaccharides.
“How this exactly happens, we do not know, but that is what we try to understand on a molecular level,” Weers said. “Once we understand this in good detail, scientists can then think about how to use this information to develop novel strategies to treat bacterial sepsis.”
Since 2004, Weers has received three NIH grants to support his research. In 2004, he was awarded his first NIH AREA grant to study the lipid binding properties of apolipoproteins, which was a great stimulus to establish his research lab which has hosted nine graduate and 24 undergraduate students. The following year, he received an NIH-SCORE grant and in 2010 he was awarded his third NIH grant to support his research into the role of apolipoproteins in innate immunity.
Throughout his tenure at CSULB, Weers has provided students with a place to excel and work toward their professional goals. Many of his students, including Duc Le, this year’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Student in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, have gone on to win research competitions, publish research, present at regional and national meetings and pursue doctoral degrees.
“Students or trainees who enter my program will be trained in the skills required for biochemistry and/or biotechnology laboratory settings,” Weers said. “But they also receive guidance in more general skills such as formal presentations, scientific writing and applying for scholarships.”