Research

A cornerstone of the land-grant mission of Iowa State University is a focus on research. And in the College of Human Sciences, our research has a direct impact on the way our communities live and learn. Consider some of the current projects:

  • Joanne Olson, a professor in the School of Education, was awarded $4.5 million by the National Science Foundation to lead a research partnership that will enhance teacher education at Iowa State and improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in Des Moines Public Schools. Learn more about this research.
  • Tricia Neppl, a professor in human development and family studies, evaluates influences on personal characteristics to see which are associated with outcomes that relate to occupational attainment, satisfaction of close relationships, academic failure, emotional distress, antisocial behaviors, and substance use and abuse. Learn more about this research.
  • Susan Wohlsdorf-Arendt, a professor in apparel, events, and hospitality management, and a team of ISU researchers are working to create safer food handling practices to lessen the risk of foodborne illnesses in restaurants, schools, and universities. Learn more about this research.
  • Anne Foegen, a professor in the School of Education, teamed up with the University of Missouri-Columbia and teachers and high school students in three states to develop and refine brief assessments to monitor student progress in algebra. Learn more about this research.
  • Elizabeth Shirtcliff, a professor in human development and family studies, measures maturation and stress hormones in children reaching puberty to see which changes can increase risky decision-making during this life transition. Learn more about this research.

These are just five examples of the many outstanding research efforts being conducted in the College of Human Sciences. Whether it’s a focus on the effects of singing on speech for those with Parkinson’s disease or exploring the impact of digestion-resistant starches, our research is at work around the world, improving the lives of others.

Research News

School of Education professors Michael Clough and Joanne Olson will receive the national Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers award at the Association for Science Teacher Education international conference in Des Moines. The conference is co-chaired by Olson. File photo by Wyeth Lynch.Iowa State shines at international gathering of science teacher educators

Iowa State University will showcase its expertise and leadership in science teacher education at a gathering this week of 500 science teacher educators from across the nation and world.

The Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) will hold its 2017 international conference, Jan. 12 to 14 at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown. It’s a chance for those who prepare science teachers — from colleges both big and small — to network, present scholarly papers and posters, and attend professional development workshops aimed at informing their work and improving the preparation of science teachers.



Iowa State University researchers say higher levels of the enzyme autotaxin significantly predict memory impairment and Type 2 diabetes. Just a one-point difference in autotaxin levels – for example, going from a level of two to a three – is equal to a 3.5 to 5 times increase in the odds of being diagnosed with some form of memory loss, said Auriel Willette, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State. Photo by Christopher Gannon.New biomarker predicts Alzheimer’s Disease and link to diabetes

An enzyme found in the fluid around the brain and spine is giving researchers a snapshot of what happens inside the minds of Alzheimer’s patients and how that relates to cognitive decline. 



From left, Monica Primacella, Joshua Nazareth and Kangzi Ren, all graduate students in food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University (ISU), were named finalists in the American Society of Baking (ASB) Product Development Competition. They will travel to Chicago at the end of February to take part in the competition. Photo by Whitney Sager.ISU students selected as finalists in major baking competition

A team of three graduate students will be heading to Chicago in February to showcase their proposal for a new bakery food product.



Iowa State researcher joins effort to prevent online harassment

The prevalence of online harassment is well documented. In the U.S. alone, approximately 140 million people were affected by online harassment, according to a 2014 Pew Research Center study.



Jennifer Margrett, an associate professor in human development and family studies, has been named an American Psychological Association fellow. Photo by Ryan Riley.Margrett named American Psychological Association fellow

Jennifer Margrett's outstanding contributions to the field of psychology have earned her fellow status in the American Psychological Association.



Auriel Willette (right), an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition; and Joseph Webb, a graduate research assistant, found on average that Caucasians with one bad version of guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase-1, or the GCH1 gene, developed Parkinson’s symptoms five years earlier, and had a 23 percent increased risk for the disease. Photo by Ryan Riley.Gene mutation linked to early onset of Parkinson’s disease in Caucasians

A defect in a gene that produces dopamine in the brain appears to accelerate the onset of Parkinson’s disease, according to new research from Iowa State University. The effect is particularly dramatic for people under age 50.



Angela Shaw draws on her experience as a microbiologist to help fruit and vegetable growers throughout the Midwest comply with the latest food safety regulations. Photo courtesy of the ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.Change Agent: Angela Shaw

If you really want to understand food safety, microbiology might be a good place to start.

What pathogens cause foodborne illness? How do those pathogens spread? How can people stop them?

Angela Shaw, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, has put those questions under the microscope.



Christa Jackson works with a kindergarten student on math skills. Photo by Christopher Gannon.ISU researchers want to break down language barriers with math and text messages

Getting parents engaged in their child’s classroom isn’t easy when mom and dad don’t speak English. That’s why two researchers in Iowa State University’s School of Education are working to overcome language barriers with text messages that kindergarten teachers can send home to parents.



Iowa State University scholars, largely from the School of Education in Lagomarcino Hall, are this week showcasing their research at the Association for the Study of Higher Education conference. Photo by Ryan Riley.Iowa State shares research about higher education policy and practice

Iowa State University scholars are this week sharing their research about higher education policy and practice at a meeting of the nation’s premier association for such research.

Twenty-one researchers, largely from the School of Education, are showcasing their work at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual conference, today through Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The association is a scholarly society with 2,000 members dedicated to higher education as a field of study.



Iowa State graduate student April Elisha Stanley will exhibit a green jacket entitled \"Irish Roots\" and a blue ensemble called \"Paisley Impressions” at this year’s International Textile and Apparel Association conference. Contributed photo.
Iowa State top presenter at international textile and apparel conference

Iowa State University apparel, merchandising, and design students and faculty will this week present the most scholarly activities at the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA)’s annual conference for the sixth consecutive year.



  • Research Support Opportunities

    The College of Human Sciences sponsors a number of internal grant competitions. These competitions provide initial support to CHS faculty members for interdisciplinary, collaborative projects that can provide results likely to engender significant external funding.

    CHS Internal Funding

  • Contact Information

    Carla Peterson
    Associate Dean of Research Education
    carlapet@iastate.edu
    515 294-7804 

    Sarah Carlson
    Grant Coordinator
    scarlson@iastate.edu
    515 294-0211 

    Jamie Wilson
    262 Lagomarcino Hall
    901 Stange Road
    Ames, IA 50011-1041
    515-294-9207
    jrwilson@iastate.edu