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UIC Awards Three Grants For LGBT Research

The University of Illinois at Chicago has announced the first three seed grant awards to campus researchers studying lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) issues under a grant from the Los Angeles-based David Bohnett Foundation.

The foundation awarded the UIC Chancellor's Committee on the Status of LGBT Issues $20,000 to start a seed fund for faculty and students working to advance LGBT research at UIC last June. The funded projects selected by the chancellor's committee are of three types: small-scale research projects of graduate students or post-doctoral scholars; faculty-led pilot programs likely to receive external funding; and innovative faculty LGBT projects that can be completed with a limited budget.

“UIC has a uniquely critical mass of faculty conducting research and scholarship on LGBT people across the spectrum of health sciences, social sciences, and humanities,” says Dr. Brian Mustanski, assistant professor of psychiatry and principal investigator of the foundation's award. “Funding such research can be difficult in this area because it's a relatively new field without a substantial foundation on which to base your science. These awards provide critical support for scholars to take the first step in conducting an innovative study with significant future potential.”

The three awardees are:

  • Jessica Salerno, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology, who will investigate anti-gay bias in juvenile sex offender registry laws
  • Zachary Blair, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, who is working on an ethnography of gentrification in Boystown, Chicago's “gay” neighborhood
  • Stacey Horn, associate professor of educational psychology, who is collecting pilot data for a larger project investigating the relationship between religious identity and sexual prejudice in young adults

Through the seed grants, the chancellor's committee hopes to advance LGBT research with national impact, Mustanski said.

“As the work of UIC's faculty and students has repeatedly demonstrated, research findings can inform policy-making and the creation of health programs that can be used to improve the lives of LGBT people,” he said.

Two more cycles of grants are planned — at the start of the spring semester and during the summer.

The UIC Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues provides guidance in addressing the needs of staff, faculty, students, and alumni of diverse sexual orientations, and fosters a supportive environment for all members of the university community. For more information, visit