August 22, 2016 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation announced $297,642 in grants for seven programs that nurture the career path of future scientists and develop unique and innovative discoveries in the science, technology and environmental fields to advance a vibrant quality of life in San Diego.

The Blasker Science and Technology grants, and the Blasker Environment grants are made possible by the Blasker-Rose-Miah Endowment Fund at The San Diego Foundation. Established by former local aeronautical engineer Samuel L. Blasker to foster scientific innovation, The Fund has granted over $7.6 million to more than 150 local early career scientists and engineers from premier research institutions such as UC San Diego, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, J. Craig Venter Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, San Diego State University, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, San Diego Natural History Museum and more.

“Since 1999, the Blasker-Rose-Miah Endowment Fund at The San Diego Foundation has sparked innovation and promoted research in San Diego by supporting our region’s most promising scientists and engineers,” stated Kathlyn Mead, President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “This year’s grants underscore our commitment to realize an inclusive innovation sector in which all San Diegans can find a pathway to prosperity to strengthen our economy and environment through regional research and programs that create more local scientists and engineers.”

For more information about the Blasker-Rose-Miah Fund, visit

The 2016 grants were awarded to:

San Diego State University
Bioengineering: A Pathway to Interdisciplinary STEM – $75,000
The grant program will provide opportunities for 12 female students in San Diego to pursue STEM-focused degrees through the field of bioengineering. Diversification of the workforce is arguably the most important factor to maintain global economic and technological competitiveness. San Diego State’s program will ensure San Diego remains a leader in these fields.

California State University San Marcos
STEM Summer Scholars – $75,000
The STEM Summer Scholars program will provide 12 students from underserved communities with a 10-week undergraduate experience that aims to integrate research and education. Students will develop research skills working alongside faculty on projects addressing fundamental questions in science. With a programmatic theme of scientific communication as a civic responsibility, students will also become more confident and accomplished sharing their knowledge, thoughts, and ideas with diverse audiences.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Climate Change and Harmful Algal Blooms – $49,179
Researchers will use innovative chemical and biological measurements to understand how climate change could increase production of toxic domoic acid in San Diegan waters. In recent years, toxic blooms of DA-producing diatoms have occurred more frequently in Southern California, a trend that has been linked to climate change. As a result, there is a growing need to define a predictive framework for when and where toxic blooms may occur.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Rising Seas and the San Diego Intertidal – $38,115
Using an innovative imaging and mapping technique, researchers will assess the vulnerability of San Diego’s intertidal communities to sea level rise. The resulting research will yield maps and assessments of the region’s most impacted coastal areas to help educate communities about the potential effects of climate change and promote ecosystem conservation.

San Diego Mesa College
STEM Workshops – $31,348
Through workshops offered by faculty, San Diego Mesa College will help increase the success and opportunities for underserved students interested in STEM courses and careers. As a community college serving 43 percent of students from underserved communities, the goal of the program is to decrease the gap between the success rates of local underserved and non-underserved students by 20 percent.

BIOCOM Institute
Introductory Life Science Experience – $19,000
The Introductory Life Sciences Experience project will provide 40 underserved young adults with a re-entry pathway into a STEM career with free, hands-on biotech laboratory instruction at the community college level, paid life science internships and further support in the career path. The goal of BIOCOM Institute’s program is to help more San Diegans become professional, competent, and productive as life sciences employees.

San Diego State University
The Impact of Climate on Pollinator Communities – $10,000
This project will help researchers understand how nature’s functioning depends on the number and types of arthropods within the ecosystem. Researchers will assess the impacts of climate on key pollinator species to determine which species are most vulnerable to the conditions predicted under climate change. As San Diego’s climate becomes warmer and drier, there may be a timing mismatch between pollinators and flowering plants, and some insect species may go extinct.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of charitable giving to enact positive social change in our region. We mobilize resources to advance quality of life, increase social impact and champion civic engagement though effective, responsible and innovative philanthropy. We are your community foundation committed to arts & culture, civil society, education, environment, health and human services, and youth development to build equity and opportunity for all San Diegans. For more than 40 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $984 million to grow a vibrant San Diego region. Visit our website and join us by opening a fund or contributing to an existing one, like the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego now and forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600,
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300,