Research & Discovery

Texas Woman’s University’s approach to research is unique. We focus on the changes that research can make in everyday lives — how community challenges can be addressed, business problems can be solved, and quality of life can be improved. In workplaces, hospitals, schools and communities, our research is put to practical use every day.

TWU faculty and students analyze data and apply research that:

  • Improves professional practice and patient outcomes in health fields such as nursing, physical therapy and occupational therapy;
  • Optimizes quality classroom teaching and technology;
  • Addresses operational and organizational opportunities for area businesses;
  • Develops better tasting food through flavor chemistry; and
  • Evaluates marketing findings to benefit nonprofits.

As a Carnegie-classified doctoral research university, TWU encourages our undergraduate and graduate students to actively participate in faculty-led research — whether it’s developing programs to reduce violence against women, working with veterans and their families, expanding access for children with autism or identifying more effective ways to treat cancer cells. From basic to applied research, our faculty and students focus on finding innovative ways to solve problems at state, national and international levels.

A safer alternative to opioids?

A team of scientists at Texas Woman’s University is researching a Texas plant that contains a sap with powerful analgesic properties that could match the pain relief of opioids, without causing addiction. The research has been published in two research journals.


  • Catalina Pislariu (biology) has been awarded a $330,000 subcontract from the Noble Research Institute on a grant from the National Science Foundation for her project to establish symbiotic interactions with nitrogen fixing soil bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Educational and outreach components will benefit society by training the next generation of scientists and informing the general public on the benefits of low‐input agriculture.
  • Xiofen Du (nutrition and food science) has been awarded a $64,000 grant from Firmenich Aromatics for her study of consumer liking for flavored water with sugar reduction at different levels. Formula for flavor with different types of flavors, beverage secondary functions and different levels of sugars will be provided by Firmenich, then the consumer study will be conducted at TWU. The project will help to understand what are the optimum and tolerant sugar levels for the selected flavored waters and how a secondary function adds value to consumer liking.
  • Dayna Averitt (biology) has been awarded a $385,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health for the project, "Sex Differences in Serotonergic Modulation of Trigeminal Pain." The project looks at migraine headache and temporomandibular joint disorder pain, and the potential for hormone modulation of serotonin's ability to turn on pain mechanisms in rat and human trigeminal sensory neurons. 
  • Tina Gumienny and Michael Bergel (biology) have been awarded a $65,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for their project that investigates whether aging affects a DNA defense mechanism against UV radiation. Results may identify potential therapeutic options for cell protection from UV radiation.

Page last updated 3:09 PM, February 23, 2023