Below are the most recent news items related to the Department of Biological Sciences. These include announcements of new programs, student and faculty awards, and special accomplishments by our faculty, staff, and students.

Biology Graduate Student Receives Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Scholar Award 

Casanova Scholars

A group of Cal State LA students was selected for the 2020-21 Sally Casanova pre-doctoral scholar awards, which are granted each year to support the doctoral aspirations of students across the 23-campus California State University system. Each scholar receives a $3,000 award to help fund graduate exams, fees for professional conferences, and other costs related to graduate school. Daniel Olivares-Zambrano is a graduate student in biology from Dr. Andres Aguilar's lab. His research interests involve understanding how certain phenotypes are selected for organismal-environmental dynamics. He is also interested in understanding how these interactions affect the function and evolution of individuals or populations of marine species. Currently, he is using genomic techniques to scan through rockfish genomes to identify genes that may have had a significant role in their speciation. His goal is to earn a Ph.D. and to help increase underrepresented students in the STEM fields. 


Student Recognized with the 2020 Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award

Tyler Powell receives the 2020 Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award

Tyler Powell is a 2nd-year Biological Sciences M.S. student in Dr. Edith Porter’s innate immunology lab. This year, Tyler secured the Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award at the annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium. This prestigious award recognizes graduate students who made contributions to original and innovative research in biotechnology. This award also recognizes graduate students who demonstrated their ability to successfully communicate scientific concepts to a general audience. This year at the symposium, Tyler gave an oral presentation explaining the importance of his research and tested his ability to communicate science to a general audience.
               Since Tyler began as a graduate research student, he has studied the effects and modes of action of the antimicrobial peptide, human beta defensin-2. This peptide has specific modes of action on Mycobacterium smegmatis, which is used as a model organism for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The Porter research lab uses this model in hopes that it will lead to novel therapeutics to combat tuberculosis. (Posted March 6, 2020)

Faculty Recognized with this Year's Outstanding Professor Award

Dr. Howard Xu
Earlier this fall, Dr. Howard Xu was recognized by Cal State LA as one of four recipients of 2019 Outstanding Professor Award for significant achievement in scholarly inquiry or creativity, as well as professional activities and community service (/univ/ppa/publicat/cal-state-la-announces-outstanding-faculty-fall-convocation-2019). Dr. Xu directs an applied microbiology and biotechnology lab at Cal State LA, where students conduct research on novel antibiotics and elucidation of mechanisms of pathogenesis of bacterial pathogens. He has mentored master’s, undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students, resulting in more than 40 peer-reviewed publications from his lab. He is also the director of incubator development and programming for Cal State LA BioSpace, which is leading the university’s collaboration with private-sector firms and government agencies to promote inclusive entrepreneurship, innovation, workforce development, and commercialization of the regional bioscience industry in the heart of Los Angeles. You may view a short video about Dr. Xu uploaded by the university on Youtube: (Posted December 16, 2019)


Faculty Awarded Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Cohen receives the prestigious NSF Career Award
Dr. Susan Cohen has been awarded a prestigious NSF CAREER Award to study the spatiotemporal dynamics of the circadian clock in cyanobacteria. The Faculty Early Career Development Program award- CAREER for short- is National Science Foundation’s most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education. Dr. Cohen plans to integrate her research into inquiry based lab modules throughout the BIOL and MICR curriculum. Dr. Cohen is only the second faculty member at Cal State LA to have received this award. (Posted November 20, 2019)



Faculty Earns the 2020 ASM Award for Education

Dr. Edith Porter
Dr. Edith Porter was the recipient for the 2020 ASM Award for Education. This award recognizes general excellence in microbiology education whereby education is broadly defined and meant to include any and all activities that inform and motivate students about the discipline of Microbiology. The American Society for Microbiology is with over 30,000 members, including researchers, educators, and health professionals, one of the largest life sciences societies in the world. Dr. Porter’s teaching and research is in the area Microbiology and Immunology. She is faculty advisor of the ASM-CSULA Student Chapter and a board member of the Southern California Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. (Posted November 18, 2019)



Faculty Recognized with this Year's Outstanding Professor Award

Ms. Patrick Krug holding a sea slug
Dr. Patrick Krug was one of six faculty members who were recognized for excellence in teaching and significant achievement in scholarly inquiry or creativity, as well as professional activities and community service during the 2017 University Convocation. Dr. Krug is a professor of biological sciences in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. He is a highly regarded marine biologist and has performed field work in uncovering new biodiversity in Africa, Australia, the tropical Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean. He studies how migration by larval stages in the plankton affects the distribution and evolution of marine animals, and ultimately how lineages diversify into new species over time. His research into the evolutionary relationships among species has led to the discovery and naming of new photosynthetic sea slugs, including some studies for anticancer drug development and biocontrol of invasive algae. He has discussed his findings in ocean research in dozens of public radio and television reports. He also has been featured in specials for the Discovery Channel and History Channel during which he discussed biodiversity and conservation. Dr. Krug has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on more than $3 million in research grants. He has mentored many research students, including those traditionally underrepresented in the life sciences. Krug received his Ph.D in marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. He was a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA for four years, and he has served on the faculty of Cal State LA since 2002. (Posted September 26, 2017.)

BioSci MS Student Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Ms. Shan Kuang mentoring high school students
Ms. Shan Kuang received the College of Natural and Social Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Natural Science. After receiving her B.S. degree in Microbiology at Cal State L.A., Shan continued as a master's degree student in the laboratory of Dr. Howard Xu, a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences. Shan was a main contributor to an international collaborative study on comparative genomics of a clinical strain of Acinetobacter baumannii and coauthored a recently published manuscript titled, "Complete genome sequence of hypervirulent and outbreak-associated Acinetobacter baumannii strain LAC-4: epidemiology, resistance genetic determinants and potential virulence factors." Shan mentored several undergraduate students in the Xu lab and coordinated a visit of 18 students from El Monte High School. She taught these students how to use micropipettes, perform serial dilutions of environmental water samples and plate out diluted solutions on agar medium plates for viable bacterial cell counts. The Program Officer of the Youth Science Center remarked, "The fact that Shan's analysis was about their data made it inherently engaging for the students. It made the experience both comprehensibly and personally relevant—exactly the purpose of the inquiry model in practice!" (Posted May 6, 2015.)

BioSci Chair Inteviewed by CBS Los Angeles

Dr. Robert Nissen
The chairman of the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr. Robert Nissen was interviewed by CBS Los Angeles in a story about the job opportunities for biological technicians. Dr. Nissen described the role of technicians in scientific research and the benefits of scientific technical training for environmental science. He also described how, under the leadership of Dr. Howard Xu, the Department of Biological Sciences has revamped its biotechnology certificate program to include an internship experience to train students for technical careers that link them directly to the biotechnology sector. (Posted April 27, 2015.)


Two New Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Training Programs

U.S. Department of Education logoApplications are now being accepted to two new post-baccalaureate certificate programs, one for Pre-Health Professionals - Career Changer (Option II) and the second for Biotechnology. Information and application forms are available from the Health Career Advisement Office homepage. CSULA recently renewed funding from The U.S. Department of Education under the Title V-B Promoting Post-baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program (PPOHA). With support from the US Department of Education, these certificate programs seek to increase the diversity of the healthcare and biotechnology workforce by helping eligible students complete the required and recommended coursework for entrance into health profession schools and biotechnology companies. Eligible students will receive $2000 stipend per year. The application deadline is May 15, 2017 for the Career-Changer program and June 1, 2017 for the Biotechnology program. Contact the Health Career Advisement Office at (323) 343-6062 or (323) 343-6063 for more information. (Posted April 15, 2015.)

Grad Student Receives CSU Student Teaching Award

Peter Ewing
CSULA Biological Sciences graduate student Peter Ewing received the prestigious Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award from the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology, also known as CSUPERB. The award acknowledges outstanding student teaching achievement by a CSU student in biotechnology-related courses and programs. Ewing received the $2000 award during the 27th Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium, which took place January 8-10 in Santa Clara. Since Fall 2013, Ewing has worked as an MS student in the microbiology research laboratory of CSULA Biological Sciences professor Dr. Howard Xu. Ewing has also been teaching laboratory sections of human anatomy and physiology and microbiology for health science majors at CSULA. Dr. Xu nominated Peter for the CSUPERB Crellin Pauling award because of his energy and passion for teaching. (Posted April 23, 2014.)


Faculty Member Wins National Award for Student Advising

Dr. Margaret Jefferson
CSULA Biological Sciences professor Dr. Margaret Jefferson is a winner of the Outstanding Advising Award presented by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). NACADA is devoted to the premise that effective academic advising is at the core of student success. Dr. Jefferson has served for many years as the Principle Undergraduate Advisor for the Department of Biological Sciences. She is also the CSULA Director of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a statewide program funded by the National Science Foundation. LSAMP is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented minority groups graduating from campuses of the California State University with baccalaureate degrees in science, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. Dr. Jefferson will be honored at the special Awards Ceremony and Reception being held at the annual NACADA Conference in Minneapolis in Fall 2014. (Posted April 23, 2014.)

Student Awarded Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholarship

Jesse Garcia
Microbiology major Jesse Garcia Castillo was awarded a 2014 Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholarship by the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB). His project was titled, "Role of Candida albicans yeast casein kinase I in governing the expression of secreted aspartyl protease required for initiating vulvovaginitis." Jesse Garcia was mentored by Dr. Hyunsook Park, a CSULA Biological Sciences professor. Jesse is currently serving as secretary of the CSULA Chapter of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society and the Academic Honors Association. He is also a recipient of a Merkin Scholarship. CSUPERB partners with the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women's Health Research to fund promising undergraduate student research projects in topics related to women's health. The Howell-CSUPERB Scholarship includes a $3,500 award and involves participation in the annual California State University Biotechnology Symposium. (Posted April 23, 2014.)

Two Students Receive First Place Awards at ERN Conference

Eileen Gonzalez and Tarek KaremTwo students from the Department of Biological Sciences received first place awards at the 2013 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM which was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The ERN Conference, which was held in Washington, D.C., from 28 February 28 to 2 March 2013, was attended by about 900 students and scientists from across the nation. CSULA student Tarek Karem won a first place award in physiology and health for his oral presentation Effects of dietary cholesterol and jojoba seed oil on high density lipoprotein subclasses in New Zealand white rabbits. CSULA student Eileen Gonzalez won a first place award in cell & molecular biology for her poster presentation titled Mitochondrial dynamics in the type 2 diabetic heart. Tarek was mentored by Dr. Raymond E. Garcia in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Eileen was mentored by Dr. Katrina Yamazaki in the Department of Biological Sciences. The first place awards included a $300 prize. (Posted April 3, 2013.)

Faculty Member Receives the 2012-2013 CSULA President's Distinguished Professor Award

Dr. Carlos RoblesDr. Carlos Robles, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was named the 2012-2013 President's Distinguished Professor at California State University, Los Angeles. Each year, four Outstanding Professors and one President's Distinguished Professor are selected by a committee composed of faculty members with representation from the Alumni Association and the Associated Students. Recipients of the Ouststanding Professor Awards are eligible in future years to be selected as the President's Distinguished Professor. Dr. Robles, who joined the CSULA faculty in 1979, received the Outstanding Faculty Award in 2004 and now the President's Distinguished Professor Award for 2012. In 2001 he received the Undergraduate Institution Faculty Mentor Award from the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. In 2006 he received the Giants in Science Award from the Quality Education for Minorities Network, a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. In addition to his commitment to excellence in teaching, Dr. Robles has mentored students and postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory, authored or coauthored over two dozen scientific articles, and received over $16 million in federal grants to support research, education, and student training. Dr. Robles is the second President's Distinguished Professor in Biological Sciences in recent years; Dr. Robert Desharnais received the award in 2010. (Posted September 29, 2012.)

MS Student Places First in CSU Student Research Competition

Hanna KochBiological Sciences graduate student Hanna Koch won first place in the graduate division of the Biological and Agricultural Sciences category at the 26th Annual CSU Student Research Competition. Koch was one of only 11 students selected to represent CSULA at the systemwide competition on May 4-5, 2012 in Long Beach. Her presentation was titled "Life at the Edge: Local Adaptation at the Range Limit of an Estuarine Sea Slug." This research, which examined the factors affecting the range limits of estuarine sea slugs, may reveal evidence of ecological changes caused by global climate change. Ms. Koch recently completed her MS degree in Biology working in the laboratory of Dr. Patrick Krug(Posted June 20, 2012.)


Alumnus Wins University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship

Kwasi ConnorBiological Sciences alumnus Kwasi Connor was awarded the prestigious University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellowship. This highly competitive fellowship is only given to a handful of students each year. Connor earned his M.S. in Biology from Cal State LA in 2006 doing research on the growth of sea mussels under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos Robles. Shorty thereafter, he entered the doctoral program at the University of Southern California where he has continued his work with mussels in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Gracey. After completing his Ph.D., the postdoctoral fellowship will allow Connor to pursue his research interests in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Irvine. (Posted May 9, 2012.)


Two Students Selected for Summer Research Program in Costa Rica

Costa Rica
Biology students Adrianna Hernandez and Jennifer Retana were selected from a statewide competition to fill two of the 12 available slots in the CSU-LSAMP Costa Rica Research Summer 2012 Program, an intensive, interdisciplinary tropical field experience for undergraduates. Summer 2012 participants will spend four weeks at field sites. Costa Rica, which is about 1/8 the size of California, is home to 4% of the species on the planet. With around 32% of its area set aside in national parks and reserves, Costa Rica has a well-deserved reputation as a world leader in conservation. Participants will be immersed in the rigorous study of tropical environments and biological diversity, statistics and research methods, current issues in conservation, and Costa Rican geography and culture. Approaches to learning on the program include lectures in the classroom, laboratory, and field; visits to parks and reserves; guided hikes through a diversity of tropical habitats; field activities; group discussions; hands-on laboratory studies; cultural immersion through homestays and social interaction with Costa Ricans from many walks of life; and research projects and analysis of data. (Posted April 30, 2012.)

Renewed Funding for Student Training Program in Stem Cell Research

CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has renewed its funding of the Bridges to Stem Cell Research program at Cal State LA and Cal Poly Pomona for an additional three years. This program is a government funded program aimed to broaden the participation in stem cell research by individuals representing the diversity of California's population. The goals of the program are to provide comprehensive stem cell training and research opportunities for qualified students to give our large, ethnically diverse student populations a basic understanding of stem cell research. Two Biological Sciences faculty members, Dr. Robert Nissen and Dr. Sandra Sharp, oversee the program at Cal State LA. Internships are available for BS and MS students as part of their academic programs in one of 63 research laboratories and 4 non-profit institutions. Visit the CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research web site for more information. (Posted April 5, 2012.)


Funding Renewed for Math and Science Teacher Initiative

Fractals in nature: Math and Science Teacher Initiative
Cal State LA received funding for the CSU Math and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) project for the current academic year. The goal of MSTI is to increase the number of competent credentialed math & science teachers in California. The Cal State LA MSTI project, headed by Biological Sciences professor Dr. Paul Narguizian, expedites the degree/credential procedure and provides intellectual, financial and social support for students aspiring to be math and science teachers. Cal State LA MSTI also partnered with local high-schools and community colleges to encourage students to become high-school teachers of math or science. In addition to academic support, MSTI provides scholarships and stipends to qualified Cal State LA students who are committed to pursuing a career in math or science education. Visit the Cal State LA MSTI web site for more information. (Posted April 5, 2012.)


Student Selected for Golden Eagle Award of Excellence

Billie Hsieh at Bushika Junior Education Center in Uganda
Biological Sciences student Billie Hsieh was selected as a recipient of the Golden Eagle Award of Excellence from the Cal State LA Center for Student Involvement. Ms. Hsieh is the founder and president of the Cal State LA Chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC), which earned the New Organization of the Year award in Spring 2011. FIMRC has hosted numerous activities, such as Free Haircut Day on the campus in association with Locks of Love to create hairpieces for cancer-stricken patients, arts-and-crafts events to produce handmade greeting cards for Los Angeles Children's Hospital patients, and reading days at the Union Rescue Mission. Ms. Hsieh has also worked as a volunteer at City of Hope Cancer Center and as a tutor in the University Writing Center. Last summer she traveled to Bumwalukani, Uganda, where she worked alongside medical professionals in various health centers, clinics and hospitals. Ms. Hsieh was also recently awarded a 2011-2012 Alumni Scholarship from the Cal State LA Alumni Association for her excellent academic record and outstanding contributions to the campus community. (Posted March 16, 2012.)

Biodefense Grant Funds Research and Student Training at Cal State LA

U.S. Department of Defense Seal
In January 2012, the Army Research Office awarded a three-year grant to Cal State LA for research and student training in the discovery of antibacterial compounds from natural product sources. This grant is part of the Research and Educational Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions funded by the Department of Defense. The principal investigator for this award is Dr. Howard Xu, an associate professor of microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Xu and his students will collaborate with scientists at the University of Michigan in the proposed research and training activities. Interested undergraduate students and graduate applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Xu or check out the BioDefense program web page for more information. (Posted March 16, 2012.)


Student Wins Distinguished Master´s Thesis Award

Jacqueline Kiwata
Jacqueline Kiwata, a Cal State LA Master of Science student in kinesiology has won the Western Association of Graduate Schools and University Microfilms International (WAGS/UMI) Distinguished Master´s Thesis Award for 2010-2011. This award recognizes scholarly achievement based on originality, significance of the study, overall quality and outcomes, and accomplishments of the thesis. Kiwata´s thesis was chosen from numerous entries submitted by 89 universities. The research for Kiwata's thesis project, The Effect of Vigorous Exercise on the Content of Cholesteryl Linoleate, a Novel Antimicrobial Effector Molecule in Upper Respiratory Tract Secretions, was conducted in the labortatory of BioSci professor Dr. Edith Porter. The award includes a $1,000 prize and travel expenses for her and one of her advisers to attend the WAGS´ annual conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. For more information, see the Cal State LA press release. (Posted March 16, 2012.)


Professor Emeritus Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Dr. Seto, courtesy of U.S. Army
Biological Sciences professor emeritus Dr. Joseph Seto was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress' highest civilian honor, on November 2, 2011 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Seto was one of among 20,000 Japanese-Americans, both living and dead, who received the award. The medal recognizes their services as U.S. soldiers, translators, and interpreters, which came while their families back home were confined to internment camps. Their unit is one of the most highly decorated military units in American history. Dr. Seto worked in military intelligence. In 1942, prior to his service, he and his fellow high school graduates were sent to an internment camp on such short notice, they did not even have a chance to receive their diplomas. The school made up for it by honoring Dr. Seto's graduating class in 2001. (Posted February 8, 2012.)


Biological Sciences Department Donates Recycled Microscopes

HS teacher Kari Robert with donated microscopes
The Biological Sciences Department donated 150 refurbished microscopes and other equipment to budget-strapped local high schools. The microscopes are being provided to campuses, such as South Pasadena High School, that are currently developing new programs in environmental science but do not have the funds for proper equipment. Other high schools that are receiving equipment and training are Arcadia, Blair in Pasadena, Temple City, Bell Gardens, John Burroughs in Burbank, Marshall Fundamental in Pasadena, Crescenta Valley in Glendale, Mountain View in El Monte, Rancho Dominguez Preparatory in Long Beach, and Rosemont in Los Angeles. The microscopes were refurbished with a workforce development grant from the California Community College Chancellor's Office and the help of PCC student volunteers. High school students were recruited and spent a Saturday conducting the initial diagnostics on the microscopes before students and other volunteers from PCC began the process of repairing them. The donated microscopes will be replaced by 150 state-of-the-art Leica compound microscopes and 50 stereo microscopes for use by Cal State LA students. (Posted February 2, 2012.)

Student Wins Research Scholar Award

Jazma Tapia
Biological Sciences microbiology major Jazma Tapia has won one of the eleven 2012 Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholar Awards. Ms. Tapia, who is being mentored in the laboratory of Dr. Edith Porter, won the award for her proposal which was titled "Assessing lipid-derived innate immune factors in amniotic fluid and vernix caseosa protecting against intrauterine infections." CSUPERB (CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology) has partnered with the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women's Health Research to fund promising undergraduate student research projects in topics related to women's health. Together the Howell Foundation and CSUPERB recognize that research experience is critical to recruiting, training, and retaining students interested in careers in women's health research. The Howell-CSUPERB Scholars show great professional promise academically and in research programs. Each scholar will be conducting faculty mentored research projects during 2012. (Posted February 2, 2012.)

Two Professors Named Education Fellows

Kirsten Fisher and Paul Narguizian
Two CSULA Biological Sciences professors were named Education Fellows in the Life Sciences by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, National Research Council, and Institute of Medicine. Dr. Kirsten Fisher and Dr. Paul Narguizian were selected based on their ideas for enhancing undergraduate biology education and their willingness to collaborate on the development of instructional materials to teach scientific thinking and biology concepts. Aimed at fostering innovative approaches to teaching undergraduate biology, the Summer Institute involved teams from 16 research universities from across the United States for five days of presentations, discussions, intensive group work and other activities with a focus on themes of active learning, assessment, and diversity. Funding for the summer institute was provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, along with support from the host university and The National Academies(Posted January 3, 2012.)


Biological Science Majors Receive Honors at 2011 Graduation

Majors receive graduation honors
The Dept of Biological Sciences at Cal State LA congratulates several of its students who reveived honors at the 2011 graduation. James Si Ho Lee graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biology. Graduating Magna Cum Laude were Angela Kathleen Augustus (Microbiology), Bradlee Michael Davis (Biology), Frances Connie Lee (Biology), Elodie Pacesoler (Biology), and Avijit Sharma (Biology). Graduating Cum Laude were Narine Arutunian (Biology) Trinidad Benjamin Cisneros (Biology), and Nathan Daniel Nittayo (Biology). Students graduating Summa Cum Laude are in the top 1% of their college. Students graduating Magna Cum Laude are in the top 4% of their college. Students graduating Cum Laude are in the top 5% of their college. Congatulations to these fine young scholars! (Posted September 14, 2011.)


Now Accepting Applications to Two New Post-Baccalaureate Clinical Laboratory Science Training Programs

U.S. Department of Labor
Applications are now being accepted to two new post-baccalaureate programs, one for Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) training and the second for Clinical Genetic Molecular Biologist Scientist (CGMBS) training. Information and application forms are available from the CLS and CGMBS web page. These programs are funded by a subcontract from San Jose State University (SJSU) for the "California Statewide Biotechnology Clinical Laboratory Consortium Project." The $41,216 contract is part of a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The program, designed to address the critical shortage of clinical laboratory scientists, establishes a post-baccalaureate certificate program at two CSU campuses - L.A. and Pomona - in partnership with a consortium of hospitals for the required bench training. A second post-baccalaureate certificate program in the specialized Clinical Genetic Molecular Diagnostic Scientist licensure category was developed by the L.A., Pomona, and San Jose campuses. Contact Dr. Nancy McQueen for more information. (Posted June 10, 2011.)

Student Receives Prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from National Science Foundation

Alison Scott
Alison Dawn Scott, a recent graduate of the Department Biological Sciences, was named a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. This prestigious award provides a $30,000 stipend and $10,500 education allowance per year for three years. Alison graduated with honors from CSULA in June 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She was accepted into the Ph.D. program in botany at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she is completing her first year of graduate studies. Her Ph.D. research at the University of Wisconsin focuses on the evolutionary history of coast redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens). While she was student at CSULA, Alison completed an honor´s thesis under the direction of Dr. Stacey Lee Thompson, focused on correlates of clonal reproduction in natural populations of Thuja plicata, an evergreen coniferous tree native to western North America. During the summer of 2008, Alison was a recipient of a research fellowship through the LSAMP International REU program funded by NSF. She conducted research at Universidad de São Paulo, Brasil with Dr. Hugo A. Armelin studying stress responses in malignant cells. (Posted April 13, 2011.)

Professor to Receive the CSU Anthony Andreoli Faculty Service Award

Dr. Howard Xu
Dr. Howard Xu, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, will receive California State University´s (CSU) Anthony Andreoli Faculty Service Award on Saturday, 8 January 2011, during the CSU 23rd Annual Biotechnology Symposium in Anaheim. This award honors a CSU faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to the development of biotechnology in the California State University. The award is named after Professor Anthony Andreoli (CSU, Los Angeles) who was committed to the idea that the CSU has a special role to play in higher education by providing opportunities to a large population of non-traditional students. Dr. Xu has made outstanding contributions to biotechnology research and education and has been integral to the CSU´s development of a Professional Science Master´s program in biotechnology. Dr. Xu's research is focused on the fight against bacterial pathogens through the discovery of novel antibiotic therapeutics and the development of rapid pathogen detection and diagnostic technologies. (Posted January 4, 2011.)

Faculty Member Receives the 2010-2011 CSULA President's Distinguished Professor Award

Dr. Robert Desharnais
Dr. Robert Desharnais, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, was named the 2010-2011 President's Distinguished Professor at California State University, Los Angeles. Each year, four Outstanding Professors and one President's Distinguished Professor are selected by a committee composed of faculty members with representation from the Alumni Association and the Associated Students. Recipients of the Ouststanding Professor Awards are eligible in future years to be selected as the President's Distinguished Professor. Dr. Desharnais, who joined the CSULA faculty in 1988, received the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1998 and now the President's Distinguished Professor Award for 2010. In 2006 he received the Richard Nicholson Award for Excellence in Science Teaching from the Quality Education for Minorities Network, a nonprofit organization in Washington, DC. In addition to his commitment to excellence in teaching, Dr. Desharnais has mentored students and postdoctoral fellows in his laboratory, authored or coauthored three books and over 50 scientific articles, and received over $7 million in federal grants to support research, education, and student training. Dr. Desharnais is also the director and founder of the Virtual Courseware Project, an award-winning web site with several science education simulations available for free to students and teachers. (Posted September 29, 2010.)

Graduate Recieves Prestigious NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholarship

Ms. Natasha Spottiswoode
Ms. Natasha Spottiswoode, a recent graduate from the Department of Biological Sciences, is one of only 15 students in the U.S. selected for the National Institutes of Health-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, an accelerated, individualized doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research. Natasha is interested in applying an improved understanding of genetics to problems with health relevance. She is now studying at Oxford for a Master´s degree in Integrative Bio-Science. She is finishing her first Master´s project in the Hal Drakesmith lab on the putative links between viral infection and iron metabolism control. A native of Los Angeles, Natasha graduated from California State University Los Angeles in 2008 magna cum laude at the age of eighteen after having attended CSULA through the Early Entrance Program(Posted September 29, 2010.)


Biological Sciences Professor Selected for Prestigious AFI Directing Workshop for Women

Dr. Tina Salmassi
Dr. Tina Salmassi, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, is one of eight women selected for the American Film Institute's prestigious Directing Workshop for Women, a program designed to champion the voices of rising filmmakers with demonstrated strength for visual narrative storytelling. The Workshop was established in 1974 and since its inception, such talented women as Lesli Linka Glatter, Randa Haines, and Maya Angelou have directed Workshop projects. Production of Dr. Salmassi's short narrative film will occur during Summer 2010. She already has five films to her credit, including Painkiller, which won in the Best Narrative category at the Rize Up Film Festival in 2008. Her two latest films, Violet and Rose and Ghetto Blaster are now touring the festival circuit. (Posted June 10, 2010.)


New Support for Pre-Health Professions Students

Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans ProgramCSULA recently received funding from The U.S. Department of Education under the Title V-B Promoting Postbaccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program. This 5-year grant will provide much-needed resources to expand and improve science course offerings at the 400-level, strengthen resources for pre-health professions student advisement, as well as expand the capacity and improve the quality of the CSULA PostBaccalaureate Certificate Program for Pre-Health Professionals. Students accepted into the program will participate in an intensive in-residence stipend-supported summer academy before starting certificate coursework in the coming Fall quarter. The application deadline for starting in Summer 2010 is May 15th, 2010(Posted February 11, 2010.)


New Research and Education Programs in BioSecurity

Biosecurity Research and Education Program
Under the DHS Scientific Leadership Awards for Minority Serving Institutions grant program, in April 2009, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded a grant to Cal State L.A. titled BioSecurity Research and Education Programs at Cal State LA. The principal investigator for this award is Dr. Howard Xu, an assistant professor of microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences. This three-year grant supports a (1) research program focusing on development of rapid detection technologies for bacterial pathogens including select agents and education, (2) the establishment of a BioSecurity concentration within the BS in Microbiology program, and (3) student research training and internships in biosecurity for the development of the future workforce in homeland security. See the BioSecurity program web page for more information. (Posted August 20, 2009.)


New Student Training Program for Stem Cell Research

CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research
Cal State LA is a participant in a new government funded program called Bridges to Stem Cell Research which is part of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The goals of this program are to provide comprehensive stem cell training and research opportunities for qualified students and to give our large, ethnically diverse student populations a basic understanding of stem cell research. Internships are available for BS and MS students as part of their academic programs in one of 63 research laboratories and 4 non-profit institutions. Visit the CIRM Bridges to Stem Cell Research web site for more information. (Posted August 20, 2009.)


New Master's in Biotechnology Program

Master of Biotechnology Program
Cal State LA is one of four California State University campuses scheduled to participate (pending final approval by the Chancellor's Office) in a new Program for Applied Biotechnology Studies: Master of Biotechnology (PABS-MBT). This innovative two-year program is designed to provide solid training in the science skills fundamental to the biotechnology industry and a sound background in essential business skills. Students with bachelor's degrees in molecular or cellular biology, biochemistry, applied mathematics, engineering, computer science, physics or business and an interest in working in biotechnology, medical device, or bioanalytics companies involved in these areas are encouraged to apply to the program. Pre-application forms are being accepted for Fall 2009. (Applicants cannot be admitted to the new program until final approval of the proposal is given by the State through the Chancellor's Office.) Visit the PABS-MBT web site for more information. (Posted February 9, 2009.)

Biological Sciences Professor on the Discovery Channel

Dr. Nancy McQueen
Dr. Nancy McQueen appeared on an episode of the Discovery Channel's "Sci-Trek" series called "Killer Germs." This episode was aired in May 2009. The following description of the episode appears on the Discovery Channel's web site: "They're invisible killers-and they're everywhere. See deadly bacteria and viruses up close. And travel with the world's leading microbe hunters as they attempt to locate and terminate these lethal organisms before they trigger the next pandemic." The episode is also available for sale on Dr. McQueen's research is focused on the structure and function of Sendai virus proteins as they relate to viral pathogenesis. The goal of her work is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in viral infection. (Posted January 31, 2009.)