The faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences are engaged in cutting edge research. They mentor graduate students and undergraduates who work in their laboratories. These students often appear as coauthors on scientific publications. Much of this work is supported by external funding agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Research is organized into several broad categories: ecology and evolution, microbiology and immunology, molecular and developmental biology, physiology, and science education. However, the research of many of the faculty members straddle two or more areas. 

Science Education

Evolution Education and the Nature of Science

Contact:  Paul Narguizian, Ed.D.
Office:  ASCR 323C, ext: 3-2054
E-mail:  [email protected]
Web: Narguizian Faculty Website



Support Programs for Student Research

There are a variety of programs at Cal State LA which are designed to support students who are interested in pursuing careers in science. Many of these programs are funded by external agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). These programs vary in the types of activities they sponsor and their levels of student support. Several of these programs are listed below, but there is a turnover as existing programs end and new programs are established.


The Department of Biological Sciences is housed in the recently completed LaKretz Hall, part of the new Annenberg Science Complex, and the original Biological Sciences building. New facilities in LaKretz Hall include a teleconferencing room complete with video capability, digital projectors and screens, and a hospitality center.

Major Instrumentation


For confocal microscopy, an Olympus Fluoview FV500 point-scanning, point-detection confocal laser scanning unit is mounted on an Olympus IX-71 inverted, motorized microscope. Lasers offer a range of excitation wavelengths (multi-line argon, Helium Neon, and Blue Diode), while image acquisition and processing software allow digital image analysis, time course studies, and 3D image reconstruction.

The Omnilog enables testing and identification of aerobic Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. In addition, its Phenotype Microarrays application for mammalian cells can reveal information on metabolic pathway activities, and cellular sensitivity to nutrients, hormones, cytokines, anti-cancer agents, and ions. The Omnilog performs analysis for genotype-phenotype characterization as well as for determining optimal conditions for cellular growth, sporulation and germination, production of secondary metabolites, or enzymatic activities of microbial cells.

The Accuri C6 flow cytometer is equipped with two lasers and four detectors to support cell analysis for up to six parameters. Some of its applications include measurements of apoptosis and cell cycle, and detection of cell surface and intracellular protein expression.

DNA Analysis

LaKretz and Rosser Halls house shared facilities featuring equipment for student and faculty research that includes a sample concentrator, Fotodyne and Versadoc workstations for digital photographs of gels, and water baths. A Nanodrop spectrometer is used to quantify and assess purity of nucleic acids and proteins. Multiple real-time PCR instruments and thermal cyclers are available for PCR amplification and sequencing reactions.  The Department also has shared next generation sequencing capabilities. This includes an Agilent 4150 TapeStation System for the analysis of DNA extractions and next generation libraries, an Illumina MiSeq system, and an Oxford Nanopore MinION sequencer. LaKretz Hall houses a newly established environmental DNA (eDNA) laboratory.

Fluorescence Microscopy


A Nikon inverted epifluorescent microscope is used to visualize intracellular structures of cells using up to four different fluorescent signals at a time. The microscope is used in classes to image mitochondria, vacuoles and chromosomes, and in student research to monitor the subcellular localization of specific proteins.

Freezers and Cold Rooms

LaKretz Hall features a range of growth chambers and environmental rooms for temperature-controlled work. Faculty share several –80C freezers for sample storage as part of the molecular ecology core facility.


All faculty members and staff are provided baseline computers or baseline notebooks and research-active faculty maintain computers in their laboratories for student use and/or specialized research applications. Internet access is provided by the University. There are also two computer classrooms (BS 236 and BS 241), each with 24 networked student workstations, with priority availability for courses in the Biological Sciences. Faculty in the Department have access to a high performance computing cluster on campus.

Greenhouse and Culture Facilities

The Department of Biological Sciences maintains an aluminum-glass greenhouse facility adjacent to the Biological Sciences building. There are two connected rooms with 2,135 sq ft of floor space. The facility includes heating, cooling, plumbing, and fluorescent lighting. There are fixed and movable plant benches. The greenhouses are currently used for instruction and plant collections and are available for research use.

Department faculty maintain a 1,200 gallon re-circulating salt water aquarium system, used for culture of marine invertebrates for instructional purposes and for research. Animal care facilities are also available.

Museum and Herbarium

The department also houses the CSULA Zoological Museum and Herbarium Collections, used in both teaching and research. The natural history collections include extant and fossil plants, birds and their eggs and nests, insects and marine invertebrates, mammals and fish. The extensive entomological holdings comprise seven orders of Insecta and three orders of Arachnids. The botanical collections comprise approximately 37,000 vascular plant specimens representing 245 families.