Dr. Maria Elena Zavala received a 2000 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), a very prestigious award created in 1996 by President Bill Clinton. The award is intended to demonstrate "the Administrationís recognition that mentoring and role modeling are important to the development of talent among groups (including women) that are underrepresented in the science, mathematics and engineering fields...."
The award recognizes Dr. Zavalaís outstanding contributions in mentoring science students at Cal State Northridge and nationwide, principally through the very successful MARC and MBRS programs that she directs. As a part of the Presidential Award, Cal State Northridge will receive $10,000 from the National Science Foundation to use in enhancing mentoring activities.
Dr. Zavalaís nomination for the award was supported by numerous letters from colleagues all over the U.S. and by many of the students who have passed through the MARC and MBRS programs in the past.
Dr. Zavala received her award at ceremonies in Washington, D.C., at which time she and nine other award recipients met with President Clinton and a variety of scientific leaders, educational policymakers, and Federal government officials. She was accompanied on her trip by her husband and daughter.
Last spring, Dr. Zavala also received Cal State Northridgeís ninth annual Award for Outstanding Achievement in Equity and Diversity. This recognition, based on Dr. Zavalaís twelve years of service to minority students in the sciences, was presented to her by Interim President Louanne Kennedy at the Honored Faculty Reception in May.
Dr. Zavalaís contributions as a scientist were recognized at Silicon Valleyís Tech Museum of Innovation (in San Jose) where she and nine other Latino Scientists were featured in a month-long celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month. Among those with whom Dr. Zavala shared the limelight were Ms. Ellen Ochoa, a Latina astronaut who has been in space three times, and Dr. Mario Molina, a Nobel Prize-winning Mexican chemist and atmospheric scientist at MIT. Also featured were: Albert Baez, Physicist; George Castro, Associate Dean, College of Science, San Jose State University; Lydia Villa-Komaroff, VP for Research and Graduates, Northwestern University; Adriana Ocampo, Planetary Geologist, NASA; Hector Ruiz, President and COO, AMD; Richard Tapia, Noah Harding Professor for Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University; and Martha Zuniga, Biologist, UC Santa Cruz.
Students Present, Publish Results of Research
Former student Michael Valenzuela co-authored with Dr. Paul Wilson, James Thomson and Maria Malzone an article entitled "Pollen presentation and pollinator syndromes, with special reference to Penstemon." The paper appeared in Plant Species Biology. James Dilley, also a former student, was co-author with Dr. Wilson and M. R. Mesler of a paper in Oikos on "The radiation of Calochortus: Generalist flowers moving through a mosaic of potential pollinators." Jeannie Chari, a graduate student guided by Dr. Paul Wilson, was one of eleven students selected to represent Cal State Northridge at the Fourteenth Annual CSU Student Research Competition at Cal Poly, Pomona. Her presentation was recognized as Runner-Up in the Biological and Agricultural Sciences category. Jeannie also was co-presenter, with Dr. Wilson, of a poster on "The factors that limit hybridization between Penstemon spectabilis and Penstemon centranthifolius" at the American Botanical Society meetings in Portland, Oregon. Students Laura Malessa and Sarah Kimball also attended the meetings.
Student Saima Zubair and Dr. Stan Metzenberg recently published a paper in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses entitled, "CXCR4 homologues of gibbon ape, African green monkey, squirrel monkey, and cotton-top marmoset." The analysis of CXCR4, a gene that codes for a cell surface protein receptor for HIV on T lymphocytes, was analyzed using the Departmentís DNA sequencing facility.
Several students in Dr. Randy Cohenís research group presented papers on "Progressive neuronal changes in the spastic Han Wistar rat" at the Experimental Biology 2000 meetings in San Diego last April. Graduate student Agata Pikula displayed a poster titled: "Pathways of Purkinje cell degeneration." Chris Hernandez, also a graduate student, and undergraduates Nick Ioannou, Ryan Schatz and Cyrille Khalili presented their poster on "Glutamate receptor expression." A third poster, on the topic of "Neuroprotective effects of nicotine," was presented by undergraduates Junie Hildebrandt and Jennifer Termeer.
Students Vanessa Navarro, Sherri Walker, Gayani Weerasinghe, Ed Yamoah, Maria Abundis, Lylla Ngo, Marcela Barajas, Oliver Bedali, Greg Zem, Melina Grigorian, Suchita Zahid and Jennifer Taitz co-authored with Dr. Steven Oppenheimer three posters at the Experimental Biology 2000 meetings in San Diego. The posters were entitled: "Derivatized bead binding to live and fixed cells," "pH and charge effect on sea urchin fertilization" and "Molecular inhibitors of concanavalin A binding to yeast." Vanessa, Gayani, Marcela and Ritsuko made the actual presentations. Abstracts of the posters appeared in FASEB Journal. After viewing one of the posters, the Editor-in-Chief of Cell Biochemistry and Biophysics invited Dr. Oppenheimer to contribute a paper and a review on the derivatized bead assay system he uses to identify cell surface markers.
At the 59th national meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology in Boulder, Colorado, students Gayani Weerasinghe, Vanessa Navarro and Maria Barajas presented two poster papers on "Dissociation of pH and charge effects on sea urchin fertilization," and "Derivatized bead binding to live cells and cells fixed with two fixatives." In addition to Dr. Steven Oppenheimer, who directed the work, students Ed Yamoah, Melina Grigorian, Maria Abundis, Sherri Walker, Lylla Ngo, Oliver Bedali, Greg Zem and Jennifer Taitz were co-authors. Abstracts of the papers appeared in Developmental Biology.
Two papers from Dr. Larry Allenís lab were recently published, each co-authored with a student. "Reproductive patterns of six populations of the Spotted Sand Bass, Paralabrax maculatofasciatus, from southern and Baja California," co-authored by student Tim Hovey, appeared in Copeia. Former student Greg Tranah co-authored a paper in the Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science entitled "Morphologic and genetic variation among six populations of the Spotted Sand Bass, Paralabrax maculatofasciatus, from southern California to the Upper Sea of Cortez."
Troy Phipps, a graduate student in Dr. Aïda Metzenberg's lab, made an invited presentation of his work on "Subcellular localization of the BTHS proteins" at the First International Symposium on Barth Syndrome. Barth Syndrome is an inherited heart defect in which the BTHS proteins are deficient. According to Dr. Metzenberg, "The work was very well received, and the presentation led to two international collaborations."
Three Biology students won honors for their presentations at the Cal State Northridge Sigma Xi Research Symposium. Isabel Hildebrant, working with Prof. Randy Cohen, and Tom Troub, a student of Dr. Michael Summers, were awarded First and Second Place among undergraduates. Chad Barber, a student of Dr. Edward Carroll, took First Place among graduate students.
Student Denise Weisman presented a paper at the Benthic Ecology meeting in Wilmington, N. C. this past spring. Her paper was entitled, "Early demography of Ascophyllum nodosum in conspecific or mussel-dominated habitats." Dr. Steve Dudgeon and Dr. Peter Petraitis (U. of Pennsylvania) were co-authors. Says Dr. Dudgeon, "We censused the population repeatedly and found the rate of mortality astonishingly high, especially considering this is the most abundant intertidal organism on the North Atlantic coast. Never before have the demographics of a marine species been studied in situ with such high temporal (time) resolution."
Judy Peng, a graduate student working with Dr. Cheryl Hogue, presented a paper on "The ecology of endohelminth parasites of white croaker" at the meeting of the Southern California Academy of Sciences held at USC. At the same meeting Jeanie Paris, an undergraduate who recently completed a Senior Honors thesis with Dr. Hogue, presented a poster on "Seasonal distribution and abundance of macroparasites infecting Pacific sanddab from the Palos Verdes Shelf."
Students Receive Grants, Fellowships, Fee Waivers
Vanessa Navarro, a student working with Dr. Steven Oppenheimer, received a travel grant to attend the 59th Annual Meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology in Boulder, Colorado.
Michelle Le, a student of Dr. Edward Carroll, received a Graduate Equity Fellowship from the Office of Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs (GRIP). Graduate Equity Fellowships are awarded to students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to their graduate education and who intend to obtain a Ph.D.
Brad Erisman, a student of Dr. Larry Allen, also received a Graduate Equity Fellowship from the GRIP office. In addition, he was awarded $3500 by the PADI Foundation to support his research on the reproductive characteristics and behavior of kelp bass (Paralabrax clathratus).
Joshua Idjadi and Jack Kirby were awarded Teaching Assistant waivers of State University fees for the fall 2000 semester. These awards, made by the GRIP Office, are based on the recommendations of the Department Graduate Committee Chair and College Dean.
Troy Phipps received a travel grant from GRIP to attend the First International Meeting on Barth Syndrome in Baltimore.
Maiko Kasuya and Denise Weisman, graduate students of Dr. Robert Carpenter, were both awarded grants of $800 from Sigma Xi to support their thesis research. Maiko also received $1400 from the PADI Foundation. Maiko is studying the effects of amphipod grazing on algal morphology and function. Denise is looking at the effects of grazing by the sea urchin Centrostephanus on the kelp forest community. Both are conducting their field research out of the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island.
Three Students Earn Honors in Biology
This past spring three graduating seniors completed the requirements for Honors in Biology.
Cyrille Khalili, working with Dr. Randy Cohen, completed his senior thesis on the topic of "The distribution of metabotropic glutamate receptors mGluR2-3 in the brain of the spastic Han Wistar rat." He plans to continue his work with Dr. Cohen in neurobiology for his Master's degree.
Jeanie Paris did her senior thesis work on "Macroparasites of the Pacific Sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from polluted waters." Her work was done under Dr. Cheryl Hogueís direction.
Also earning Honors for her work on "Specificity of lectin bead binding to yeast" was Sherri Walker. Dr. Steven Oppenheimer was her mentor.
"The Biology Honors Program is a great way for undergraduates to obtain research experience," says Dr. Cheryl Hogue, Chair of the Honors Committee. "The experience will enhance their academic careers and better prepare them for graduate and professional schools." Students admitted to the Biology Honors Program conduct a senior thesis project under the direction of a research sponsor and submit the final thesis to the Honors Committee for approval. Students who complete the program will have "Honors in Biology" added to their bachelorís degree, a special notation on their transcripts and receive a special certificate at the Biology Department honors ceremony during commencement week.
To be considered for the Honors Program, an applicant must have completed 90 units of college work, have a G.P.A. of 3.50 in the major and overall, and have a faculty sponsor to supervise senior thesis research. If interested, contact Dr. Hogue at 677-3349 or email her at email@example.com.