Microbiology Students Assoc.
The Microbiology Students Association (MSA), an official chapter of the American Society for Microbiology, has a full schedule planned for fall 2000. The first meeting of the year was a "get acquainted" pizza party. Planned for the future are several speakers, a wine country tour to the Santa Ynez area, and more parties.
MSA invites students interested in microbiology to join. Annual dues are just $5.00. Says club President, Ziad Askar, "You'll look great in our nifty tee shirts, and membership looks great on your resume." The other club officers are Jeanie Paris, VP and Gonzalo Zendejas, Treasurer. The position of Secretary is still open.
For more information, contact one of the officers, Dr. Paul Tomasek or Dr. Nancy Bishop, advisors. "Please join us. Everyone is welcome!"
Biology Graduate Students Association (BGSA)
At the BGSA's first social function of the fall semester, a Friday evening barbecue at Erik Forsmans' home, more than twenty graduate students, faculty and an assortment of friends swapped stories while sharing hamburgers and beer. A great time was had by all. Similar social events are planned each month.
All Biology graduate students are invited to join the club. Says Carla Zilberberg, a club officer, "The BGSA is a great opportunity for meeting other graduate students, especially those who work in a different part of the department." The club also helps graduate students with small funding for conferences and helps them find sources for funding to attend conferences and to support their research.
The next BGSA function will be announced soon. Watch for flyers posted near the Biology Department Office.
Black Pre-Health (BPH) Club
The Black Pre-Health Club supports the needs and interests of future medical students. BPH is a multi-cultural group centered on serving the African American community. The Club welcomes all Cal State Northridge students!
The club is in the midst of planning numerous activities for the upcoming semester and is open to new ideas and new members. Planned are many activities designed to motivate members to pursue their goals.
The club's main focus is to provide its members with the tools they need to succeed. Anyone who is serious about giving something back to their communities is welcome. But, club members also have fun, and the organization is as fun as it is diverse.
Pick up an application at Science 2126, the SMAC/EOP Office. Soon BPH applications will be available on-line at the SMAC/EOP homepage.
The Biology Club is open to students of all majors. Many fun activities and field trips are planned. Check the Club bulletin board outside Science 2133 for information about the next scheduled activity. At the first meeting, officers and a student body representative will be elected.
Club activities are an opportunity to meet interesting people and a chance to learn about requirements and admissions processes of medical and graduate schools. Club membership may also enhance your resume by showing that you were involved in extracurricular activities.
To join, drop by the Biology Office (Science 2102), fill out an application, and leave it in the Club mailbox.
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, recognized two members of the Biology DepartmentˇDr. Peter Bellinger and Mr. Manuel (Manny) Fernandezˇfor their outstanding contributions. Dr. Bellinger was given the coveted George Lefevre Research Award and a $250 prize in recognition of his outstanding research efforts. The award is based on a lifetime of publications on the taxonomy of springtails, culminated by the recent publication of a 1500-page monograph on the "Collembola of North America North of the Rio Grande." Mr. Fernandez, director of microbiology's prep area, was named this year's Outstanding Support Staff member. He was recognized not only for the work he does in keeping the microbiology area humming, but for the help he has provided both students and faculty in their research efforts. Both Dr. Bellinger and Mr. Fernandez were honored at the annual Sigma Xi dinner in May.
Two Biology facultyˇDrs. Larry Baresi and Luis Cardenasˇwere recipients of the Polished Apple Award, an award given to individual faculty and staff "who have made a difference in students' lives." Both were feted at a reception in May, at which time they were awarded wall plaques bearing a polished apple.
Dr. Anne Morin was honored last spring by the Cal State Northridge chapter of the American Medical Students Association with the presentation of the club's Golden Apple Award. Dr. Morin not only works closely with pre-medical students in the classes she teaches, among them Cell Biology and Human Anatomy, but is a pre-medical advisor. "This award is presented to advisors or professors for their outstanding work and the help they provide to future health care students," according to Rene Patino, President of the organization.
Program Fully Accredited!
After a rigorous, year-long review, Cal State Northridge's Genetic Counseling Program was awarded full accreditation by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Accreditation was granted for the maximum time period possibleˇsix years!
Although many people were involved in the process, credit for this accomplishment goes primarily to Dr. Aïda Metzenberg, Program Director, and to Ms. Maria D'Addario, Associate Director.
Accreditation is a major step forward, for it means that the program is recognized nationally as meeting the highest standards of the field. With accreditation, the program also becomes more attractive to potential students, up to eight of whom are accepted each year. Only two other California universities and 22 others nationwide have Genetic Counseling programs.
Graduates Find Jobs
Genetic counselors are in high demand. All six members of the Class of 2000 were quickly snapped up by employers:
Alison Hobson and Melanie Salvador at Cedars-Sinai; Aparna Murali at Alfigen; Candace Nehlsen at a prenatal clinic in Orange County; Christine Delgado McElroy at Children's Hospital of Oakland; Christine Seward at Medical College of Virginia. Alison Hobson continues to serve on the Program Advisory Committee.
Bios invites articles written by students about their personal "biological experiences." Interested students are encouraged to consult with the editor regarding their ideas.
ˇ the editor
About the student authors: Sarah Kimball is a Master's student who works at the Carrizo Plain with Dr. Paula Schiffman. In her article, she describes her activities of the past summer working as a paid NSF intern for Dr. Paul Wilson. Edna Francisco is a former student of Drs. Jennifer Matos and Maria Elena Zavala now working in Mexico as a field biologist; her letter has been edited to save space.A Summer in the Sierra:
ˇ by Sarah Kimball
There is a Top-Of-The-World feeling that comes from standing on a mountain pass looking down at waters flowing away from you in all directions. Dr. Paul Wilson and I were at Lamarck Col, at 13,000 feet, with the "amateur" master botanist Jack Crowther, who has studied the area's flora for 17 years. To the west, we saw the streams and lakes of Evolution Basin. To the east, the Bishop Creek watershed stretched down to the Owens Valley. Across the valley we could see the White Mountains. The view was awesome. Glacially carved granite stood out in stark contrast to the deep blue sky. The lake just below us was a milky turquoise from glacial melt. Purple and yellow flowers (Polemonium exigium and Hulsea algida) grew between the boulders at our feet. We paused to admire the view. Then we went to work measuring out a 100 m2 plot, recording the plant species therein, the slope, aspect, soil moisture, shadiness, parent-rock type, and the GPS location. In all, we did 127 such plots last summer!
In the dry alpine zone, we found small, mat-forming species like Eriogonum ovalifolium, an oval-leaved buckwheat, Draba sierrae, Sierra Draba, and Penstemon davidsonii, Davidson's beardstongue. The wet meadows were occupied by an entirely different association of plants, including Dodecatheon redolens, known to non-botanists as shooting star; Gentianopsis holopetala, the Sierra fringed gentian; and Aconitum columbianum, more commonly called monkshood. Although some plant species were found in almost every habitat (like Solidago multiradiata, alpine goldenrod), many of the species varied greatly with elevation and soil moisture. In other words, the various plants sorted themselves out on the landscape along ecological gradients.
We collected our data to test the hypothesis that these local ecological gradients are related to the broader geographic ranges of the species. We made this assumption because both local and broadscale gradients should be determined by the eco-physiological tolerances and requirements of the species, or in other words, what ecologists call their "niches." In particular, if our hypothesis is correct, it allows us to predict that the species occurring in moist habitats will have large geographic ranges that will extend to the north in the mountains where wet habitats become more abundant. In contrast, we would expect that many species growing in dry rocky areas should be endemic to the Sierra Nevada (and perhaps adjacent mountains) and are most likely to be related to species from hotter drier places.
While gathering data this summer, we studied over 200 species of plants. We observed hybrid swarms, examples of adaptive radiations, rare endemics, and distylous plants (such as Primula suffrutescens). Black bears, marmots, pikas, and Clark's nutcrackers, a large jay-like bird, gave us moments of zoology among the botany. And we got in shape carrying a five pound book used in plant identification and our plant press up many mountain trails. Working in the Sierra Nevada reminded me of one of the reasons why I want to be a scientist. This place is beautiful!
ˇ by Edna Francisco
I've had the chance to help out with Elsa's project again, taking blood samples from the sea lion pups in San Pedro Nolasco Island. If all goes well, each morning our boat ride to the island is about an hour. On the way, we often see whales, usually fin whales that Jennifer is studying. Our goal is to take samples and mark the pups that have not been captured. To do this, Geno maneuvers the boat close to the rocks so we can safely step off with the equipment. Alarmed by our presence, the adult sea lions jump into the water. Pups often try to follow but usually stay on the rocks where our brave "sea lion warrior," Janitzio, captures them in a net. We then weigh them, take blood and mucous samples and rectal temperature, after which the animal is marked with a unique letter of the alphabet. While working, we have to watch out for the males which are HUGE! They typically make aggressive calls/gestures and sometimes charge towards us.
I have not been in the water yet because I had a skin rash and my dermatologist removed a big, irregular-shaped mole from my left arm a few weeks ago. They're both healing, but I have to wait about a week more. It's not so bad to wait because there are agua malas (jellyfish) in the water. In the summer they are here whenever the wind comes from the north.
I've been cooking once in a while. I made kare-kare and sotanghon last time for a few friends and I wish there was an Asian store around. My Filipino food supply will not last long. The food here is cheap and good, but eventually I will get tired of the stuff available. I tried a dessert called ate made from guayaba. Just imagine semi-hard jello made of guayaba jelly. If you're looking for a sugar-rush, try this! I've also tried pitaya ice cream made from the fruit of Pitaya cactus. It looked unusual, pink with black seeds, but it was good, perfect for the heat wave that we've been having! I've also eaten almeja chocolata (chocolate clams) "cooked" with lime. This is as close as I've gotten to "raw" food. It was a new good taste, not at all repulsive. But it takes getting used to; the clam was still contracting when I ate it. The best food so far is the tostadas de jaiba (crab tostadas). What a treat! Three tostadas topped with blue crab, onion, tomatoes, and cilantro.