Biology Department Adds Three New Faculty Members
In other news
Dr. Robert Espinoza-"Bobby" to his friends-has joined the Biology faculty this fall as an assistant professor. He is now teaching Vertebrate Biology. Next spring he will teach Herpetology, the study of reptiles and amphibians, which has consumed Espinoza's interests since he was a child.
Bios: Tell us a little about your background, where you went to school, stuff like that.
Espinoza: I got my bachelor's degree in Biology from San Diego State University; my Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno; and I just completed a postdoc at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. As a native southern Californian, I'm excited to be back home, and anxious to work in some of my favorite habitats: coastal sage and chaparral, oak-sycamore riparian zones, and in the Mojave Desert.
Bios: You work elsewhere too?
Espinoza: Definitely. I've studied in places as far flung as the rainforests of Costa Rica and the Andean deserts of northwestern Argentina.
Bios: What's your research on?
Espinoza: How amphibians and reptiles interact with their abiotic and biotic environments such that different species come to have different diets, life histories and physiologies.
Bios: Do you have a favorite group of organisms?
Espinoza: I've been working on a lineage of lizards, the Liolaemidae. It has about 175 species. They live in southern South America.
Bios: Give us an idea of some of the things you're studying in this group.
Espinoza: We've described new species and done a lot of work on evolutionary relationships among species. This work forms the foundation for us to look at how lizards from extreme environments alter their thermoregulatory behaviors to compensate for changes in climatic variability, and I've been trying to figure out the conditions under which live bearing evolves, and testing alternative hypotheses that try to explain geographic gradients in species richness. Also, there's been work on the causes and consequences of diet evolution.
Bios: Wow! Is this mostly lab work?
Espinoza: Only partially. There's also lots of field work, and an occasional computer simulation. One of the neat things is that a lot of my research spans levels of organization, like ecology and physiology.
Bios: Maybe you could go into one of your projects in more detail.
Espinoza: Sure. I've recently come to the conclusion that diet influences the size and number of eggs produced by reptiles. Specifically, herbivorous turtles and lizards produce smaller clutches of larger eggs than do carnivorous turtles and lizards. This is presumably because larger bodies have the larger guts needed to digest plant fiber. So it seems there's a minimum body size if you're going to be a herbivorous reptile. Right now, I'm planning a series of experiments in which miniature herbivorous lizards will be "allometrically engineered" to test the minimum body-size hypothesis.
Bios: What is "allometrically engineered?"
Espinoza: You take a newly laid egg and use a hypodermic syringe to suck out some of the yolk. Then the lizard grows up to be smaller but to have its species-specific proportions.
Bios: Well, we're about out of space, but is there anything else you would like to add?
Espinoza: Just that I'd like to invite students with interests like mine to stop by for a chat in Science 1328.
The following is an interview with Dr. David Gray. Dr. Gray has just joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He is teaching Behavioral Ecology this fall and will be teaching Entomology in the spring.
Bios: You were hired as an Entomologist. There're lots of things to study about insects. What are you interested in?
Gray: I work on crickets, mostly the evolution of the acoustic communication system. Everybody has heard male crickets sing; females don't make noise, but they do show preferences for certain song types over others. I'm interested in how the female cricket's preferences for song affect their fitness and as species of crickets diverge, how the song and the response to the song change.
Bios: So the songs kind of co-evolve with the listening?
Gray: Exactly. It has been shown several times that female crickets prefer the songs of their own species to the songs of other species. What's more, in some cases it appears likely that the species differences in male song and female preferences for songs are the primary factors in maintaining species' distinctness, and may even play a role in the origin of new species of crickets.
Bios: Please give us an idea of what you'll be doing in your Behavioral Ecology and Entomology courses.
Gray: Both will have strong field components as well as labs and lectures. For example, the Behavioral Ecology course will emphasize quantitative approaches to the analysis of the evolutionary functions of behavior. That will involve field projects with hummingbirds, lizards, and, of course, a lab with crickets. The Entomology course will emphasize taxonomy and the whole-organism biology and ecology of insects, with field trips for collecting and observing insects. This is a very exciting place to teach because the opportunity for outside student coursework year-round is tremendous.
Bios: Right, you've been in Canada for four years?
Gray: Yes, three years in Ontario and a year in Alberta. Winter there is too cold for insects-and for insect researchers! But before I went to Canada, I did my Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico, and I was an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz; I am actually a native Californian, although I left California for Utah at age two.
Bios: Anything other than the weather that made Northridge attractive?
Gray: Absolutely. I have family in the area, and CSUN promises to be an especially productive place to teach and conduct research with students. Plus I just saw my first freeway chase yesterday, with helicopters and everything!
Bios: Hmmm, nine years studying cricket songs. What do you think students could do with you in a shorter time?
Gray: I hope to get some students signed up on research projects soon. I have supervised 11 Canadian students over the last four years, both undergraduate and Master's students, and all of them did extremely well. They have examined everything from sex-ratio variation to the effects of diet on cricket song. Students who might be interested in working on these or related projects should contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or peruse the lab web site (http://www.csun.edu/~dgray) where they can get more information and even listen to cricket songs.
Dr. Rheem Medh is an expert in apoptosis, cell death that is controlled by the body. She has recently joined the Biology faculty as an assistant professor. This fall she is teaching our core Genetics course and the more specialized Human Genetics.
Bios: So, I hear you have a twin sister who was just hired in the Chemistry department.
Medh: Yes, that is true. We are very fortunate to have both found positions here at Cal State Northridge that have allowed us to reunite after 5 years. We are looking forward to the great opportunity we now have to collaborate on research projects of mutual interest.
Bios: Have you been at the same institutions throughout your careers?
Medh: Not really. But early on in our schooling we spent a lot of time together. We came to the US together to go to graduate school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
Bios: Where did you go after that?
Medh: I did my post-doc at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, followed by a temporary professorship at the University of Iowa, and then returned to Galveston to join a laboratory that was doing some pioneering work on glucocorticoid hormone receptors. Over the years I have developed an interest in the mechanism of hormone action, and specifically the role of steroid hormones in physiological cell turnover and cell death.
Bios: You're teaching genetics now, but have you taught more physiological topics in the past?
Medh: Oh yes! I've taught a lot of endocrinology, for instance.
Bios: Would you be interested in developing an endocrinology class here?
Medh: Yes, that would certainly be an attractive topic to teach. I think there would be a lot of student interest in such a course as well.
Bios: What would the format of that class be like?
Medh: If it were small enough, I would like to try a lot of interactive learning, where students actively discuss and research a topic in class with guidance from the instructor. I was involved in a problem-based learning curriculum for med students at Galveston, where a small panel of students gathered information on various aspects of some disease, shared what they had learned in class and helped each other out. I found that students who pursued that form of active learning absorbed the information a lot better, learned how to find the information they needed in the library and improved their communication skills as well.
Bios: Tell us about some research you are planning here.
Medh: Using microarray technology, we have recently identified candidate genes that may contribute to glucocorticoid-mediated apoptosis in the CEM lymphoid cell model system that we have been investigating. There are a few interesting genes that I want to pursue further. The idea is to first demonstrate the function of each of these genes in causing apoptotic cell death in the lymphoblastic model, and then to extrapolate those studies to other systems such as osteoblasts where glucocorticoids are known to cause apoptosis as well.
Bios: So, how do you circumscribe your interests?
Medh: I would say that my primary interest lies in understanding a phenomenon that is basic and essential to normal physiology in virtually every living being: how cells die. In the specific systems that I am studying, such an understanding could be applied to deriving better therapeutic strategies for leukemia therapy, or to preventing bone loss after glucocorticoid treatment for other ailments.
Bios: Since you've spent a lot of time at medical schools, can you tell us some of the ways that they are different from a comprehensive university like CSUN?
Medh: The medical schools and biomedical graduate institutions that I have been at have helped me tremendously with furthering my research interests, which are primarily biomedical. The advantage was the easy availability of samples and collaborators, and an environment that was conducive to research. The lack of a large undergraduate student body to tap into was certainly a major drawback though. I especially enjoy interacting with students and derive energy and motivation from their enthusiasm, so I am very excited to be here. I also love teaching; it gives me a sense of satisfaction in what I do. A comprehensive campus such as CSUN brings together people with such diverse interests. I am sure to learn a lot by just keeping my eyes open and listening to what is going on around campus. It is a totally different culture, and I am enjoying every bit of it.
Bios: You've lived in San Diego, Texas and Iowa. What brought you back to southern California?
Medh: For one, you cannot beat the climate here. I dreaded the hot summers of Texas and the bitter winters of Iowa. One of the most beautiful places I have had the opportunity to live in is San Diego, and I knew exactly which part of the country I wanted to call home. I like the location of Northridge. It is close enough to L.A. to take advantage of all of the cultural activities, and yet far enough to enjoy a peaceful suburban atmosphere.
Grad student Diego Sustaita presented a poster entitled "Modeling changes in morphology and population ecology of the Juan Fernandez Firecrown" at the meetings of the American Ornithological Union. The work was based in part on field work last year in Chile with Dr. Fritz Hertel, and the theory was initiated in Dr. Polly Schiffman's Ecological Modeling class.
Grad student Sarah Kimball presented a poster at the Ecology meetings in Madison, Wisconsin, on "The impact of simulated grazing on native and non-native plants in Carrizo Plain National Monument." The poster was co-authored by Dr. Paula Schiffman. Says Schiffman, "The poster attracted a significant amount of attention, particularly from other California ecologists affiliated with UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and Stanford University. I was very pleased by the positive feedback that Sarah's work received since her results are of considerable importance for grassland conservation." Two other grad students, Andrew Ellis and Rocky Moss, also attended the meetings.
Students Gayani Weerasinghe, Tharinee Sakhakorn, Marcela Barajas, Rolando Maldonado, Dang Huynh, Maria Khurrum, Evelyn Soriano, Lylla Ngo, Oliver Badali, middle school teacher Greg Zem, and Dr. Steve Oppenheimer presented four posters at the Experimental Biology 2001 meetings in Orlando, Florida. The papers were entitled: "pH affects sea urchin fertilization"; "Amino acid inhibitors of immobilized concanavalin A-cell binding"; "Lens culinaris agglutinin causes exogastrulation in the sea urchin Lytechinus pictus"; and "A method for analysis of human cancer cells using derivatized agarose beads." A poster entitled "Survey of surface characteristics of human cancer cells using derivatized agarose beads" was presented at the meeting of the Society for Developmental Biology by students Maria Khurrum, Evelyn Soriano and Rashad Riman, and teacher Greg Zem. Dr. Oppenheimer and other students were co-authors.
Former student Lisa-ann Gershwin has published a second paper originating from her senior thesis work, "Systematics and biogeography of the jellyfish Aurelia labiata (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa)." The paper appeared in Biological Bulletin. Dr. Paul Wilson directed her research.
Kimberly Ashe and Kamile Yuksek, students of Dr. Michael Summers, presented at the 7th Cyanobacterial Workshop at Asilomar in July. Kim's poster was titled "Determining the role of the cAMP receptor protein in transcriptional regulation of Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803." Kamile's poster was titled "Use of differential display technique for identification of akinete specific genes in Nostoc punctiforme." Both students received great feedback from the international group of scientists at the poster sessions and returned energized from stimulating talks and discussions at social hours.
Three students from Dr. Robert Carpenter's lab presented papers at the Benthic Ecology Meetings. Nick Haring talked about the causes and consequences of variable morphology of alga that grow in wave-exposed and wave-protected habitats on Santa Catalina Island. Maiko Kasuya presented her work on how grazing by herbivorous amphipods changes the branching patterns of a subtidal algal species and alters rates of photosynthesis. Denise Weisman presented a paper on the effects sea urchin feeding has on kelp forest communities.
David Riherd presented a poster at a joint meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists at Penn State on the subject of: UV-B radiation effects on photolyase gene expression during development in the California treefrog Hyla cadaverina. David is a graduate student working under the direction of Drs. Joyce Maxwell and Tom Vandergon (Pepperdine University).
The Biology Department faculty awarded its Outstanding Biology Student Award in May to two graduating seniors: Sean Chang and Nicholas Hamlin. The faculty's 2001 award for Outstanding Biology Graduate Student went to Carla Zilberberg, its Bennett-Bickford Award for a promising prospective teacher to Erica Zuber. All three awards come with a modest monitary prize.
Nicholas Hamlin was selected by the University as a recipient of its 2001 Graduating Senior Award, the first time in several years that a science major has won the award.
The College of Science and Mathematics honored three Biology majors with prizes. Keri Silva took the Outstanding Junior Award. The Donald E. Bianchi Awards were given to Carla Zilberberg (graduate) and Vince Pureza (undergraduate).
The PADI Foundation has awarded graduate student Nick Haring and his mentor Dr. Robert Carpenter grants for $1,000 and $3,600 for a study on the "Effects of hydrodynamic forces on kelp forest organisms."
Three graduate students, Brad Erisman, Janna Fierst and Dan Tappe, were each awarded a Teaching Associate waiver for the fall 2001 semester. For full-time enrollment, each fee waiver is valued at $753.
Undergraduate Christin Slaughter, a student of Dr. Steve Dudgeon, has received several awards this year: $690 from the Biology Graduate Student Association, the Biology Department and the College of Science and Math to allow her to attend the Benthic Ecology meeting in March where she presented a poster; a PADI grant for $500 towards the development of the alternative stable states model; and a very prestigious NSF-REU Fellowship of $2900 to work at the University of Maine's Ira Darling Marine Center this past summer where she worked on a research project with Drs. Phil Yund and Paul Rawson.
Eric Miller, a student of Larry Allen, was awarded $600 by the Sigma Xi Society for his work on "The effect of larval density on the protogynous behavior of Spotted Sand Bass (Paralabrax maculatofasciatus)."
Janna Fierst received grants totaling $2000 from the Phycological Society of America, Sigma Xi, PADI, and the Jepson Herbarium to support her study of "Spatial scale patterning in Macrocarpus papillatus." Janna works with Dr. Steve Dudgeon.
Two Biology students were among the winners of the Sigma Xi Student Research Symposium competition held in May, 2001. Among the undergraduate winners, Keri Silva took third place. Her research is sponsored by Dr. Sandra Jewett (Chemistry). Graduate winners included Rebecca Habeeb, a student of Dr. Peter Edmunds, who took second prize.
Undergraduate student Zerlinde Balverde was recognized last year as the Work-Study Student of the Year for her work at the Sepulveda VA Medical Center on Neurogerontology and Alzheimer's disease. Zerlinde works under the direction of Dr. Sally Frautschy.
The National Institutes of Health have awarded $474,624 to Dr. Maria Elena Zavala, continuing support for the MARC U*STAR program. Dr. Zavala also received $247,761 in continuing support for the "CSUN Bridges to the Doctorate," a program aimed at academically gifted minority students who intend to seek a Ph.D. in the sciences. In addition, she spearheaded a four-year MBRS-RISE proposal that now has been approved by NIH. The first year award will be $552,576, for a four-year total of $2,200,000. Some of the sub-awards are mentioned below.
Dr. Michael Summers received one of the SCORE sub-awards. It funds his research on akinete development in the filamentous cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme. As part of this grant, Claudia Argueta (CSUN '99 M.S.) has joined the lab as a research technician.
Dr. Steve Dudgeon was another subawardee of the SCORE grant. His part will fund work on the hydro-vascular system of colonial hydrozoans. During the last few months, Dr. Dudgeon also received research grants from the College of Science and Mathematics and from the University to develop a model of alternative stable states in ecological communities. The funds also help support the work of his students.
Drs. Michael Summers and Paul Tomasek received a $10,543 grant from the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology for purchase of a multi-well spectrophotometer. This piece of equipment will be used to enhance the Biology department's microbiology and molecular biology courses in the future.
Dr. Virginia Vandergon was awarded a $1500 Faculty Development Grant from the Center for Community Service-Learning. Funds will be used to modify the Biology 100 lab sections taken by Liberal Studies majors to include science-based, after-school activities involving students from two local middle schools.
The National Science Foundation has provided $6,000 to Dr. Paul Wilson, supplemental funds for his grant "Floral function and phylogeny in Penstemon: Tests of pollen presentation theory." His student, Matthew Danielczyk, will be paid to collaborate with him on the study.
Dr. Randy Cohen received a travel award of $1000 to attend the 34th International Congress of Physiological Sciences in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Dr. Lisa Banner received $7,500 as an American Society for Cell Biology grant for her "ASCB MAC Linkage Program."
The University Office of Research and Sponsored Projects has identified nine Biology faculty as winners of grants in this year's faculty research competition. The winners include Drs. Lisa Banner, Robert Carpenter, Randy Cohen, Steve Dudgeon, Peter Edmunds, Janet Kübler, Aïda Metzenberg, Stan Metzenberg and Virginia Vandergon. Each received either an award of $4,900ó5,000 or 3 units of reassigned time.
Dr. Peter Edmunds was awarded a Student Outcomes Assessment Grant of $1000. The funds were used to analyze four years of assessment questionnaire responses, resulting in a set of descriptive statistics to identify trends among Biology majors over time.
Dr. Janet Kübler has edited a book, The Algorithmic Beauty of Seaweeds, Corals and Sponges, with Dr. Jaap Kaandorp (University of Amsterdam). The book is an outgrowth of an NSF-funded workshop that took place in 1999 at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara. Says Dr. Kübler, "There have been two books published previously, in 1979 and 1985, on growth and form of clonal organisms. Both greatly advanced the state of knowledge in this field, and we hope that our book will be as influential as those were." The book contains sections written by Cal State Northridge faculty Drs. Robert Carpenter and Steve Dudgeon.
Dr. Steve Dudgeon has published a paper on "Scale-dependent recruitment and divergence of intertidal communities" in Ecology. Dr. P. S. Petraitis is co-author.
For the past year Dr. Maria Elena Zavala has mentored three high school students for their science fair projects. All three were selected as finalists at the county level and one went to state competition.
Dr. Tacheeni Scott served on pre-doctoral evaluation panels for two scholarship agencies: the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowships for Minorities Program and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Both panels are administered by the National Research Council.
Dr. Paul Wilson, with M. C. Castellanos and J. D. Thomson, published a paper in The American Journal of Botany: "Dynamic nectar replenishment in flowers of Penstemon (Scrophulariaceae)."
Dr. Joyce Maxwell received an Outstanding Faculty Award from the Students With Disabilities Resources program. The award, given for her efforts on behalf of students with disabilities, was presented at a special dinner.
Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, selected Dr. Jim Hogue for this year's Outstanding Support Staff Award. Says Dr. Omar Zahir, chair of the selection committee, "The award honors his dedication and commitment to supporting research at CSUN."
Dr. Nancy Bishop was an invited presenter in a program entitled "Brighter horizons: Careers in math, science & technology." The program, sponsored by the American Association of University Women in the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County, introduces children to science-related careers. Dr. Bishop also presented a workshop, "Let yeast work for you! Introduction to microbiology," to three groups of students in grades 6ó12.
The third edition of the Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology includes a section on "Spaceflight physiology" authored by Drs. Randy Cohen and Linda Caren (Professor Emeritus).
Dr. Nancy Bishop is President-elect of the Southern California Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. As such, she serves a two-year stint as President-in-training. The current President is Dr. Michael A. Lewinsky, one of Dr. Bishop's former Master's students and now Scientific Director, Infectious Diseases for Nichols Institute Quest Diagnostics.
Dr. Michael Summers presented a poster at the 8th Undergraduate Microbiology Education Conference on the topic of "Redesigning a course in bacterial diversity." A $500 grant paid for his travel to the meeting.
Dr. Peter Edmunds authored the cover story in the Kapok Chronicles, an in-house newspaper of the Virgin Islands National Park. The article, written for a non-scientific audience, is entitled "Lameshur Bay Coral Research Begins Second Decade."
Last May, Dr. Stan Metzenberg gave a research seminar "On finding peptide drugs that interfere with HIV entry" at CSU, Long Beach.
Dr. Paul Wilson gave a talk at Fickett Towers Retirement Home, "Pollination by birds and bees."
Our most recent recipient of Honors in Biology was Vincent Pureza, who worked with Dr. Aïda Metzenberg. Vince wrote his senior thesis on "Gene Mapping by Biochemistry: Mutation Analysis of X-linked dominant Chondrodysplasia Punctata in Patients with Elevated Sterol Isomerase Levels."
Says Dr. Cheryl Hogue, Chair of the Honors Committee, "The Biology Honors Program is a great way for undergraduates to obtain research experience and better prepare themselves for graduate and professional school." To earn Honors, students must conduct a research project under the direction of a faculty sponsor and submit their results as a senior thesis.
Students who earn Honors have a special notation on their transcripts, are recognized at a Biology Department ceremony during commencement week, and receive a special certificate. Students who have finished 90 units of college work, have a G.P.A. of 3.50 both in the major and overall, and have a faculty sponsor may apply to the program. Interested students can reach Dr. Hogue via email (email@example.com) or by phone at 677-3349.
Dr. Steve Oppenheimer coordinated a National Science Foundation-sponsored K-12 Student Research Poster Symposium at Cal State Northridge last June. More than a hundred high- and middle-school students working with teachers in the NSF Research Experiences Program presented the results of their research. Says Dr. Oppenheimer, "This event helps turn kids on to continuing their studies in science."
The research of 216 K-12 students was showcased by the publication of brief papers in the Journal of Student Research Abstracts. Students and their teachers were co-authors. Many of the students whose work was published were those taught by Dr. Oppenheimer's NSF project teachers. Dr. Oppenheimer edits the journal.
This spring, Dr. Paul Wilson will be teaching Plant Morphology (Biology 403) as an all-day Saturday class. "This is a one-time thing, Plant Morph in the spring," he says. "We'll spend a lot of time roaming the countryside looking at all sorts of plants-mosses, ferns, the works."
Two courses that have not been offered in many years will be offered again this spring: Herpetology (Biology 512), the study of reptiles and amphibians, will be taught by Dr. Robert Espinoza; Entomology (Biology 513), the study of insects and their relatives, will be offered by Dr. Dave Gray. Both classes have field studies sections, hence will meet the field studies requirement for the BA degree.
Three graduate seminars are planned for spring. Dr. Michael Summers' Biology 655A class will be on the topic of prokaryotic gene regulation. Dr. Paul Wilson's Biology 615B topic will be pollination biology. The third instructor and topic has yet to be decided.
In a late-night phone call, University President Jolene Koester informed Dr. Maria Elena Zavala that she had been selected as this year's winner of the coveted Wang Family Excellence Award. The award, provided by the family of CSU Trustee Wang, is given in recognition of excellence in the Natural Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Sciences and Engineering.
Dr. Zavala was nominated by Dr. Koester. In support of her nomination, President Koester cited Maria Elena's many recent, high-profile accomplishments: more than $2 million in grants since 1999 for the MARC, MBRS and Bridges programs; mentoring of over 125 minority students since 1990; receipt of the 2000 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring in Washington, DC; election as president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science; service on the Science Education Committee at the request of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; this University's 2000 award for Outstanding Achievement in Equity and Diversity and its 2000 Don Dorsey Excellence in Mentoring Award; and many others.
The award comes with a $20,000 prize, a capstone to a remarkable cascade of awards and recognitions.
On August 17, Cal State Northridge hosted a special microbiology training session on the subject of "Examination of vaginal wet mounts." The program, intended to provide specialized training for microbiologists and medical technologists, was put on by the National Laboratory Training Network. Dr. Nancy Bishop and Mr. Manny Fernandez were instrumental in bringing the program to campus and in facilitating the work of the program's instructors.
One August evening, the Botanic Garden hosted its first annual Twilight Garden Party to which the general public was invited. The party was a huge success, attracting more than 150 people.
Following guided tours of the garden, pond and greenhouses, attendees were treated to free wine and hors d'oeuvres, all to instrumental music provided by the University Music Department. Along the garden paths, selected art students displayed their works, some of it inspired by gardens.
The party was hosted by the College of Extended Learning and coordinated by Ms. Barbara Frye of that organization. Mr. Brian Houck and Ms. Brenda Kanno of the garden staff led the tours and answered myriad questions posed by the garden enthusiasts who attended. Dr. Barbara Caretto was instrumental both in the event's conception and coordination.
Biology majors at Cal State Northridge can now more easily become high school teachers, thanks to a decision by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). Last year the CTC approved a subject matter program that clears prospective teachers who have completed the B.A. in Biology, provided that they also have taken courses in geology and astronomy.
Students interested in a career in teaching are encouraged to consult a departmental credential advisor. More information can be found at http://www.csun.edu/ biology/teacher.
After 31 years of teaching at Cal State Northridge, Dr. Joyce Maxwell has retired. She was the main-stay of our core Genetics course for many years, and taught a large number of more specialized courses on occasion. She guided 18 students in their Master's theses studies of Neurospora genetics. In 1983 she received the University's Distinguished Teacher Award.
One of Dr. Maxwell's most extraordinary accomplishments outside the classroom was the directing of the H.O.P.E. program funded by a $700,000 Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant. The H.O.P.E. program was aimed at improving the graduation rates of women and ethnic groups under-represented in the sciences.
Dr. Maxwell also generously served as Acting Associate Dean of Science and Math, and most recently Associate Chair of Biology and editor of Bios. For these onerous tasks, the faculty are especially grateful. We wish Dr. Maxwell a happy and active retirement.
Efforts are underway to organize a CSUN Biology Alumni Chapter, a forum for Biology graduates to meet, become reacquainted, and connect with the Biology Department program. The faculty is working with the CSUN Alumni Association to facilitate establishing the Alumni Chapter.
Interested alumni are needed to organize and launch the Chapter. Alumni members for the Organizational Focus Group are being sought; volunteers should contact Dr. Jim Dole or Nancy Bishop at the Biology Department (818-677-3356).
Openings exist in the lab of Dr. Michael Summers for students interested in exploring cellular development using a prokaryotic model system. It is known that vegetative cells of the filamentous cyanobacterium Nostic punctiforme can differentiate into spore-like akinetes when cellular energy is limiting. Work will focus on the physiology and gene regulation associated with the differentiation process.
Students interested in cell surface research, are invited to visit Dr. Steve Oppenheimer (Science 2005). Currently his lab is examining the surfaces of human cancer cell lines in addition to examining cell-cell interactions in sea urchin embryos. Over 200 students have co-authored publications and presentations.
Drs. Janet Kübler and Steve Dudgeon have a proposal pending to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to develop a training program in environmental science for students from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in science. If funded, the program will begin in October and include a workshop in January on the use of molecular techniques to collect population genetic data on marine algae. Interested students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Peter Edmunds is interested in recruiting graduate students committed to a research career in marine biology and, ideally, with an interest in coral biology and SCUBA diving.
Dr. Fernando Lobo, Professor of Comparative Anatomy at the Universidad Nacional de Salta, Argentina, will be visiting Cal State Northridge in October. While here, he will give a seminar on his research in phylogenetics and biogeography of lizards. Those wishing to speak with him should see Dr. Robert Espinoza in Science 1328.
Interested in a career in environmental biology with a government agency that oversees natural lands and native species? If so, pick up a handout entitled "Tips for Pursuing State/Federal Biologist Positions" from the Biology Department's Advisement Center in Science 2133.
The handout was written by Diego Sustaita, a Biology graduate student working with Dr. Fritz Hertel who is also employed by the California Department of Fish and Game. It provides internet website addresses for job listings and qualifying exams, along with good suggestions about the value of internships, "networking," creating resumes and the application process.
Diego wrote the handout after Dr. Paula Schiffman asked him for 'expert advice' about government jobs that she could relay to students. She says "Diego's handout contains lots of useful and up-to-date information." Pick one up and get started!
Applications for the Master's program in Biology are due October 15 (for spring semester admittance) or March 15 (for fall 2002 admittance). To qualify for the program, students must take the general GRE, the Biology subject GRE, apply to the university, and separately apply to the M.S. Biology program (see http://www.csun.edu/biology).
Prospective students should contact potential major professors. Says Dr. Banner, the graduate coordinator, "Until you have an advisor, you're really not likely to make much progress as a graduate student. For a description of each faculty member's research and the application procedures, see http://www.csun.edu/biology.
Dr. Stan Metzenberg's web-based courses are finding a worldwide audience. They passed a milestone of 500 megabytes/month of traffic in August.
Sampling the traffic on just one day, the visitors to the site included readers from Tufts University, Johns Hopkins Medical Center, Lawrence Livermore National Lab, UCSD, Caltech, The University of New Hampshire, University of Pennsylvania, and the technology firms Agilent Technologies Inc., Inktomi Corp., Leydig Voit & Mayer, LTD., and Datex-Ohmeda Inc. The readership on that day was international, and also included Concordia University (Canada), Örebro Universitet (Sweden), Turun yliopisto (University of Turku, Finland), Università degli Studi di Padova (Italy), and several dozen users from the U.S., France, Netherlands, Germany, and Nicaragua.
Dr. Metzenberg also recently received the following email from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Whitehead Institute: "I thought you would be pleased to know that your Bio 572 lecture notes have found an appreciative audience. Here at the Whitehead Genome Center we've been using these lectures... as a resource in preparing some of our weekly team-building lectures. Now that we are looking at starting up a group devoted to making genomic libraries (BAC and fosmid, probably) I am using these lectures as 'assigned reading' to bring some team members up to speed on the techniques we will be using. The lectures cover what should be difficult subject matter, very clearly but without sacrificing details and without being dry. Your students are lucky. Thank you for making these available!"
In spring, University President Jolene Koester announced the promotion of five Biology professors. Drs. Cheryl Hogue, Aïda Metzenberg, Paul Tomasek, and Paul Wilson were promoted to Associate Professor with tenure, and Dr. Peter Edmunds, who already has tenure, was advanced to the rank of Professor. All are to be congratulated.
Bios invites articles written by students about their personal "biological experiences." Interested students are encouraged to consult with the editors regarding their ideas.
About the student authors: Diego Sustaita works with Dr. Fritz Hertel. Brian Gallagher is a1985 Biology graduate in Medical Technology; his letter to Dr. Nancy Bishop has been edited to save space. Angela McEliece is a chemistry major; her contribution was extracted from an unsolicited letter sent to the chairs of the science departments.
- by Diego Sustaita
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is increasingly becoming an integral tool for environmental biologists. Many State and Federal agencies, as well as environmental consulting firms, depend on GIS for managing natural resources. Consequently, they hold candidates with GIS experience in high regard when filling positions.
Excellent GIS courses are available at CSUN through the Geography Department. Dr. Yifei Sun teaches both introductory (Geog. 405) and advanced (Geog. 406) courses. The lecture components of these courses cover the conceptual aspects of GIS and its various applications, while the lab components provide hands-on, practical experience with various GIS functions. Both courses require projects.
My project in Dr. Sun's courses turned into a part-time job working for the California Department of Fish and Game. I used GIS to quantify various attributes of bighorn sheep habitat based on radio-telemetry data that had been gathered following their reintroduction into the Sespe Wilderness area in 1985. The project consisted of compiling data "layers" for vegetation, slope, aspect, elevation, water availability, anthropogenic disturbances, and the like. I related these predictor variables to sheep locations. Thus, I arrived at a composite map showing bighorn habitat selectivity. My report will be used to direct future management activities, such as habitat enhancement.
Dr. Sun makes a tremendous effort to emphasize the most fundamental aspects of GIS, while minimizing the complexity. He thereby extends GIS's utility to people of varying levels of computer-related experience. His true-to-life examples encompass various disciplines-geography, sociology, biology-and his class simulation projects clearly illustrate, step-by-step, the process involved in creating and completing a GIS project from the ground up.
GIS is not officially offered as an elective in the Environmental Biology selective program curriculum, but I was able to count it as such with the approval of my Biology Department faculty advisor, petitioning it as a course substitution. For more information on the courses, see Dr. Sun's syllabi at http://www.csun.edu/~ys 9503/teaching/geog406/syllabus.html.
The Value of Good Teaching
- by Brian Gallagher
Dear Dr. Bishop,
Following graduation [in 1985 and a series of positions over nine years], I assumed the managership of a hospital in Delta, Colorado. I'm writing now to thank you [for all you've taught me]. The notion to write has been brewing in my head for some time; exactly why the motivation precipitated now is beyond me... but I have learned that the "little voice" in my head that sometimes compels me is best heeded promptly! That's one of those life-long lessons you learn!
You see, I've had mothers thank me for saving their children's lives by finding their meningococcemia; I've had a co-worker thank me for suggesting to her doctor the extra test that diagnosed a dangerous tumor that, untreated, would have debilitated her for life; I've found Pneumocystis carinii on a sputum sample of a previously undiagnosed young mother with HIV... I've hired, fired, counseled, consoled, and heard things that no manager should ever have to hear.
Where I'm going with this is that I've carried a little bit of Dr. Nancy Bishop with me every day. When I train a new tech or do recruiting speeches at the local schools, I frequently remember your mannerisms; the way you were always well-prepared, your composure, your patience with students, your good humor... especially your gift for storytelling... all memories which have served me well over the years. This expression of thanks is less about short-term Microbiology test-passing, and more about style and grace.
Please take a moment to acknowledge that you are a shareholder in all the good things that I have been able to achieve, and all of the lives that I have touched... and that I share these accomplishments with you.
- by Angela McEliece
When students begin their education, for the most part they are not focused. When given the opportunity to take a 3.0 unit math class versus a 5.0 unit math class (or, hey, maybe no math at all). [Students usually] take the easy out.... That is exactly what I did.
Kicking and screaming I sat through math 150A and 150b and now I am taking math 250. The more math I take, the more I appreciate it. I am just starting to understand how many doors can be opened by it....A sophomore who is interested in biochemistry or biology today may some day ...want to study enzyme kinetics or population [regulation], or may even decide later what they really wanted to do was become a Physicist! Without offering them adequate math classes, the possibilities open to them become very limited. College should be about opening doors, not closing them.
The more classes I take, even in biology, knowing calculus is always a huge advantage. I have found that although I am not exactly studying algebra, my algebra is improving. I don't think I have taken a chemistry or biology class where we didn't encounter at least one slope of one function, had to do some tricky algebra, or manipulate the dreaded exponential and logarithmic functions.
I am writing this as a student who has never really enjoyed math, and always been frustrated by it. I think most of my classmates feel the same way. Many of them still hate it but wish they knew more math. Just make us do it and allow all your future scientists to have the mathematical background they really need to do science right.
Students Needed for Fish Research
Both studies are conducted aboard the 80-ft. research vessels, the Yellowfin and the Vantuna. The seabass program, begun in 1995, is operated jointly with Dr. Daniel Pondella, director of the Vantuna Research Group of Occidental College. The POLA project involves SCUBA diver assessment of the reef communities.
Says Dr. Allen, "All our research requires the help of student assistants, some volunteers, some paid. Students who help will gain invaluable field experience." Divers for the POLA project must be CSU and AAUS certified. Students interested in helping should talk with Dr. Allen in Science 4112 or at 677-4037.
For nearly a decade, Dr. Paula Schiffman and her students have been conducting ecological research on the Carrizo Plain, an extensive grassland in southeastern San Luis Obispo County. Dr. Jennifer Matos and her students have also started research at Carrizo, on spade-foot toads.
For biologists, Carrizo is special-it is the largest relict California prairie (native grassland) and is habitat for many endangered species and hundreds of kinds of plants and animals found nowhere else.
Last year, the area was designated Carrizo Plain National Monument by then-President Clinton. Says Dr. Schiffman, "It is extremely gratifying to see that this remarkably diverse ecosystem is finally receiving national notice." Since gaining monument status, the Carrizo Plain has gotten lots of attention, including writeups with beautiful photos in magazines such as National Geographic (Aug. 2001), Smithsonian (Aug. 2001), Sierra (Sept.-Oct. 2001), and Animals (Summer 2001).
The area's new status will not stop the research of Schiffman and Matos. Indeed, Schiffman's studies have expanded to include a 12-year examination of the effects of fire frequency on the Plain's plant community. The study is supported, in part, by a grant from the College of Science and Mathematics.
Says Schiffman, "I've established replicate sets of experimental plots that will be burned at one-, two-, three- or four-year intervals, or not at all. My first burns were done in June, and now I'm impatiently waiting for the vegetation's response to the upcoming winter rains. My goal is to identify the optimal fire pattern for grassland conservation and restoration, in other words, the fire frequency that maximizes species diversity among native plants and minimizes invasive non-native plants from Europe."
This past summer, Dr. Peter Edmunds spent two weeks in Akumal, Mexico, teaching a tropical biology class for Cornell University. In Mexico, he worked with one of his former students, Dr. John Bruno ('96 M.S.), an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina. According to Dr. Edmunds, "Teaching the class exposed me to potential research opportunities in the Caribbean coral communities of Mexico. I also had a chance to meet many excellent students that are potential recruits into our M.S. program."
Recently, Dr. Edmunds extended a project, begun in 2000 with Dr. Robert Carpenter, that addresses the recovery of sea urchins on Jamaican reefs. While in Jamaica, he also explored collaborative studies with Dr. Roberto Iglesias-Prieto of Universidad Nacional Autonima de Mexico. Dr. Iglesias-Prieto conducts studies at the Puerto Moralos marine station, near Akumal.
During August, Dr. Edmunds made a three-week trip to the US Virgin Islands to complete his annual surveys of the VI National Park reefs. This year he was assisted by graduate student Casey Terhorst and an undergraduate student, Sarah Lee, of Brown University. Sarah is expected to begin graduate work at Cal State Northridge next summer. Time in the Virgin Islands was spent quantifying coral community structure at several sites, and expanding a study of coral population dynamics on St. John Island's south coast.
Students working with Drs. Steve Dudgeon and Janet Kübler are rapidly progressing in their research.
Graduate student Janna Fierst spent her first year learning field censusing techniques, laboratory algal culture, and molecular biology. She also has mapped the locations of several hundred individual Mastocarpus papillatus, a red alga, and has cultured algal spores to measure life-history characteristics. Janna is now looking for genetic markers, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms, to distinguish among life-history types. To do this, she is learning to use GeneScan and Genotyper software associated with the Department's automated DNA sequencers.
Undergraduate Christin Slaughter spent the summer studying gametic incompatibility between two species of blue mussels (Mytilus). This fall she is writing up last year's research on genetic variation for phenotypic plasticity in the colonial hydroid Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus.
Casey Terhorst is the newest graduate student in the lab, although he has been a student at the University since he enrolled in the Catalina Semester in fall 2000. For his thesis project, Casey will test for the existence of alternative stable states in marine invertebrate fouling communities. He and Janna are currently writing a paper in which they present a model that explains the disparity in gametophyte: sporophyte ratios of isomorphic seaweeds.
Dr. Robert Carpenter again spent the latter part of the summer at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology conducting research on the effects of water motion on the productivity of coral reef communities. He was assisted by graduate students Maiko Kasuya and Denise Weisman, both of whom were happy to dive in warmer waters after spending much of the summer at Catalina.
The research contributed to a dataset that was included in a recent proposal to the NSF to continue to investigate the effects of water motion on coral reefs in Hawaii and Australia.
Eight students joined Drs. Robert Carpenter, Peter Edmunds, Steve Dudgeon and Janet Kübler at last spring's Benthic Ecology Meetings. Ten of the group gave presentations.
"Over the years, the Benthic Ecology Meetings have played a large role in showcasing Cal State Northridge's marine biology program," says Dr. Dudgeon. "I became aware of this University's program when I was a post-doc on the east coast in the mid-90's, as a result of visibility of its faculty and students at the meetings."
"But," continues Dr. Dudgeon, "this past year was perhaps our strongest showing. No other university, including the host institution, had anywhere near the number of participants we had. Our colleagues at universities like Yale, Penn and Brown have told us that they believe Cal State Northridge is the best Master's program in marine biology in the nation. The reality of this is evident from the fact that they've been recruiting our students into their doctoral programs."
Advisement Center Hours
"Students are invited to stop by the Biology Advisement Center (Science 2133) to have academic questions answered," says Dr. John E. Kontogiannis, coordinator of advising. Dr. Kontogiannis is assisted this semester by two graduate students, Vanessa Navarro and Josy Allen. The Center is open for about 20 hours each week. The hours are posted outside the door.
Advisement Required for Spring Registration
Before enrolling for the spring semester, all Biology students must seek advisement. Only then will the University's computer be programmed to allow them to register via TTR. Students can avoid long lines by visiting the Advisement Center now to have their proposed program approved and a green slip signed. The Advisement Center will hold all green slips and turn them in at the appropriate time.
UDWR a Must for Graduation
The Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam must be attempted no later than the semester in which 90 units are completed. Students planning to graduate in spring 2002 must pass the exam no later than April. For more information call 677-3303.
Grad Checks Due
Undergraduates planning to graduate in spring or summer 2003 must file a Graduation Evaluation form (Grad Check) no later than May 3, 2002. Grad checks are handled in the Advisement Center.
Accessing Advisement Info
A free Biology Advisement Handbook, available in the Advisement Center, provides invaluable information on program requirements and course equivalencies. The information is also available at http://www.csun.edu/biology.
Job Info Available on the Web
Students near the end of their academic career and looking for jobs should consider consulting the following web site: http://employment.classifieds.yahoo.com/losangeles/employment/scientific/index.html.
Says Dr. Virginia Vandergon, "This summer's San Fernando Valley Science Project was a huge success. A comparison of test scores at the beginning and the end of the program indicated that the science knowledge of participating teachers improved dramatically." Dr. Vandergon and her colleagues Drs. Steve Oppenheimer, Gerry Simila (Geological Sciences) and Norm Herr (Secondary Education) run the four-week program.
The program's goal is to help middle and high school teachers understand how science works and to familiarlize them with the California Science Content Standards. To accomplish this, participating teachers attended daily workshops in which they not only listened to lectures but were involved in hands-on activities, laboratories, and computer simulations. Each workshop centered on a particular content theme.
Every Friday the entire group took a field trip to a natural area where they learned about local environments. In the process, the teachers also learned how to make field trips both fun and good learning experiences for their own students.
Each teacher also designed a lesson plan around a science theme. Later this semester, Simila and Vandergon will visit the classrooms to watch the teachers implement their lesson plans. Some teachers will become teacher/leaders in their own schools and in future workshops.
The project is funded again for next year at $194,800 by a grant to Drs. Oppenheimer, Simila, and Edward Carroll (Dean, College of Science and Mathematics). An additional $16,756 for the project was awarded to Oppenheimer and his colleagues by the UC Regents.
Additional information about the San Fernando Valley Science Project can be found on the project's website: http://www.csun.edu/~vceed002/csp/csp.htm.
Costa Rica Semester, Spr. '03
In June, Drs. Polly Schiffman, Jennifer Matos, and Fritz Hertel spent two weeks in Costa Rica scouting study sites, talking to managers of field stations, and lining up the logistics for a semester of tropical biology. Logistics aside, they did this while "spotting some 150 species of birds, an impressive diversity of mammals, and some very cool herps, all amid the spectacular vegetation of Central America," says Hertel.
The first offering of the Tropical Biology Semester is scheduled for Spring 2003. Students enrolling will take four linked courses: Biology of Tropical Vertebrates (5 units), Tropical Botany (5 units), Tropical Ecology and Conservation (5 units), and Seminar in Tropical Biology (3 units). The fourth class, Seminar in Tropical Biology, is partly aimed at placing biology in a human context. Topics envisioned for early in the semester include the ethnomusicology of Costa Rica, the economics of conservation, and the literature of the Neotropics.
The courses may be used to fulfill the comparative biology and environmental biology requirements of the Biology B.A., or the ecology, botany and zoology requirements of the Environmental B.S. option. Grad students will take parallel courses, graded separately, so that students with little field experience are not competing with journeyman biologists.
Weeks 1-5 will be spent at Northridge with lectures and laboratory activities for the three key courses covering background information, discussing relevant literature, learning field sampling methods and experimental design.
During weeks 6-10 students will visit a diversity of biomes in Costa Rica. On the list are: Parque Nacional Santa Rosa, a seasonally dry forest; Reserva Monteverde, a magnificent cloud forest; Estacion Biologica La Selva, an Atlantic lowland rainforest; and Cerro de la Muerte, a high elevation subtropical forest that includes the northernmost example of paramo. Schiffman says, "At each of these sites activities will include hands-on work with organisms, discussion of research, and the gathering of field data."
The final weeks will see students on campus again to analyze data, do literature reviews, write papers, and present projects.
"This course of study is an exciting addition to our strong program in field biology," says Matos, "and, I hope that students will come away with a greater appreciation for the cultural and biological diversity of Central America." An additional and important benefit will be exposure to conversational Spanish.
Students interested in this unforgettable experience are encouraged to plan now and contact Drs. Hertel (818-677-3353), Matos (-2158) or Schiffman (-3350).
Catalina Semester, Fall '02
Drs. Peter Edmunds, Robert Carpenter and Larry Allen will offer the Catalina Semester again in the fall of 2002. Students will take four courses-Invertebrate Zoology, Algal Biology and Ecology, Ecology of Marine Fishes, and Independent Studies-for a total of 15 units.
For a semester, students and professors will live and work at the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island, a facility well-outfitted with dormatories, classrooms, sea-water tanks, computer rooms, etc. "Courses are intensive experiences," says Edmunds. "Students devote a month to each course. They focus; they do nothing else. There are no distractions." On their days off, students may visit the local community of Two Harbors (by foot or dingy), the town of Avalon (a more serious hike), or even the mainland (via the Catalina Express Ferry).
"The Catalina semester," says Allen, "is an outstanding opportunity for our own students and those of other universities to study marine biology with a very heavy hands-on field component-not just chalk and talk, not just preserved specimens."
Carpenter adds, "The waters off of Catalina are habitat for a great wealth of diversity, and it is possible to study those organisms with manipulative experiments and state-of-the-art equipment." In addition to the orchestrated coursework, each student will do a project. Those interested in becoming research-diver certified may do their project underwater using SCUBA gear. Interested students are urged to plan ahead and to contact the professors as soon as possible.
Last Summer Tropical Bio Class in Costa Rica Planned
Almost yearly since 1987, Dr. Jim Dole, Chair of the Biology Department, has taken students to Costa Rica for a two-week introduction to tropical biology. He and two co-instructors are now scheduling their last offering, June 8-22, 2002.
During a two-week visit the class will explore four kinds of tropical forests: dry forest, cloud forest, lowland rainforest, and coastal forest. Students can expect to see hundreds of kinds of tropical birds such as Toucans, Motmots, Bellbirds, Scarlet Macaws and Quetzals. Four kinds of monkeys are commonly encountered. "It's not unusual to be awakened at dawn by howler monkeys roaring in the trees above our cabins," says Dole. Other mammals typically seen include sloths, agoutis, tyras, coatis, kinkajoos and bats of a variety of sorts. Beetles the size of a human hand, leaf-cutter ants, and leaf-mimic katydids are regularly seen.
At Santa Rosa National Park the group visits the research facilities of Dr. Dan Janzen, an internationally acclaimed tropical biologist. On a river float trip students see caimans, turtles, Jesus Christ lizards- crested reptiles that run on the water's surface-spectacular flocks of storks, parrots, egrets and other birds. The group will also peer into the crater of an active volcano and visit the capital city of San Jose.
Mostly, the class stays, two to a room, in quaint cabins and jungle hotels. At "La Selva," the main field station of the Organization for Tropical Studies, they are housed in 4-person dormitories.
Travel costs, expected to be about $2500, include round-trip airfare from LAX, transportation in Costa Rica, lodging, most meals, all fees and taxes. Students wishing degree credit pay a university fee of $471; without degree credit the fee is just $157.
Mr. Frank Hovore, an expert in tropical insects, and Ms. Betty Rose, biology professor at College of the Canyons, co-teach the class with Dr. Dole.
If taken as Bio. 326, the course is a 3-unit biology elective; taken as Bio. 524 the course meets the major's ecology requirement and will count for graduate credit. Those enrolled for non-degree credit (Bio. 826) need not take exams. For information about the course contact Dr. Dole in Science 2102 or at 677ó3356.
Dr. Ronald Sinanian, a local dentist and graduate of CSUN, will speak to interested students at 5:00 pm on Sept. 25 in Science 3219. Dr. Sinanian will talk about his own experiences in dentistry and answer questions about pre-dental education, getting into dental school, dental classes, setting up a practice, and what it means to be a dentist.
Admissions Officers Give Advice
Recently, representatives of the Admissions Offices from both USC and UOP have talked to our Pre-Dental students. Each gave specific points on what they look for in applicants. USC requires a minimum of l5 on each of the 6 parts of the DAT, and a GPA of 3.0. UOP wants a minimum of l6 in each category of the DAT but is most interested in the reading comprehension section where scores of l9 or 20 are considered competitive. The overall GPA and science GPA are also considered as are the specific courses taken. Records of the last two years are examined for upward trends. Both schools mentioned the importance of volunteer work.
Graduates Enter Dental School
Twenty students from CSUN started dental schools in fall 2000 (data for fall 200l are not yet available). Six went to schools in California, mainly USC. New York University and Boston University each took five students, Tufts accepted two and the other two went to Creighton and SUNY-Buffalo.
Dr. Corcoran Offers Guidance
Pre-Dental advisement is available from Dr. Mary Corcoran in Science 3216B. Office hours are Monday and Wednesday 10:00ó12:00, and by appointment. Dr. Corcoran can be reached by phone (677-3348) and at email@example.com.
The Microbiology Students Association (MSA), an official chapter of the American Society for Microbiology, is beginning a year of great activities.
New officers are Jeanie Paris, President, Raquel Martinez, VP, Denise Bell, Secretary and Jedi Lobos, Treasurer.
Students interested in microbiology are invited to join the group at one of its famous "pizza in the hall" meetings and become a member. Dues are $5. Many projects are in the works, including designing a new T-shirt, organizing a wine country tour, and finalizing a schedule of speakers.
For more information, contact one of the officers, Dr. Paul Tomasek or Dr. Nancy Bishop, advisors. "Please join us. Everyone is welcome!"
Varous Programs for Various Students
The MBRS program has been transformed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) into two complementary programs: MBRS-SCORE that supports faculty research, and the MBRS-RISE that supports students. Applications from students for MBRS-RISE are accepted throughout the year. Currently there are openings for freshmen and sophomores. Students must be planning a career in research, not in clinical work.
The MARC-U*STAR is an honors program that supports upper division students interested in earning a Ph.D. in Biology, Kinesiology, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Family Environmental Sciences, Psychology, or Engineering. Applications are due in spring.
The Bridges program is designed to help underrepresented minorities obtain a Master's degree and entry into a biomedically related Ph.D. program. Bridges fellows receive $14,200/year for living expenses and money for research and travel. Applications for the Bridges program are available in the spring for new graduate students who have been accepted into graduate programs.
All three programs are sponsored by the NIH with the goal of increasing participation by traditionally under-represented people in biomedical sciences, i.e., Chicanos, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders. The programs are housed in Science 2128 where students can access lots of information on summer programs, fellowships, and graduate programs. All students are welcome to use these valuable resources. The office is open from 8-4:30 M-F. The phone number is 818-677-4981.
Students Spend Their Summer Doing Research
MARC/MBRS students Keri Silva, Geno Galvez, Carlene Gonzales, Caroline Harieg, Jaime Lopez, Ivette Estay, Fabricio Rojas, Ron Marchelleta and Clarence Gillett spent their summer at research sites away from CSUN. These included UC San Diego, U Nevada, Harvard, UCSF, Royal Halloway, Cambridge, Oxford and University of York. For some of these students, this has been their second summer away. Many such research opportunities are open toall students, while others target students who are underrepresented in science.
Students Win Awards, Go to Graduate, Professional School
MARC/MBRS students are an impressive lot. Mayra Bacam (MARC, Psychology) won the Wolfson Prize. She was accepted to eight graduate programs and won two very prestigious, highly competitive national awards, a Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral award. Ron Marchelleta and Clarence Gillett have been accepted into Ph.D. programs at USC and University of Minnesota with five years of support. Juan Carlos Pelayo and Edward Yamoah have entered UCSF Medical School, and Juan Carlos plans to apply to the MD/Ph.D. program. Vince Pureza and Mario Vera have been accepted into post-baccalaureate programs. Gayani Weerasighe is spending a year conducting research at the National Institutes of Health. Fabricio Rojas and Daniel Miramontez are continuing their education at CSUN. They have been named Bridges-to-Ph.D. scholars. They, along with the other Bridges students Devin Wallace, Lonia Wallice, and Angela Zamora, are now working toward Master's degrees in Biology and Psychology.