Cal State Northridge
College of Science &
Dept. of Biology
The Biology Department Newsletter
Volume 14: No. 2, Editor: J. Maxwell, Publisher J.W. Dole
California State University, Northridge
What are MARC and MBRS?
MARC is an honors
undergraduate research training program supported by the National Institutes of Health
(NIH). MARC students, who must maintain a 3.0 GPA, receive tuition allowance, a stipend,
research support, and travel support to conferences.
In addition to their studies, MARC students conduct research under the guidance of
a professor. When the research is completed, each student writes a thesis and presents
his or her data at a national conference. During the summer they must conduct research
The MBRS program also supports student participation in research projects of established
investigators. In this program enrichment activities, such as attendance at scientific
meetings and summer research experiences for faculty and students at off-campus laboratories,
are emphasized. MBRS also provides funds to purchase research equipment.
Currently, Cal State Northridge's MBRS program is supported by more than one million
dollars. The most recent MBRS allocation, a grant for $300,000, was spearheaded by
Dr. Stan Metzenberg. The money will be used to upgrade the electronic infrastructure of
the departments that participate in the MARC and MBRS programs. Dr. Maria Elena Zavala directs
MARC: A success story
At Cal State Northridge, the MARC program has supported about 34 students since
its inception in 1990. The program has been very successful in preparing students
for advanced degrees. Almost two-thirds of our MARC students have gone on to graduate
school and their persistence rate in doctoral programs is an astounding 92%!
Former MARC students continue to distinguish themselves. Five expect to complete
the Ph.D. this year: Claudia Garcia (Harvard), Loretta Roberson (Stanford), Ana Claudia
Zubieta (UC Davis), Jo
Anne Del Rio (UC Irvine) and Patty Mora (UCLA). Loretta and Ana
will give seminars in this year's Biology Department Colloquium, a seminar series
partially supported by the MARC/MBRS programs. Loretta and Ana will meet with students
before and after their talks.
This year's MARC/MBRS fellows
Participants in the MARC program are selected on the basis of grades, interest
in earning a Ph.D. in a biomedical field, and an interview. This year more than 200
students applied, from which five were selected: Juan
Carlos Pelayo, Ronald Marchelleta, Vincent Pureza, Daniela Miramontez, and Mayra
Bacama. These new MARC fellows will be guided in their
research by Drs. Steven Oppenheimer, Aïda Metzenberg (Biology), Jeff Charonnat
(Chemistry), and Carrie Saetermoe (Psychology). The new MARC students join the current
crop: Rosemarie De Ocampo, Sonia Navarro,
and Edward Yamoah.
The MBRS program currently supports the research of 24 students and many faculty.
Five faculty were recently designated MBRS associate investigators: Drs. Sandra Jewett (Chemistry),
(Biology), Taeboem Oh (Chemistry), Carrie Saetermoe (Psychology), and Ben Yaspelkis (Kinesiology). Other faculty currently with MBRS students are Drs. Robert Carpenter, Stan Metzenberg, Steven Oppenheimer, and Paul
Tomasek (Biology) and Joseph
Hajdu (Chemistry). From a pool of highly qualified and
very competitive students, each faculty member selects students to work with them.
Currently Drs. Carpenter, Oh, and Yaspelkis have space in their labs for MBRS students.
Student Applicants Wanted
The MARC and MBRS programs are open to students belonging
to minorities that are underrepresented in science. MARC applications are accepted
in early February while the MBRS program takes applications at any time.
The MARC/MBRS office often receives announcements of summer programs open to both
minority and non-minority students. Most such programs require a 3.0 GPA and junior
or senior status. Interested students are encouraged to stop by the office, Science
2310, to peruse the flyers. The office is open daily, 8:30 to 4:30. "Come on
by and check them out!" says Dr. Zavala.
Stipends Available for Hispanic Students
The National Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides stipends of $1000 to qualified Hispanic
students. A minimum GPA of 3.5 is required. Applications are available in the Science
and Mathematics Advisement Office, Sci 2146.