With eight student winners and six winning presentations, Biology students did exceptionally well at the Fifth Annual Cal State Northridge Student Research and Creative Works Symposium held in November, 2000. No other department came close!
Of the six graduate-level prizes for Science and Mathematics, five went to Biology students. Rebecca Habeeb took first prize for an oral presentation, and Sarah Kimball took second place; Rebecca works under the direction of Dr. Peter Edmunds, Sarah with Dr. Paula Schiffman.
Winners in the graduate poster category were: Mary-Anne Del Barrio, 1st prize; Michelle Le, 2nd prize and Sandra Ng, 3rd prize. Mary-Anne works with Dr. Maria Elena Zavala, Michelle with Dr. Edward Carroll, Sandra with Dr. Jim Dole.
In the Undergraduate Division Paige H. Fujimoto, Robert Nohavandi and Elbert Basa took First Prize for a joint poster presentation. The three work in Dr. Randy Cohen's lab.
Those in attendance at the oral presentations confirmed that all of the Biology students did extremely well. Says Dr. Jim Dole, Chair of the Biology Department, "The work of all Biology students clearly stood out. Not only was the work being presented of high quality, but the presentations themselves, both oral and poster, were extremely professional."
Other Biology students who presented their work at the symposium included Clarence Gillett, working with Dr. Robert Carpenter; Brandie Cross, supervised by Dr. Cathy Coyle-Thompson; and Brad Erisman, a protege of Dr. Larry Allen.
Students Present, Publish Research Results
Two students working with Dr. Aïda Metzenberg, Troy Phipps and Vincent Pureza, presented their work at a meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in Philadelphia. Their reports were on Barth syndrome, a heritable defect in the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). The students are attempting to localize specific proteins, called BTHS proteins, within a cell. Individuals who inherit Barth syndrome lack these molecules.
Vanessa Navarro, Sherri Walker, Oliver Badali, Priscilla Roy and Maria Abundis co-authored a poster paper with Dr. Steve Oppenheimer at the 40th annual national meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco. The paper, titled "Specificity of cell binding to derivatized agarose beads," was presented by Vanessa. An abstract of the paper was published in Molecular Biology of the Cell.
A paper by former graduate student Cathy Herman has been published in Oikos, a major ecological journal. The paper, entitled "The effect of mammalian predator scent on the foraging behavior of Dipodomys merriami," was based on Cathy's Master's thesis. Cathy worked under the direction of former Cal State Northridge professor Dr. Thomas Valone, now on the faculty of St. Louis University.
Former student Lisa-ann Gershwin has published a paper originating as her senior thesis. The paper, entitled "Clonal and population variation in jellyfish symmetry," appeared in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Dr. Paul Wilson guided Lisa-ann's senior thesis efforts.
Graduate students Rebecca Habeeb, Nick Haring, and Joshua Idjadi presented papers on their thesis research at the Western Society of Naturalists meeting in Portland, Oregon. Nick and Josh each received runner-up best paper awards for their presentations. Rebecca and Joshua work with Dr. Peter Edmunds, Nick with Dr. Robert Carpenter. The meeting also was attended by Denise Weisman, a graduate student in Dr. Carpenter's lab, and Casey Terhorst, a recent graduate of the Catalina Marine Biology Semester.
Dr. Cheryl Hogue and her graduate student Judy Peng recently published a paper in Comparative Parasitology. The paper was entitled "Endohelminths of white croaker (Genyonemus lineatus) from Los Angeles Harbor, southern California."
Six students working in Dr. Randy Cohen's lab presented papers at the 30th Annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. Graduate students Agata Pikula, Chris Hernandez, and Cyrille Khalili presented the results of their studies of the alterations of various proteins in a rat mutant that displays neurodegeneration as it ages. Jennifer Termeer, a graduate student, and undergraduate Junie Hildebrandt gave a poster presentation on their investigation of the neuroprotective ability of nicotine. Two undergraduate students, Zerlinde Balverde and Veronica Talamantes, gave a paper on their novel studies of the anesthetic effects nicotine has on cockroach motor behavior.
Paige H. Fujimoto, Robert Nohavandi and Elbert Basa, undergraduate students working with Dr. Randy Cohen, presented their work at the Entomological Society of America conference in Montreal, Quebec. They are studying the gustatory (taste) mechanisms used by cockroaches to regulate their feeding behavior.
Students Receive Awards, Grants
Vincent S. Pureza's research has been honored by the Endocrine Society with the accolade "Recognition of Excellence for an Outstanding Project Related to Endocrinology." Vincent, who works in Dr. Aïda Metzenberg's lab, presented his work at SACNAS 2000, the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Vincent is studying a polymorphism in the sterol isomerase gene.
Dr. Aïda Metzenberg's student, Cima Mazar-Atbaki, received $3330 from the University's Thesis Project Support Program to support her study of Barth Syndrome, a hereditary heart defect.
Two of Dr. Lisa Banner's studentsóKrist Azizian and Michelle Garridoóalso received funding from the Thesis Project Support Program, $800 for Krist, $700 for Michelle. Krist also received a Teaching Associate waiver of State University fees, valued at $946, for spring, 2001.
Four students in the Genetic Counseling ProgramóCaleen Blackman, Linda Hasadsri, Emily Parkhurst and Cori Roperówere awarded grants from the Thesis Project Support Program. The students attended the National Society of Genetic Counselors meeting in Savannah, Georgia accompanied by Dr. Metzenberg, their mentor and Director of the Genetic Counseling Program, and Ms. Maria D'Addario, Associate Director.
Dr. Randy Cohen's student, Jennifer Termeer, was granted $800 from the Student Projects Committee to support her study of synaptic reorganization in a rat mutant. She also received $300 from the Graduate Studies, Research and International Programs (GRIP) office to fund her travel to the Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans and a $946 Teaching Associate waiver of State University fees for spring, 2001.
Cyrille Khalili, also working with Dr. Cohen, was awarded $300 by the GRIP office to partially fund his trip to the Neuroscience meetings in New Orleans.
The Student Project Committee provided Zahra Kashani Heidari, a graduate student in Dr. Paul Tomasek's lab, $850 to support her study of "Flexibacter maritimus disease in salt water fish."
David Riherd, working with Dr. Joyce Maxwell and Dr. Thomas Vandergon of Pepperdine University, was awarded $767 by the Student Projects Committee. The funds will support his investigation of "RT-PCR determination of the activity of photolyase gene during development in the California treefrog."
Jacob (ëJake') Kerby has been awarded a grant of $7500 from the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association and received an additional $886 from the Student Projects Committee. The money will be used to fund his thesis project "Crayfish dispersal mechanisms in Santa Monica Mountain Streams." Jake's work is supervised jointly by Dr. Paul Wilson and Dr. Lee Kats of Pepperdine University.
Gary Busteed, a graduate student working with Dr. Jim Dole, received a $7,500 grant from the Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, a non-profit organization that funds National Park-related projects. The money will fund his study of reptile and amphibian distribution and status in the Santa Monica Mountains to determine how urban development in the region has affected them.
Denise Weisman, a graduate student in Dr. Robert Carpenter's lab, recently received a grant of $430 from the PADI Foundation's Project Aware to support her thesis research. She is working on the effects of grazing by a sea urchin on the algal communities associated with kelp forests at the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island.
Biology Faculty Receive Research, Teaching Grants
Dr. Michael Summers has been awarded a very prestigious NSF CAREER grant of $507,385. The funds will support his research efforts on the routes of catabolic carbon flow in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis for five years. Dr. Summers is studying the genes that regulate carbon flow in the bacteria and the proteins that control transcription of those genes. In an effort to link the process of scientific discovery more directly with science education, Dr. Summers will include several local high school teachers in his work.
Dr. Steve Oppenheimer has been awarded funds to support two of his teacher-training programs. The National Science Foundation has provided $228,099 to support his "Research Experiences for Biology Teachers" program. In addition, $179,392 from the California Subject Matter Projects will fund the "San Fernando Valley Science Project." Dr. Oppenheimer is also the recipient of $30,000 from the Joseph Drown Foundation, his ninth such award, to support his investigations of cell adhesion.
Dr. Larry Allen received a $123,618 award from the California Department of Fish and Game. The money will finance the continuation of his sampling project of white sea bass.
The office of Graduate Studies, Research and Sponsored Projects (GRIP) has awarded Drs. Steve Dudgeon and Fritz Hertel three units of reassigned time each for spring semester. The reassigned time will enable them to devote more time to their research efforts.
Dr. Peter Edmunds has been awarded a $2000 grant from the Conservation and Research Foundation to support his reef-monitoring work in the Virgin Islands. The project is entitled "Changing climate, coral populations and declining coral reefs."
Faculty, Staff Awards and Achievements
Dr. Jennifer Matos has been elected to a three-year term on the Cal State Northridge Corporation Board of Directors, the body that determines policy and oversees the operation of the University Corporation. She has also been elected Vice President of the Executive Committee of the University Corporation.
Dr. Steve Oppenheimer was recently appointed to the Science Subject Matter Advisory Panel for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The Advisory Panel is responsible for identifying the subject matter that prospective teachers of science must know to become certified. Dr. Oppenheimer also served on a grant review panel for the National Science Foundation's Division of Undergraduate Education.
Dr. Virginia Vandergon has been named Implementation Director of the San Fernando Valley Science Project, a teacher-training program funded by a grant to Dr. Steve Oppenheimer from the California Subject Matter Projects.
Mr. Bill Krohmer, Supervisor of Technical Services for the Biology Department, was selected to represent the staff on the University's Budget Advisory Board (UBAB). The board advises the University President on all budgetary issues.
Faculty, Staff Publish Their Research
Dr. James Hogue, the Biology Department's Collections manager, co-authored a paper entitled "Development and evaluation of predictive models for measuring biological integrity of streams." The paper, published in Ecological Applications, was co-authored by C. P. Hawkins, R. H. Norris, and J. W. Feminella.
Dr. Randy Cohen is author of a paper that recently appeared in Journal of Insect Behavior. His article is entitled "Diet balancing in the cockroach Rhyparobia mader: Does serotonin regulate this behavior?"
Dr. Lisa Banner is co-author of a paper scheduled to appear in The American Biology Teacher. The article is entitled "Are your cells pregnant?óRelating biology laboratory exercises to everyday life." The paper describes a laboratory for a cell and tissue culture class that was developed during last year's short course in endocrinology. Simon Rhodes, instructor of the short course, is co-author.
Dr. Jennifer Matos co-authored (with Barbara Schaal of Washington University in St. Louis) a paper on "Chloroplast evolution in the Pinus montezumae complex: A coalescent approach to hybridization." The work appeared in Evolution, one of the premier journals of the field.
A paper jointly authored by Drs. Robert Carpenter and Peter Edmunds will soon appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, one of the top science journals in the United States. The paper is titled "Recovery of Diadema leads to reduced macroalgal cover and increased abundance of juvenile corals on a Caribbean reef." Based on data collected on several shallow coral reefs in Jamaica, the paper describes patterns in the abundance of sea urchins and juvenile corals that suggest the reefs may be recovering after decades of decline. Says Dr. Edmunds, a well-known coral reef expert, "The degradation of coral reefs has been a high profile story over the past decade as global climate change and catastrophes have severely impacted many reefs. Given the generally bleak outlook for coral reefs worldwide, this is the first good news indicating that some reefs may be able to recover."
A letter entitled "Math and science education: Training teachers" written by Dr. Steve Oppenheimer has been published in Science.
Summer Research Opportunities Available for Students
According to Dr. Maria Elena Zavala there are numerous opportunities for motivated students to spend their summer away from Northridge. Many universities and other institutes across the nation and around the world offer a variety of summer programs in which students might become involved.
In past years, Cal State Northridge students have spent their summers doing research in such localities as the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., the University of Washington in Seattle, and even Oxford University, England. Others have stayed closer to home, working at UCLA or UC-Irvine.
Says Dr. Zavala, "Some programs are restricted to minority students but many are not." Information about the programs is available to any interested student in the MBRS/ MARC/Bridges office in Science 2128.
Cancer Course Professor Seeks Student Help
Students interested in helping organize Biology 285, Biology of Cancer, for the fall 2001 semester should talk with Dr. Steve Oppenheimer, class instructor. The course, established more than 25 years ago with assistance from the American Cancer Society, brings distinguished cancer experts to campus to present their views and recent research.
According to Dr. Oppenheimer, "The course has proven especially useful to students planning to enter one of the health professions." Both Biology majors and non-majors may take the course. Dr. Oppenheimer can be found in his basement lab, Science 2005.
Infrequently Offered Course for Fall
Biology 504, Algae, will be offered during the fall 2001 semester. The course covers the identification, physiology, and ecology of marine algae. According to Dr. Robert Carpenter, course instructor, "The focus will be on macroalgae that are components of such local marine communities as kelp forests and rocky intertidal communities." The course satisfies the field experience requirement of the Biology BA degree.
Biology Receives CalTrans Gymnosperm Forest Grant
The California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) has awarded the University $37,040 to be used for the purchase of trees to be added to the Biology Department's Gymnosperm Forest. The first trees for the nascent forest to be established around Science Buildings 1 and 2 were planted on Earth Day, 2000.
The grant proposal was a collaborative effort involving several individuals, among them Dr. Edward Carroll, Dean, and Dr. Barbara Caretto, Development Officer, College of Science and Mathematics; Mr. Brian Houck, Manager of the Botanic Garden; and Mr. Hildo Hernandez, Director of the University's office of Physical Plant Management.
The funds will be used to purchase 181 trees that will be planted on Earth Day, 2001. Tree People, an environmental group dedicated to increasing the number of trees, especially in urban areas, will direct the planting effort. Members of the campus community are invited to help with the planting.
Little physical labor will be involved since holes for the trees will already be in place. Volunteers will need only to add appropriate soil mixtures and place the trees. Those wishing to help are invited to meet on the lawn south of Science 1 at 8:30 on Tuesday, April 24.
Faculty Seek Student Help In Their Research
A paid internship for a student to help Dr. Paul Wilson continue his studies of pollination biology may be available this summer. Interested students should contact Dr. Wilson at Science 1323, or at email@example.com for more information.
Dr. Steve Oppenheimer invites students with an interest in cancer research to visit his lab in the basement of Science 2, room 2005. Dr. Oppenheimer and his students study cell surfaces to better understand why cells stick together during embryonic development but often fail to do so in many cancers. Says Dr. Oppenheimer, "Some of my current studies use human cancer cells. More than 200 students have been co-authors on research publications and presentations emanating from my lab." Dr. Oppenheimer is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, one of the nation's most prestigious research honors. Over the years his work has been supported by more than $5 million in research and training funds from the National Institutes of Health's R01, AREA, MBRS, MARC and Bridges programs, NASA, Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, State of California training programs, and the Joseph Drown Foundation.
Dr. Cheryl Hogue seeks an undergraduate student to assist with fish parasite studies she is conducting in her lab. She can be reached by phone at 677-3349 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Virginia Vandergon is looking for interested students who want to work in her lab this summer and next fall. Her research interests lie in molecular evolution. In her work she uses molecular techniques to find and clone genes that govern the production of anthocyanin (a pigment) in plants. She can be contacted at email@example.com or by phone at 677-6362.
Dr. Maria Elena Zavala is looking for enthusiastic and hardworking students to work in her lab. Her research focuses on the physiology of plants, particularly the factors governing root growth. Interested students should seek her out in Sci 3207.
Second Endocrinology Short Course to be Offered
This spring the Biology Department once again will offer a short course in Endocrinology. Dr. Lisa Banner organized last year's course and was responsible for arranging its sequel. The course is scheduled for March 12-16.
Dr. Simon Rhodes will return this year to give both research seminars and lectures about endocrinology in a variety of Biology courses, from the freshman level on up. Last year Dr. Rhodes lectured to almost 500 students and was very well received.
The course, designed to expose students to the field of endocrinology, is funded through an NIGMS (National Institute of General Medical Sciences) grant to the Endocrine Society.
The program is provided free to minority-serving institutions. Cal State Northridge qualifies because it has been designated by the federal government as a Hispanic-serving Institution.
V.A. Research Program for Undergrads Under Way
Students interested in becoming involved in biomedical research are encouraged to talk to Dr. Cheryl Hogue, Chair of the Biology Honors program and Departmental coordinator of a cooperative student research program between the Biology Department and the V.A. Medical Centers. The program, begun in 1986, was suspended after the 1994 Northridge earthquake damaged both institutions, but was recently reinstated.
The program is selective, with only the very best and most responsible students being chosen to participate. All applicants are screened by a faculty committee before being accepted to the program. Once accepted, students work at either the Wadsworth (Westwood) or the Sepulveda VA Medical Center under the direction of a hospital researcher where they are directly involved in the research.
Past participants in the program have been extremely successful, many of them snapped up by graduate, medical, dental and other professional programs. Dr. Joyce Maxwell serves as the University's liaison for the program.
For the second time, this year's Los Angeles County Science Olympiad was held at Cal State Northridge on February 24. The annual event brought about 1400 middle and high school students from all over L.A. County to participate in science-oriented competitions.
The event, previously held on high school campuses, was a joint effort of the College of Science and Mathematics and the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). MiniMed Inc., a biotechnology company located on the University's north campus, and the Provost's Council of Cal State Northridge, sponsored the event, providing needed funds.
As a part of the Olympiad, some students were quizzed about science subjects ranging from herpetology and microbiology to astronomy and physics. Others participated in events that tested their technological skills and knowledge.
Dr. Edward Carroll, Dean of the College, had overall responsibility for organizing the Olympiad. He was ably assisted by Dr. Steve Oppenheimer who enlisted University faculty, staff and students to run the events and acted as liaison with the LACOE.
Among the Biology faculty and staff who donated their time to create and captain events were: Drs. Lisa Banner, Nancy Bishop, Jim Dole, Cheryl Hogue, Jim Hogue, Stan Metzenberg, Mike Summers, Paul Tomasek and Virginia Vandergon. Many Biology students also helped the faculty run the competitions.
Biology Honors Program
The Biology Honors Program is a great way for undergraduates to obtain research experience that will enhance their academic careers and better prepare them for graduate and professional schools. Students admitted to the 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 Biology Honors requirements will have that fact noted on their transcripts. These students are also recognized publicly at the Biology Department's Honors Ceremony during commencement week. At this ceremony, Honors students receive a certificate acknowledging their participation in the Honors program.
To be considered for admission to the Honors Program, an applicant must have completed 90 units, have a G.P.A. of 3.50 or better in the major and overall, and have a faculty sponsor. If interested, contact Dr. Cheryl Hogue, Director of the program, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 677-3349.
Biology Graduate Program Application Process
Students planning to pursue a Master's degree in Biology are encouraged to apply. Potential applicants should talk first with Dr. Michael Summers, coordinator of the Graduate Program. Says Dr. Paul Wilson, an erstwhile co-coordinator, "The key to getting into the Master's Program is finding a faculty member willing to sponsor you." Research interests of the faculty are outlined on the internet at www.csun.edu/~bd46942.
Applications for fall semester 2001 acceptance are due March 15; spring semester 2002 applications must be submitted by October 15. Two separate applications are required, one for the Biology program, the other to the University Graduate Program.
For the Biology M.S. applicants must take the general and the Biology subject matter GRE. Application forms are available in the Biology Department office, Science 2102.
Biology Dept Offers Science Resource to Local Teachers
Dr. Virginia Vandergon, one of the Biology Department's newest faculty members, has a dual role in the Department. Not only is she a geneticist but she is involved in outreach between the Biology Department and local K-12 teachers. As liaison to the schools, Dr. Vandergon welcomes inquiries from pre- or in-service K-12 teachers who might need help setting up labs, creating lessons, or dealing with any other science-related problems.
Before receiving her doctorate in genetics, Dr. Vandergon held a California Single Subject Teaching credential and taught high school life science and mathematics. At Cal State Northridge, she is involved in implementing the San Fernando Science Project, a science teacher-training program directed by Dr. Steve Oppenheimer. Dr. Vandergon is available via email at email@example.com or by phone at 677-6362. Her office is in Science 3218.
Biology Graduate Program Accepts New Students
The Biology Graduate Committee has admitted twelve new students to Biology's Master's program for spring 2001. Total graduate enrollment in Biology is approximately 80, with 40 serving as Teaching Associates or Grad Assistants.
The newly accepted graduates and their advisors (in parentheses) are: Farhana Ali (Tomasek), Marcela Barajas (Oppenheimer), Denise Bell (Bishop), Sarah Chavez (A. Metzenberg), David Choe (Summers), Andrew Ellis (Schiffman or Wilson), Jad Elzoghbi(A Metzenberg), Christina Hwang (Summers), David Katibi (Oppenheimer), Lital Kirzenbaum (Oppenheimer), Lazella Lawson (Zavala), Marla Madison (S. Metzenberg), Diego Sustaita (Hertel).
The Biology Department is especially proud to welcome Sarah Chavez, one of our new graduate students who is also a Fulbright Scholar from Peru. Although admitted last semester Sarah deferred enrollment until spring semester.
Biology Staff Move On
After running our DNA sequencer facility for the past few years, Ms. Janine McMurdie-Wengert has taken a position at Amgen. She has been replaced by Mr. Noel Alday.
The Biology Department has also lost the expertise of Mr. Erik Forsman, keeper of the Marine Wet-lab, who has accepted a position at the Long Beach Aquarium. Mr. Dave Bottinelli has been appointed his replacement.
In the absence of Ms. Toni Uhlendorf, Mr. Arman Kirakousian has been overseeing the Biology Department's Vivarium. Ms. Uhlendorf, out for several months on medical leave, is expected to return in the near future.
Internships Available to Biology Students
The Student Conservation Association (SCA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to "changing lives through service to nature," offers students expense-paid opportunities to travel and work at some of the country's most spectacular sites. Each year more than 5000 students enjoy exciting and challenging work and service opportunities in national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and resource management areas throughout the nation.
SCA internships offer unique opportunities for Biology students not only to experience some wild and wonderful places but also to learn new skills, make career contacts and experience their chosen career field first-hand in the company of talented professionals. Benefits typically include free housing, a weekly stipend, travel expenses, and the ability to earn an educational award of up to $4,725.
To learn more about the program's conservation internships, high school summer crews, AmeriCorps, diversity programs, and crew-leading opportunities, visit the SCA website at http://www.sca-inc.org.
The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) sponsors paid summer- and semester-long internships at federal agencies and private corporations. Interns are paid $420 to $520 per week, are provided with travel expenses, and are assisted with finding affordable housing. If interested, check out http://www.whes.org/members/hacu.html.
Ten to fifteen week internships are available with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health & Human Services, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs. The Central Intelligence Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Reserve Board, Library of Congress, National Science Foundation, Pension and Benefit Guaranty Corp., and the Office of Personnel Management also offer internships.
The Northridge Bridges Program
Marine Biology Program Progresses Swimmingly
Marine Biology Students Get Travel Awards
Drs. Larry Baresi and Paul Tomasek are currently offering a new experimental Food Microbiology course (Biol 496FM). The course, which emphasizes microbial ecological and physiological concepts important to food microbiologists, builds on knowledge and skills with which students are already familiar from a previous microbiology course (e.g., Biol 215, 315, or equivalent).
The course includes a laboratory in which students learn standard food microbiology techniques. They will also be exposed to recently approved rapid testing procedures now used in the industry. Says Dr. Tomasek, "Such concepts and techniques are also applicable to the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries."
Drs. Baresi and Tomasek plan to offer the course at least once every two years. If warranted by student interest and scheduling needs the course may be offered more frequently.
Student Research Opportunities Available in Microbiology Labs
A recent grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture includes funds to support microbiological research by qualified Hispanic undergraduates. The research may be directed by any of the microbiology faculty: Drs. Larry Baresi, Nancy Bishop, Michael Summers, or Paul Tomasek.
Funds for the program are available through summer 2001 and may be extended through 2002. More information about the program is available on the internet at www.csun.edu/~hcbio029/ student research.html.
Drs. Baresi and Tomasek authored the grant proposal. Interested students should contact Dr. Tomasek at 677-3386.
New Spectrophotometer to Enhance Teaching & Research
The California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) has awarded Drs. Paul Tomasek and Michael Summers a grant of $10,542. The money will help fund the acquisition of a multi-well, UV-visible spectrophotometer that can read 96 samples simultaneously, including the ability to monitor reaction kinetics. The instrument will also be partially funded through the USDA grant awarded to Drs. Tomasek and Larry Baresi.
Microbiology Students Association Schedules Activities
Microbiology Students Association (MSA) members enjoy a variety of benefits and activities all year round. Among the favorite activities is the ever-popular annual winery tour and a monthly get-together where members mingle over pizza and refreshments. The MSA also schedules a variety of speakers that provide information about educational and job opportunities.
The club welcomes all Biology majors. Applications are available at the door of Science 2304. Club events are announced with flyers posted on bulletin boards in the Science Buildings.
Current MSA officers are Ziad Askar, President, Jeanie Paris, Vice-president, and Gonzalo Zendejas, Treasurer. For more information send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact a club officer.
Says Dr. Jennifer Matos, "The third floor of Science 1 has become a nexus of faculty and students interested in terrestrial ecology and evolution." Faculty on the 3rd floor include: Dr. Fritz Hertel, who studies functional morphology of birds and mammals; Dr. Paula Schiffman, whose area of research is plant ecology with special emphasis on the effects of non-native species on community dynamics; Dr. Paul Wilson, who studies floral evolution and plant speciation; and Dr. Jennifer Matos, whose research includes plant population biology, evolutionary relationships, and life history characteristics of spadefoot toads.
Dr. Robert Espinoza, a herpetologist hired last year, is scheduled to join the 3rd floor group next fall. His lab and office space are under construction in the area formerly used by Dr. Peter Bellinger. In addition, the Biology Department is in the process of hiring an entomologist who will also be housed on the 3rd floor. But, not everyone interested in organismal questions is physically located on the 3rd floor. Dr. Cheryl Hogue, who studies the link between environmental pollution and changes in the parasite assemblages of fish, is currently in Science 3 but may eventually join her 3rd floor colleagues. Dr. Jeffrey Smallwood, who studies population genetic structure of small mammals, also conducts research on the 3rd floor.
The 3rd floor also houses the Department's Biological Collections, a central resource available to faculty and students interested in organismal biology. In the Collections are an estimated 20,000 plant specimens, 40,000 insects and related arthropods, 1700 mammals, 1400 birds, and 700 reptiles and amphibians. The collection rooms also house a growing library of books, journals, and reprints covering a wide range of topics in natural history. The Collections are managed by Dr. Jim Hogue, whose background is in entomology and aquatic ecology.
Although primarily a repository for specimens that represent elements of the evolution
and diversity of life on Earth, the collections are also used to answer a variety
of natural history questions, and to support research and education programs both
inside and outside the University community. The collection's resources provide support
for 15-20 classes each year, particularly organism-centered classes such as Avian
Ecology, Field Ecology, Plant Ecology, and Systematic Botany. The specimens also
serve as comparative material to aid identification of organisms encountered in research
projects and by people in the community. Dr. Hogue commonly gets "What is it?"
questions, which are much easier to answer with a named specimen in hand for comparison.
The collections also serve as educational tools to introduce biology to K-12 students
during visits and class trips from local schools.