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The Microbiology option prepares students for graduate programs or careers as research associates in a variety of fields (e.g. medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, or environmental biotechnology; medical device, cosmetic, food, and water quality assurance) in academic, governmental, or industrial labs or a variety of similar settings. Students engage in lecture/laboratory courses learning state-of-the-art techniques in microbiology research. The Bachelor of Science Degree in Microbiology (Option III) includes courses in medical microbiology, microbial physiology, bacterial diversity, microbial ecology and parasitology. Upper division specialty courses in medical mycology, virology, genetics of bacteria and their viruses, mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, and cellular immunology allow students to tailor their program to their specific goals. Students in the Biology Masterís program also adapt their academic curriculum to their individual research interests while working in faculty research laboratories on their Masterís theses. Students are encouraged to present their findings at local and national meetings and to prepare manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Undergraduate and graduate students participate in the CSUN Microbiology Student Association, which organizes various events throughout the year, including microbiology research seminars.
Faculty and students participate in a variety of research programs that are funded locally as well as at the national level through NIH and NSF. The laboratory of Larry Baresi studies methane producing bacteria and the viruses that infect these bacteria. David Bermudes studies Salmonella spp., their general physiology and potential application as tumor-targeting agents. Rachel Mackelprang and her students are using more or less whole genomes, studying such things as the response of microbial communities to environmental purterbations. Sean Murrayís laboratory studies the bacterial cell cycle using the aquatic bacterium, Caulobacter crescentus. The laboratory of Michael Summers studies how bacteria regulate adaptive alterations of their cell morphology and physiology in response to environmental changes using the cyanobacterium, Nostoc punctiforme. Paul Tomasekís research interests center around the bacterial biodegradation of toxic compounds such as pesticides and other organic compounds which are not readily degraded in the environment. Cheryl Hogue studies the relationship between pollution and marine fish parasites. Mary-Pat Steinís group studies the pathogenesis of Legionella pneumophila, which causes Legionnaireís disease. Thus, the department offers a broad spectrum of research opportunities in the microbial sciences.