Diversity and Inclusion in Biology

The Department of Biology is dedicated to moving science forward to become a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable discipline, for students, staff, and faculty, tenured and non-tenured. We acknowledge that educational institutions have historically been sites where marginalized people have faced bias and inequities resulting in untold harm. In an ideal world, all aspects of science would be inclusive, but science historically represented a privileged subset of voices. The Department of Biology pledges to respect each other and welcomes dialogues that value diverse scientific perspectives. In our teaching, research, and service to the students, University, and community at large, we are dedicated to making institutional changes to ensure science is more accessible, safe, and welcoming to all.

Spotlight on Student Research


Francesca Sanchez

Abstract — Francesca Sanchez is a current Masters student in the Developmental Oncogene Laboratory at CSUN under Dr. Jonathan Kelber. She is originally from Southern Illinois, where she graduated with a B.S. in Microbiology. She decided to switch research focus when moving to California for her M.S. studies, which aim to elucidate mechanisms of premetastatic niche (PMN) reprogramming. The PMN is any tissue to which cancer cells can metastasize, but to which they have not yet. In order for cancers to progress to a metastatic stage, these PMNs must be primed to support seeding and expansion of the disseminated tumor cells. The first part of her thesis research culminated in a co-first author 2019 Oncotarget publication reporting a new tumor cell-free mouse model for studying PMN reprogramming and that Lcn2 is a candidate target for abrogating prometastatic PMN remodeling. Using RNA-seq, Francesca has spent the remainder of her thesis research characterizing global transcriptome changes within the premetastatic lung that are mediated by Lcn2. It is her hope that this may reveal additional vulnerabilities in lung tissue that can be harnessed to prevent lung metastasis in breast cancer. Once she graduates, Francesca desires to enter a PhD program and continue studying mechanisms of breast cancer progression.