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Living for Science

January 12, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

The Twenty-Fourth Annual CSU Biotechnology Symposium continued a proud tradition of bringing the CSU’s greatest minds in life science research, engineering and technological innovation.  With more than 600 researchers, mentors, students and faculty from across the system, the yearly program provided an opportunity to build bridges on collaborative research, share educational practices and celebrate the achievements of CSU students and faculty.

No time went to waste during the symposium.  Lunch featured faculty hosted topic tables, where a salad might be served with a side of bioengineering.

Humboldt State President Richmond addressed the symposium several times, emphasizing the importance that he and the university place on providing research, technology and engineering opportunities for CSU students at the undergraduate and graduate level.  Richmond chairs the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology President’s Commission.

As the nearest campus to the symposium, San José State was well represented.  Two SJSU participants were Johann Zaroli (an Eden Award finalist) and Minh Pham, student researchers in Dr. Miri VanHoven’s laboratory, who collaborated on research that looked at factors that control neuron length – work that could help advance spinal cord repair.

During a career networking session, Nola E. Masterson, founder and managing director of Science Futures Management Company, spoke to Nikhil Buduma of San José State and Brian Everitt of CSU Northridge.  Masterson relayed her journey through the field biotechnology research, teaching, finance and venture capital investment.

A Fresno State team of undergraduates presented the research they did through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program.  The student’s research looked into the structure of calcium oxalate crystals in microgravity, an issue that could affect the kidney health of humans in long-duration space flight. 

The Fresno State team actually got a chance to experience microgravity on the NASA’s “Weightless Wonder” aircraft as they completed their experiment.

A video of the flight is available from the Fresno State Collegian.

Behrod B. Katebian, from CSU Northridge, received the Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Research Award for the development of a murine mouse model for evaluating an immunotherapy protocol for leukemia in humans.  He presented his research to fellow students during the symposium’s poster session.

Melissa Kaye Jones, from Cal State Long Beach, received the Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award for her exploration of genetic similarities of a species of fly and humans that may lead to cheaper and faster tools for diabetes research.  Jones began to work in the lab of her faculty advisor, Lisa Klig, when she was an undergraduate.

CSUPERB recognized a team of Sacramento State undergraduate engineers and business students with the award for the pilot Idea-to-Product (I2P) Early-Stage Commercialization competition.  The team created a computer-controlled device that prepares stem cells taken from diabetic patients for injection into the patients’ feet to improve their circulation.

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