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CSUPERB Cites Stellar Biotech Efforts with Symposium Awards

January 4, 2011

Category: A Closer Look

CSU faculty to be honored Jan. 7-8 for outstanding research, education, service to students

Two explorers of life at the molecular level ­ one who searches for novel antibiotics and another who tracks the transport of brain signals through membranes ­ will be honored for outstanding contributions to biotechnology research and education Saturday, Jan. 8, at the California State University 23rd Annual Biotechnology Symposium in Orange County.

Cal State L.A. Professor Howard Xu (right) with students.

Cal State L.A. Professor Howard Xu (right) with students.

Howard Xu, a professor of microbiology at California State University, Los Angeles, will receive the Anthony Andreoli Faculty Service Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of biotechnology in the CSU.  An expert in antibacterial drug discovery, clinical microbiology, and bacterial genomics, Xu has been integral to the CSU’s development of a Professional Science Masters’ program in biotechnology.

According to Susan Baxter, executive director of the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB), “Dr. Xu came to CSU with experience in the biotechnology industry, and he has inspired students to pursue life sciences careers, as well as made outstanding contributions to the development of state-of-the-art curriculum. He has also strengthened working partnerships between Cal State Los Angeles, nearby CSU campuses, and companies in the region.”

CSUPERB, the symposium’s organizer, will present its Faculty Research Award—recognizing outstanding scientific achievement in the life sciences—to Sepehr Eskandari, a biology professor at Cal Poly Pomona.

Cal Poly Pomona Professor Sepehr Eskandari

Cal Poly Pomona Professor Sepehr Eskandari

Eskandari examines critical transport molecules of the brain, particularly those involved in regulating signals by neurotransmitters. Supported by more than $2.6 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health since 2001, his research team has sought to examine transporter structures and their role in strokes and epileptic seizures, with an eye on drug interactions and potential treatments.

“Professor Eskandari represents the outstanding teacher-scholars we have within the CSU,” said Baxter. “He is an incredibly smart, hard-working and creative scientist who has built an excellent publication record and a sustained, high level of grant funding, allowing him to involve Cal Poly Pomona students in his research program.”

Pete Arnold, a candidate for a master’s degree in biology at Sonoma State, will receive the Crellin Pauling Student Teaching Award, which cites outstanding student teaching in a CSU biotechnology program. Arnold serves as a teaching assistant in the Biochemical Methods Laboratory at Sonoma State. He is also a laboratory instructional assistant in the Life Sciences department at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The awards to Xu and Eskandari include a $1000 prize; Arnold will receive $750.

CSUPERB’s Glenn Nagel Undergraduate Research Award and Don Eden Graduate Student Research Award—each with a $1,750 prize—will be announced at the symposium.

Eleven undergraduates, representing seven CSU campuses, will also be honored at the symposium as Howell-CSUPERB Research Scholars, each receiving a $3,000 award supported by the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 433,000 students year round and 44,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. A recent economic report found that the CSU supports more than 150,000 jobs statewide, annually. The engine driving job creation is more than $17 billion in economic activity that directly results from CSU-related spending that generates $5.43 for every dollar the state invests. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.

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Contact: Sean Kearns,

Michael Uhlenkamp,

(562) 951-4800

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